• Season 2 : Episode 17
  • First aired on March 2, 2006
  • Written by Paul Lieberstein / Directed by Charles McDougall
  • Recap by James Fan
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.
  • Thanks to flotsette for providing a closed captioning transcript.

The student outshines the teacher when Michael accompanies Dwight to the annual North Eastern Sales Convention, where the immortal words of Benito Mussolini resurface at the most unexpected of times. Back at the office, the accounting staff wrestles for dominance over the thermostat as Jim bites the bullet and makes plans to fly himself across the globe mere days before Pam’s upcoming wedding.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

I’m still waiting for Dwight to figure out that Michael needs him more than he needs Michael. He’ll eventually make the leap, and once he does, I suspect we’ll see a power struggle of cataclysmic proportions.

Dwight : I can’t do this.
Michael : That’s because you’re incapable of doing it. Because you don’t know how. Because you have no skills. Dwight, there’s no way I can possibly teach you what you need to know about public speaking by speech time.
Dwight : Ok.

Every brown-noser has a limit, even Dwight. Michael better be careful, or he’s going to get another swift punch to the gut.

Dwight Being Dwight

I don’t know what it is exactly, but Dwight and spelling bees seem so right for each other. I’m not suprised that he remembers the full name of his sixth grade nemesis.

Dwight : When I was in the sixth grade, I was a finalist in our school spelling bee. It was me against Raj Patel. And I misspelled, in front of the entire school, the word “failure”.

I really enjoyed seeing Dwight out of his element. Dwight always believes that he’s in control of everything; half of the time… ok, almost all of the time, it’s an imaginary authority that no one respects, but that doesn’t stop him from believing that it’s true. The scale of the convention overwhelms him, though, and we finally catch a glimpse of Dwight the Vulnerable. It’s only a matter of time before the superiority complex kicks in, however, and Dwight the Militant makes his triumphant return to a surprisingly receptive audience.

The Many Faces of Jim

Dwight wasn’t the only one who was exposed during this episode; Dwight’s Speech also revealed a great deal about Jim’s character.

Jim : Dwight was the top salesman of the year at our company. He wins a little prize money and gets honored at some convention. It is literally the highest possible honor that a Northeastern Pennsylvania based mid-size paper company regional salesman can attain, so…

I wonder how many takes it took to rattle that one off successfully.

Ryan : You really think you’re gonna go?
Jim : Yeah, I’m definitely going.
Ryan : Nice. Send me a postcard.
[Cut to interview]
Ryan : Jim has worked at the same place for five years. Jim eats the same ham and cheese sandwich every day for lunch. I don’t know, if I were a betting man, I’d say he will have a fun weekend in Philadelphia.

This is the first episode I’ve seen of the US Office in which the deadlock that plagued Tim from the original series was duplicated in Jim’s character. I’ve always viewed Jim and Tim as two very different personalities struck with the same problem. There’s a confidence I see in Jim that I didn’t see in Tim. I’ve always assumed that Jim was capable of making it on his own far away from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I saw his mundane routine as a concession that he was willing to make to be around Pam, but maybe I’m completely wrong. Maybe he needs this job more than I thought.

Ryan raises a good point. Despite the confident and easygoing image he puts out, there is clearly something keeping him here, and I’m starting to think that there are reasons for him staying that don’t sit at reception. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops throughout the remainder of this season and the next.

Confessions of a Receptionist

No episode is complete without Pam correcting Michael on some detail.

Michael : Alright, we’re all gonna go around the room and we’re going to make toasts, and that way we will overcome our fear of public speaking.
Pam : You mean toastmasters?
Michael : Pam, I’m public speaking. Stop public interrupting me. Actually, this would be good practice for your wedding toast.
Pam : Yeah, the bride doesn’t really do… have… you ever been to a wedding?

Michael at a wedding. Sounds…. dangerous.

The Jim/Pam Index

By surrounding Jim and Pam with the prospect of the upcoming wedding, the creators have effectively put an end to their scheming. It’s an unfortunate, but necessary result of allowing the situation to play out.

Pam : I have a ton of stuff to do for the wedding, and I have to do it in the office. And that can be kind of awkward. Um, just because people… can get all weird about wedding stuff, and… I just–I don’t want to offend… Angela. Or someone.

