Reviews For Never Give Up
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Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: November 21, 2020 12:08 pm Title: Stairmageddon

I liked all the gifts Andy gave out. Seemed like a good moment of growth for him. The kid sized art set was a hoot, but the letter was really special.

Good internal thoughts with everyone during the press conferance. I think you nailed them.

Very nice to see Erin and Pete together. They really do make a cute couple.

Author's Response:

Yeah, I felt Andy deserved this redemption after everything he's been put through.  And the gifts themselves were very fun to come up with.  And the letter was also great to write.

The press conference was a tough watch, knowing what both Ang and Oscar went through, so I'm glad I was able to capture that.

And Erin and Pete!  I'm glad I was able to wrap that up as well, and they both deserve to be happy.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: November 21, 2020 11:52 am Title: Promos

Probably not going to be a very long review from me, this time around. Nice job with everything here. I think you got all the charactizatoins down with them all watching the promos.

Looks like Jim is back and recovered and thus is killing it in NYC. He and David always seemed to understand each other and this plays into that really well.

Nice work

Author's Response:

Jim and David have a strong professional friendship so I was glad I was able to capture that here.

Thanks for the compliments, and the review as always!

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: November 21, 2020 01:55 am Title: Stairmageddon

The Stanley material mostly seems the same, but I really enjoyed the character sketch of Stanley with it - he's such a fun one to work with. He's both very much his own individual self AND like a guy who's in every office.

Look, I'm as much of a Jam-aholic as anyone, but this was perfectly fine. They had some nice moments, they got to be the Greek chorus. It worked. And you did some funny stuff with Andy's gifts! The letter of recommendation is obviously the highlight, but I am very partial to Creed's potato making a comeback.

I thought the Erin-Pete stuff worked - as the new Jim and Pam they slot in pretty well as replacements. And I'm happy you brought some of this back to Erin's connection with her surrogate father, Michael. (I just rewatched the finale, and was reminded of how much it irks me that they just... don't touch on that relationship again.) It's a nice milestone for them.

Lipton is the absolute worst. I wish they had made it explicit in canon that Oscar creams him in that election.

Author's Response:

Thanks!  Stanley's material is pretty much the canon stuff, yeah.  It's also the funniest part of the episode IMO so of course it had to stay.  He also coined "Shove it up yo butt" so he's fantastic.  And it was kinda refreshing having JAM in the background for once.  I think they're just as happy that they don't have to be in the middle of something.

I had just as hard a time with Creed's gift as Andy did, lol.  I needed to find that balance of genuine sincerity and complete BS.  Overall the gifts were very fun to write, and I wanted to make a point about just how well Andy knows the office so of course he'd remember their interests and hobbies well enough to give them something big.

Yeah, they never really did anything else with Erin and Michael's father/daughter dynamic in the finale, not even in the deleted scenes.  Which is a shame because that's one of my favorite parts of *both* characters!  Part of me gets it - it make perfect sense why both Scott AND Carrel avoided the cameras - but it wasn't mentioned anywhere else in the series post-"Goodbye, Michael".  And considering how much Erin develops in Season 9 alone, there wasn't even a name drop.  But yeah, I have something planned for this story's finale regarding that.

Ah, Lipton, you cretin.  Won't be the last time I write events involving him, but I'll be sure to make karma a bitch.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: November 12, 2020 09:08 am Title: Promos

I think you have a good balance of preserving what's funny about this episode and addressing some of the issues with the more dramatic portions. (I'm not going to lie, I'm enjoying the Dwight-Clark dynamic more than I remember doing in canon.)

Obviously the Jam side of this changes a lot

It's really nice to see Andy and Erin get a decent ending - they get to acknowledge what they meant to each other without pretending that they're meant to be anymore.

The more character-focused promos seems like the right call - in addition to feeling more like something a TV network would do to promote a show, it does feel a little more likely to promote some introspection. I thought Pam's reaction worked - obviously she's in a very different place than she is in canon, but this feels very much in line with her comments about how she felt watching the documentary in the finale. The fact that Jim and Pam are not in a good place in this episode drowns out their reaction to seeing every part of their story playing out like this, and I'm glad you gave that more emphasis.

And I'm *very* pleased to see the AARM video being set up, and Jim making progress towards shaking himself loose from Scranton in the end.

Author's Response:

Appreciated!  Out of the two New Guys, I felt Clark got the most development.  He has more of a personality, and I want to focus on the repertoire he has with Dwight, which will contribute to "Livin' the Dream".

Yeah, I wanted to present why people love the relationship to begin with, despite it not being substantial.  They were just a fun pair of friends.  All they needed to be, really.

