It’s a night full of drama as the company’s elite converge for a shindig with the CFO and the rest of the branch flock to Poor Richard’s for what quickly becomes a not-so-happy hour. Dwight makes known his devotion to structural integrity while Michael makes known his devotion to Jan with almost no integrity at all. Pam learns that honesty has its price, and that price is now on Jim’s head.
Note some excellent follow-through here on behalf of the writers. In Pam’s Christmas gift to Jim, one of the secrets divulged by Dwight to her fictitious CIA had to do with their boss’s career at magic camp. And now,
Michael : A lot of people think that magic camp is just for kids. And that’s why so many other people in my class were kids. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s really for anybody with a dream and a belief in magic, and a little extra time after school.
These are the little strikes of detail that take this show to such heights of awesomeness. That, and scenes like Michael the Magic behind his desk, secure in the straight jacket, mussed from the failed attempts to escape, asking the camera crew if they happen to see a small brass key…
How many times have we been treated to Dwight in various stages of undress? If I even have to ask that question, it’s been far, far too many.
Dwight : You’re dressed exactly like the servants.
Michael : Shut up. Okay, change shirts with me. Give me your shirt.
Dwight : Wait, I don’t think yours will fit me.
Michael : I don’t care.
[They struggle around for a few minutes, exchanging clothes]
Dwight : Crisis averted. That would have been really embarrassing.
As opposed to, say, standing amongst the caterers on your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ lawn, stripped to the waist in broad daylight. Showing once again that Dwight has supreme imperviousness to any kind of humiliation.
Jim is the quintessential good guy, friend to everyone and enemy to (almost) none. Now the same guy out shooting hoops with the big boss and taking Karen such great lengths to get even a half-hearted rise out of him faces a serious threat to his lover-not-a-fighter existence.
In the event Roy does throw it down Jets-and-Sharks-style, let’s examine some potential alliances. Kevin, obviously, who pledged his loyalty as early as last year. Michael, not so much, as his brand of street-fighting belongs nowhere near the streets. Dwight, however, would be a good choice, if only for the inflated threats of his purple belt and paintballing prowess. Creed and his mysterious drawer of weaponry could also come in handy. Even Andy might be an unexpected ally, if the past is forgiven and his completion of anger management is timely and as ineffective as I suspect it will be.
Yikes. For Jim’s sake and safety, let’s hope and pray for some fancy peacekeeping, the likes of which the U.N. has never even seen. Or at least that Creed can stock him with enough fake ID’s to ensure a safe passage across the border.
In another fantastic throwback to the past, Pam’s invitation to Roy for happy hour and his less than enthused response has roots as far back as the pilot. Only this time, there are much different results and cause for long-awaited rejoicing throughout all of Office-land.
Pam : I have decided that I’m going to be more honest. I’m going to start telling people what I want, directly. So, look out world, ’cause ol’ Pammie is getting what she wants. …And don’t call me Pammie.
Throw in the ongoing saga of the jet skis and even the issue over the name “Pammie” itself, and you have a very rich history against which Pam’s triumph is all the more momentous. It’s a turning point of as-yet-unknown proportions, and I haven’t stopped beaming over it since.
Once again, progress on the Jim/Pam front is operating at a deficit, but, for once, there’s enough action from the camp of Pam/Roy to really throw things into high gear.
Roy : What?
Pam : I want us to make it. I want a fresh start.
Roy : That’s awesome. That’s what I want.
Pam : Okay, but in order for us to make it, there can’t be any secrets between us.
Roy : I didn’t– I didn’t do anything, ask anybody, I totally could have, but I didn’t at all.
Pam : Just listen. Remember that casino night, about a month before we were supposed to get married? I kissed Jim.
Roy : What?
Pam : He told me how he felt, and I guess I had feelings too, and we kissed…
Roy : Jim came on to you?
Pam : Just listen.
Roy : No, I am listening. That’s the problem, I’m listening!
Pam : Don’t yell!
Roy : Don’t yell?!
[Roy hurls a glass into the mirror over the bar and Pam reacts]
Pam : This is over.
Roy : Yeah, you’re right. This is so over. You kidding me, Pam? Come on!
I applaud Pam, first for her honest attempt to clear the air, then for shouldering her responsibility without easy excuses– no “Jim kissed me and I didn’t know what to do,” which, in reality, could have easily been told as the truth– and finally, for her clear head, opened eyes and very mature exit once Roy blows up in her face.
It’s okay to make mistakes, to backtrack down roads that should have never been traveled in the first place, as long as the lessons are learned and prevent repeating. From the look on Pam’s face over the attack at the bar, the worst decision of her life isn’t one she’ll be making for a third time.
I’m throwing caution to the wind and slapping Cocktails with a solid Up, because Pam getting the courage to stand up for herself and chase after what she wants feels a lot like the battle that could potentially win the war.
Creed has been on a tear lately, and now, ever the entrepreneur, we learn of his celebrity-like status amongst the underage patrons of the neighborhood bar.
