Let’s have a warm welcome for Karin, the newest addition to the Northern Attack staff. I’ll let her impressive work speak for itself.
It’s the start of a new year, and what better way to start that year with a bang (or rather, a thunk, squeak, and thud). Michael’s inadvertent accident eventually leads to the formation of one of the longest-titled charity events ever, the Michael Scott Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure. Other changes are happening as well - Dwight makes a hard call that may have cost him a monkey, and Pam gets caught in the act picking up a tall dark not-so-stranger in her car.
So, Michael, what did you do over the summer?
Michael : I’m ok. Well, I did not get the job in New York. But I got the real prize - domestic bliss. Jan made me breakfast this morning. Well, she bought the milk. It’s soy! This is why I do it. That’s what I have to come home to. [Jan snores, sprawled across the bed] She probably won’t be up for a few hours.
Oh Michael, Michael. If you remember, he invited Jan to stay with him at the end of the last season, admitting that in doing so (and in losing the bid for the Corporate job) he needed to renege on his eBay deal. Given the terrifying state of the master bedroom, I’d say he should’ve moved anyway. Andy, do you still want us to call you when she rolls over?
Michael : So, Ryan got promoted to corporate, where he is a little fish in a big pond, whereas back here in Scranton I am still top dog in a fairly large pond… so who is the real boss? The dog or a fish?
Given the Armani suit, the trendy 5 o’clock shadow, and the wunderkind appellation, I’d say that that little fish is a barracuda, and Michael is an underfed Chihuahua. But that’s me.
Michael : Well, I ran down Meredith in my car.
Ryan : Ohhhh, did you do this on purpose?
Michael : No, I was being negligent. But she’s in the hospital, she’s fine, recovering nicely, tiny little crack in her pelvis, but she will be up –
Ryan : Did this happen on company property?
Michael : Yes, it was on company property -with- company property, so double jeopardy, we are fine.
Ryan : I don’t think- I don’t think you understand how jeopardy works.
Michael : Oh, right. I’m sorry. What is, we’re fine.
It’s good to know Michael hasn’t lost that old touch for confusing the U.S. Constitution with prime-time old-folks tv.
Michael : Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I liked to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this compulsive need to be liked, like my need to be praised.
At… at least he’s being honest?
Michael : Maybe theres some sort of animal that we could make a sacrifice to. Like a giant buffalo. Or some sort of monster, like something with the body of a walrus with the head of a sea lion. Something with a body of an egret, with the head of a meerkat. Or just the head of a monkey, with the antlers of a reindeer. With the body of a porcupine.
I stopped trying to picture this pretty quickly, because I’m pretty sure I know where I saw the animal god he’s describing. It’s the same place Hieronymus Bosch saw it. And yes, I spelled that on the first try.
Dwight makes a crucial mistake in this episode. He assumes that reason will triumph over feelings.
Angela : Any problems?
Dwight : Well, you left the tv on. And your cat is dead.
Angela : What? [Tears up]
Dwight : Sparkles, the white one, is dead.
Angela : Sparkles?
Dwight : That was the sick one, right?
Angela : Uh- huh. [Blubbering] I thought she had more time!
Dwight : No.
Angela : [Crying] Did she look… when you saw her, how was she looking?
Dwight : Really dead. Like just a dead cat. So… hey, come on, don’t be sad. She’s in a better place.
Angela : All right. [Sobbing]
Dwight : Actually, the pace that she’s in is the freezer. because of the odor. [Leaves]
I know Dwight isn’t all that great at interpersonal relationships that don’t involve him selling paper supplies to someone else, but he MUST know that this is going to be devastating news to his girlfriend, even if she’s a soft city girl and he’s a hardened farmer. Oh well.
Dwight : Blink once if you want me to pull the plug.
Meredith : Don’t pull any plugs.
Dwight has tasted the power of choosing who lives and who dies. He is a true valkyrie, only without the braids and boobs and battlefields. I don’t think he sees this as a problem, though.
Dwight : I am a farmer, Angela.
Angela : What does that mean?
Dwight : Ok, when a farmer sees an animal that is in pain, that has no quality of life, that has no utility, a farmer does what city folk don’t have the stomach to do.
Angela : You did kill her!
Dwight : I sang her her favorite songs.
Angela : You put her in my freezer!
Dwight : It was beautiful and gentle and respectful. I fed her antihistamines and she gradually fell asleep.
Angela : Well then she barfed them up in the freezer and tried to get out.
Dwight : Well, I’m not responsible for that.