Yeah, the Denmark trailer was neat but I was also like "...wouldn't Denmark care after the show gained notoriety?"  I just wanted to put a lens on the main characters to show how far they've come.  And the issue with the canon version is Jim didn't have the time to really understand what he was losing because of his job and Pam was so strung-out that she looks at everything through nostalgia goggles, just wanting him home.  And, yeah, I did want to hint at their reactions to the doc in the finale, with Jim's reflective and appreciative attitude and Pam's inner-frustration at her younger self.  These are very valid and in-character reactions.

And the AARM video *was* gonna be set up in AARM, but I figured that it'd be neat if Brent actively broke the rules after seeing the office workers get this strung out and realizing how much his employers actually got away with.  Jim and Pam are his friends and they deserve something after all they went through.  And Jim really did need to move on from Scranton.  He loves everyone there, but it's extremely limiting and not how he wants to provide for his family.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: November 09, 2020 09:40 pm Title: The Farm

There's some very funny material in this episode, but I have to confess I was less than heartbroken that The Farm never went anywhere. A show focused around Dwight would have been A Lot. There are some great lines in this that I'm glad you preserved though.

Pete catching the cupcakes before things went awry is a nice touch - it fits in well with his character and with the idea of him as The New Jim, because this is definitely a moment you would have expected him to step up a few years ago. And obviously they want some decent cupcakes as their reward for not eating the tainted ones - very Dunder Mifflin!

Sending Jim and Pam on slightly different paths to New York sounds like it would fit well. It works with the idea of Jim as someone who just wants MORE and maybe isn't so much attached to particular career path (which kinda came out of nowhere for this season?), and with Pam as someone who has been thrown off by some bad choices as opposed to by lack of talent. Good choices there.

The end of Andy and Erin is hard, but this leaves them both with a certain amount of dignity, which is nice to see.

Looking forward to Promos!

Author's Response:

Thank you!

To be honest, I had no idea that the spinoff even existed until, like, two months ago.  Dwight's culture is best in small doses.  There was a lot of it in S9 but considering it was Dwight's sendoff (and the best part of the season) I'm fine with it.  Plus it gave us Zeke!

It is indeed very Dunder Mifflin, and very Andy.  Like I've said, Pete's character (at least from deleted scenes and such) can almost be compared to a dog: short attention span, likes to pick up and fiddle with things, happy-go-lucky some of the time, etc; and there's the fact that he's had a pet dog and worked with them.  I wanted to present that.  And yes, Jim would have done the same thing, but it's red velvet.  Can't blame the man.

Athlead was fascinating as a concept, and it makes sense why Jim would go for it, but there's also the fact that his love of basketball is only sprinkled throughout the series and, aside from a few games (and a brain dead Will Ferrell), it's not really focused on.  I genuinely think Jim and co. created a great company, but sometimes mixing business with hobbies could make you hate the hobby.  That's why I went with DM, it gives him more time with his family, a job he can really sink his teeth into, while still having a higher paying job and doing something he majored in.  Darryl got in because 1) He's a different person than Jim despite their close friendship and are in completely different phases in their lives, and 2) Let's face it, he needed the hell out of that place and who can blame him?

As for Pam, I figured if Jim wanted to better himself, why not her?  She didn't not enjoy her time in Pratt from what I recall, she just hated graphic design because it's not her strength.  Pam does get a lot of flack for her paintings that aren't watercolor (her hand-drawn stuff is her best work IMO), so her working to improve can give her the confidence to become the freelance muralist she's always wanted to be.

As for Andy and Erin, I wanted to break them up in a way that was full of understanding, not like the explosive arguments they've had in the past.  Their "final curtain" and some more JAM development will be in "Promos", which I'm excited to share actually.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: November 03, 2020 05:58 pm Title: The Farm

Go right ahead and keep everything the same with Dwight. You're right, comedy gold.

Glad you didn't have them eat the cupcakes. Packer is an ass and he doesn't deserve the satisfaction. good change there.

Looks like a move to New York is in store. I'm hear for that. Many have said Illustation was always a better route for Pam than Graphic Design and I love that is seems like you're going to lean into that.

Honestly I can't say I'm sorry about Erin and Andy. She deserves better and Andy still needs to grow up some more. That and I like Erin and Pete as a couple more than Erin and Andy.

Nice job.

Author's Response:

Many thanks!  Like I said, Dwight has been pretty much the saving grace of the season.  His arc felt like a proper send-off to the character and it's hilarious to boot.

David Koechner deserves an award.  He's a likable chap from what I know, and it takes someone of that talent to play someone that's the Scranton equivalent of Joffery Baratheon.

I like the angle the show went with the Pratt arc, it allowed Pam to grow as an artist and explore a medium that she's weak in, thus focusing on where her talents lie. (There's a great S5 deleted scene where that's explored.)  And yup, they're NY bound.  I found the idea of Jim moving up in DM despite everything fascinating, what with Stamford and his short stint as co-manager; there's a pleasant irony in the quote I grabbed from 1x03 "Health Care".

