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'The Office,' Thursday on NBC

Verne Gay
Newsday (MCT)
THE OFFICE - 9 p.m. EDT Thursday - NBC

REASON TO WATCH: You know, the ring episode. Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) officially become man and wife; Dwight (Rainn Wilson), Michael (Steve Carell) and everyone else witness the blessed event. How could you miss this?

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Dearly beloved, about 10 million of you will gather to bear witness to one of the greatest, oldest, hokiest gimmicks in all the world of television, namely a wedding episode conjoining two cherished characters in holy matrimony. Ladies and gentleman, introducing misteranmizzus Jim and Pam Halpret. (Err, sorry — I meant HALPERT, though the hotel staff in Thursday night's one-hour episode misspells Jim's name on the banquet room door.)

Details are sparse — no review copy, and those wedding episode clips on NBC.com are less than helpful — although Entertainment Weekly was allowed on-set during the taping over the summer. The mag learned that there is much mayhem, and that Jim — Jim! — causes a huge embarrassment, and that Michael — Michael! — is the one to save him from abject humiliation.

Michael and Dwight, doing their best "Wedding Crashers" imitation, work the wedding — which is set in Niagara Falls — for unattached ladies. Jim and Pam's parents turn up. More embarrassment ensues. But the knot is finally tied.

BOTTOM LINE: Describing any episode of "The Office" is an exercise in sheer existential futility because nothing much, really, happens at all ... ever. Last week's episode, for example, can be reduced to three (OK, maybe four) words: Beans and pay raises. This week we've got a wedding. Check. But what's interesting, as in all weddings, isn't the blessed day but the inscrutable future, when children are made and middle age is approached, and life in all its pedestrian glory unspools, or unravels.

This wedding is the beginning of another beginning for this classic show. Jim and Pam are hitched and a baby arrives during February sweeps. How radical a break is this from the past five seasons? For fans, the transition could be wrenching; for this great show, it'll be just another day at the office.

———

FROM 'RHODA' TO 'FRIENDS,' MORE TV WEDDINGS

Jim and Pam's nuptials on "The Office" join a long line of notable TV weddings:

Mike and Carol on "The Brady Bunch" (Sept. 26, 1969) — Six kids, plus a cat and a dog. Chaos ensues.

Rhoda and Joe on "Rhoda" (Oct. 28, 1974) — Ms. M took the subway to her ceremony.

Lady Diana and Prince Charles (July 29, 1981) — Not all fairy tales have happy endings.

Luke and Laura on "General Hospital" (Nov. 16, 1981) — 30 million tuned in to what was arguably the most famous wedding in soap opera history.

Sydney and Craig on "Melrose Place" (May 19, 1997) — Only hard-luck Sydney could get run over at her own reception.

Chandler and Monica on "Friends" (May 17, 2001) — We knew they'd eventually hook up.

Kevin and Scotty on "Brothers & Sisters" (May 11, 2008) — The first same-sex union (among series regulars) on a prime-time drama.

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