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Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't bring your children to The Office

This week's outing of NBC's The Office is called "Jury Duty" because that's what Jim (John Krasinski) says he is doing when he misses a week of work. But Dwight (Rainn Wilson) grows suspicious, and goes on a quest to get his nemesis fired. Knowing he's in trouble, Jim confesses the truth to Andy (Ed Helms), that he was at home with his kids, who only makes things worse by trying to continue the cover up. Luckily, before Dwight can get corporate involved, he stops by the hospital and sees Angela's (Angela Kinsey) baby, who looks an awful lot like a Schrute. Suddenly, Dwight has the much more important thing of fatherhood to worry about than a feud with Jim.

It's long been known to viewers that Angela's husband, The Senator (Jack Coleman), is gay. But until the baby is born a "month early," at over nine pounds, it's unclear whether somehow he impregnated her or not. Why the Senator remains oblivious to the truth of the matter is unknown, but perhaps he is so caught up in his lie that he doesn't question it. Presumably he does have sex with Angela at least once, so it could be his, right?

Angela and Dwight's relationship has been a very slow burn over the years. Never getting too much focus in The Office, there has always been something special between them. Even as Angela tries to push Dwight away, it's hard not to hope that they will be together. They are strange in very different ways, and yet, their pairing works somehow. Both have taken turns being in pursuit of the other. This baby born in "Jury Duty" changes everything, and could possibly set up a happy ending for the two. Which would be ideal. Though, given how The Office has handled things so far, it could be years before Angela even acknowledges publicly that the baby is Dwight's. That would be a shame, because it's likely that The Office will be off the air by then.

Unless Dwight is wrong. However unlikely that possibility seems, it is a possibility. While the timing lines up much better for the child to belong to Dwight, there is always the chance that, in the end, he could be wrong. Dwight surely sees what he wants to see in the child's features, and often thinks he knows things that he doesn't. Mightn't the more unexpected and exciting option be that the baby is not Dwight's?

Nah.

Being a daddy finally gives Dwight a way to connect to Jim. Dwight always has a fondness for Pam (Jenna Fischer), but it's not until he learns he is a father that he shows any respect towards Pam's husband. Now, this stuff in "Jury Duty" will not herald a new dawn between the two; they will always hate each other. Dwight is only kind in a moment of weakness because of his own excitement. But a new understanding could crop up, and that could change their interaction in a way that no one quite knows yet. It would be an interesting cap to a long-standing rivalry.

Lots of laughs this week, too. Some "Jury Duty" comedy highlights: Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) begins calling Angela's baby "Little Kevin." Oscar (Oscar Nunez) once more is shown to be ridiculous in how he "prepares" his co-workers to see the "premature" baby. The staff's anger at Jim for lying turns to distaste for his kids, whom they can't wait to send away. Ryan (B.J. Novack) agrees that Angela having a black baby would be slightly more exciting than a Chinese one. Creed (Creed Bratton) thinks Pam has brought in Angela's baby, or possible that Pam is Angela. Wonderful episode!

     The Office airs Thursdays nights at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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