I too prefer Erin and Pete as a couple, it allowed Erin to mature in a relationship.  And while I agree with the decision that of them maaaybe breaking up in canon (Pete's going back to school and Erin's traveling the country with her parents), I think they'd make a good fit for the long haul.  Andy, however, does need to grow up.  I didn't want to make him a total asshat like in-canon, but he definitely still has some maturing to do.  He'll get to where he was at the finale in due time.

Thanks for the review as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 30, 2020 03:23 pm Title: Moving On

Yikes. This is a LOT to cover in one chapter.

I thought the Nellie-reading-Andy-the-riot-act scene worked quite well - it seemed very much in Nellie's voice, and it this point in the plot she is basically the last remaining character who is a capable of delivering Andy this sort of message and still has reason to do so. (Plus, the neutered, spayed and fixed bit is just flat out funny.) Maybe Andy would feel better if he knew how much of his dignity was being preserved by skipping the not-particularly-funny viral sensation plot - and for that matter by not making him responsible for the ugly awkwardness of the return of Gabe and Alice.

I like the way you've reframed Toby's story here - I feel like this was pretty just another "oh look, Toby is pathetic and wrong about everything" subplot in canon, and here it's actually kind of a step forward for him. (Boy, the more I think about it, the writers and Michael kinda felt the same way about Toby, didn't they?)

The parallels between this Dwight-Angela plot and early seasons Jim-Pam had not occurred to me before, that was a nice touch.

I'm really glad you worked in the Dr. J meeting. It would be fundamentally unfair for the version of Jim who made notably better decisions to miss out on that - and of course in this version the whole thing is something he can enjoy guilt-free. Pam's speech in the dinner scene was terrific and very moving, and I'm curious to see where their future is going to be if it's not going to be with Athlead.

Author's Response:

Appreciate the compliments!

One would hope that canon Andy would get a wake-up call at least but, no such luck.  It's a shame because he's a fine character and Ed Helms is charming as hell.  And yeah, I picked Nellie for that very reason.  She knows she's wronged him, and ironically she's making up for what she's done to him by chewing him out.  Nellie has such a specific voice and delivery amongst the rest of the cast, and I wanted to convey that in this and (hopefully) make it work.

Toby's was fun because yes, he is pathetic, but he deserves a win every now and again, despite how he gets there. (And yes, the writers did hate Toby, just ask Paul Lieberstein.)

Yeah, the Dwight/Angela parallel didn't to me either!  But as I watched the scene and read the lines, I knew that if I didn't it'd be a missed opportunity.

I knew after the hell I put him through in "Lice" that Jim should have a chance to meet Dr. J, especially after he's become more responsible and at peace with himself.  And Pam's speech was one of the scenes I loved writing the most.  I wanted her risk-taking attitude to come naturally, and not a spur-of-the-moment decision.  And I do have plans for Jim's future in marketing...

Thanks for the review as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 30, 2020 08:15 am Title: Moving On

Nice long chapter. Lots of great moments and references. I really liked the Dr. Who one between Andy and Nellie, nice touch.

Kinda glad everyone gave Andy the cold shoulder there. He deserved it. Yes, he had a bit of a family crisis, but he any sympathy he might have gotten from his co-workers went out the window when he continued to not be there and then just immediatly expect a loving reception on his return.

Nice to see Pete stand up to his ex. Likewise with Erin and Gabe. Seriously creepy vibes coming from him there.

Very much a Casino Night moment for Angela and Dwight, especially with the repurposed lines. They'll figure it out of course but for now it still stings.

Love that Jim could meet Dr. J. Though the insecurities bouncning through Pam's head read right too. Up until dinner, they're in a better place then they have been prior to Jim leaving, but still not all the way back to each other. Pam' declaration there at the end and the dual "I love you's" are a very sweet way to really get them together again.

Nice job.

Author's Response:

Thank you!

I know a lot of 'Whovians' love Donna Noble so I wanted to add that in there for her fans.

Yeah, that's the natural response when you leave your post for three months with the CEO none the wiser.  Though S9 Andy bugs the hell out of me, selfishness was always one of his biggest character flaws, and I still wanted to get that across.

I really liked writing those exchanges, I hope it further solidifies Pete as a defined character.  Again, I didn't even have to change any of Gabraham Lincoln's lines here, he's just that hilariously creepy.  "Smooth as a porpoise" still kills me.

Y'know, it's funny, all of this could have been avoided if Dwight didn't kill Sprinkles.  Makes you think. 

And Dr. J!  It was such a sweet C-plot in "Lice", what made it painful was the juxtaposition with Pam's struggles.  Her being in a better place (and seeing it for herself) made it that much sweeter, especially with her actually wanting to take a risk and be there for him in the end.  And that "Paper Airplane" moment was just too good to not use here.

