There’s a “Golden Girls” line I think of every single time I hear something really, genuinely, snort-shrimp-cocktail-sauce-0ut-of-your-nose funny: “I laughed till I peed. And then I laughed at that.” (That’s Estelle Getty, in case you’re curious and even if you’re not.)
Last night, watching the hour-long post-Super Bowl special episode of “The Office,” I thought it so often it became annoying. You see, it was taking me so long to think out the quote — it is more than, say, your average 3-second soundbite — that I was missing jokes. So in my head (a dangerous place, fraught with peril, cobwebs and empy Coke cans) I created an acronym for these moments: ILTIPATILAT. After awhile, it became a catchphrase of sorts. (Don’t judge; say it out loud and tell me it isn’t catchy as hell.)
And then, this morning, after discussing in minute detail every moment of last night’s episode, I had a breakthrough (or a breakdown … remarkable how similar those two things look). I’ve used two additional acronyms — F.Y.C. and the ever-popular W.T.F.? — so why not introduce one of my own AND make a list at the same time?
Thus, witness the birth of the funniest ILTIPATILAT moments in “Stress Relief”:
* Will the Real Leatherface Please Stand Up? — There’s always been a creepy, be-nice-or-I’ll-wear-your-head-as-a-fedora undercurrent to Dwight K. Shrute. Usually it’s reduced to a stunt or a gag or a talking-head interview; last night, Rainn let it rip to fantastic (or is that horrifying?) comic effect. First he viciously guts the dummy like a fish, and then he cuts off its face and wears it as a mask. Oh, the horror … and the comedy.
* “What I Hate about You: The Remix” — Try as I might, I can’t help but love Andy Bernard, possibly because he’s such a lovable dolt. But he has flashes of true insight that translate into comedy gold, and his rewrite of The Romantics’ “What I Like about You” made me pull the last three stomach muscles that escaped earlier onslaughts of laughter. When he crooned “Stanley tried to die just to get away,” I had passed the laughing stage and moved on to wheezing. Great stuff.
* Is that an iPod Shuffle in Your Pocket or Are You just Happy to See Me? — Nobody fires off quietly funny zingers quite like Pam, and last night she scored one of the episode’s best lines during the roast when she called Michael’s thing “so little,” then compared it to an iPod shuffle. ILTIPATILAT, alright, and then I thanked my frugal self for buying a cheap off-brand mP3 player. (Can you ever look at a shuffle again without cringing?)
* It’s Raining Cats and Oscars — Sour-faced Angela and the ever-droll Oscar don’t get the chance to do much physical comedy, so imagine my delight when Angela hooped her cat — hidden in the file cabinet — into the ceiling for Oscar to rescue. Her feline ended up in a pile of rubble on the desk, and Oscar barely made it 10 steps before falling right back into the smoky office.
* For the Love of Barack, Stanley, Live! — If there existed a moment funnier than Michael attempting to revive Stanley with “Barack is President! You are black, Stanley!” then stuffing a wallet into his mouth to keep Stanley from biting his tongue, I can’t name it.
* Taking a Personnel Day — This was a throwaway line to many, but to me it was a priceless little gem. It is classic Michael Scott, and the timing — right after the disastrous roast — was spot-on.
* Whatever You Do, Don’t Look Up — Here’s another “throwaway moment” that had me rolling out of my chair. With all the workers laid out, end to end, in the conference workers having a post-Kool-Aid Jonestown moment, Michael’s standing spread eagle directly over Pam’s face when Jim, ever the concerned BF, warns her not to open her eyes. She opens her eyes. She looks up. She says “Oh my God” with that particular Pam Beesley brand of horror, disgust and acceptance. What a beautiful ILTIPATILAT moment. I’m rapidly becoming a ginormous fan of Jenna Fischer’s nonshowy but remarkably effective comedy style.
* He Likes Him! He Really Likes Him! — OK, so perhaps that opener is misleading. I suspect Stanley doesn’t like Michael any farther than his biofeedback machine can throw him, but there was something seriously funny about watching the notoriously dry Stanley, who finds humor in almost nothing, letting loose with a chuckle, then a full-fledged guffaw after Michael roasted him with “You crush your wife during sex, and your heart sucks.” Unlike the laughter generated by the roast — which was funny but undeniably mean-spirited — this moment feels wholesome and, in a word, satisfying. It broke the tension and served up a great closer for the hot box of genius that was “Stress Relief.”
If you didn’t watch last night’s episode, stop whatever you are doing right now — be it frontal lobe surgery or pretend-scratching your nose while really kind of picking — and go to http://www.hulu.com. Prepare to laugh harder than you have in your life, including that moment when OJ actually got convicted. Of, like, a real crime.
And if you pee a little, well, I don’t judge.
Filed under: Random Thoughts |