• Season 4 : Episode 2
  • First aired on October 4, 2007
  • Written by Michael Schur / Directed by Craig Zisk
  • Recap by Linus
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.

This week’s recap introduces Karin’s equally talented partner in crime, Linus.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Well, not really, but I don’t get to quote Who lyrics without bending the truth sometimes, so there it is. Ryan struts back to Scranton with a new job title, a new suit, a new sense of self-worth, and, ye gods, a new beard. His radical ideas strike fear in the aging hearts of some Scrantonites: Creed comes alive, Phyllis comes apart, and Michael comes to water, even if they won’t let him drink. Meanwhile, new lovers are outed and old ones are riven in two.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Michael is not at his best in this episode. His assumptions upset by Ryan’s return, he finds refuge in increasingly desperate Luddism, with predictably disastrous results. Of course, all’s well that ends well . . . and it always ends well in the mind of Michael.

[Michael enters the conference room, where the Party Planning Committee is hanging a sign, welcoming back Michael’s progid — prodigal — his son, Ryan.]
Michael: Can you make that straighter? That’s what she said.
Phyllis: Did you plan that?
Michael [looking at a piece of paper]: No.
Pam [reading from Michael’s paper]: Can you make that straighter . . . that job looks hard . . . you should put your mouth on that. How can you even use that one naturally?

One should never underestimate the sheer amount of effort that goes into being Michael Scott. He’s not just Braveheart, he’s the hardest-working man who is only peripherally in show business.

[Michael addresses Ryan’s somewhat snippy return in a private moment with the camera.]
Michael: Yeah, Ryan snapped at me. But there was this twinkle in his eye that I picked up on, which said, “Dude. We’re friends. I’m doing this for appearances. I am the big boss now, and I have to seem like an ogre. But you know me. And you trust me. And we like each other. And we’ll always be friends. And I would never take you for granted in a million years. And I miss you man, and I love you.” His words.

And so it begins. What Ryan actually said was, “This is inappropriate, and it stops right now.” But whatever. That’s why you razz the kid who holds your career in his twitchy little hands. Because he loves you.

[Michael and Ryan sit in Michael’s office. Ryan texts furiously on his blackberry, like the twit that he is. Michael apes him pointlessly.]
Ryan: Okay. What’s up?
Michael: Yeah. I was just — after the presentation, just wanted to make sure that vis a vis me in the office, everything is business as usual?
Ryan: Well, it is business, but not as usual.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, I understand. We’re making great strides, and we’re updating — but business as usual, no?
Ryan: No.

You can see it written on his face: He’s struggling. Wrong-footed. Totally at sea. And receiving no help from the boy he once tried to trade ties with. At this point, Ryan is no longer the successful protégé, no longer Fire Guy made good. With his black suit and his stubble, he’s starting to take on a distinct resemblance to a certain fallen angel with whom some of us may be familiar.

[Michael addresses yet another room full of somnambulant employees.]
Michael: There has been a lot of talk about new ideas today. Well, new ideas are fine. They are also illegal.
[After a certain amount of legal mumbo-jumbo that Michael has clearly found on the internet, possibly with the aid of one Jan Levinson, Toby, for reasons best known only to himself, interjects.]
Toby: Technically, he’s right.
Michael: Shut up, Toby.

It’s always good to see that Michael can take time out of his busy day to hate on Toby, even as his world collapses around his ears.

[Michael explains to us the rationale behind attempting to win over old customers with gift baskets.]
Michael: Ever since I was a kid, people have been telling me that I can’t do things. You can’t be on the team. You can’t move on to second grade. Well, now they’re telling me that I can’t win back clients using old-fashioned business methods. We’ll see about that. And FYI, I eventually aced second grade, and I was the biggest kid in class.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the rest of this episode is about: They told him he couldn’t, he tried anyway . . . and didn’t. At least the effort was valiant. And potentially tasty.

[Michael and Dwight, after six unsuccessful attempts, drive to their last gift basket delivery. This car comes equipped with a friendly, talking navigation system.]
GPS: Make a right turn.
Michael: Maybe it’s a shortcut, Dwight. It said go to the right.
Dwight: It can’t mean that, there’s a lake there!
Michael: I think it knows where it is going!
Dwight: This is the lake!
Michael: The machine knows, stop yelling at me!
[They drive into the lake.]

There’s been a certain amount of controversy about the lake scene. Is even Michael dumb enough to do this? They weren’t going very fast when they hit that water — doesn’t it seem like maybe they could have backed out? I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t like this scene. It’s exactly the kind of scene that makes me yearn for some good, old-fashioned antics inside the office: Cartoonish, silly, somewhat difficult to buy. But a plausible explanation has been put forth by some people on the forums, and I thought I’d share it with you, totally, of course, without their permission: We all know Michael is a man-child. He’s still, in some very important part of his soul, the isolated teenager who wore matching suits to school, and his emotional learning curve either flattened somewhere around the ninth grade, or is so shallow that he’s just getting there now. The idea, ladies and germs, is that Michael is acting out: He’s following the machine, not because he’s dumb, but to prove the point that technology is a flawed and terrifying master, even if it does mean ruining his rental car and getting everybody inside it wet. I think this is a pretty interesting perspective, and I want to stress that this is one hundred percent my own idea. No, wait — the opposite of that. Anyway, whether this is his motivation or not, I still feel like this scene lacked credibility and therefore lost humor points. And now I’ll shut up, and let you return to your regularly-scheduled recap.

[Michael, mostly dry, sums it up for us as we watch the Scrantonites eat what’s left of the last gift basket.]
Michael: Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life, and business, are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy.

That’s better. The world was falling apart, but now, with perspective, Michael Scott, philosopher, is able to bring us a message of hope: The human connection, friend, makes us real. Our gift baskets may have cost hundreds of dollars, and they may not have brought back a single defected client, but they have brought us together, and that is what matters — isn’t it?