Dwight is a brave and honest man for finally admitting what he did, and his reasoning is valid. The problem is, he is Dwight. Angela is not Dwight. If Dwight were telling Dwight what he did, Dwight Number 2 would accept the loss. Of course, Dwight Number 1 wouldn’t have had to do it, because Dwight Number 2 would not have let things get to where they were, but that’s beside the point. Dwight has alienated his sweet Monkey, and only time will tell if he is able to win her back.
Jim comes back from the summer with a fresh smile and a fresh attitude. Perhaps this new good mood is why he is willing to call around to strip clubs this time.
Pam : And also, there is no such thing as a rabies doctor.
Michael : How about a rabies nurse?
Pam : I don’t think so.
Jim : You know what though? I’ve actually seen ads for nurses you can hire by the hour, for parties and bachelor events.
Michael : That’s possible. Look into that.
Jim : Great. It’s gonna cost a couple hundred bucks, and, actually, more, with tips.
I like the new improved Halpert. He may not be as disapprovingly funny, but he’s got that old evil glint back in his eye, and that can only mean one thing: more office supplies in Jell-O.
Pam : So I closed the door, but the image of his…
Jim : Baguette.
Pam : dangling participle…
Jim : Ooh.
Pam : still burned in my eyes.
If you will recall, Pam stated that Roy would not have wanted her to have seen Jim’s dangling participle. This shows a fundamental difference between Roy and Jim: Roy would have brought pain and despair upon Michael, whereas Jim is content to laugh and come up with cringe-worthy euphemisms.
Jim : Oh, I’m sorry. Is this a working office? And not a French beach?
I would like to be on the French beach he is on. Not the French beach Michael is on, though.
The New and Improved Beesly is a terrifying beast to behold. Not only is she eschewing her usual button-down and pulled-back hair, she is also venturing into a world previously explored by the likes of Kevin.
Tech : You know, generally it’s not a good idea to click on any internet offers that you haven’t requested. What was the exact offer?
Pam : It was for a… video.
Tech : Yeah, what kind of video?
Pam : A celebrity sex tape.
Jim : Really? What kind of celebrity.
Pam : It’s not relevant.
Jim : How much did you pay for it?
Pam : Not relevant.
Jim : You paid for it?!
Pam : It all happened so fast!
That she would admit something like this to the camera is surprising. Of course, Fancy New Beesly is not all about nudity in the workplace.
Pam : They say if youre nervous around someone, you should picture them naked. I do not recommend this strategy. Try picturing them with more clothes on. Or a funny coat.
Wise words. Even with the tv censor, I’m still grossed out by that image.
So, it has been several months since we last saw Jim ask a glowing Pam if she was free for dinner that night. He said, she said:
Jim : I broke up with Karen after the job interview, and it was a little awkward when she came back from the City. She told me very clearly that just because we were broken up didn’t mean that she was going anywhere, because she had worked really hard for her career, but the next day her desk was empty. And as for me and my current romantic life, I’m single now and looking. So if you know anybody…
Yeeeeah. I’m not sure if anyone is fooled by the idea that they just had a couple of dates and that was that. Of course, on the other hand, Jim might be growing something of a conscience, because after all, he did dump Karen’s ass quite suddenly and unceremoniously (at least, according to the shorts on the NBC website), and rushing into something with Pam might be, all told, kind of a dick thing to do in light of his actions.
Pam : I told you I’m not dating anyone. And even if I was, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business. I mean, when I do fall in love, like when it’s for real, the last person I’m going to talk about it to is a camera crew, or my coworkers. Almost marrying Roy Anderson was as close to Pamela Anderson as I ever want to be. Trust me, when I fall in love, you’ll know.
Pam tries so hard to be a good liar, but it’s obvious the cameramen don’t believe her at all. Them tailing her to see who she was picking up was a stroke of genius, and the camera’s silent cornering of the pair harkens back to when Pam co-opted the camera to prove a connection between Dwight and Angela.
Jim : Oh, um, no. That’s not- I mean, that wasn’t-
Pam : Yeah, that was, um…
Jim : I mean, I can see how it would seem a bit like we, ahh.. how it looks like, um. I mean, nowadays, you can edit anything, right? You can edit anything to look like… anything.
Pam : Yeah, I gave him a ride home because were dating.
Jim : Wow. There it is.
Pam : Yeah. We havent told anybody, but its going really great. Right?
Jim : It is going really great.
Of course, when confronted with such damning evidence, it’s hard for them to deny it, CGI arguments aside. The amount of joy that lights up their faces, though, when they finally admit their relationship, is truly beautiful to behold. I don’t think I’ve seen two people more happy on camera in a long time. Seeing them happy together made me squeal not necessarily because it was the culmination of over 3 years of unrequited attraction, but because it was two characters who were clearly so happy to be together that that happiness burned through anything else that could have ruined their day. If you don’t think the Jim/Pam Index went up this episode, mayhaps you need professional help. It practically doesn’t exist anymore, it has been so completely blown up.