Thanks for the review as always! 

Reviewer: DoomGoose Signed 1 [Report This]
Date: October 30, 2020 06:42 am Title: Moving On

I haven't reviewed this in a while and wow looking back over this the story has gone places! The jam payoff was totally worth it, I was smiling like a madman for most of their subplot this chapter. I liked the parallels to Casino night that you made for Dwight and Angela as well.
Really glad that Jim and Pam are back in sync though, that does wonders for my morale as a reader 😂

Keel up the great work!

Author's Response:

LOL Thanks DG!  Glad you hopped back in.

But yeah, as far as JAM goes, they're both in a much better place than they have been, and they'll be much happier for the rest of the story.

The Casino Night parallels came to me as I was watching it.  It's not as impactful as that moment, but for fans of all things Dwight (myself included) it's a tough watch emotionally.  There were several ways I wanted to go about it, but I settled on something I felt worked the best.

Thanks for the review! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 25, 2020 04:54 pm Title: Couples Discount

I like the reimagined JAM plot line. It seemed like the dual therapy session did more good this time around rather than the forced "Speaking my truth" stuff that we got in canon. I like that they're there to fight not with each other but for each other. At least that's how I read it. Nice touch.

Let Andy have it Erin. He was being a selfish prick. She's come quite a way in figuring out what she really wants and doesn't want. Loved her blow up as a volcano moment.

Author's Response:

Many thanks!  Yes, that is precisely what I was going for.  The in canon ending of this episode hinted at both "with each other" and "for each other", but the events of the AU have it strictly point towards the latter.  And, yeah, I didn't like that "Speaking my truth" thing either, it honestly just felt like buildup to the umbrella moment (which is, admittedly, flawless).

And yeah, Andy had that coming.  Bad.  I wanted Erin to finally stop accepting things the way they were, because Lord knows she deserves better at this point.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 25, 2020 10:30 am Title: Couples Discount

Having Erin give Andy presumably a final shot is a really interesting call. I'm interested to see where you go with this - feels like it could add some weight to the next stage of Erin/Pete.

I appreciate you addressing the sheer painful awkwardness of Brian's actions during that lunch. I think the changes with Jim and Pam's story are paying a lot of fruit here - they still have issues to address, but they are in their very Jim and Pam way taking stabs at actually doing it.

Dear Lord, I'd forgotten how obnoxious Andy was this season. ::shudders:: His comeuppance cannot be strong enough. I thought Pam's reaction was spot on, although that might be because it mirrors my own.

Looking forward to seeing Moving On. I wouldn't worry about it not meshing with canon that much. Ultimately you've been trying to address some issues with canon, and from my memory of that episode the changes you've made to do so are going to make major shifts in the plot natural.

Author's Response:

Appreciate the compliments!  I'm actually warming up to my own "Moving On".  There were a lot of moments that I just enjoyed writing, and some of them I feel pay off.  Still, it's mostly my own doubts as a writer if anything, which I need to get over.

Andy is still an oblivious jerk in this chapter (although nicer this time), but I figured someone needed to step in and help him understand the sheer weight of his decision, something I felt was kinda glossed over in-canon.  And this will definitely shape how he acts the rest of the story, because Lord knows he needed some sort of redemption that wasn't covered in a single episode.

Erin's choice to stay was always going to be there, but it's not going to last too long.  They've been out of sync for so long that it's become customary, and she wants a life with him where they genuinely are.  But, like Pete said, neither are at fault for them being out of sync.

JAM are, at the very least, still around each other to understand what they need to address.  Fighting or not, they're gonna address everything and never look back, because everyone knows what happened when they didn't.  And yeah, Brian's life is a wreck and they (and myself if I'm being honest) are sympathetic, but he does overshare to the point where it's overwhelming and puts others on edge, to both Alyssa and JAM.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 18, 2020 10:30 pm Title: Vandalism

Nice way to progress Erin's arc. She still wants to be with Andy. Though it also kind of feels like she's grasping as straws. Yes, he's been sweet in the past, but he's also been gone for three months with very little communication. Good job in getting all that bouncing around.

Likewise with the Pam and Dwight scenes. Fun to see them teaming up like that. It'll be kind of interesting to see what happens with the Brian stuff with Jim still in Scranton even if he's not at DM right now.

The accountant scene were fun too.

Author's Response:

Thanks!  Trust me, she loves him, but she's also scared about their future, more than she should be.

Anything Pam and Dwight related is a treat.  And Jim not being present is still gonna be explored, especially considering he could have, in a perfect world, prevented Brian's termination from the doc.

It's interesting watching the Webseries "The Accountants" and this episode back-to-back, it really shows how far they've come as a team.

Thanks for the review, as always!