Dwight Being Dwight

Michael is not the only man in the office entering a long dark night of the soul — but poor Dwight faces, not an existential crisis, but the kind of emotional disaster that you have to be a robot not to understand.

[Dwight has brought a feral cat named “Garbage” in a woeful attempt to replace Angela’s beloved, but diseased, cat, of which he so humanely but inappropriately disposed last week.]
Angela: I can’t believe you thought you could replace Sprinkles before he’s even in the ground.
Dwight: You haven’t buried her yet?
Angela: Don’t rush me, I’m grieving.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Okay, now that that’s out of my system, Dwight is way out of his depth here: He just cannot grasp the emotional complexity of a real person, even if that person is Angela. He’s vaguely aware that he’s done something wrong, but will never see the reality of Angela’s grief, and it’s about to rebound on him tenfold. As a man, I find all of this disturbingly familiar.

[Angela and Dwight are out to dinner.]
Angela: I can’t do this. I can’t be with you. Every time I look in your eyes, I see Sprinkles’ stiff, lifeless body.
Dwight: Then don’t look in my eyes. Look right here. [Motions to a spot in the middle of his forehead.] It’s an old sales trick.
Angela: I’m sorry. I gave this everything I could.
Dwight: Please don’t do this, Monkey.
Angela: I will leave your toothbrush on top of your tire tomorrow morning.

The difficulty that Dwight is having here is that most people aren’t interested in old sales tricks when attempting to salvage a dying relationship. Most of us aren’t even really interested in them when trying to sell things. In short, he’s floundering: Confused, casting about for any solution, coming up with all the wrong ones — drowning, and unaware of how to find air. Side note: I wish Dwight would stop calling Angela “Monkey”. Some people find it sweet. It gives me a wiggins in a serious way.

[After rejection at the hands of yet another in a long line of ex-clients not impressed by gift baskets, Dwight and Michael ride to one more hopeless rendezvous.]
Dwight: That’s how it goes, sometimes. You lose everything, everything falls apart, and eventually you die and no one remembers you.

Oh, Dwight. If you weren’t such a hostile weirdo with a gun fetish and an affinity for fascism, I’d want to hug you right now.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim Halpert? Jim Halpert is happy. Haven’t you ever felt like that? You wake up every morning, the sun is out, the leaves are just changing and the colors are amazing, all the traffic lights are green on the way to work, everything smells good, like wood smoke or bread or . . . you know, a girl you really like?

Jim: In the interest of revealing secrets . . . oh my God, this is going to make your brain explode — Dwight and Angela: dating. Have been for six months.
Pam: No.
Jim: Oh, this is great. I was actually going to wait and tell you on your birthday, but this is much more fun.
Pam: No, they have been dating for, like, two years. Since before your barbecue.
Jim: Wait, what? You knew. And you didn’t say anything?
Pam: You didn’t say anything to me.
Jim: Fair enough. Wow. We should have started dating, like, a long time ago.

This is true.

Confessions of a Receptionist

Pam is clearly pretty happy, too. She’s in no danger of becoming Pamela Anderson, her boy is back for real, and her hair is down. But, true to form, it’s much easier to be a guy in an office than a woman.

[Angela gives an interview.]
Angela: It’s not a surprise to me. Pam is the office mattress.

Okay, it’s Angela, and it’s even Angela with extenuating circumstances. Furthermore, Pam didn’t hear her say it. But this is so unfair that I want to draw up a chart and maybe a couple of graphs that will prove in an objective way that it’s just the most unfair thing ever said. Well, maybe second, to . . .

[Phyllis stumbles onto Jim and Pam lunching in the break room.]
Phyllis: Sorry, I didn’t know you guys were in here.
Jim: No, we were just sitting here.
Phyllis: Couldn’t see your hands . . . Hey Pam, by the way, it’s great that you’re dating. But when a new client calls, you just have to randomly assign them to a salesperson. You can’t base who gets new clients on who you’re sleeping with that week. Okay?

Yikes. There are probably a million reasons that Phyllis might say such an unbelievably snotty thing — jealousy over Jim (he is “on her list”, after all), insecurity over her job in the face of Ryan’s innovations — but this is straight up uncalled-for. Seriously, Phyllis? You’re the one who asked about one night stands, aren’t you?

[Ryan has asked Pam to mock up a new logo for his website, Dunder-Mifflin Infinity, and she positively glows as she gives an interview in the conference room.]
Pam: Yeah, I’m gonna do some mockups, and then turn those into thumbnails, maybe do some, uh, splash . . . frames? I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m excited.

So it’s not all doom-and-gloom when your second office romance is exposed to your coworkers . . . for now. I’m feeling a little sorry for Pam at this moment. I hope there was something genuine about Ryan’s request, because, as we’re about to see, he’s not completely without an agenda here . . .

The Jim / Pam Index

[Jim approaches Pam at her desk.]
Jim: All right, I just have to ask. Now that we’re public, is the magic gone?
Pam: It’s funny you bring that up, because yes, it is.
Jim: [grimaces] I knew it. Oh man. Just like that, huh?
Pam: I think — I mean, I don’t know what it is, but –
Jim: Be honest.
Pam: I now find you repulsive?
Jim: That’s honest. All right, fair enough. It was really fun while it lasted though, wasn’t it?
Pam: [noncommittal monosyllable while shaking head]
Jim: Well, for me, it was.
Pam: Okay.

PSYCH! If you saw Pam’s adorable shoulder shrug before the conversation, and then her absolutely radiant smile afterwards, you would know that this whole conversation was a giant put-on for their own amusement. But then, if you didn’t know that, you haven’t seen the episode, and in that case, why are you reading a recap? Go watch the danged episode!

Anyway, I’d venture a to say that this conversation epitomizes much of why most of the men who watch this show fall hopelessly for Pam, most of the women fall hopelessly for Jim, and they have clearly fallen so hopelessly for each other: Quick wit, good humor, and . . . well, it’s not as though either of them is a dead ringer for a mole rat.

