"The Office" The Alliance (TV Episode 2005) Poster

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Jim and Dwight
Max_cinefilo8919 September 2009
The US version of The Office continues to distance itself from the brilliant UK original by having more openly exaggerated sit-com scenarios (it is an NBC show, after all) with what is arguably the funniest episode of the short inaugural season: The Alliance, which shows another side of the endlessly hilarious Jim/Dwight conflict.

With the downsizing rumors still in the air, Dwight suggests that he and Jim form a secret alliance so that neither of them will have any problems. Of course, Dwight reveals his trust issues to the camera crew, and boy, are they justified: the moment the "alliance" kicks off, Jim starts planning various schemes at his co-worker's expense. Meanwhile, Michael keeps coming up with ways to distract his staff from the gossip-induced paranoia.

Like the previous episode, The Alliance is 20 minutes of comedy gold, based primarily on the spot-on interactions between John Krasinski and the superb Rainn Wilson, who almost do an even better job than Martin Freeman and McKenzie Crook in the British prototype. The "best gag" award, however, has to go to Steve Carell for when he explains why he shouldn't tell his staff about the downsizing: "As a doctor, you wouldn't tell a patient they had cancer." A masterpiece
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Often lacklustre but with flashes of brilliance
gizmomogwai8 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This episode, The Alliance, is part of the US Office's first season- six episodes that don't get much love. Although I liked some of these episodes (like Diversity Day), I can understand a lack of enthusiasm for this one.

Given fear of downsizing, Michael decides to lighten up the office by throwing a birthday party- despite the fact that the next birthday is a month away. Meanwhile, Dwight deals with the downsizing by suggesting an "alliance" with Jim.

Much of the episode is kind of dull, there's little to laugh at besides Dwight's water bottle. Michael makes a reference to Donald Trump, but it's hard to see why I should care and if anyone else will in twenty years. He also makes a Star Trek reference that isn't very funny. Nevertheless, I can appreciate how imperfect a month-early birthday party is, and Pam's question as to what the "alliance" really means is a valid one.

Towards the end, the episode does provide some laughs. The birthday girl's reaction, including to a cake she can't eat for medical reasons, is good. The downsizing joke is awkward. The fact that it's the temp's actual birthday is a humorous twist. The charity subplot also has a nice twist when Michael learns he's donated a lot more than he thought. It's not the greatest TV episode, but it does indicate the show has potential.
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