The countdown for Phyllis’ wedding is on and the traditional celebrations take an unceremonious turn under the influence of one Todd Packer. Pam’s only success of the day is capturing the wandering eye of Benjamin Franklin, unless you count giving Karen plenty of lines to read between, and a last minute change of heart puts Michael in the very slim ranks of men to have their relationship saved by a stripper. Secret secrets, anyone?
For a man who courts disaster at every turn, constantly antagonizes and sabotages his entire workforce, is unable to avoid any inappropriate behavior in any given situation, and manages to cook an appendage on a grill within the safety of his bedroom, well, death is bound to come by some bizarre and unforeseen means. A little contingency plan couldn’t hurt.
Michael : Yesterday I was scraping some gunk off my wall sockets with a metal fork, and I gave myself the nastiest shock. And when I came to, I had an epiphery. Life is precious. And if I die, I want my… son… to know the dealio. The dealio of life.
Just look at the near-death experiences he racked up during this video– that is by no means the correct way to jumpstart a car, and the intention to demonstrate bra removal with Pam? Yikes.
Let’s just hope that if it comes down to it, the mother of his offspring, rest her soul, will have taught the child to never rely on his father’s “epipheries.” Ever. And that it’s not a real word.
Dwight is back home, the foliage fed, his boss reigning over a tidy desk, his woman happily hitting those sparkling grapes. But there is one task that should never be left to his care.
Michael : [whispering to Jim] And I need you to handle hiring the strippers.
Jim : [whispering back] Absolutely not.
Dwight : On it.
That’s the one.
Jim : Have you ever seen a stripper before?
Dwight : Yes. Jennifer Garner portrayed one on Alias. It was one of her many aliases.
Jim : Yeah. Me neither.
And that’s why. One of the reasons, at least.
The procurement of the ladies’ entertainment falls into the unwilling lap of Jim and he goes the route of any decent, self-respecting guy, completely ignoring the banana-slinged suggestion of his boss and enlisting instead a society of the Scholastic Speakers of Pennsylvania. This makes him entirely responsible for such scenes as:
Ben Franklin : It was a warm June evening in 1752, the night of my fateful kite flight…
Karen : Mr. Franklin, do you have a girlfriend?
Ben Franklin : I have a lovely wife, Deborah.
Pam : But don’t you also have girlfriends in Paris? Like, a lot of them?
Ben Franklin : Ah, well, that is a gray area of my life. Okay? So, it was a warm June evening…
Karen : Oh, Ben Franklin tied a cherry stem in his mouth!
Ben Franklin : Well, that is because I am a renaissance man.
Pam : Ben Franklin? Do you wear boxers, briefs, or pantaloons?
Ben Franklin : Oh, well, you’re very saucy… [chuckles and winks]
We are forever indebted.
What you very rarely, if ever, see on a half-hour of television is someone having a trainwreck of a day. Not the classic comic foil at every turn, all frazzled hair and feigned exasperation. I’m talking about being hopelessly out of character with yourself, helplessly watching the derailment unfold.
Pam : You should get more sleep.
Jim : Yeah, I know I should.
Pam : Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
Jim : No, I’m sure you’re right.
Pam : When I get eight hours, compared to like, six hours… it’s like, big difference.
Jim : Really?
Pam : Oh yeah. Gotta get your REM cycle, going with the whole… sleeping… better than not.
Jim : Good advice, Beesly. Thanks. See you out there?
Pam : Yeah. Don’t fall asleep at your desk. [Under her breath] Oh my god.
It’s one of those moments that should only belong in junior high, that you expect adulthood to exempt you from right up until it plays like a bad joke on yourself and there’s nothing for you to do. And who doesn’t know what that feels like?
According to Jim and Karen, Jim and Karen have spent the passing week in deliberations over their relationship, and most likely how it relates to Pam. Karen is pleased with their progress, Jim can’t hardly keep his eyes open, and naturally, Pam is the first and only to sense something amiss.
Pam : Something’s up with Jim and Karen. Not that I’ve been eavesdropping. It’s not really any of my business. But… I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the back of Jim’s neck.
It’s none of her business the way her old troubles with Roy were none of Jim’s business. As in, inextricable. And Pam, already thrown for an earlier loop, soon finds herself in over her head.
Karen : Hey, um, I wanted to talk to you… I know this is weird or whatever, but um… Jim told me about you guys.
Pam : What do you mean?
Karen : Well, that you kissed. And we’ve talked it through, and it’s totally fine. It’s not a big deal. It was just a kiss.
Having such a personal and undoubtedly precious moment dredged up and then shrugged off by the current girlfriend is more than just about anyone could handle, and Pam is no exception.
Karen : Wait, you’re not still… interested in him?
Pam : Oh, yeah.
Karen : [taken aback] Really?
Pam : Oh, no! I– I was confused by your phrasing. You should definitely go out with Jim. I mean, you’re going out with Jim. I‘m not going out with Jim. [Nervous laugh] You’re dating him. Which is awesome because you guys are great together.
Karen : Okay.
Pam : And I’m not into Jim. Yeah.
Karen : So, uh… we’re good.
Pam : Yeah. Sorry.
Karen : What are you sorry about?
Pam : [distracted] Um… what?
Karen : What are you sorry about?
Pam : Nothing. I was just thinking of something else.