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 18, 2020 08:55 pm Title: Vandalism

I really enjoy the Pete and Erin banter here, and the time taken to reflect on Erin and Andy's relationship. You've hit on some pretty profound truths here with the idea that they were often best when they weren't together - they loved each other without necessarily being a good couple, which is a hard thing to come to grips with. And YES for giving Pete some real back story.

The accountants plot is fantastic and very much needed to stay close to canon - calling out Lipton was probably my favorite Kevin moment of the series.

There's a surprising amount of comedy in the mural plot - Dwight being turned on by a vengeful Pam is a little shudder-inducing but also pretty darn funny.

Also, something I hadn't really considered before that you highlighted in the mural section: a lot of this really is on Val for not attempting to deal with it and to a greater extent on Andy for not being there to deal with it. I feel like in canon the focus is on the fact that Jim wasn't there to help, and the fact that this is no longer about him being an absentee husband shines some light on how much the people with professional, rather than emotional, obligations here completely botch this. The situation really does end up escalating basically because there's no one with the capacity or willingness to discipline anyone at the branch right now.

This... is a more pleasant use of Brian so far. I will restrain a further rant there.

Author's Response:

Thanks for the compliments!

As I've said, I don't ship Andy/Erin, but I completely understand why many do.  They are really cute!  It just falls apart from an objective point of view, IMO.  Also, as I've said, Pete would have been more liked if they did more with him, so hopefully I offered on that front.

The accountants' friendship is pure and wholesome and probably the strongest pillar of S9.

And, yes, both the show and I reveal Dwight's "interests" when it comes to women.  His love to Angela makes more sense now.

What you've said about the mural plot fascinates me; I may have, unintentionally, revealed some cracks in the inner-workings of DM as a whole.  Toby wants to do something, but he's restricted by the very policies he enforces.  Val, despite her sympathies, considers it a non-priority because the productivity of warehouse takes precedence.  And Nellie is doing everything she can, but in a position like hers, she has very little control; she only assigned the project and has no authority over Frank.  Dwight is the only one who can help because he has grown throughout the show to have TOTAL disregard of power structure when it comes to vengeance, which isn't smart but it's tactical.

And yeah, Brian and the lunch will show up next chapter, but it'll be less uncomfortable, or more?  It's more uplifting, at least.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 15, 2020 02:34 pm Title: Junior Salesman

"Dwight decides to help his friend in the worst way imaginable" is just the essence of a good friendly Jim-Dwight story. (Also, it's fascinating to see Dwight's friends from across the course of the series come in and recognize a) how weird they are and b) how many of them there are. Dwight's kind of a social butterfly.)

There are just some killer lines in this. (Hide would've been a good choice, by the way.)

Giving the Erin storyline the attention it deserves was a solid choice here. Phyllis is probably my favorite of the side characters, and I always thought their possible parental subplot had a lot of potential that went unrealized - I like that you took the opportunity to explore more of what makes her tick.

Author's Response:

Appreciated!  That's the thing about Dwight: he's a well-rounded, friendly guy, so of course he'd have a lot of friends.  It's just those friends will match or surpass him in social awkwardness.  I literally just ripped lines from the episode for some of their profiles because those who haven't seen the episode need to read them for themselves.

The series needed more Hide.  (I'm glad his actor is doing better after surgery.)

Phyllis often gets a bad rap by some, so I wanted to explore why she acts the way she acts.  Knowing her history, the thought of her lost youth just came to me on a whim, so I figured "why not?"  Erin's parental thing with Phyllis was really pure and there wasn't enough of it, along with her relationship with Michael.  Erin just brings out the best of everyone in the office, which is why she's one of my favorites.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: aggressivemagpie Signed [Report This]
Date: October 15, 2020 02:05 pm Title: Miami

I really love what you've done with the last couple of chapters. I think Jim going on stress leave would have been a really interesting addition to the last season. Like many people, it's not my favourite, but I'm looking forward to see how you write the rest of it.

Author's Response:

Much appreciated!  It's just an idea I had and wanted to post, so I'm glad you're enjoying it thus far.

Thanks for the review! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 13, 2020 09:30 pm Title: Junior Salesman

Nice to see Jim starting to get on the mend. Good changes with everything else. It still very much felt like the kind of crazy one can only experience at DM Scranton.

Erin's storyline is also developing nicely as well.

Author's Response:

Indeed it is.  Everything involving Dwight's friends just killed me.  And Jim is on the mend, but he'll be back in a few chapters.  I actually have something planned for Jim's first week of recovery, actually.

As I've said, some of Erin's story ended up on the cutting room floor, which is a shame, because this one really added a lot to her development.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed 1 [Report This]
Date: October 08, 2020 11:52 am Title: Medical Leave

Good discussion there with Jim and Pam at the start. I also really liked that Brent knew the Jim and Pam needed their privacy for something like that. Also to keep Brian from doing anything. Yes Jim and Pam are fighting, but from how I read it neither was in physical danger from the other. Thus Brain is overracting.

