The Office: “Dwight Christmas” (Episode 9.09)

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The Office: “Dwight Christmas” (Episode 9.09)

Ever since Jim gave Pam that teapot way back in season two, Christmas episodes have been something special for The Office. There’s just something about the season that brings the ragtag Dunder Mifflin crew together as friends—or perhaps more accurately, as a family—rather than mere coworkers, and on “Dwight Christmas” it was clear they weren’t going to let a cheating scandal and an attempted hit put a damper on the holiday.

We open on the entire office discovering they’ve forgotten about the annual Christmas party—something that seems rather unlikely given what a big deal Dunder Mifflin makes about holidays, but we soon learn it’s because Angela’s been too caught up in her own drama with Oscar and her husband to plan anything. Nellie suggests they just buy some liquor and cupcakes, and Meredith is in favor of a “topless Christmas,” but Dwight’s suggestion that they do a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch celebration wins out after Jim and Pam enthusiastically back the opportunity to gawk and poke fun at him.

Excited to finally have the chance to do things his way, Dwight goes all-out—and Jim and Pam are right, it’s all worth giggling at. There’s a mystery meat that involves some sort of stomach lining, wine that can also be used to clean medical instruments and an appearance from Belsnickel, whom Jim aptly describes as “kind of like Santa, except dirty and worse.”

As Belsnickel, Dwight decides who’s been “impish” and who’s been “admirable.” The admirable receive wondrous treats like mousetraps and canning lids, while the impish (in this case, Oscar) are whipped. Jim soon realizes he has to bail on the party to head to Philadelphia so he can get a good night’s sleep before his first day at his sports marketing job. Dwight’s obviously hurt by this, so he whips Jim hard before canceling the rest of the party (“you quit on Christmas, Christmas quits on you”). Jim and Pam share a touching—if not a little foreboding—moment outside as he thanks her for making the Dwight Christmas happen. Pam’s smile fades as Jim adds that it was a “perfect last Christmas.” Guess he’s not planning on just switching to part-time at Dunder Mifflin after all?

Meanwhile, in a plot that could’ve easily been ripped from the season two Jim-Pam-Roy storyline, Pete spends the party reciting Die Hard to Erin after discovering she’s never seen it. Halfway through, she gets an email from Andy saying he’s going to be gone for a few more weeks (seriously, how many vacation days does this guy HAVE?). Visibly upset, she suggests they just watch Die Hard and winds up crying during the movie. Pete swoops in to comfort her and she reminds him she’s still Andy’s girlfriend but allows him to keep his arm around her. It’s a sweet moment, but it seems almost too cookie-cutter for the show.

Jim finally returns to the party, realizing he’d rather spend Christmas in the office than alone in a hotel, and he’s greeted with a big hug from Dwight. He even reveals to a drunk Darryl (who thought Jim had forgotten about the job offer he made him) that he’s set up an interview for him. All’s well that ends well, and all things considered, The Office successfully found a way to make its final Christmas count.

Stray Observations:
-Can we talk for a second about Toby and Nellie’s kiss? After listening to him ramble on and on about the Scranton Strangler, Nellie shushes Toby. He’s adorably confused, asking if they’re about to kiss, and when they do, he whips off his glasses and really goes for it. No idea where this is headed, but it might be nice for the long-suffering HR rep to get his happy ending.
-The best part about drunk Darryl (besides his epic pratfall) was his declaration that Meredith has “a kind of Emma Stone thing going on.”
-”That’s what I love about Christmas. The authority.” “And the fear.”

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