This whole thing was made possible at the beginning of the episode:

[Jim and Pam have a chance encounter in the break room.]
Pam: We’re still having lunch today, right?
Jim: I guess.
[Pam walks away, smiling. Then, she swoops back in for a quick peck on the cheek.]
Jim: How dare you.

This is all very lovely . . . until you realize that poor old Toby Flenderson has seen, and Toby has heard, and you remember that kind of cute crush he had on Pam last year that was so sad and so hopeful at the same time? Well, it’s about to get a lot less cute. Toby, in the guise of champion of HR, composes a weasely little memo about public displays of affection, and Michael manages to out them to everybody, of course, this time without un-tucking his shirt or mussing his hair first. As we’ve already seen from Angela, reactions are mixed:

[Michael has hugged Jim, and attempts to hug Pam.]
Pam: The phone’s ringing.
Michael: No, no, no, Pam, let ‘em ring. Let the bells of Dunder-Mifflin chime out your love, because . . . this is really good. This is really good. My heart soars with the eagle’s nest.

Come on, we all knew that Michael would be ecstatic about this.

Dwight: I don’t see it. I think they both could do better.

So, clearly, Dwight . . . well, did you expect what Dwight said to make sense?

Andy: Jim Halpert’s off the market. Guess who just became the best-looking single guy in the office?

Creed? The answer is Creed, right?

[Ryan slimes his way through Pam’s ideas for the logo.]
Ryan: It’s clear and subtle at the same time. It’s really good, you have a real talent for this stuff.
Pam: Thanks.
Ryan: I’d love to talk to you about it more.
Pam: That’d be great.
Ryan: Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?
Pam: Oh — is it — do you — no . . .
Ryan: Wear something nice –
Pam: Um, I’m sorry –
Ryan: I just wanted to have dinner.
Pam: I’m uh — I’m dating Jim.
Ryan: You’re kidding.
[They look at Jim. Jim gives a happy little wave without looking up from his work.]

At least he took her artwork with him afterward, the scumbag.

So when it comes down to it, people find out about Jim and Pam at the office, and pretty much everybody other than Michael has a negative reaction to it. Well, not Andy, but Andy isn’t aware that other people exist in any meaningful away. As Jim said at one point, this is why they were keeping it a secret.

So, the question now becomes: Does the Jim/Pam Index have meaning in our postmodern America, where everybody is texting on their Blackberry, kids are wearing mohawks and belly shirts, and the fevered imaginings of thousands of fanfic writers appear to have come true? They’re together now, as they keep saying, what else do we want?

Of course, life in Jim-and-Pam-land will not be all roses and fluffy bunnies forever. For now, they’re in the honeymoon phase, and perhaps coming out to the office is a step forward in their relationship — but I can see the seeds of discord already being sewn. Having an office romance is hard, as we’re seeing right here in this episode, in which one falls apart and another feels pressure from the outside.

This is too hard. Karin exploded the Index last week, and so now . . . Dunder-Mifflin Infinity rates a purple on the Jim/Pam Index, and I leave it to you to figure out what that means, because I don’t know.

Supporting Nod

I don’t think I’ve made any secret of my loathing for Ryan Howard, but between the baby-mama-drama with Kelly, locking horns with Michael, and hitting on the right girl for the wrong reasons, he stole the show this week.

The Superstar

Perhaps this episode was about Michael’s journey, but Dwight was the real star, to me. Michael was just freaking out. Dwight is heartbroken, and everything he sees, hears, and does reminds him of Angela. For that, we honor him.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Jim: So, now that we are dating, we just wanted to know if we had to sign one of those, “we’re dating” things for the company.
    Toby: Oh, well, you know, those are only for, you know, relationships. So if it’s just a casual thing there’s no need, really.
    Pam: Well, I don’t want to speak for Jim, but it’s like, pretty official.
    Toby: Uh huh.
    Jim: I’m sorry, so we need to sign one?
    Toby: Let’s just wait and see what happens.

    Jim and Pam just want to sign their love contract, but there goes Toby, starring in his own creep show.

  • Michael: There he is! He’s back! And he’s with a beard. [laughs] He has facial hair. Look at him, all grown up and no place to go. C’mon, Mr Sonny Crockett. I’m Tubbs.

    So, let me get this straight: In your fantasy, you play sidekick to your former protégé in an imaginary episode of Miami Vice?

  • Kevin: Fire Guy!
    Michael: That’s right! That’s right! Don’t start any fires!
    Andy: Fire Guy!
    Kevin: You weren’t here for that.

    Trust Kevin to keep the continuity straight, and Andy to screw it up.

  • Ryan: I am your boss now, you’re gonna have to treat me the same way you treated Jan.
    Michael: Oh, wow. Eh, that’s a little kinky. I don’t swing that way. Whoo! I think Ryan has a gay crush on me.

    This from the man who once said, “I would definitely have sex with Ryan.”

  • Dwight: What if we don’t want to use a Blackberry because they are stupid and pointless?

    Is it bad that I agree with Dwight in this matter?

  • Creed: When’s the website go up?
    Ryan: As fast as possible. We want to start retraining people ASAP so we can hit the ground running with the new system.
    Creed: Cool beans.

    Where does he get this stuff? “Cool beans”? I haven’t heard that one since about 1999, but that’s really immaterial — what was Creed doing in 1999 that he was exposed to slang being thrown around by dorky teenagers?

  • Michael: I am not old. You are old. You are like a hundred.
    Creed: You’re over 40, that’s the cutoff. Are you listening to what he’s saying? Retraining, new system, youth? I’m telling you, this kid is the grim reaper. You deal with this, or you, me, Sammy, Phyllis, the chick you hit with the car — we’re goners.

    That would be Mary-Beth, Creed. He hit Mary-Beth with the car.

