There are three things Michael does not need more of in his life: power, responsibility, and employees under his power and responsibility. But a fateful call from corporate affords him the possibility of all three, and a day on the shores of scenic Lake Scranton becomes the setting for the ultimate challenge: selecting the worthiest hypothetical successor. Courage may make a good manager, but it can do a whole heck of a lot for receptionists too.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Where corporate America is concerned, channeling Jeff Probst is to determine your managerial heir is not widely accepted; however, where Michael Scott is concerned, it’s really not a half bad idea. It will fail miserably, but really, not a half bad idea.

[Michael is presiding over the unenthusiastic hot dog eating contest]
Michael : Come on, the winner gets a big, big prize.
Meredith : [mouth full] What is it?
Michael : I can’t say.
Jim : You can’t say, or you can’t pronounce it?
Michael : The winner gets a regional manager’s salary for a year, and a Sebring, and the feeling that they are making a difference in the world.
Kelly : Can we just take those first two things?
Michael : The winner of today gets my job.

So yes, basically, just those first two things.

Michael : I knew that finding a successor would be difficult. I did not know that it would be impossible. Thus far, the candidates have been wildly disappointing. Uh, Jim is not taking it seriously, Stanley is having a stroke, and Andy… where is he? Where the hell is Andy?

On the scale from rousing success to utter disaster, this hovers around total failure.

Dwight Being Dwight

Dwight would not be Dwight without an overzealous and slightly disturbing reaction to any promise of obligatory activities that would make a normal person groan.

Michael : We are all participating in mandatory fun activities. Funtivities! And there is a special secret prize for the winner!
Dwight : Yes! Funtivities! I knew it wasn’t just a trip to the beach.
Michael : Okay, you know what? Your enthusiasm’s turning people off.
Dwight : I hope there will be management parables.

Dwight would also not be Dwight without a devious plot of subterfuge when such activities are at hand.

Dwight : Sabotage.
Angela : What? What are you saying? Did you say “sandwich”?
Dwight : No, I was saying that before. Not now. Now I am saying… sabotage. The ancient Dutch art of screwing up your own team.
Angela : I knew you were saying sabotage. I was giving you an example of it. I will misunderstand everything that Andy says until he goes insane.
Dwight : If Michael organizes some kind of group hug, stand next to me.

And that is what you call an alliance. Forming one with Angela proves much more advantageous than any previous attempts with Jim.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim is the one of the few– wait, actually several– to have a near-death experience on beach day. His comes at the hands of Stanley, whose tenacity only Ryan knows to properly fear.

[Stanley plows Jim to the ground in the sumo wrestling contest]
Stanley : Sorry about that. It’s all about taking points away from Dwight.
Jim : Yeah, no, good, okay.
[Cut to interview]
Jim : Oh my god, I have never seen that look in a man’s eyes… ever. I thought that I might die. On beach day.

Loss of the sumo contest aside, Jim is without a doubt the best of the candidates for the job– whether new management is needed in Scranton (nah), or the New York office snatches him up (please, no!). Still, it’s strange to reconcile this newly ambitious Jim with the Jim of season one, who vowed he would throw himself to a train if this should become his career, although that sort of development has been necessary this season with Pam no longer his anchor.

It’s vaguely ironic that much of the impetus for last year’s astronomical finale was the possibility of a transfer and now the issue is raised again. Let’s hope that this year is only possibility and possibility alone. I’m going to go plant the bug in the CFO’s ear: Karen!

Confessions of a Receptionist

Pam says it best herself: she has the most boring job in the office, why shouldn’t she have the most boring job on beach day? All I can say is, if it took diligent note-taking and the warming of 800 hot dogs to push the fireworks into the fire, thank goodness for Michael.

Michael : Who’s ahead in points?
Pam : I think they’re even. At various times, you gave Jim ten points, Dwight a gold star, and Stanley a thumbs-up. And I don’t really know how to compare those units.
Michael : Well, check to see if there’s a conversion chart in that notebook.
Pam : I really doubt it, Michael.
Michael : Please just check.

To wish for her breaking point to have come sooner than now is pointless. There’s a timeline at work that’s close enough to reality to not be entirely dictated by network schedules, sweeps and endings. Every moment of her self-awakening this year, even the back-sliding mistakes and missed opportunities, was a cumulative downpayment on a payoff of this. Pam’s constraints are at long last breaking, and I’m guessing the lengths she’s come this year will only multiply in the next.

The Jim/Pam Index

Editor’s Note: The JPI segment this week is amazing. Wonderfully put. A round of applause for Jamie, please.

Ever since the shocking turn of events last May, there has been only one course of action possible, the one we’ve been rooting and waiting for all year. The “what” was certain; it’s the when and how and why that’s kept us on the edge of our seats and, for some, throwing up hands in exasperation.

Time was the prescription, and time was the trouble. Pam was willing to play the waiting game to figure herself out, and while it probably cost her more than it should, it was a necessary price to pay. The Pam we know and love wasn’t the Pam she knew at all, and before anything significant could affect her life, she had to figure things out for herself.