The thing is, we want so badly for Pam to succeed where we fail, to make up for the times we’ve stumbled through any similar situation, to say and do and be what we have wanted to say and do and be ourselves. As with Jim in the past seasons, when she plays the heroine there’s something for us to cheer on and give us hope that maybe we could play it too. The show is scripted, after all; the advantage any of us would want in life. So when she fails, and miserably, the taste of disappointment is all too familiar.
She sinks further still to suddenly take Ryan up on some previous offer of his friends at business school, and right in front of Jim. Though I’m convinced it stems more from a mounting exasperation with herself than any desire to shove it in Jim’s face, it inevitably gets shoved anyway. From his reaction, it’s safe to say the nightly sessions haven’t done all that much to change what gave Karen cause for concern in the first place.
Still, as is too often the case, the recent high contributes to the present low and Ben Franklin ranks Down on the Jim/Pam Index.
Give Ryan two seconds of screen time and he’ll quietly steal the show. This week he got like, eight seconds. Plus this:
Ryan : Is this the same grill you grilled your foot on?
Michael : No. Yes.
Ryan : Oh gross…
Michael : But I got all the of the foot off of it.
You can do the math, I’m laughing too hard.
Pam. For better or worse, sickness or health, she pulls it off in fine form.
[Filming the video for Michael’s hypothetical son]
Michael : [into camera] And remember, no matter what, I will always love you.
Dwight : What if he’s a murderer?
Michael : He’s not going to be a murderer.
Dwight : Maybe that’s how you die.
No, Dwight, maybe that’s how you die…
Michael : Whazzup, spinstas?
…Michael will most likely be bludgeoned to death by a size 6 heel.
Michael : This may be Phyllis’s only wedding ever. It’s my job to make sure that none of you look like ragamuffins. So… I am instituting primae noctis.
[Cut to interview]
Jim : Primae noctis, I believe from the movie Braveheart, and confirmed on Wikipedia, is when the king got to deflower every new bride on her wedding night. So…
[Back to scene]
Michael : I’m sorry. I had a very different understanding as to what primae noctis meant.
Wikipedia is something Michael should consult a whole lot more.
Michael : I can’t get a stripper here. Sexual harassment.
Todd Packer : Get one for the girls too. That evens it out. You know, separate but equal.
Michael : Oh, that’s what that means.
And Todd Packer is something he should consult a whole lot less.
Michael : I’m trying to get everyone excited about Phyllis’s wedding, because I want her to get people excited about my wedding. When the time comes. Which won’t be hard. Because it’s gonna be awesome. A lot better than hers, that’s for sure. It will probably be on a boat.
How does Jan feel about another booze cruise?
Michael : Sort of a guy’s night out. A G-N-O, if you will. A gno. Actually, it’s more of a guy’s afternoon in. A G-A-I. A gai. Not. Not… it’s, uh… not gay. It’s a– just a– it’s a bridal shower for guys. A guy shower. An hourlong shower with guys.
I’m not sure which is funnier, watching the ladies three steps ahead of him or himself three steps behind.
Angela : Under no circumstance should a man strip off his clothes in this office.
Meredith : Shut up, Angela!
Meredith speaks! And loud.
Jim : Okay, so they have Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, or SpongeBob SquarePants.
Michael : SquarePants?
Jim : Yep. SpongeBob SquarePants.
Michael : And you think that would be sexy?
Absolutely I do. And you know we women totally dig that pineapple under the sea.
Michael : Mr. Franklin, I would say you were probably one of the sexiest presidents ever.
Ben Franklin : Well, actually, I never was president.
Michael : Yes, but Ben Franklin was.
Well, he was president of the American Philosophical Society, as well as the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, so I’m sure that’s what Michael is referring to. Right?
Roy : I’m not really into strippers. You know what I find sexy? Pam’s art. She’s an artist. And I appreciate that. It’s very moving. And… sexy. The art.
Um, who is this, and what have they done with our Roy?
Ben Franklin : You know, I invented electricity.
Pam : I know.
Ben Franklin : Well, I’m sensing a little electricity here.
Pam : Didn’t Ben Franklin have syphilis?
On one hand, it’s one of the worst pick-up attempts ever. On the other hand, how many women can claim to have been hit on by Benjamin Franklin? …Okay, in this century?
Elizabeth : Oh god, I would get so fat if I worked here.
Pam : Oh yeah? I lose my appetite all the time.
For instance, see above.
Dwight : Care for a piece of chocolate?
Ben Franklin : Chocolate! Where did you acquire it? That is a delicacy in the Amazon but it has not yet been imported to the United States.
Dwight : Who is the King of Austria?
Ben Franklin : Joseph the Second.
Dwight : Who is the king of Prussia?
Ben Franklin : Friedrich Wilhelm the Third.
Dwight : Who is the king of England?
Ben Franklin : Why, the tyrant King George, of course.
[Cut to interview]
Dwight : I don’t care what Jim says. That is not the real Ben Franklin. I am 99% sure.
I think it’s safe to go ahead and bump that up to 100%.
[Michael has just confessed to Jan over the phone]
Michael : So you don’t want to end our relationship?
Jan : I’m closer to firing you!
Michael : That is so sweet. You are the best GD girlfriend in the world.
And just when it looks like Michael is slipping back into his old ways, he keeps hanging on by a thread. Maybe there’s hope for him yet.
Michael : So you know who turned out to be kind of a creep? Ben Franklin. And Elizabeth, the stripper? Gave me great advice. Which rhymed. Really makes you wonder how Ben Franklin can become president, but someone like Elizabeth can’t.
Or maybe there’s not. No, there’s definitely not.