Nice change of pace to have all the electrontic communications with everyone. Really nice to see that everyone cares so much, including Dwight. Also with Jim's last message thread it seems we have the first glimmers of the Real Jim coming back. The fun loving prankster, not the overstressed jerk he became.

Nice job.

Author's Response:

Thank you!  Brian, despite everything, genuinely cares for them both.  However, his bias is made clear, intentional or not.  Him butting in would have escalated the conflict, and would have probably made Jim feel even more guilty.  And Brent is not unobservant of this either, especially with Alyssa in the picture.

With the various calls, I wanted to show how genuinely upsetting it is for the rest of the office, considering they know him well by this point and seeing him so unwell would affect the office in some way, even the new guys.  As for that last message, it pretty much drops the pretense and makes Jim and Dwight friends.  They've always cared about each other in a way, but now it's apparent.  And, yes, their repertoire will still be as strong as ever.

Thanks for the review, as always!

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 07, 2020 09:50 pm Title: Medical Leave

I'm really glad you gave Helene her say - Pam's Mom 2.0 gets kind of a bad rap in fanfic (and, you know, canon), and it's good to acknowledge what a HUGE piece of their daily life she is.

I love a good epistolary, and my heart just warms at the thought of everyone rallying behind Jim. And thank you for preserving the you are everything line... that would've been a shame to lose.

Re: formatting - I've been playing around recently with to help create images for this sort of thing. It's clunky, but might be worth a shot for the future?

Author's Response:

Thanks!  Hm, I wasn't aware about Helene's bad rep.  To be honest, as much as I love Michael, he ROYALLY messed up there.  No matter what you think of Pam's reacting while they were dating (personally I'm with Jim in that she's overreacting but her fear is not unfounded), he deserved the slap.  Another great moment.  But yeah, Linda Purl played her well.

Oh, "You are... everything" had to stay.  It's one of the most noteworthy moments of their relationship and it's a reminder of what he's fighting for.

Hm... there aren't any other text message style segments in the piece, but I'll definitely look into that website for future fiction I write.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 07, 2020 09:23 pm Title: Customer Loyalty

Okay, this is a big time chapter, and one I think you did a REALLY good job with. This addresses one of what I thought one of the big misses of Season 9 was - it seemed to be completely disconnected from the history of these characters, which is particularly weird since that history involves a LOT of hurt as a result of them failing to communicate with each other. You've effectively tied this back to their roots a lot more, and I think it works.

I was struck by your note that you made Jim more in the wrong here - maybe it's just because he's on so much firmer ground here than he was in canon, but I actually thought of this as relatively even-handed, particularly since their conclusion was not "someone needs to make up for something" and more "Jim is genuinely in crisis." (Again, this may be due to the fact that I think Jim's point about him being supportive of Pam's big swings in the past is a pretty sharp one, but also, I think his whole thing about wanting to do this FOR THEM is much stronger in a context where he at least accepts that he can't do it if Pam doesn't agree it's what's best.)

I guess also regardless of whether this fight puts him in the wrong or not, the fact that he recognizes the fact that he's hurting Pam and makes it his first priority to fix it at least puts him solidly in character, which is the main thing that's important to get right.

(I was struck by your inclusion of the Cathy incident on Jim's list of misdeeds - I never really interpreted any of that as being on Jim. What was your thought process there?)

Looking forward to seeing where you go with the leave plotline - feels like that has a lot of potential, although from my perspective the answer is "he's burned out with his current job" feels like a bit of a gimme answer.

The Nellie-Erin-Pete stuff is very funny, and that's a classic conference room meeting meltdown. Side note: I'd forgotten the twist of the Dunder Code being that Jim had totally forgotten he'd put it together, which makes it so much better.

Author's Response:

Appreciate the compliments!  They need to post the Dunder Code on YouTube because that's the best moment of the episode.

Yeah, it's meant to be even in terms of "who is right and who is wrong", but in terms of who is going about it the right way, it's Pam.  Jim's points are valid but his presentation is so intense that it immediately puts others on the defensive.  I've interacted with people who act this way and it's off-putting; it never gets their point across.  And yeah, some of the breakdown is burnout, but his reasoning does go deeper than that.

(As for Cathy, that's mostly inspired by the deleted scene where Darryl calls Jim with Pam and Andy in the room; they were discussing Val and what Jim/Tuna would advise Darryl to go about it.  That and, well, the whole situation skeeved him out and Stanley's comments didn't help.)

Nellie and Erin are still a joy to write, and while most of that's canon, I included the phone call to Andy.  It makes more sense rather than Nell being advised by Toby of all people, who acts like their in a relationship when they're not and it's just WHY.