  • Michael: We had a foreign exchange student live with us when I was young, and we called him my brother, and that’s what I thought he was. Then he went home to what is now formerly Yugoslavia, taking all of my bluejeans with him. And I had to spend the entire winter in shorts. That is what Ryan is like: A fake brother who steals your jeans.

    I bet he just wanted to be close to you, Michael, even though he was to be so far away.

  • Dwight: I am going to live for a very long time. My Grandma Schrute lived to be a hundred and one. My Grandpa Mannheim is a hundred and three, and still puttering around down in Argentina. I tried to go visit him once, but my travel visa was protested by the Shoah Foundation.

    I find myself wondering how clueless Dwight really is about the Mannheims, and how much he just likes the idea of fascism in the abstract, so he doesn’t worry about that whole genocide thing.

  • Ryan: Six months ago, Karen Fillipelli sent me an e-mail asking me out. I said “no”, because I was committed to our relationship.
    Kelly: Well, I hope you’re still committed, because I am pregnant.
    [Queue talking head of Kelly shaking her head “no”.]
    Kelly: And guess what, buddy. I am keepin’ it.

    The levels of mendacity in this conversation are too many to parse.

  • Dwight: No, wait, let me cook for you! Cauliflower and noodles. Baked potato on the side.

    There are so many things that are icky about this. First: The food. Cauliflower, sure. Noodles, maybe, if there’s something on them other than cauliflower, which somehow I doubt there will be. Baked potato on the side? Yeesh, you’re trying to feed the woman, not starch her shirts.

    And then, of course, there’s Dwight’s tone of voice. We’ve heard it before. It’s Dwight’s sexy voice. That should be enough to explain to you why that’s gross.

  • Angela: Dwight, you have to listen to me. We are not seeing each other anymore. Can you accept that?
    Dwight: Fine. Then I just want to be friends.
    Angela: Good.
    Dwight: Plus a little extra. Also, I love you.

    Oh, who hasn’t been there? Let her go, Dwight. There are other fish in the . . . actually, for Dwight, there might not be. Go for it, buddy!

  • Michael: Business-to-business. The old-fashioned way. No blackberries. No websites. I would like to see a website deliver baskets of food to people.

    Like, oh, say, GiftBaskets.com? They even do Kosher ones. Do you do Kosher gift baskets, Michael? Because their website is really easy to use.

  • Creed: Hey braw, I been meaning to ask you: Can we get some Red Bull for these things? Sometimes a guy’s gotta ride the Bull. Am I right? Later, skater.

    Fo’ shizzle, my dizzle. Sometimes it be, like, a hundred degrees up in here, and a brizzle just needs a little Rizzle Bizzle to coolio diz-own, dig?

  • Ryan: Next night, I’m out at a bar, 2 AM, I figure I’ll get a sandwich cos you can get a sandwich any time of the night — I run into Vince Vaughn.

    Shut up, Ryan. Shut up before I call my personal friend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to come over and shut you up. Andy and Kevin feel differently, I guess . . .

  • Andy: He has a killer job. He’s rich. He smells like what I think Pierce Brosnan probably smells like. He wears really cool rich-guy clothes –
    Kevin: — and he can get any girl that he wants.
    Andy: So, I’m sorry, Tuna, but if you don’t know why that’s awesome, then you need awesome lessons.
    Kevin: Tuna. Check ya later.

    They’re like the Super Friends, only idiots! These guys were made for each other. I smell hetero life partners. And Kevin must keep calling Jim “Tuna”, or I will picket the NBC offices.

  • Michael: Ryan thinks that technology is the answer. Well, guess what? I just drove my car into a lake.

    Soylent green is people! It’s people!

Odds and Ends

  • We all noticed that Creed dyed his hair (with the copier ink, no less), but did you check out his shirt and tie? He’s all over the place! For a semi-homeless man with only the barest of grasps on social norms and mores, he’s usually pretty well-dressed. But to get hip, I guess you got to get down.
  • Michael’s screeching routine in the lawyer’s office was so annoying that I almost couldn’t watch it again. I don’t know where the turtles are, Mike, but I can tell you where to put them once you find them.
  • Trying to reclaim old clients was very poignant for our man Dwight. Some people think he can’t come back from killing Angela’s cat, but I still have a feeling about those two.
  • If Ryan wants Pam to go out with him, maybe he shouldn’t walk into the office texting on his stupid Blackberry, and ignore her for the first thirty seconds he’s in the room.
  • I really liked how comfortable Jan and Michael were with each other, and how Jan, even though she may have a screw loose, is still much, much smarter than he is.

Questions, comments, criticisms, witticisms, optimisms, or pessimisms? You can reach Linus at woodstein52@hotmail.com.

The Story in Pictures

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I'm interested in seeing the return of Ryan. I wonder what kind of melt down Kelly is going to have. I was surprised to see her so calm last week.
Linus, sharpen your pencils and get your notebook ready :) We're looking forward to your recap.

1Posted by Denise on October 4, 2007

Geez, is it just me or are there a ridiculous amount of commercial breaks this week?

2Posted by Pat D. on October 4, 2007

Hrm, I'm starting to agree that The Office belongs in a half-hour slot. This was the second straight week that the ep kinda dragged in the second half.

Still, Ryan has become quite the go-getter, much to Jimbo's dismay. ;-)

3Posted by Pat D. on October 4, 2007

REDEMPTION!!!!!

"...you need to take awesome lessons!"

4Posted by Monday Morning. on October 4, 2007

I agree Pat D. (and I must be old cause they were loud commercials lol)
I loved this episode, even more than last weeks.

5Posted by Denise on October 4, 2007

I thought this weeks episode was much better than last weeks.

6Posted by Mufusumono Hakajanaba on October 4, 2007

Geez, what is with Michael and cars? Still, um, hilarious! And this week did still drag a little--I could tell where talking heads and things were just because they needed a little more time. But this week was better than last week.

7Posted by Samanth on October 4, 2007

Another great episode. Loved Jim's come back about Ryan not be able to get any girl he wants.

