Grade: A –
With major changes in the show, “The Office” has seen a lot of ups and downs this season. After a couple of rocky episodes, “Pool Party” was certainly an improvement.
I think what I enjoyed the most about this one was the fact that all of the characters were pretty true to themselves. Gabe and Ryan were doing their typical butt-kissing, Erin was being her usual ditsy/annoying self, Jim was attempting to escape yet another office get-together, and so on.
The “flirting” between Erin and Dwight was both awkward and funny. I was usually laughing, but part of me was slightly grossed out at the same time (though I’m sure that was the intention)
Robert California and Andy also didn’t annoy me this time, which usually seems to happen. They had occasional funny lines without hogging all of the attention of the episode.
I also have to mention the very funny cold opening. I thought the part about the meatballs was a little strange, but I’m always a sucker for Jim pranking Dwight.
One thing I didn’t care for? Cathy’s sudden interest in Jim. Are the writers planning for a little drama between Jim and Pam? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Overall, while “Pool Party” wasn’t one of my all-time favorites, it was definitely one of this season’s better episodes.