And at last, it comes.

Pam : Hey, I want to say something. I’ve been trying to be more honest lately and I just need to say a few things. I did the coal walk! Just, I did it. Michael, you couldn’t even do that. Maybe I should be your boss. Wow, I feel really good right now. Why didn’t any of you come to my art show? I invited all of you. That really sucked. It’s like sometimes, some of you act like I don’t even exist.

The speech is pitch perfect on so many levels– not only every word she says, but the way it sort of explodes out of her, and the expressions Jim reflects back at her as he follows her train of thought, even before it’s turned on him.

Pam : Jim, I called off my wedding because of you. And now we’re not even friends. And things are just like, weird between us, and that sucks. And I miss you. You were my best friend before you went to Stamford. And I really miss you. I shouldn’t have been with Roy, and there were a lot of reasons to call off my wedding. But the truth is, I didn’t care about any of those reasons until I met you. And now you’re with someone else, and that’s fine. It’s… whatever. That’s not what I’m… I’m not… okay, my feet really hurt.

One of the things I love most about the stance she takes is that it’s not an overtly romantic declaration of love. It plays on the strain that she misses him, just him, not any romance surrounding him. It could be from from the fact that she’s spilling her guts in front of everyone, but upon careful consideration, I’m inclined to think not. She’s saying exactly what she wants said, because much like he did for the years she was with Roy, she will take any part of him that he’s free to give, even if it’s not complete or as much as she wants. Their friendship was their love, and she wants him to know that’s what she misses, without demands for anything more.

Pam : The thing that I’m just trying to say to you, Jim, and to everyone else in the circle I guess, is that I miss having fun with you. Just you, not everyone in the circle. Okay, I am gonna go walk in the water now. Yeah, it’s a good day.

By this point, her happiness with herself is thorough and contagious, and I doubt there was anyone watching who wasn’t feeling her rush of blood to the head as she ran off to soak her symbolically scalded feet. It was an incredible defining moment, one with decades of history and a blank, question-marked future. But for once, Pamela Beesly was fully in the moment, unafraid of the past and careless with the future. And those are the rare grasping moments where absolutely anything can happen.

My own personal wish for the coming season is less a wish for Jim and Pam to plunge headlong into any kind of romance, and more a hope for them to simply remove some interference and free themselves up to slowly rebuild the friendship that has been so phenomenal in the past. A relationship without extraneous drama is considered death to television, but I am convinced that this is the show, the characters, the time, and the place to prove that nothing more than a myth. That said, I’m too invested to not happily follow any direction they should choose to take.

Beach Games ranks Up on the JP Index. She’ll sleep like a baby tonight; he won’t close his eyes at all.

Supporting Nod

Angela. The woman is unstoppable. This week she earns the nod from her role in the margins, the true definition of a supporting character– first, on the bus ride when Kevin starts singing, and then, at Jim’s side through the pivotal confrontation and the look we all wanted to give him in the end.

The Superstar

As if I even have to state the obvious to say that Pam gets ten thousand points, a hundred gold stars, two thumbs-up, and wins yet again the hearts of us all.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Michael : To what do I owe this great honor, David Wallace?
    David : Michael, I am calling…
    Michael : And Gromit.
    [David sighs]
    Michael : Jan? Is Jan there?
    David : Jan is out of town right now.
    Michael : Oh. You sigh like Jan. [Sighs] I broke Jan’s heart, David. And I feel awful. It was… it was never my intention to ruin a life. But you know what? Sometimes…
    David : Michael…
    Michael : You just gots to get your freak on.
    David : Michael.
    Michael : Yeah?
    David Michael.
    Michael : Hmm?

    Having Michael shoo Pam and Dwight from the office for a supposedly serious call from the CFO only to allow for this conversation is a hilarious strain on logic. And having David follow up this exchange by offering an opportunity that would bring Michael into closer corporate proximity is another.

  • Michael : What happens to a company if somebody takes their boss away? I will answer your question with a question. It’s like what happens to a chicken when you take its head away. It dies. Unless you find a new head. I need to see which one of these people have the skills to be a chicken head.

    Stating that you will answer a question with a question generally predicates that a question will follow, unless you’re Michael Scott.

  • Michael : Hey, Pam, I have a very important job for you today.
    Pam : I thought we were just having fun at the beach.
    Michael : We are, we are. But I would like you to take notes. And I want you to find out about people’s character. Not their hotness, per se, but their humor, and their charisma, and the indefinable quality that makes you all glad to follow me.

    Good thing it’s not their hotness, per se, or some smart, sexy temp would be on the fast track to the top without so much as a sale.

  • Michael : You will be divided into four tribes. Each tribe will have a leader that I will pick randomly off the top of my head without thinking.

    Marginal amounts of thought went into this.