He with the $200.00 would be wise to remember to watch his step as the people he's stepping on to get to the top are the same people whose a$$es he'll have to kiss as he comes back down.

And Creed with the Elvis hair. Wow.

8Posted by Cari on October 4, 2007

Man, every guy in the Office wants Pam, eh? Did anyone else catch yet another sign that Toby totally has a crush on her? But she's all Jim's!

I'm wondering how awkward it would be if Pam and Jim hadn't established their relationship as... well... a relationship and Ryan asked Pam out.

9Posted by KT on October 4, 2007

Hate to double post, but I wanted to point out that while people were fretting over the word "ass" in the last recap, in this episode, I heard both "b*tch"** and a bleeped out version of what I assume was the f-word... so... yeah.

**Using the asterisk as to not offend anyone. It was NOT bleeped out in the episode.

10Posted by KT on October 4, 2007

for $200.00 they could have thrown in a shave too LOL

11Posted by Denise on October 4, 2007

http://www.dundermifflinpaper.biz/

ok ok i'm done posting..... sorry!

12Posted by Denise on October 4, 2007

Our weekly PhilipThoughts:

This episode was really good, but not as funny as last week's. I thought last week's was one of the funniest ever, but much to my dismay, I noticed that was not the general consensus here. Anyway, I'm kinda glad the hour-long thing isn't permanent...it did drag a bit and I'm kind of looking forward to the show getting back to its regular half-hour slot.

I nearly stood up and cheered when Ryan finally snapped at Michael, and it was just too funny to see Michael's wounded pride over it. Ryan is acting like the boss now and being more assertive, but at the same time, the $200 haircut thing at the end showed that he still may have a little insecurity (eat your heart out, John Edwards).

I think they're handling PB and J perfectly. They look so great together (could Toby be a villain this season?). I wonder if that "The Magic Is Gone" moment they had was a little jab at fans who may have been complaining about how the show would be ruined if Pam and Jim got together (which I admit, I was among). At the moment-and I find this very interesting-Pam and Jim are not the ultra-dramatic-Ross-and-Rachel couple we were expecting, but are two normal people who are taking it slow and doing the best they can. I think the writers are excelling at this, even after my skepticism. And when Ryan asked out Pam, what Jim says in the talking head afterwards was to just TOO sweet. Isn't it interesting how Ryan seems to want every girl Jim has already beaten him to? First Katie, then Karen, and now Pam!

13Posted by Philip on October 4, 2007

One last side note...this episode also answered a slight issue I had with last week's--MORE ANDY!!!! It looks like he and Kevin are becoming Office-buds now. They were hilarious in the breakroom; and Kevin joining in calling Jim "Tuna" was too good to be true!

14Posted by Philip on October 4, 2007

I loved this episode. Did anyone notice the look Pam gives Jim after she tells Ryan they're together? Wow. Also, "Hey, bra" and "Later skater". Go Creed!

15Posted by Kristin on October 4, 2007

Favorite moment of the episode, Ryan asking out Pam and being shot down and Jim's I guess he can't get every girl he wants. Ryan is becoming al sleaze bag. I wanted more Jim/Dwight interactions. I think one of those gift baskets should have worked to give Michael a moment of triumph, but they're probably saving that for later in the season. Some people are complaining about Jim and Pam but I think the writers are handling it well. That's my two cents.

16Posted by jackalope on October 4, 2007

Another great episode! I am very glad the lady who lives downstairs moved out last week, because now I don't feel bad jumping up and running around squeeing every 5 minutes.

I am actually really glad that Jim and Pam disclosed their relationship; to me it seems like a signal from the writers telling the audience that Jim and Pam will not be the focus of the season. Which is fine, because there is so much more that is going on now. From the Angela/Dwight conflict (my guess is Andy starts hitting on her, he is the hottest single guy in the office now) and Kelly/Ryan (I think they will probably get back together; the pam-slam is the beginning of the end for his ego and he'll come crawling back somewhere mid-season) to the blossoming friendship that is Kevin and Andy, there is a lot to offer. Also: Jan in a track suit. That alone was worth an hour of my time.

Speaking of which, I do kinda think an hour is too long. Not that I was beginning to get bored, more like an awesome overload. I'm having trouble keeping things straight in my head.

Lastly, I have a question. Did they say who it was that ratted out Jim and Pam? I'll be honest, in the furious texting of "omg!!" to my girlfriend, I may have missed it.

17Posted by Jim on October 4, 2007

Nobody ratted out Jim & Pam. Toby saw Pam kiss Jim on the cheek and then wrote the memo. He wasn't very happy. Poor Toby. I hope they continue this story line of his.

This episode was so funny. Michael obeying the GPS and driving into the lake? A little unbelievable but when you pay attention to the CC, it's really funny. Dwight & Michael are freaking out, and the camera guy is just sitting there and then casually gets out. Hysterical.

And Pam's now the "office mattress"? But then again, Pam has been wearing whorish colors. Poor Angela. My heart broke for Dwight. He's trying so hard to make it up to her. A sad Dwight = a sad me. Hopefully now that JAM knows about Dwangela, maybe they can somehow help them get back together.

The highlight of the ep: Ryan's dismal attempt to get into Pam's pants and Jim's TH. "I guess he can't get...any...girl he wants." And that look on his face as he slowly smiles. Like "She's all mine."

18Posted by Melissa on October 5, 2007

Ryan, Kevin, Andy, Toby, Creed, and Michael, something about Pam behind that reception desk sets every man in that office on fire.

19Posted by jackalope on October 5, 2007

It would make sense if the only thing you get to look at all day was other dudes and Meredith.

20Posted by Melissa on October 5, 2007

"the pam-slam is the beginning of the end for his ego and he'll come crawling back somewhere mid-season)"

Agreed. I think Ryan will be canned in the future for lack of ability to control the Scranton branch. Either that or a forced relocation to directly oversee the troublesome Michael.

