Oh, so that’s why the folks at The Office had Joss Whedon direct tonight’s episode. After all, when bats and possible vampires are involved, who better than the man behind Buffy?
And everything that happened in the office, with the bat, with Jim the would-be vampire, with Dwight the monster hunter ("I have hunted werewolves. I shot one once, but by the time I got to it, it had turned back into my neighbor’s dog"), was gold. Pam’s art show added a poignant touch too. But I may have had one too many weeks in a row of over-the-top Michael.
Although the running gag with the candy bars was inspired — right down to "Chunky" at Pam’s show — Michael’s speech to Ryan’s business-school class felt, well, a little predictable, which is not something I’ve ever really felt about this show. But Michael’s string of platitudes about the business world, his movie-inspired "teaching" style (Dead Poets Society, in this case) — it was all stuff we’d seen before.
Fortunately, though, there was a bat loose in the Dunder Mifflin office (Toby: "The simple solution would be to open a window … if we had windows that could open"). Just about everything about this subplot had me rolling, from Dwight’s obvious glee at finding the bat guano to the final showdown with the bat, and Meredith (great physical work by Kate Flannery and Rainn Wilson in that scene).
Also, while Jim’s, uh, transformation doesn’t sync up with the Whedonverse version of how vampires are born, it made for one great running gag, hitting the right note of tormenting Dwight without really doing any harm. Dwight’s reaction to it, too, was fantastic: "One crisis at a time." (Also, "If a vampire bat was in the U.S., it makes sense that it would come to a -sylvania.")
I’m a little conflicted about the art-show scenes, though. I’ve been a Roy booster for a good portion of this season now, but he was kind of back to his old self tonight, giving himself points for showing up with his brother, then using that to get Pam to spend the night. Yuck.
And Oscar and his roommate, with the "motel art" comment? Ouch. Although they have a point — Pam could stand to be a little more honest with herself. The art show did, however, give Michael a chance to redeem himself after the b-school fiasco. There was no way he wouldn’t like Pam’s rendering of the Dunder Mifflin office, and the moment — after the wildly uncomfortable "Do you have something in your pocket?" line — was genuinely sweet, Chunky bar or no Chunky bar.
So was Michael too much for you tonight? And did the bat make up for it?