The wedding may be imminent, but at least Pam is making progress on acknowledging the effect that it’s having on Jim.

Kelly : June 10th is perfect. I want a June wedding. I’ve always wanted one. Ryan, do you know when you would want to get married?
Ryan : Actually, I don’t see ever getting married.
Kelly : Oh.  [Leaves the conference room]
Pam : Ryan, you should be more sensitive. It’s obvious she likes you, and comments like that… they just–
Ryan : I know what I said.

Pam’s inaction on this front has been a hot topic as of late. Personally, I’m still on Pam’s side here, if only because I expect her to be the one to call off the wedding once she finds her reason, and I’m confident that she will. At this point, she’s just going through the motions as she’s done her entire life. She puts on a pleasant face at work, but I believe that part of her sees this wedding as an obligation and not as something that she can look forward to. Eventually, she’ll realize this for herself. I don’t think that Jim will play a direct part in orchestrating her revelation; I believe that she’ll come around on her own.

Pam : Australia? I have always wanted to go there.
Jim : I’m going. I’m a little nervous to run into Dwight on his connecting flight to Mordor, but other than that… um, yeah, I bought the ticket. Non-refundable.
Pam : That’s awesome. Where are you staying?
Jim : I don’t know. I feel like I have plenty of time to figure out the details, but…
Pam : When are you leaving?
Jim : I’m… leaving on June 8th.
Pam : Oh.
Jim : Yeah, and I’m really sorry about that, I just…
Pam : Oh, yeah, that’s too bad.
Jim : Yeah. Do you want me to take these on my way out?
Pam : It’s ok, I got it.
Jim : Alright.

Although it’s possible (and probably true) that this exchange elevated Pam’s doubts about the wedding even further, I think that I’ve reached my personal allowance of wishful thinking. With four episodes left before the season finale and, presumably, the wedding, it’s going to take more than a hint of uncertainty to sustain the index. I’m rooting for Pam all the way, but for now, Dwight’s Speech rates a Down on the JP Index.

Supporting Nod

This one was easy. Angela, without question.

Angela : The very best of luck to you, Dwight!
Dwight : Thank you, Angela.

Angela had this one in the bag the second she delievered that line.

The Superstar

I’m going with the obvious pick here and selecting Dwight for top honors. Live it up, Dunder-Mifflin Salesman of the Year.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Michael : If we ask corporate for that, then…
    Dwight : They are either gonna say… yes or no.
    Michael : Could go either way. We don’t know what they are going to say.
    Dwight : Think it through!
    Michael : We have to think it through, because if they say no…

    This is like saying you’re always right except when you’re not.

  • Michael : You all right, Ryan?
    Ryan : Yeah.
    Michael : Pam!

    I guarantee you that ball made contact with everything around reception but Pam.

  • Michael : So, you ready for the big speech this afternoon?
    Dwight : Well, it’s not really a big speech. You’re still coming, right?
    Michael : Oh, absofruitly. Fruit, grapes. Nailed the joke. Matter of time.

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

  • Michael : Um, and yes, it is a big speech. Biggest of your life.
    Dwight : [Looks mortified]
    [Cut to interview]
    Michael : Speaker at the sales convention. Been there, done that. Went there again, did it again. Two years in a row. Consecutive.

    In a row and consecutive. Amazing.

  • Michael : Just try not to be such an idiot.
    Dwight : Is that an insult or is that part of the public speaking advice?
    Michael : Insult.

    Someone needs to remind Michael that Dwight is a purple belt.

  • Oscar : I get here early every morning so I can set the thermostat. I like it a little cooler, around 66 degrees. I’m more productive. Maybe some people don’t like it as cold as I do. But I don’t care.

    Witness the cutthroat nature of thermostat politics.

  • Dwight : May I have your attention please? There has been an accident on 84 West. Cars have skidded off the road into the safety railing. Several cars have flipped. There is broken glass everywhere. Several people are injured.
    Pam : Do we know anyone who was in the accident?
    Dwight : Brad Pitt. Also, there will be no bonuses.
    Stanley : Why would this affect our bonuses?
    Dwight : They’re unrelated.
    Kelly : Is Brad ok?
    Dwight : He will never act again. Also, this branch is closing.
    Oscar : What the hell is going on here?
    Angela : Are we out of jobs?
    Dwight : Yes.
    Kelly : This is karma because of what he did to Jennifer Aniston.