  • Michael : We are going to choose team names. Dwight.
    Dwight : We will be called Gryffindor.
    Jim : Really? Not Slytherin?
    Dwight : Slytherin are the bad guys, Jim.
    Jim : I know. Okay, we will be Voldemort.
    Dwight : He who must not be named? I wouldn’t do that.

    Watch for Dwight’s desperate attempt to keep that name from being spoken aloud, most noticeably after the ill-fated coal walk when Michael is deducting points from Voldemort for false pretenses.

  • Michael : But you know what, I don’t know who to recommend, because frankly, nobody’s stepping up.
    Andy : I am so hungry! [He starts shoving a hot dog into his mouth]
    Stanley : Do you expect me to believe that you are truly making your recommendations on this basis?
    Michael : Word.

    Game on.

  • Michael : What does a great manager need most of all? Courage.
    Stanley : How so? I mean, sure thing, that sounds smar… I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to sit in the bus.
    Michael : Your loss, Stanley. Meanwhile, the rest of us will have a super fun time defeating our fear and creating a lasting memory… walking through fire!

    And… game off.

  • Andy : Angela! Angela, hey! Oh thank God! Please go to tell somebody!
    Angela : What, Andy? Andy, what should I tell them?
    Andy : Go tell them I’m floating away, obviously!
    Angela : I don’t understand what you want from me.
    Andy : Angela, it’s pretty simple. Look at what I’m doing, and go tell somebody it!
    Angela : Sorry!
    Andy : Aah!
    Anegla : Bye, Andy!
    Andy : Angela!

    Andy does not stand a chance against the queen of sabotage.

  • Kevin : Are you going to try it?
    Angela : I’m not going to walk in a fire after your disgusting feet have gone through.
    Kevin : Angela, it is a million degrees.

    There must be some history of trauma involving Kevin’s feet for Angela to have such recurring issues with them. Actually, no. It’s Angela. No trauma or reason necessary.

  • Kevin : Why don’t you go Michael?
    Michael : Because I already did, remember? I burned my foot. On a George Foreman grill.
    Jim : That is not the same at all.

    I was waiting for that to come up.

  • Michael : The mind has to wrap around the foot.

    We know why the episode was necessarily supersized, so Michael could take ten minutes to not walk across the fire.

  • Michael : We are going to have a 100-point, winner-take-all sudden death tribal council round. To test the aspect of my job that I think is the most important… something I call the Bob Hope factor.
    Kelly : Who’s Bob Hope?
    Michael : God! He’s– he’s a comedian.
    Kelly : Oh, like Amanda Bynes.
    Michael : Who’s Amanda Bynes?
    Kelly : She’s from What A Girl Wants.
    Michael : Oh, I love that movie. Yes, Kelly is right. The person to replace me has to have a great sense of humor and they have to possess the leadership qualities of a Bynes or a Hope.

    Obviously, watch for Ryan’s reactions throughout this exchange. But the real treat is Dwight’s attempt at the Bynes and Hope factor which, from the mangled parts to which we are treated, is the most disastrous variation on the Aristocrats joke ever.

  • Michael : Pam, that was amazing. But I am still looking for someone with a sales background.

    Someone heard one of the most touching parts of last week– Michael’s wish that Pam be granted courage.

Odds and Ends

  • Lest you were worried Meredith would go an entire season without flashing the camera.
  • You definitely want to let Lackawanna Senior City Tours handle all your party bus needs.
  • Way to reuse the free loot from Sandals.
  • It makes me wonder if the opening at corporate has anything to do with Jan being AWOL.
  • Are you sure this wasn’t the season finale? What could possibly go down next week?!

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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ahh i can't wait for this episode! not that i can wait for any ep, but jenna said not to miss this one!
how are there only 2 more left in the season? :(

1Posted by pc on May 10, 2007

I still don't understand how Jim and Karen are still together. You'd think Karen would be over it by now.

2Posted by LongTim on May 10, 2007

Somehow, I can see the "Michael's Promotion" thing falling through...especially since Jan is probably now EXTREMELY pissed at him.

3Posted by Pat D. on May 10, 2007

OH MY GOD PAM!! WAY TO GO!! can anyone say superstar?

4Posted by Doug on May 10, 2007

Wow, GREAT episode...and that shot with andy floating away in the background while Michael is talking was GENIUS.

5Posted by Pat D. on May 10, 2007

Stanley still gets the supporting nod.

6Posted by Johhny K on May 10, 2007

Good Job Pam, but I am looking for someone with a sales background.

7Posted by yellow880 on May 10, 2007

She finally stepped up and took a chance! I know they won't send Michael or Jim to corporate, they'd have to be in Scranton. But I can't see how Karen would get the job over those two.

By the way, it looks more and more likely that it's going to expand to an hour next season. Brian (Kevin) said in his latest blog to expect BIG news at the upfront on Monday.

-Anthony

8Posted by Anthony on May 10, 2007

"By the way, it looks more and more likely that it's going to expand to an hour next season. Brian (Kevin) said in his latest blog to expect BIG news at the upfront on Monday."