21Posted by Pat D. on October 5, 2007

Sometimes a guy's just gotta ride the bull, know what I mean?

22Posted by Black Pepper Snake on October 5, 2007

I'm used to watching the episodes on DVD without commercial breaks. It hurts the show's pacing. Having said that, I loved last week's episode and I loved this one more. I think anybody who thinks the show's writers are into cliches enough to have a JAM on-again-off-again relationship need to rewatch the first 3 seasons to see how conventional the writers aren't. They always have something up their sleeves. Also, just to keep count, Ryan went after Jim's desk, Jim's old girlfriend, and Jim's current girlfriend. Does anybody wonder if Jim maybe turned down the NY job and Ryan got that? So many new possibilities for this season...

23Posted by Andrew on October 5, 2007

My favorite moment was Phyllis walking into the breakroom when Jim and Pam are eating lunch. When she apologizes for interrupting them and Jim says "That's OK, we're just sitting here," and she "Oh, well, I couldn't see your hands." Then her spiel to Pam about distributing new clients fairly and not just assigning them to whichever salesperson she happens to be sleeping with that week! A little on the uncharacteristically catty side for Phyllis, but still hilarious.

24Posted by Count Choculitis on October 5, 2007

I agree Andrew i'm spoiled by the dvd's. When i watch new episodes, I think "i hope this one has commentary"
Ryan was never really "attached" to Scranton. He once said he could clean out his desk in 5mins and no one would ever know he was there; and he never wanted to be known as any nick name.... hated the "fire guy" stuff; and he wasnt pro Dunder Mifflin when Michael came to give a speech at his business class.
I wonder what Todd Packer would think of Michael and Jan? LOL

25Posted by Denise on October 5, 2007

In regards to the NY job - I think it was implied that Jim was a shoo-in for the job when David Wallace was being all chummy and telling Jim he will hate the HR guy. At least, that was my impression, that Ryan got the job because Jim turned it down.

As for the episode, I thought this one came out of the gate running as opposed to last week's. First off, Toby being petty and jealous, that was genius. Pam being the office mattress? I'm not sure where that came from, or why people would think she's a slut or something (we have no evidence for this, especially considering her long engagement to Roy, and presumably neither do they), but I guess if you've got boobs that are anything other than petite and demure you're a loose woman. I do not know, I am not Angela.

On a side note, the guy playing the attorney was spot-on. I actually wouldn't be surprised if they just got one of NBC's retained attorneys to appear in the episode, just to maintain the verité aspect of the show.

26Posted by Karin on October 5, 2007

Angela sure does have a broad generalization on what makes someone a slut. As far as we all know, Pam has only been with 2 guys, Roy and Jim, her entire life. But Angela will always be Angela. Pam wears bright colors, is tall, has bigger boobs and is harrassed by co-workers. That obviously makes her "the office mattress." Remember when Phyllis was flashed? Angela was like "You're a married woman!" As though it was Phyllis' fault. Angela just has a holier than thou attitude that she uses to cover up her kinky personal life.

I think the "is the magic gone" convo was the writers making a joke about how most tv relationships with great chemistry hit the skids once they actually get together. But that's due to poor production and bad writing. I doubt The Office has any intentions of splitting these two up. It just doesn't fit at all. Jim & Pam have excellent chemistry, especially when they are acting the comedic duo and not just throwing angsty gazes at one another.

I also assumed that the corporate job was Jim's for the taking based on Wallace's body language and his choice of words. I think all the other interviews were just a formality. Ryan got the job by default. Which I hope comes up somewhere in the season. That would prove to be a very interesting story line. Both for Ryan's ego and Jim's apparent lack of ambition.

27Posted by Melissa on October 6, 2007

I don't really see Ryan coming back to Scranton anytime soon. To me, he was sort of a non-character when he was there, with no interests or desires or real defining qualities, other than "the guy who doesn't want to be here". Being in New York both gives BJ Novak much-needed breathers, as he pulls double duty as a writer and a major character, and it gives Ryan some contours he never had before.

As far as Jim-and-Pam, will-they-or-won't they, well . . . one never knows. I felt that the Jim / Pam storyline was kind of flat and filler-y at times last season, and the whole "there's another person in the picture" conceit is a tired old saw that didn't get any more interesting in the hands of "The Office". If you'd suggested to me after season two that they'd do anything so pedestrian as break them up after they got together, I'd have laughed. After season three? I can see it. The writers of this show are, after all, human.

28Posted by Linus on October 6, 2007

Yikes. I made I typo in my own email address. That should read, woodstein52@hotmail.com. Left out an "i".

29Posted by Linus on October 6, 2007

Good job on the recap Linus...... you deserve a gift basket LOL

Thanks

30Posted by Denise on October 6, 2007

As Denise said, good job, Linus.

Kosher gift baskets? I am so getting one for Christmas. Or Hannukah.

31Posted by Anne on October 6, 2007

Great recap, Linus. Loved this line: "Jim and Pam just want to sign their love contract, but there goes Toby, starring in his own creep show."

It was great how Jim was like "What?" and he sorta looked put off as they were walking away. I wonder if the fact they didn't sign their love document will have some sort of consequence in the future. Either with the company or with Toby. Should prove to be interesting.

So the JPI is color-coded now? Maybe we should get a chart posted somewhere explaining the colors. ; )

32Posted by Melissa on October 6, 2007

Nice job on the recap.
One vote here for keeping the JPI around. I'm glad you stuck with it. First of all, it's one of the main reasons I started reading these recaps, back in Season 2 or whenever this site started. Also, it's the driving relationship of the show, so reporting on its progress seems right.
And, even though it is a BFD, dating ain't married, so there's still potential (heaven forbid!) for the JPI to go down. I'm sure we'll get to see a potential problem or two - surely a first fight is just around the corner (which will of course be resolved with such cuteness that we will all fall deeper in love with PB & J). So, even if we're in a Purple phase now, I think that there's plenty of life left in the good ol' JPI. It's always left me satisfied and smiling.