    I like how Kelly is completely oblivious to the tragedy of the situation.

  • Stanley : … cancel the wallpaper.

    Great job sneaking that line in just outside of the camera.

  • Kevin : You should go to Hedonism.
    Jim : What is that?
    Kevin : It’s like Club Med, but everything is naked.
    Jim : I was thinking more like Europe, or something like that. But… good… second choice.

    All of these remarks are painting a slightly disturbing picture of Kevin.

  • Toby : To Amsterdam.
    Jim : When did you go there?
    Toby : Um, after my divorce.
    Jim : Really? For like how long?
    Toby : About a week or, uh… maybe a month.

    Time really flies when you’re… never mind.

  • Dwight : Ok, uh, you know what? This isn’t working, because, um, I’m not nervous in front of them. They’re my subordinates.
    Jim : No, we’re not.
    Dwight : Uh, yes, you are. I am assistant regional manager.
    Jim : Which means absolutely nothing.
    Dwight : Michael, can you explain?
    Michael : Well, it’s mostly made up, so…

    Man, not a good day for Dwight.

  • Jim : Dwight, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
    Dwight : I can travel anywhere, except Cuba. And I will travel to New Zealand. And walk the Lord of the Rings trail to Mordor. And then I will hike Mt. Doom.

    Slap on those ears from Christmas Party, and he’s the spitting image of Legolas.

  • Angela : [Sniffles]  I’m just feeling under the weather. And… I think that I will go home and rest.
    Kevin : I’ve never ever seen you take a sick day.
    Angela : Well, I’ve seen you take enough for the both of us.

    There are terrible liars, and then there is Angela (see E-mail Surveillance).

  • Michael : I wanted to say a few words about excellence. What makes… a work environment excellent? Well, there are many things, I believe, that do such a thing of that… nature.

    It amazes me that lines like this are scripted.

  • Kevin : I always set it at 69.

    You see, this is what I mean.

  • Michael : Dwight gave a great speech. That’s the word on the street, anyway. And I entertained Dwight to no end with my bar story, so I captivated the guy who captivated a thousand guys. Can you believe that? A thousand guys.

    And with that, mathematicians all over the world were appalled by the blatant misapplication of the transitive property. I am such a dork.

Odds and Ends

  • Check out Creed drumming in the background as Stanley is speaking to his wife over the phone. Speaking of Creed, he’s like some kind of international man of mystery.
  • Pay attention to Angela’s face during Dwight’s practice speech in the conference room.
  • Dwight is an exceptional cackler.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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We had this on last night in Canada, cause Global is airing "Skating with the Celebrities" tonight. It was such a great episode. Creed had the best line in the whole episode.

1Posted by Brian on March 2, 2006

Dang Canadians- always one up on us Yankees!

TGTOIB- Thank God The Office Is Back!!!

2Posted by Kristi on March 2, 2006

some jackass over at IMDB posted a major spoiler as the title for the thread. that sucked. i'm still excited for this ep though! it feels like its been years since we had a new one!

3Posted by ronnie on March 2, 2006

Yeah man, what's up with that.

4Posted by Jane on March 2, 2006

That's a confirmed DOWN for the JPI. There's no denying it now that he purposely scheduled his trip to give him an excuse not to go to the wedding.

5Posted by Joe on March 2, 2006

Yes, the JPI must be down James.
Besides...if it never goes down, then the up has no relative meaning.

6Posted by Sarah on March 2, 2006

I dunno, he could just say that Pam not having Jim send out the invitations at the end was an indication that she was having second thoughts, and thus end up even. Oops, I hope I didnt give him any ideas. ;-)

I was kinda shocked how mean Ryan was to Kelly tho. Guess there wont be any "Relly" or "Kyan" anytime soon.

7Posted by Pat D. on March 2, 2006

Voting is now open for Dwight's Speech!