I think its a great move...they just dont have enough time in the 1/2 hour format to get all the characters in every week, and I think thats a shame.

9Posted by Pat D. on May 10, 2007

Tonight’s highlights:

Angela as Andy’s Angel of Death…

And Andy’s impression of a sea lion in the middle of Scranton Swamp.

Stanley—Game On.

Ryan is back to being “Temp.”

Creed’s surfboard…and his fishing skills.

Dwight telling the Aristocrats joke on prime-time TV.

And of course, the character who broke all our hearts—Toby: “Aww, but it’s Beach Day!”

10Posted by Cornelius on May 10, 2007

I knew that Pam would deliver a GREAT JAM speech when they all sang "The Gambler" on the bus on the way to the beach: great reference to Casino Night and foreshadowing of the HUGE gamble that Pam was going to take.

11Posted by Greendrv on May 10, 2007

Ahh, nice catch, Greendrv!

12Posted by Cornelius on May 10, 2007

Man, I felt so sorry for Toby. How does he stand it all?

13Posted by bagley on May 10, 2007

I have to say, recently, I just really don't like Jim anymore. I don't know if it's Karen's impact on him or if it's just a character development choice by the writers, but in Seasons 1 and 2, Jim would constantly make jokes and play along, letting Michael have his fun while having his own fun, too. Recently in Season 3, he's just been apathetic, and he's sort of been coming off as a bit of a jerk, too. Since when is Jim too cool to play along with Michael's hare-brained schemes?

14Posted by Adam on May 10, 2007

Aw, give the man a break, Adam. Heartbreak could make any man bitter and dysthymic.

15Posted by MarvSomething on May 11, 2007

Go, go, Gryffindor! Go, go, Gryffindor! Dwight is a Potter fan! Yaaay! And all it took was a little walk over burning hot coals to give Pam the power to LET IT ALL OUT. Bam! Pam the receptionist let all of her "superiors" really have it, and no one was spared. This is why all those episodes where Pam seemed out of character, where she couldn't quite gel with Jim anymore, where she got squeeky voiced and nervous around him, were important...to get a payoff like this. If anything, the writers shouldn't have had Pam bonding with Jim at all these last few months (they got a little impatient and gave the two some buddy time)...THAT was what was out of character. But Pam lays it all out on the table...things HAVE been weird between her and Jim...but I don't think they will be anymore. It might seem selfish, but after Jim had a moment of complete, soul-bearing utter honesty last season, I think he just wanted the favor returned. Pam said exactly what he needed to hear right to his face. It's just...wow. One last note...who was that who was really getting into singing the Gambler on the way to the beach, singing all gospel style? I couldn't tell, it was a female, I think. And also, in that last segment playing over the credits, I got the feeling most of the cast were breaking character and actually having fun singing the Flintstones theme...who knew that's the one thing they could all agree on? Even Angela.

16Posted by critterfur on May 11, 2007

I have to add one more thing...poor Toby got about 30 seconds of air time this week, but it really was enough to break your heart. The best part wasn't being shot down by Michael, or giving his sunscreen to Pam, but when she revealed she would be wearing a two-piece bathing suit? Oh, Toby, you lovelorn little dude...denied! My dad was watching the episode with me, and turning the commercials, he turned to me and asked. "Just why does Michael hate Toby so much?" I couldn't really explain it...I guess Michael feels he HAS to have a nemesis, so he picks the nicest, most shy guy in the office as his eternal foe. Also, it's cute when the two of them don't get along, but it's also nice when there are moments of genuine understanding...Toby explaining to Michael in one episode that the others are kidding around with him about Dunder-Mifflin being worse than prison...that was sweet and honest, and even though Toby probably didn't like helping Michael out, he just had to (granted Michael was locking everybody up in a room, but still).

17Posted by critterfur on May 11, 2007

I think we all know the superstar for this week will be none other than Pam.

18Posted by Sara on May 11, 2007

critterfur, I think that was Michael hitting the high notes during the Gambler.

-Anthony

19Posted by Anthony on May 11, 2007

Definitely Michael. Definitely.

20Posted by N. Monkey on May 11, 2007

I haven't seen Beach Games yet. It is on Tivo just waiting for me. But, I wanted to chime in on some of the things mentioned in the above posts. First of all, I am afraid that if The Office goes to an hour, it will be the beginning of the end. I am a big believer in quality over quantity. With 30 minutes (or 23 minutes) to work with, you know they are going to put in only the best material. Stretch things out to 46 minutes and we are going to see more silliness and slapstick. The most successful hour-long comedies are usually shows that have some dramatic elements with some sprinkling of comic relief throughout the show. Pure comedies like The Office are just made for half-hour time slots. Now, about Poor Toby. Michael hates so much everything that Toby chooses to be for a couple of reasons. First of all, Toby is an adult and Michael is a child. Toby is mature and Michael is immature. Michael wants to play in the mud and Toby won't let him. Toby is a constant reminder to Michael that he is not a grown-up. Also, Toby doesn't work for Michael. He works for Corporate and Michael has no authority over him. In that regard, Michael doesn't consider Toby to be part of his team, or part of his family. He is an interloper.