Kevin has always been known for his reaction shots and emphatic deadpan statements. This episode is no exception.
Kevin : Are you kidding me? Pam and Jim are totally hooking up. All they do is smile. They’re just keeping it a secret. Right?
Oscar: I don’t know. There is no evidence of intimacy. They’ve been in remarkably good moods. It could be other things.
Kevin : ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Kevin, you are right not to be fooled.
Kevin : Oh well. If they arent together now, then they probably never will be. I thought theyd be good together. Like PB & J. Pam Beesly and Jim. [Gapes at his own realization] What a waste. What. A. Waste.
However, being fooled anyway is perfectly acceptable, if it gives you such an entertaining epiphany.
Who else but the grieving, suspicious Angela?
Angela : She’s been sick for some time. Thank you for asking! No one asks about Sprinkles.
Oh Dwight, Dwight, Dwight. You thought she was angry when she was sabotaging Andy. I don’t think you really knew your girlfriend when you decided euthanizing her cat with antihistamines was a good idea. If only he had sacked up and applied the antifungal cream… but then we wouldn’t have her shoving him around and ordering autopsies from the vet (or rather, necropsies).
Essentially, from the moment Sprinkles is mentioned, you KNOW something’s going to happen. It’s only a matter of time. Can you see Andy moving in on this? Because I can.
Angela : This is Halloween last year. Just a couple of kittens, out on the town.
I… I have no words. Words cannot describe this woman’s loss, and our gain.
Also, her reaction to Pamela’s “I’m a dog person” is basically exactly how these sorts of conversations go. I’m surprised there wasn’t a lecture.
Michael : Ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news. Meredith was hit by a car. It happened this morning in the parking lot. I took her to the hospital, and the doctors tried to save her life, they did the best that they could, and she is going to be ok.
Stanley: What is wrong with you? Why did you have to phrase it like that?
Stanley is the mouthpiece for everyone in the office at this point. Michael’s public speaking skills are often somewhat lacking.
Andy : Did you see who did it?
Dwight : No need, we can just check the security tapes.
Michael : Kind of a good news/bad news there. I was able to be on the scene so quickly because I was in the car that hit her.
Jim : Who was driving?
[Michael falls silent]
Pam : Oh Michael.
[Cut to interview]
Jim : One day Michael came in complaining about a speed bump on the highway… I wonder who he ran over then.
I wonder, too. Hopefully, it was just another deer Dwight can find and make into aphrodisiac jerky.
Phyllis : Does it hurt terribly?
Meredith : No, it’s not too bad. They have me on a lot of painkillers.
Creed : Oh really? What kind? Codeine? Vicodin? Percoset? Fentanyl? Oxycontin? Palladone?
Meredith : I have no idea.
Creed, once again, wins the “Creepy Druggie Pusher Award”.
Creed : I’ve been involved in a number of cults, both as a leader and a follower. You have more fun as a follower, but you make more money as a leader.
Add to that list of awards the “I Was At Jonestown But Avoided The Flavor-Aid” medal.
Kelly : If there was a god, Ryan and I would be married by now.
Assuming that this god is a cruel, capricious god who enjoys torture and ill-judged Valentines hook-ups, sure. Thankfully, such a god does not apparently exist.
Andy : I’m petrified of nipple chafing. Once it starts, it is a vicious circle. You have sensitive nipples, so they chafe, so they become more sensitive, so they chafe more. So I take precautions.
How does he wear shirts? Does he wear pasties underneath his button-downs? Are cotton undershirts too abrasive (so many ridges!)? I think we need more information on Andy’s nipples, horrifying though that information may be.
Jan : Ok, name please.
Creed : Creed Bratton, 75-Plus Division.
Jan : You’re over 75 years old?
Creed : 82 November 1. How much is the prize money?
Jan : There is no prize money.
Creed : What, is any of this real?
You’re not real, man!
Angela : Cat heaven is a beautiful place. But you dont get there if you’re euthanized!
I guess cats aren’t like dogs, who have a place in heaven all lined up regardless. It’s good to be a dog person in this instance.
Pam : I know you, Michael. I saw you naked.
Michael : You dont know me. Youve just seen my penis.
I’m not sure which is worse - seeing Michael’s penis or knowing him. One is a one-time thing, albeit burned into the back of your brain, while the other involves understanding a psyche that even Freud would have trouble with.