Review: 'The Office'

Reason to watch: Sixth-season launch and still mostly brilliant after all these years.

When/Where: Thursday night at 9 on NBC/4

In its season premiere, sometimes 'The Office' works

From left, Creed Bratton as Creed, Steve Carell

From left, Creed Bratton as Creed, Steve Carell as Michael Scott on NBC's "The Office." (Credit: NBC Photo)

CATCHING UP

In the fifth-season closer, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) performed a skit at the company picnic, and revealed to the Buffalo office that it was about to be closed, with all jobs lost. That went over not well. Meanwhile, Pam (Jenna Fischer) learned she was pregnant.

WHAT THISĀ EPISODEĀ IS ABOUT

It's the last day of the summer intern program and Michael discovers the interns are privy to knowledge about co-workers that he never had a clue about. Such as the possibility that Stanley (Leslie David Baker) may be having an affair while his wife is away. Michael decides to spread the dirt, whether true or not, because it's a way to feel like he's part of the gang. The gossip gets out of hand, so he has to figure out a way to dial back the damage.

BOTTOM LINE

Michael is a clinically interesting personality type who is profoundly unempathetic, until such times as he is very empathetic. The wonderful creative trick of "The Office" is knowing exactly the right moment to humanize Michael. Tonight's episode can't finesse that moment. Michael as clueless, malicious gossip? We've never seen that facet before, and we're certain we don't like it, either.

GRADE

B-

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