21Posted by Dunderhead on May 11, 2007

Wow, Pam gives hope to receptionists everywhere (having a similar job, that would include me). She finally said what we've all been thinking! Great great episode. Maybe there's hope for JAM after all.

Also, Andy floating in the background of Michael's talking head WAS brilliant, I was in hysterics! I wonder if anyone ever found him...

22Posted by Miranda on May 11, 2007

Hi everyone. I'm new to this site (kudos on a job VERY well done), so I apologize if I'm asking a stupid question. When will the deleted scenes be available for last night's episode (Beach Games - 5/10/07)?

23Posted by Greg on May 11, 2007

re: Deleted scenes schedule

Typically, they've been posted every day or two after the airing of the episode, but that didn't happen for "Women's Appreciation." There has only been one deleted scene posted for that, and it wasn't posted until just before the airing of "Beach Games." So, the short answer is, "Whenever NBC posts them."

24Posted by Steve_OH on May 11, 2007

OK, how about Dwight? How was he able to stay and be a part of the last show after his dramatic army crawl on the coals? That was SO painful to watch!

25Posted by JazzAim on May 11, 2007

That Dwight scene was priceless! Was it just me or were they going for the end of Star Wars Episode 3 Return of the Sith when Anakin catches fire? Wasn't that Dwight's costume in the Halloween episode? If so, is that foreshadowing for next week when...

SPOILER ALERT
SPOILER ALERT

...Dwight takes over the office in Michael and Jim's absence?

Way to go, Pam!

26Posted by Jillian on May 11, 2007

Hey folks, back again. Dunderhead, you're right about the whole adult/child relationship between Toby and Michael, and that is indeed one of the reasons Michael dislikes him. But other characters have dressed Michael down, embarassed him (or pointed out that he was embarassing himself) including Pam, Angela, Stanley, Jim even...and Michael forgives them....but not Toby. You could be right about Michael having no authority over Toby, and that's the cause, but I don't know. Michael has been ridiculed by other people he has no authority over, like the warehouse workers. I think Toby is the scapegoat for Michael's anger...Toby doesn't really do anything differently than the other characters, I just think Michael chose Toby to be the object of wrath because Toby's the least likely to beat Michael up. Oh, and you guys were right about Michael being the high voice in the Gambler....I should have known. As to the hourlong format for next season, I think that's not going to happen now. There are some online postings which seem to verify that it'll be 24 episodes next year, with 4 of them being hourlong specials...which is kinda what they do right now anyway.

27Posted by critterfur on May 11, 2007

My prediction: Jim is by far the most qualified for the corporate position, plus he's got the connections - after all, he shot hoops with David Wallace a few episodes back! Karen has no managerial experience, and Michael will inevitably do something ridiculous (moreso than he already has, with the Jan reference). After Pam's bold confession, I think "Jam" has been re-awakened. Don't forget his strong reference on the Christmas episode to Karen being a rebound. It only makes sense for the core Scranton team to stay put, and I think Karen will get the job. Jim will purposely take a dive during the interview, or maybe even somehow put in a good word for Karen to increase her odds of getting the job. Only time will tell! I don't know if I can wait a whole week, though.

28Posted by Derek on May 11, 2007

Critterfur, don't you mean the escape goat? Toby is a very soft-spoken character, so it is possible that Michael feels like he can bully Toby and he won't fight back. Attention Writers!!! Please add some flash-back scenes in next season's episodes to explain the animosity that Michael feels for Toby. When Pam was telling Jim that she called off her wedding for him, I so wanted him to shoot back "I told you I loved you and you did nothing!" BTW, I disagree with Pam that she and Jim are no longer friends. He has enlisted her in several of his practical jokes since he returned to Scranton. But if she is expecting him to be hanging around her reception desk while Karen is in the office, she is nuts. Angela definitely has mean streak just letting Andy float off like that in the sumo costume. Can you imagine finding somebody like that floating on a lake? I predict that Michael and Jim will be staying in Scranton. The jury is out on Karen, because her exit would pave the way for Pam and Jim and I'm not sure the writers want them to be romantically involved at this point.

29Posted by Dunderhead on May 11, 2007

I think that Jim and Karen got their simplicity back in this episode. I like the whole "in well" thing. It made the show seem a little more real than scripted.

I was so proud of Pam for being so brave!! Although i must admit, i first thought her running across the coals was some form of self mutilation.

I was shocked to see Stanley so VICIOUS!! It's not that it was out of character, i was just...shocked! Jim's reaction was totally right. As for Andy, i laughed so hard when the camera crew found him and just left him there. That makes you a little more aware of them, and kind of made me think maybe they're really sick of all these freaks!