33Posted by Stella on October 6, 2007

I don't think the Index will ever go away. It's a big part of what drew me to this site, as well, and I can't imagine ever letting go of it.

34Posted by Linus on October 7, 2007

Two major flaws in this recap (sorry, Linus) . . . First of all, who the heck is Mary-Beth? That would be Meredith. This is kind of a big one, especially in the context of 'correcting' Creed.

The second one may not have had anything to do with Linus, I don't know, but the omission of a vidcap of Pam's sweeping peck on Jim's cheek is a cardinal sin. Seems like if we could see clearly what took place, then at least one frame of that shot would make a suitable still. Maybe not, but even a blurry one would be better than nothing.

Things I particularly liked in this recap are the links of reference to other episodes instead of just referencing them. That's a great addition, and the extra work/attention to detail involved with it is greatly appreciated, as is the recap itself!

With regard to the episode in question, there have been a lot of truly great television shows in the last 70 years . . . I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke Show, Andy Griffith Show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, All In The Family, M*A*S*H*, Cheers, Seinfeld . . . I'm very close to being ready to say The Office US is the best comedic writing in the history of the medium. We'll have to see how it holds up over another 7 years or so to really say, but the path its currently on leads securely to that #1 spot in my opinion. I thought this was one of the best episodes they've filmed, frankly. The quote-o-meter was off the charts within the first 15 minutes!

"Computers are all about trying to kill you in a lake" is one of the best lines ever penned by humans.

35Posted by Robert on October 7, 2007

Creed has a problem getting peoples name correct. Somone mentioned Pam to him once and he said "which one is that?" ....and he has referred to Meredeth as Mary-Beth.

36Posted by Denise on October 7, 2007

He said Mary-Beth because in Business School that's what Creed called her as he was leaving the office.

Nice recap! And although I found the car-in-the-lake scene to be a little outlandish I still laughed.

.... a lot.

37Posted by Megan on October 7, 2007

Yes, Robert, that would be a joke, not a mistake. Not a very good joke, I'll grant you, but there you have it.

38Posted by Linus on October 7, 2007

This week's episode was a lot better. I am happy about that... but I do feel that not having that Jim-Pam tension does take away quite a bit from the show. I think it's important to find something equally intriguing to keep viewers personally invested in the characters.

39Posted by Matthew on October 7, 2007

I think it's fairly obvious that, should the JPI go to color-coding, any relationship problems will constitute Threat Level Midnight.

Nice job, Linus.

40Posted by Karin on October 7, 2007

Good job on the recap, Linus!

Although I do have a gentleman's disagreement with you, and it's based purely on preference. I actually like Ryan, and I've loved seeing him become the boss. Of course, he's not as great a character as the others, but...man, the guy suffered so much punishment in the past 3 seasons! He's had to deal with a creepy man-crush from Michael, an even creepier jealousy from Dwight, being in the path of Stanley's wrath over a simple misunderstanding, missing out on every girl that Jim beats him to, being stuck with the worst jobs the office has to offer ("Get Ryan! And he needs to clean me up a bit. Tell him to bring a wet towel!"), and not to mention a super-obsessively-clingy-"flibberty-jibbet" of a girlfriend who refuses to take no for an answer...if anything, I'd say the boy has the patience of a saint!

I think I've just written the world's longest sentence!

Okay, I'll concede that he is a bit of a jerk, but I think he's earned the right. I LOVED it when he "snapped" at Michael, and I'm hoping for more moments like that where he finally wreaks his bloody vengeance. Go Ryan!

41Posted by Philip on October 7, 2007

Philip, I always thought that Ryan considerd himself above everyone at Dunder Mifflin. Yes, he has been a victim of circumstance. But a true leader should be able to put that behind him. Ryan lacks the maturity to be a good boss. Maybe he'll learn it. I also agree with Dwight about the blackberrys.

42Posted by jackalope on October 7, 2007

Question: how has Michael not go fired yet???? Seriously.

43Posted by Memory Loss Drug on October 8, 2007

Michael hasn't gotten fired yet because he has shown instantces of competence remember in the job when David Wallace congratulated him on cutting expenses by 17% without losing a single client, which doesn't sink up with this episode, I know. He has also consistantly been shown as an excellent salesman, getting Dunder Mifflin the Hammermill account in The Convention and the big government contract in The Client. So he is able to just squeak by.

44Posted by jackalope on October 8, 2007

I can imagine a future scenario in which Michael is fired, but only for a short period. It could play out that Dwight is put in charge, is predictably horrific, and none of the other qualified candidates are interested in either a) moving to Scranton (someone from corporate), or b) taking the job (Jim, basically). If Michael just kept hanging around the office, lobbying for his old job back, he could end up with it falling in his lap a second time.

I had actually sort of expected something like that to happen last season. But the fact is that there is no US version of "The Office" without Michael Scott, and it's not practical model his career path too closely on that of David Brent, the manager of Wernam-Hogg-Slough on the BBC show who got fired, because the US version of "The Office" is a long-format, multi-season sitcom that's expected to go on as long as it's still turning a profit. Brent could get fired and spend time selling cleaning supplies because the people who made the BBC version always knew that the show would end soon, and they'd never have to sustain it with its main character having been squeezed out. There are advantages and disadvantages to both formats, and one of the disadvantages of the US show is that it has to maintain a certain stasis: Michael can't get fired, Jim can't actually get promoted, Pam can't move to Florida with Roy like Dawn did.

I've done a certain amount of thinking about this, especially as Steve Carrell gets to be a bigger star, and "The Office" just can't survive without him. Pretty much everybody else is expendable, except for maybe John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer -- which is not to say that Dwight or Jan or Ryan wouldn't be missed; the show, however, would soldier on. Without Michael, we have no show. He is the engine that fires the drama, and the comedy, and without him all you have is Jim and Pam and a bunch of weirdos who aren't strong enough to carry the show.