8Posted by Jennie on March 2, 2006

that JP index is sliding downhill fast!

I dont know Brian, i think the better line was Kevin's "i like to set it at 69" and then his huge mischievious grin

HILARIOUS

9Posted by matt_from_montana on March 2, 2006

This episode brought Michael as close to David Brent as he could possibly get-- the pointless and horrible imitations and grabbing for attention were reminiscent of David's "intro speech" in the first episode of the second season of the British series (when Slough merged with Swindon). Michael's comment at the end, "But I'm the guy who entertained the guy who entertained a thousand guys" [paraphrased] was David Brent to a T. The best part is that it really did work with the Michael Scott character! (Think: The Patty Duke Show. David and Michael as "cousins, identical cousins" different but quite alike.)

Bravo to Jim for buying that ticket to Australia. Pam HAS to get it by now (as her comments about doing wedding stuff at work being awkward attest to) but I'm betting that Roy will just come up with an excuse to push the wedding off, and Pam will go along. After all, they can't get Jim and Pam together THIS quickly.

Jim proved himself a meister-leader by giving Dwight those "speech tips." Gorgeous. Jim has so much unrealized potential it's amazing. (The same goes for Pam.) Can I go to Australia with Jim?

Dwight's speech: DICTATORLICIOUS. The nervously impassioned fist-slamming and waving was perfect. And the best dialogue of the show: "BEST OF LUCK TO YOU, DWIGHT." "THANK YOU ANGELA." oh, that ruled in its awkwardness.

I also enjoyed the thermostat running gag and our glimpse into Michael's closet-- who else noticed the picture of Jan Levinson nee Gould hanging on the inside of the door? Classic.

All in all, it was a twist away from the usual 'Office' humor and flow, but I think that's what made it such an enjoyable, if off-beat episode. Great writing and brilliant acting as always.

10Posted by Shanah on March 3, 2006

wouldn't it be great if pam went to australia with jim?

11Posted by ronnie on March 3, 2006

The JPI can go up or down only because even when Jim does something like schedule a trip to Australia during her wedding it only makes the tension grow. Anything that makes the Jam tension come closer to explosion makes my JPI go up. The fact that neither Jim or Pam will talk about this only makes the elephant in the room grow larger. Thats what I base my personal JPI on, which is why my personal JPI is usually up. Just my $.02.

12Posted by jeremy on March 3, 2006

Toby had a great line during Jim's "toast." That look on his face at the end was so sad. I just wanted to hug him. If anyone has doubts about how great this show is, this episode will convert them. Rerun next week, according to nbc.com.

13Posted by Liz on March 3, 2006

Interestingly enough, I believe this would be the first rerun of the season. A fantastic one to rerun at least.

14Posted by Plain White Jim on March 3, 2006

REPOSTS MY REVIEW FROM ANG'S BLOG

Ohhhhhhhhh my godddd. I don't know if it's the lack of Office for 2 weeks, but I think I woke the whole house up by laughing so hard, multiple times throughout the episode holy wow.

JIM'S COMING TO AUSTRALIA! hahaha i hope that somehow he actually does come, and um, "The Office" gang come to Australia to rescue him and.. well.. them visiting here would make my day. AbsoFRUITLY amazing.

On another note though, this episode was.. tense. There was just this weird and engaging tension throughout the show, Ryan and Kelly - "I know what i said." that was.. harsh?
You, Brian, Creed and Oscar - thermometer tension
and obvious tension between Pam and Jim.. I feel so strange about Jim leaving and.. I don't know, I think i'm gonna well up in the (FOURTY MINUTE) finale (it better be)

Loudest Laugh Of The Episode: Creed's talking head. Saying hello to Hong Kong god i.. I love Creed so much. Tell him to get email so he can receive thousands of appreciative thank yous..
I also loved how "Jackie O" Angela looked when you were "sneaking" into taping Dwight, aw .. what a couple.

I think Creed deserves his own half hour, god i love Creed. CREED FOR LIFE!
Then again I love them all,
Seriously though, let's discuss how much of a dick Ryan was? to Jim and to Kelly? woke up on the wrong side of the bed or WHAT.