Thanks for the review as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed 1 [Report This]
Date: October 07, 2020 09:20 pm Title: Customer Loyalty

I really like this chapter. Mainly because rather than just an episode recap type of thing it really feels a lot more like a story. So kudos to you for showing some real progress there.

Great job with the Erin/Pete situation. Erin's coming more into her own and it's great to see. She's still hung up on Andy, but is seems like cracks are starting to form in why she's hanging onto that. Likewise Pete's just there being a good friend and it's great to see.

Lots of big emotions when we get to Jim and Pam. I really like that Jim was there to see Cece's recital. However his workaholism has reached the breaking point. Good on Pam to have almost a one person intervention there. I do not blame Pam at all here. She's fighting for her husband and her family. That's true love and loyalty right there. To really be with someone when the chips are down and even more to call them out when there's something wrong.

It takes a bit, but good for Jim to realize what she's saying and what he's turning into. It's not a bad thing to work hard for your family. But the way he was going about it was all wrong. Well done on giving him the insight to realize that and turn away from that path. The Paper Airplanes embrace was a nice cap to it all.

And of course the Dunder Grail to start things off was fun too.

Author's Response:

The Dunder Code is a gem of a cold open.  I remember watching it with my dad once recently and we both died.

Erin's development is such a joy to write.  Her evolution is something I love S9 for, but deleted scenes can only contribute so much.  I can see her being scared, because she's coming out of her shell and that makes her uncomfortable.

And I appreciate the JAM fight compliments!  Like I said, I was really worried about how to portray this fight.  Jim's workaholic tendencies are present in canon, but I had the thought of "what if he was there to see it himself?" and, if he did, how guilt-ridden he'd be if he saw that for himself.  What makes JAM relatable and on the level of a couple like Sam and Diane is the realness of it all; during S6-8 people say they got boring, but its less that and more maturity.  The honeymoon phase is gone, but there's still genuine love there.  And with something like this, something that hits them both SO HARD, they have to be able to withstand it.  And with them, it will.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 07, 2020 08:59 pm Title: Suit Warehouse

There's just a lot of very entertaining material in this chapter, and very well described to mine the humor out of it.

It's an interesting picture you've painted with Pam's inner monologue here (and I'm cheating here, because I've actually read the next two chapters). It's always struck me that Pam's part in the Season 9 fiasco pre-Brian gets a little minimized... which makes sense, because in canon Season 9 Jim is just being a world-class level bad husband, and that overshadows this. But it does strike me here that a lot of this, while true to what I think Pam was thinking, doesn't make me all that sympathetic towards Pam. She used to want more for Jim just like he did for her - and as Jim notes in the next chapter he's done his fair share of choking down his own fears to be supportive of her when she took risks like this. I'll be interested to see how much of that you end up exploring.

Author's Response:

Thanks for the praise!

But yeah, the whole thought process was to expose both of their flaws, and Pam's is coming more to light.  She's so damn scared of her own shadow.  She loves Jim, she believes in him, but she's so scared of doing anything outside of her comfort zone now that she has Jim and the kids.  And this realization will come sooner rather than later.

Thanks for the review!

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 07, 2020 10:12 am Title: Suit Warehouse

Agian nice job at getting into everyone's head space. This did feel a lot like the chaos that sometimes grips the show. Getting kind of annoyed at Jim. He's getting way to hard on himself and is ignoring the warning signs of everything going on. Yes that's true to canon, but it's still rough to read.

Author's Response:

Thanks!  It's DM Scranton, after all, chaos is its MO.

But yeah, it's like canon Jim but the opposite side of the coin.  He's so unfulfilled that he can't look inside himself or be honest with Pam, which will lead to disastrous results.  And one getting to hard on themselves is going to make others notice, especially family and coworkers.

Thanks for the review as always! 

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed [Report This]
Date: October 03, 2020 06:10 pm Title: Lice

I thought the switch to Angela worked well - shifting blame onto one of the heathens and viciously and publicly criticizing them for something she knows full well she did is very much in line with the Angela we know, and you've managed to find both comedy and pathos in it.

I continue to really like what you're doing with Jim and Pam. Much as I'd prefer them to be happy and fluffy always, this at least feels like a conflict that's natural to their relationship up to this point, as opposed to them acting, you know, wildly out of character to create it.

The structure of the closing worked very well for me, and felt very like the ending of an actual Office episode.

Author's Response:

Indeed.  Angela is one who can be likable if she didn't constantly try to present this perfect life and making it a standard for everyone else to live by.  That's why I wanted to pair her and Meredith, since she's the opposite extreme.