45Posted by Linus on October 8, 2007

Awf. My bad, Linus. I realized the Creed/Mary-Beth thing about a day later and I wasn't around a computer to correct myself. (My favorite Creed line so far is "Now which one is she?", after all!) Didn't make sense that a recapper wouldn't know the names of the characters, and indeed this is not the case. Sorry about that!

I don't miss the JAM tension as much as I thought I would -- it seems it's just shifted to where they're on one side of it and the rest of the office is now on the other.

Great post (#45) Linus!

46Posted by Robert on October 8, 2007

"I also agree with Dwight about the blackberrys."

Jackalope! You think you're bad...I haven't figured out what the stupid things ARE, exactly, yet. All I know is it's a handheld...computer...thing.

47Posted by Philip on October 8, 2007

I disagree with one thing....I think Rainn is extremely important to this show and I dont think it would be successful without Mr. Schrute.

48Posted by Pat D. on October 8, 2007

To anyone saying it's unbelievable that Michael still has a job, if after six years of lying, incompetence, and corruption George W. Bush still has his job then it is within the realm of believability that Michael Scott still has his.

49Posted by jackalope on October 8, 2007

Michael Scott for President!!!!

There...that is the extent of the political talk for me.

50Posted by Denise on October 9, 2007

I don't know if I'm convinced that the office needs Steve Carell to exist. I mean, yeah, he does a great job prancing around in such unacceptable escapades that we've come to cherish. To me, they're having to push him farther and farther to get a reaction from the audience. Like the fake suicide, driving into the lake was a stretch for me, one that shows we're all getting desensitized to Micheal's ridiculousness. That's most of the danger to this show if you're looking for a 7 or 10 year run. The awkwardness that kept bringing us back like a car crash week after week just doesn't have the same shock as we've become more familiar with the characters.

Now, don't get me wrong, they can't just axe out the character that single handedly brings 95% of the strife to an episode. The void would need to be filled somehow. And they'd need a darn good excuse to bring a new manager in with even a fraction of Micheal's neurotic tendencies. Maybe some kind of narcissistic circus clown witness protection relocation program; but I'm just brainstorming here.

What we really need is some way for Micheal to reasonably abate some of his more outlandish behavior without sacrificing the entire character. Just enough to get him back into plausible Micheal mode from Grief Counseling or Boys and Girls. Something like a mild food poisoning, malaria or partial lobotomy.

(note to writers who lurk on northern attack: I know all these ideas are pure gold. Feel free to use them, I only request a producer's credit and a cheese sandwich.)

51Posted by Black Pepper Snake on October 9, 2007

I see a gift basket in Black Pepper Snakes future!! LOL

52Posted by Denise on October 9, 2007

Has anybody read the Mindy Kaling interview on The Onion's AV club? She addresses the potential loss of major characters (I believe that she admits that it's not an "if" but rather a "when" with Krasinski and Carell being in movies all the time now). Michael would be difficult to replace, but there are different iterations on "crappy boss" out there. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Dwight would be extremely difficult (maybe impossible) to replace as he is a one-of-a-kind personality.

53Posted by Andrew on October 9, 2007

How did a discussion of a great comedy turn into a bashing of our president? If the moderators are going to allow it, are Clinton and Obama fair game too?

54Posted by hauseriv on October 9, 2007

hauseriv: No, they are not.

I apologize for not catching this sooner. Please refrain from starting and/or contributing to political discussions on this blog.

55Posted by James on October 9, 2007

I still think the show dies with out Michael. It would also be difficult to do without Jim or Pam, but if you take the engine out of a car, it doesn't go anymore. I think pretty much anybody you try to place Carrell with is going to pale in comparison, no matter how talented they are. It'd be like trying to replace Buffy on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" -- it might still be all right, but will anybody care? Sure, the show is called "The Office" and not "The Nutty Boss", but that doesn't make Michael any less essential to the show's functioning.

56Posted by Linus on October 9, 2007

In 'boys and girls" Pam was offered a program thru Dunder Mifflin for graphic design..... now Ryan offers her this design opportunity. Even tho he got shot down from dating her, I wonder if that story line will go anywhere. Wouldnt it be a hoot if SHE got offered a job in NY after Jim turned on down?! Jim was very encouraging to Pam the first time around.

57Posted by Denise on October 9, 2007

to Pat D (#48)

+1!!!!

If it weren't for Mr. Poop, er, Schrute, I wouldn't watch The Office.

58Posted by emstevens on October 10, 2007

"If it weren't for Mr. Poop, er, Schrute, I wouldn't watch The Office. "

Agreed! Dwayne Fart Poop rules! ;-)

BTW, although Steve Carell is great, I really could see a few other previous TDS correspondents filling in his place and doing a bang-up job, like say, Colbert or Vance Degeneres, but I dont really see them actually going for the job.

59Posted by Pat D. on October 10, 2007

I'm torn about the hour-long ep's too...one the one hand, I get my Office fix even more and I am sure the writers/NBC have their reasons for doing so, but wouldn't it be cooler to take all this material and create MORE eps so we all don't have summer withdrawals? Or at least, extend out the season so we aren't Office-less for so long. I also think the longer episode format can get kinda draggy, and although I truly loved this one, the gift basket shenanigans got a little old for me.

60Posted by Julie on October 10, 2007

GREAT JOB Linus! Terrific recap.

61Posted by Tami on October 11, 2007

Just wanted to fling much praise Linus's way. Great recap! Also, I share the view that the show is not sustainable without Michael. Or Jim. Or Pam. Or Dwight.

Well.

62Posted by marina on October 11, 2007

Linus: I finally got to your recap. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for putting in the time to amuse us.

63Posted by garbagethrower on October 11, 2007

I only just now got the lie that Ryan tells about Karen. What a jerk!

64Posted by Karin on October 11, 2007