15Posted by Jay K. Cagatay on March 4, 2006

TG the Office has returned! It might be me, but it seems the show starts, and almost within the blink of an eye...the closing credits are rolling by. I've never been so consumed by any TV show. How does everyone feel about a full length feature? I know I can put four or five eps. together, but I can't wait 4 weeks to watch them back to back. The cast and the writers are the very best, and I hope they realize the buzz they create at our office water coolers everyday?

16Posted by Jim on March 4, 2006

Way to take a stand with the JPI, James!

17Posted by Plain White Jim on March 4, 2006

Does anyone else seem to match up Creed with a slighlty more "out-there" Locke character?

Old guy...bald head...really absurd wisdom type stuff...and I'm pretty sure they're both up to something

Anyway. I lived the beginning of this ep. And Kevin's "perviness" is great! lol

18Posted by Caitlyn on March 4, 2006

great recap, James! The speech was classic. I was also sort of glad to see a little bit of down action with JPI. Too much up and the show wouldn't be as good as it is. I'm with Ryan, I think we'll see Jim at home that week, but not neccessarily at the wedding. Can't wait till next week.

19Posted by Candice on March 4, 2006

haha Caitlyn you're spot on with the Locke / Creed comparison. If both actors swapped jobs for an episode, noone would notice.

20Posted by Jay K. Cagatay on March 4, 2006

I'm a bit upset. I read the sides for this episode, and there was one Jim-Kelly-Pam exchange that I wished made it into the episode. It went something like this:

Jim: Where do I want to go?

Kelly (off on the side): Oh, so Pam, can I see a pic of your wedding dress?

Jim: ...As far away as possible

oh, so what was the big IMDB spoiler? There wasnt really a twist in this ep. It wasn't like

spoiler for Christmas Party

"SHE TAKES THE TEAPOT!"

21Posted by John D'arc on March 4, 2006

Thanks, Plain White Jim and Candice. The Jim/Pam subject is definitely a tricky one. I feel that creativity demands a certain degree of selfishness. I'm hoping that the creators listen to themselves above all and deal with Jim and Pam as they see fit because there's no way that they're going to be able to resolve it in a manner that's even close to being universally acceptable. If there's anyone that needs to be satisfied, it's the cast and crew; audience support is secondary, though I imagine they'll do a pretty solid job of appeasing most of us.

22Posted by James on March 4, 2006

The IMDB spoiler was some guy who saw the episode in Canada on Wednesday and took it upon himself to post, in all caps, a thread titled "JIM IS GOING TO AUSTRALIA, WILL MISS PAM'S WEDDING". It was obvious from his comments within that he was interested only in ruining the episode to the extent he could for as many people as possible. I posted a warning and tried bumping other threads to keep it off page 1, but a good number of people were exposed and got ticked off.

23Posted by Nathan on March 5, 2006

Dude, transitive property? If you actually pulled that one out without double checking your high school algebra book, I don't know whether to have more or less respect for you.

24Posted by Kenny on March 6, 2006

Some might call Ryan mean.

I'd call him direct.

As someone who has been the victim of directness when it came to crushing type of activity, it hurts like hell for a time.

As someone who has been the victim of being "let down easy" (with the attendant conflicting signals), I can say this one's much worse. There's a whole lot of soul-searching about what I could have done different and how I could have missed the signs and being completely discombobulated about what to do with the next crush coming down the line.

And in any case, Kelly has definitely shown a tendency to hold out against all hope and advice (see Jim with his "He's just not into you" speech) in "Valentine's Day"

25Posted by Steve in Houston on March 6, 2006

Jim -> Australia = easy set up for prolonging the Jim/Pam non-relationship. He can meet and possibly marry someone in Oz land who can't come to the US right away 'cuz of Visa problems. Add that to Pam ditching Roy, and now you have a new triangle, but with Pam on the outside this time.
You can even have Jim verbally tucking in his long-distance GF/wife from his desk while Pam listens in.

26Posted by Ginger on April 9, 2006

...Another way to prolong the agony is to have Pam ditch Roy, but promote Jim so that he's her boss...but I don't think that'd be enough to separate them. (Guess they'd just register w/HR.)

27Posted by Ginger on April 9, 2006