Creed : I run a small fake ID company from my car with a laminating machine that I swiped from the sheriff’s station.
Just when you thought Creed couldn’t get more… Creed.
It was all Pam the minute she issued the warning of, “Look out, world.”
Michael : C’mon guys, early worm gets the worm.
Jim : Another worm? Like, are they friends?
Sometimes it’s just too easy.
Michael : Actually, it’s polite to arrive early. And smart. Only really good friends show up early. Ergo de facto, go to a party early, become a really good friend.
Meet one of the most forgiving hostesses in the history of hostesses. Anyone else would have had that rancid potato salad right in Michael’s face.
Pam : Kevin, you and Stacey set a date yet?
Kevin : Yeah.
Kelly : Omigod, when is it?
Kevin : It’s complicated. I would appreciate some space on this.
So I guess Scrantoncity won’t be rocking their fourth gig for a while.
Michael : What are you looking for? Did you bring dip?
Jan : I am sure that it is catered. I need you to sign these, Michael. It’s a waiver of some of your rights. You should read it carefully. It releases the company in the event that our relationship in your opinion, or in reality, interferes with work. You get a copy, I get a copy, and a third copy goes to HR.
Michael : Awesome. I’m going to frame mine. I could frame yours, too.
Jan : You realize this is– this is a legal document that says you can’t sue the company?
Michael : Over our love.
Jan : I’ve never told you that I love you.
Michael : You don’t have to, Jan. This contract says it all.
It’s good that Jan stipulated, “in your opinion or in reality,” because for Michael, opinion and reality rarely ever align. Rarely as in never.
Jan : I am taking a calculated risk. What’s the upside? I overcome my nausea, fall deeply in love, babies, normalcy, no more self-loathing. Downside, I date Michael Scott publicly and collapse into myself like a dying star.
This has to be one of Jan’s greatest scenes, all desperation and lovable disillusionment, from the “dying star” line right down to the resolute cigarette.
Jan : What’s this over the ‘i’?
Michael : It’s a heart.
Inside Michael lives the fragile soul of a 13-year-old girl. Which also means that if Ryan gets heart-embellished notes about how hot he is, he can’t be immediately sure they’re from Kelly.
Jan : Why is this so hard? That’s what she said. Oh my god. What am I saying?
Jan just felt her world go up in flames.
Dwight : Do you ever watch Battlestar Galactica?
Dan : No.
Dwight : No? Then you’re an idiot.
Because some issues are just that black and white.
Dan : So, did the merger go smoothly, or…?
Michael : It did. “Like buttah.” Mike Myers, SNL. You can ask Karen, she was one of ‘em.
Karen : I’m the only one left. Everybody else was either fired or quit. And there’s one in anger management.
Michael : Yeah, but you’re great now, right? We’re all great. Aren’t we great?
Watch Dan watch Michael quickly turn the conversation into an assault of affection on Jan.
Dwight : Oh good, you’re up. Hey, who makes this chair?
David’s son : I don’t know, it was here when I was born.
Dwight : Hmm. I want one. Really good, solid construction. It’s comfortable. What is this? Oak?
David’s son : I don’t know.
Dwight : What do you know?
I’m trying to imagine what it would be like waking up to Dwight lurking in the dark shadows of the room. Scarred for life comes to mind, but this kid handles it with dignity and a withering glare.
Karen : Hey Jan.
Jan : Not too good.
Jan is a textbook of early indicators for emotional collapse.
Michael : Our first fight. If this is about what happened in the bathroom, there was no place to cuddle…
Jan : I feel sick.
Michael : You didn’t have any of the potato salad, did you?
Jan : You know, we were good when we were just running around. You know? In secret, it was wrong, and it was exciting, and maybe it was a mistake to take it public.
Michael : Well, if that’s the way you feel, my lady, then you have hurt me greatly.
Jan : Michael…
Michael : Greatly.
Jan : …please don’t cry.
Michael : [choking up] I’m not going to cry. I feel like it but I am not going to.
Something tells me if Michael and Jan ever were to break up, he would be the one buried in tissues, inhaling Chocolate Chocolate Chunk by the gallon while watching a well-worn tape of Sleepless in Seattle. And then he would wake every one of her neighbors within a two mile radius by blasting Peter Gabriel from the Sebring’s stereo at unearthly hours of the night.
Michael : I want the house, Jan! I want the picket fence, I want the ketchup fights, and the tickling, and the giggling.
Jan : [considers] I didn’t mean it, okay? I was…
Michael : Whatever.
Jan : I was tired. I’m tired, and I didn’t eat enough, and… and that’s all… that was it…
[They go back and forth]
Michael : I love you, Jan.
Jan : Okay.
Dwight : Don’t break up, you guys. You’re great together.
For once, I’m with Dwight. I mean, if the ketchup fights aren’t a deal breaker, fate doesn’t give much stronger signs than that.