30Posted by Kaity the awesome one on May 11, 2007

I think Pam was spot on with her speech. Her art show- two people came, one of which criticized her with his boyfriend (thank you Gil for the catalyst, but, leave, please). And if you look at an episode like "Drug Testing" and then you look at the closest Jim/Pam we've seen, which is "The Return", there's a huge, huge gap.

Also (about Karen not deserving the job), Rashida has described Karen as a very serious, gets-what-she-wants person (I have no life) when Jim's... well, not. Actually, Karen has more chance of getting the job that Jim does, and with Michael's... err, eccentric qualities, there's always a chance.

And, obviously, Pam was the superstar this episode. Honesty is the best policy.

31Posted by Anne on May 11, 2007

Is it possible that it's Jan's job that opened up at corporate? I mean, maybe she just went totally psycho after last week when Michael dumped her, compromising her position in New York...

Also, how did it suddenly get so dark at the beach? It was convenient for the fire and all, but we didn't really get much of a transition from broad daylight to sudden nighttime.

32Posted by Yeppers on May 11, 2007

Yeppers-

I think the reason it went from light to dark so quickly was because, during the day, we saw the wood being set on fire. They had to wait for the wood to burn down to coals in order to get the walk-on-coals challenge.
I guess nothing interesting happened in between... or at least not that we know of until NBC gets the deleted scenes up.

33Posted by Becky on May 11, 2007

[turns and looks directly at Jim] ...Jim, I called off my wedding because of you."

Pam's speech was perfect and the way she brought up the art show. Can't wait for the last episode

34Posted by Ellie on May 11, 2007

"Karen has more chance of getting the job that Jim does"

Although Jim isn't as serious, he's well respected by people in the company. He's the number 2 man at Scranton, and his sales, I believe, are second only to Dwight.

For the actual show to work well, though, Karen does have a better chance than Jim. It'd be tough to pull off another split location start to the season.

-Anthony

35Posted by Anthony on May 12, 2007

I loved the way Pam just ran up and said "I walked over the coals! How come none of you came to my art show?" Also loved the "This could go for everyone in the circle. I miss having fun with you. That goes just to you, not everyone in the circle." Heh heh.

Loved Dwight on the coals, "Give me the job!!" "I'M NOT GIVING YOU THE JOB!"

I think Angela should get supporting nod for being so catty! "What, Andy? Sorry, I can't understand you!" I was nearly on the floor in hysterics.

36Posted by Mary Temp on May 12, 2007

I agree with Anthony. There is no way the show can continue its quality with Jim outside the Scranton office to start another season. Michael is the show's main character, so he can't go to New York. They can have Karen (as much as I love her) in New York and keep the show compelling.

If Jim dumps Karen for Pam, the believability factor (in their relationship) is going to fall off. The dynamic between Pam and Jim is great because it's so real. But, in real life, if a guy gets rejected/denied and gets a new awesome girlfriend, why would he dump the awesome girlfriend for the mousey (yeah, I said it) receptionist?

37Posted by R.J. on May 13, 2007

I am hoping that Karen gets the position in New York. I don't think her and Jim will break up immediately. But whilst the cat's away Jim and mouse(y) will play.

38Posted by Becksta on May 13, 2007

I think there are loads of possibilities for the corporate job.

a) Karen gets it. Way to get her off the show. Simple but I think too straightforward for the clever writers.

b) Michael gets it. Dwight made head of Scranton branch. Michael can't let go of Scranton and is constantly constantly hassling Dwight until he is removed from corporate & returned to Scranton. Or Jim as head of Scranton.

My best guess and preferred choice:

c) Jim gets it. Pam thinks he's going to take it & is crushed. Jim turns it down, though, because of Pam's Beach Day speech. Karen breaks up with him, since he's not ambitious enough to be a good match for her and his refusing the promotion reveals his feelings for Pam. The season could right there or end with Pam finding out that Jim isn't going to corporate (but before they have a chance to talk about it) or end after they do talk. This scenario also sets up more tension in Stanford as Michael has to deal with Jim being selected over him.

39Posted by sara on May 14, 2007

You forgot:

d) Jim gets the job in corporate, but before he can go, a re-enraged Roy returns and beats the crap out of him. Seeing that Roy is a real "go-getter", Corporate hires him instead.

LOL

40Posted by Pat D. on May 14, 2007

Say what you want...Jim and Karen on the bank was GREAT. They are good together, laughing and joking...that's good chemistry. I LOVED this episode. I think Pam was selfish to say those things to JIm in the open like that. She didn't think of him or Karen. So what she is having a moment...what about others?? Did JIm proclaim is love for her in front of Roy and everybody else at Casino Night...nooooo...he has sense.

I feel Karen should confront her one on one just simply saying..."how could you? I understand your fellings, I think you should express them, but how could you put JIm on the spot, embarass me and yourself"

I think Derek prediction #28 is most likely for the next episode.