Them acting wildly out of character was the spark to this fic, to be honest.  Old habits die hard, of course.  They're not the best when it comes to communication or trying to air out their frustrations healthily.  And a major conflict between the two is such a great concept to take advantage of.  But the way it was handled... I dunno, after two kids and over three years of marriage it just felt off for them to act like they did in S9.

Thanks for the compliment!  The closing was my favorite part to write.  The various plotlines all had the main women characters struggling in one form or another, so keeping the Cyndi Lauper and extending it was fun.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

Reviewer: warrior4 Signed [Report This]
Date: October 03, 2020 03:36 pm Title: Lice

I did kind of like that Angela was the one to bring in the lice. Her co-workers have a point. She's always been very judgmental. Here we see that she can dish it out but she can't take it. She's forced to eat humble pie.

Erin and Pete are just all sorts of cute. Lots of early JAM feelings with Pete there. Him getting emotionally involved with a girl who's with another guy. An emotionally unavailable guy at that too. No wonder he's often called the New Jim.

Kind of heartbreaking with Jim and Pam. I know things will get better but that doesn't take away from the pain and worry of right now. Great writing to bring that out.

Author's Response:

Exactly.  The mistake here wasn't the lice, but the fact that she wanted to keep this perfect image up so badly that she blames the most likely candidate.  One can see that from her throughout the show, someone who constantly wants to hide behind a mask.

Pete/Erin/Andy have a similar dynamic with Jim/Pam/Roy, but I think the comparison between Andy and Roy is bull IMO.  While Roy was borderline abusive before he got help, a wife, and the gravel company, Andy's just a trust-fund kid who's irresponsible but does have some genuine humanity to him.  His relationships with Angela and Erin as well as his development post-anger management proves that he IS a good guy, just extremely lost.

But yeah, I did enjoy writing those scenes, as well as Kelly.  And they really are like Jim and Pam in a way, but while JAM is full of snappy wit and pranks on Dwight, the two of them just want to act like goofs.  It's similar, but different, which is why I gravitate towards the Erin/Pete ship.

And thanks!  With JAM, I wanted to get across that both parties are not making an effort to upset each other, which - again - ALWAYS has the opposite effect.  They know each other, they love each other, and they'll go through so many lengths for each other, but they're not conveying their emotions properly, which is gonna come to bite them pretty soon.

Thanks for the review as always!

Reviewer: darjeelingandcoke Signed 1 [Report This]
Date: October 01, 2020 11:06 am Title: Dwight Christmas

Ah, let's face it. The Belsnickel is just good comedy, and Jim and Dwight as vitriolic best buds as opposed to sworn enemies is fun. Why mess with perfection?

Pam's speech to the PPC is amazing, and I think you've recognized a real missed and/or lost opportunity with the Clark/Jan storyline - you mined a lot of laughs out of that. (Jan's insanity is a lot funnier with a relationship that's inherently got a skewed power dynamic and is temporary on a surface level than it is with Michael... who I just wanted to rescue.)

Toby is just... SUCH an inconsistently written and poorly-used character. I'm fine losing the frankly forgettable (and on my part almost entirely forgotten) Toby-Nellie relationship, but it might be worth seeing what you can do with him with an eye towards writing him as one guy. (There's some really good Toby fic deep in the archive by Steph which has reshaped my thoughts on how much better he could have been if taken more seriously).

The Jim/Pam distance and tension hurts, but does feel very natural, and reflective of what we've seen of their relationship in past seasons. It's fascinating to see the toll that NOT participating in Athlead ends up taking on them in contrast to what participating did. And as someone who absolutely despised the Brian subplot on about every level (by far the worst writing choice of the season), I'm interested to see where you'll go with Brent.

Author's Response:

Praise Belsnickel.

That speech is from the episode, actually, and Jenna's delivery is great.  And I never thought that Jan and Clark needed a full on storyline, but he comes back to the office like a war veteran; one just HAS to know what happened to him.  Michael truly understands his struggle.

Oof, Toby... "Why are you the way that you are?" indeed.  Again, I'm pretty ambivalent towards his character, but he just switches on a dime!  My take is it's just that he longs for more but goes through irresponsible lengths to try and obtain them because of a MYRIAD of mental issues unaddressed.  No wonder everyone assumes he's the Strangler.  And that whole Toby-Nellie relationship is just him making her uncomfortable like he made Pam uncomfortable but in overdrive.  I'm thinking about giving him a happier ending than the one in the finale, mostly so he can get his damn act together.  Also, I appreciate the fic recommendation!

Jim and Pam's plot, the crux of the fic, will have a much more optimistic run than in-canon, but they're still gonna struggle.  With something so obtainable but so out of reach, he can't help but try to be happy and fulfilled for his family, ironically making her even more concerned.  And yeah, Brian will show up too, but that'll go in a completely different direction, especially with Brent in the picture.

Thanks for the review, as always! 

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