I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before or not (cough), but The Office is one of my favorite TV shows. It’s smart, funny, full of great characters and (in its best moments) is pretty true-to-life. The Office has twice before blessed us with Christmas episodes, with “Christmas Party” (Season Two) and “A Benihana Christmas” (Season Three). With season four cut short by the unfortunate writer’s strike, there was no Christmas episode that year, but the gang from Dunder-Mifflin Scranton was back last night with “Moroccan Christmas.”
Phyllis, who has taken over the Party Planning Christmas with a coup against Angela, has decided the theme of this year’s office party will be “Nights in Morocco.” As Angela goes into meltdown over the decidedly non-traditional theme, Dwight corners the local market on Princess Unicorn, the season’s hottest toy, planning to sell them to desperate parents for an enormous markup. Michael, serving as bartender, whips up his own new beverages (for example, he makes Jim the unheard of concoction of vodka and orange juice), and Meredith finally goes a little too far with her drinking, inspiring some of her co-workers to stage a what turns out to be the worst (and funniest) intervention in history.
The whole “intervention” plot is kind of dark for a Christmas episode, but The Office has always been the sort of show that would take that kind of chance, and it pays off here. Meredith’s alcoholism has been a source of frequent jokes over the past few seasons, to the point where it has been almost disturbing. Seeing it actually addressed as a real problem is a good way to deal with it. The character — while still entertaining — has started to straddle the border of being a caricature instead of a real person. While she still doesn’t come across very well here, at least the problem isn’t being swept under the rug, The rest of the cast, meanwhile, comes off a little better for demonstrating real concern about her.
The episode is actually pretty light on Jim and Pam, who have been the heart of the series since its inception, but that’s okay. There are enough other characters that they can take a back seat once in a while, and the few moments they do get in this episode (such as the cute-as-a-button “I knew it!” conversation at the end) are sweet and satisfying for their fans. Like me.
One of the season’s ongoing subplots also takes a major turn here, but it’s not something I can discuss without spoiling a great moment. I was really happy with this episode. It worked as a “Christmas special,” while at the same time, it had a lot of plot progression and the show was advanced. While not the best episode of the season, it’s a good one.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. You can watch the whole episode online, for free, at Hulu.com.