LOVED IT! Go Stanley--hilarious

41Posted by Monday Morning. on May 14, 2007

Yeah, Jim had so much sense he waited until a month before Pam's wedding to give her an ultimatum. Either choose him or nothing. How sensible...

If you think about it, Pam had no other choice but to say what she did in front of Karen and everyone else. Karen is either glued to his hip or he's blowing her off in private like he did when she told him she was done with Roy. Karen should thank her for finally telling the truth about the whole matter. No matter how much Karen might like Jim, no girl with any sense wants to get tangled up in that kind of baggage. Unless Karen is so needy she is willing to put up with lukewarm affection just to be with him. And as so many people think she is so much stronger than Pam, she probably won't.

I like the #39 c prediction. I didn't think of that!

42Posted by Emily C. on May 14, 2007

That speech made Pam my new hero. I was practically frozen in place watching her.

O.
M.
G.

43Posted by Karin on May 14, 2007

Honestly, I think it was actually pretty smart of Pam. Because she confessed her feelings in a public way, Jim probably won't be as much of an ass as he was when she tried to apologize to him in "The Negotation" or when she asked him for coffee in "The Merger". Jim now has to watch what he says.

And so what if she did it in front of her co-workers? He got to tell her the way he wanted to, which, by the way, was cowardly since he had an escape plan anyways. She's just returning the favor to him. She souldn't be embarassed at all. If anyone should be embarassed, it's Jim.

44Posted by Anna on May 14, 2007

Some observations: Why was Pam wearing a bra with her two-piece? Did everyone spend the night on the beach because it was daylight during the return trip? I was glad to see that Andy had been rescued from the lake. Michael nearly set race relations back several decades when he told Stanley he could move to the back of the bus, or he could drive the bus. Creed has seen Cast Away too many times. Terrific episode!!!

45Posted by Dunderhead on May 14, 2007

I don't think the Flintstones singing was on the return trip, because everyone was just so dang happy and perky, and quite honestly I'm not sure anyone would be perky after that. Now, I'd have to watch it again to see if people were wearing the same clothes as before, but I'm pretty sure they'd bring a change if they were spending the night. But I am by no means speaking Absolute Truth here, I didn't write the thing.

46Posted by Karin on May 14, 2007

Karin, you are keerect!!! I just watched the ending on iTunes and they are definitely on their way to the beach. Well, now I am worried that Andy may still be drifting around on Lake Scranton. I assumed that the scenes were in chronological order, but I won't make that mistake again. Thanks!

47Posted by Dunderhead on May 14, 2007

Also...if you will notice, they were all sitting in the same seats when they were singing the Flintstones song. What are the odds, that they would all be sitting in the exact same seats on the way back?

Good for Pam. But I can't help feeling bad for Karen. I wouldn't want to be in her shoes when she found out that her boyfriend, who has expressed that he still has feelings for Pam, hears that Pam also has feeling for him. That must really suck. If I was on the losing end of a love triangle. I would relocate without a doubt.

48Posted by Tammie on May 14, 2007

Yeah, I'm worried Andy might come back even more unbalanced than before, which would be kind of sad, given that he has such hilarious potential as a foil for pranks and the like. Then again, I'm not sure if the show would go down the road they'd have to in order to realistically portray the incident (i.e., Angela getting in trouble, or the cameraman for that matter). So never mind. Hopefully a fisherman will snag him or something, so he can come back to work, make outrageous accusations against Angela, and Michael decides to hold a mock court to try the case.

Sadly I don't think there are enough episodes for something like that.

49Posted by Karin on May 14, 2007

GREAT recap Jamie!! Northern Attack has the best Office recaps on the web (and since I read all of them, I should know.) Well done, and I loved your take on the JPI. Can't wait for Thursday to see how it all plays out!!

50Posted by Carly on May 14, 2007

Jan said in the "Boys & Girls" episode that she was looking for women to add to the Corporate life. I think Karen will get the position. Michael loves the office too much to leave and Jim stays because he finally has a "future" at Dunder Mifflin Scranton. (With Pam anyways)

51Posted by Shaun on May 14, 2007

wow, awesome job Jamie! that recap was perfect... and you are so right - Pam should sleep like a baby, while Jim won't be able to close his eyes (or his jaw for that matter)!

can this show get any better??? i can't wait for thursday!!!

52Posted by SumoStanley on May 14, 2007

Great recap, Jamie. Your JPI was wonderful, too =)

After reading the comments, i'm kind of surprised that some people are hating on Pam for her timing of her speech. She had an amazing breakthrough and she needed to hold everyone accountable for how they've mistreated her (yes, the majority of the speech was aimed at Jim, but the art show needed to be addressed). Pam's always been meek, watched what she's said, and tried not to step on anyone's toes (except for Dwight =P) so it was about time that she needed to stand up for herself and not give a damn who's toes she was stepping on. True, i feel for Karen b/c i really like her character, but i was grateful to Pam for mentioning that it was fine for Jim to date her (though we all know she's lying--and i'm sure Karen figures that as well); the real focus was the degradation of Jim and Pam's friendship. I was sweating bullets the week of the Beach Games episode b/c i didn't want Pam to confess her feelings (more specifically her love) to Jim in front of everyone, but this was different. I thought it needed to be said and Pam had every right to do it. She was marvelous and i'm happy that she finally got to speak her mind.

53Posted by OfficeAddict on May 14, 2007

Excellent JPI, Jamie! "Their friendship was their love" summed it up brilliantly. I keep coming back for your eloquent thoughts. If there is ever a university that offers a Master's in TV-Sitcom Romances, you would ace your thesis.

54Posted by Jillian on May 14, 2007

Fantastic JPI Jamie. Where would we be without you?

55Posted by Jen on May 15, 2007

I keep re-reading Pam's speech because it's so awesome, and I find myself imagining what Jim must of been feeling at that moment. Once I called on past times I had had that type of interaction with someone (you like someone and you don't think they like you, and then all of the sudden you find out they do!), Pam's speech suddenly seems so different. Read it or listen to it, and imagine your heart stop and fall into your stomach and your breath catch in your chest. All of the sudden, Pam's speech is something very real. Something very amazing.

Just had to throw that idea out there!

56Posted by Emily C. on May 15, 2007

What the hell is Angela thinking as she looks at Jim during Pam's confrontation? I can't get anything out of that expression.

57Posted by Black Pepper Snake on May 15, 2007

I think it may be like a "what are you gonna do" look...

58Posted by Monday Morning. on May 15, 2007

Oh, and the trauma about Kevin's foot? Why Angela wouldn't go through the fire after him no matter how hot it was? Think back to the episode where Dwight is choosing a health plan, and how Kevin has medical issues. In that one, we learn that anal fissures are a real thing, and it might've also been in that one where we learn Kevin's got some kind of weird foot disease.

59Posted by Karin on May 15, 2007

Now, our original-and most likely-speculation is that Jan is pregnant. But what if, and I say "if", Jan were stepping down from a corporate position to work alongside Michael, of whom she cannot stop thinking? She knows full well that Michael would not get the corporate job, so it means more time for her and her boytoy. Just a new thought aside from the typical pregnancy one.

60Posted by Matt on May 15, 2007

Karin (#59) - there was no mention of Kevin having a foot problem in Health Care, but in Diwali this conversation occurred:

Phyllis: Isn't this fun, not wearing shoes?
Angela: I wish some of us still had our shoes on.
Kevin: Stop it. It's a disease. I've told you.

So obviously Kevin might have some type of fungus or something and Angela already knows about it and therefore, a million degrees just doesn't cut it for her =P

61Posted by OfficeAddict on May 15, 2007

This is the first time I've posted anything on this site but I am a long time reader and always share the reviews with my coworkers (who also love them!). I just wanted to say thanks for having such high quality and entertaining reviews of each episode. I always look forward to them! And the comments are always fun too! Can't wait for the finale! YAY!

62Posted by Irene on May 15, 2007

hey, i just tried to get onto officetally.com, and all of a sudden I need a password. does anyone know what is up with that and how I can get password?
thanks

63Posted by icecreamsandwiches!!! on May 16, 2007

I was wondering the same thing about OfficeTally. She said you could get updates on her MySpace page, but I'm not a member of MySpace and you can only see her page if you are her MySpace friend. What's going on?

64Posted by Emily C. on May 16, 2007

Instructions are posted at her temporary site

65Posted by James on May 16, 2007

what happened to officetally.com?

66Posted by sweepthelegs on May 16, 2007

So, I'm not the only one having OfficeTally withdrawals during finale week! At least temporary OT is better than no OT at all.

Anyway, I just had to say that you guys are really all too kind; especially James. All I know is that this was one of those weeks it was a pure joy to dissect. (Like every other week, really.) I declare you all collectively the best Office fans ever, and I'm just thrilled to be in such amazing company.

Tomorrow!!

67Posted by Jamie (the guest recapper) on May 16, 2007

I doubt anyone will ever read this, seeing that the finale has already aired, but I thought that this was pretty interesting:

The first song that they sing on the bus ("The Gambler") also appears on an early epsiode of King of the Hill from 1999 ("Not in My Back Hoe"; Hank and his new friend, Hal, sing the song while playing the guitar.)

It may seem like a coincidence, but remember that Greg Daniels was a co-creator of King of the Hill. I remembered this, and came to the conclusion that he must have some sort of attachment to the song, since he did write "Beach Games".

HOWEVER, I looked to see if Mr. Daniels had written the episode of King of the Hill, and it turns out that he DIDN'T, but a Mr. Paul Lieberstein DID! Interesting....

Just thought I'd throw it out there, even if nobody ever reads this...

68Posted by Andrew on May 25, 2007

NO, I did not remember that off the top of my head. (I'm fourteen, how could I?) I just happened to catch the episode in syndication a few days ago.

69Posted by Andrew on May 25, 2007