It’s a sad day in Scranton for more reasons than one. News of his former boss’ death prompts Michael to assume a role as a savior of wayward birds, a responsibility that proves to be horribly misplaced until Pam lends her delicate hand. Meanwhile, a new alliance is forged in Stamford, one born out of a mutual contempt for douchebaggery.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Leave it to Michael to add dread to an already dreadful situation.

Michael : There are five stages to grief, which are…
[Michael peeks at his monitor]
Michael : … denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And right now out there, they are all denying the fact that they’re sad and that’s hard and it’s making them all angry. And it is my job to try to get them all the way through to acceptance. And if not acceptance, then just depression. If I can get them depressed, then I will have done my job.

No need to fret, Michael; the job has been done. In fact, it was done a long time ago, well before Ed Truck’s untimely demise gave you the opportunity to subject your employees to yet another mortifying display of mismanagement.

[Michael has gathered everyone in the conference room]
Michael : I lost Ed Truck, and it feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears and at the same time somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer. And then a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone, and I am crying, and nobody can hear me because I am terribly, terribly… terribly alone.

There are certain things a boss does not share with his employees: his salary, his bed, and his awkwardly conceived pleas for their sympathy.

Dwight Being Dwight

Dwight was on an absolute tear tonight. I don’t know if he’s ever been funnier.

Dwight : When I die, I want to be frozen. And if they have to freeze me in pieces, so be it. I will wake up stronger than ever because I will have used that time to figure out exactly why I died and what moves I could have used to defend myself better now that I know what hold he had me in.

I wouldn’t bet on it, Dwight. There’s only one person on network television who can wake up from death and he works for Fox.

[Michael has just proposed to Jan that they build a statue of Ed Truck]
Michael : We could have his eyes light up. We could have his arms move.
Dwight : That is not a statue. That is a robot.
Michael : I think that is a great way to honor Ed.
Dwight : And how big do you want this robot?
Michael : Life-size.
Dwight : Mmm, no. Better make it two-thirds. Easier to stop if it turns on us.
Jan : What the hell are you two talking about?

The peaceful coexistence between humans and robots, that’s what. The extension cord is a nice touch.

[Michael is holding a grief counseling session for his employees in the conference room]
Michael : Phyllis, you want to give it a shot?
[Michael tosses the ball to Phyllis. She reaches out to catch it, but Dwight intercepts]
Dwight : I got it. When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and found she was having twins, and when they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered that I had resorbed the other fetus. Do I regret this? No. I believe his tissue has made me stronger. I now have the strength of a grown man and a little baby.

More little baby than grown man. The fetal essence explains many things, not the least of which is the need for a grown man to physically compete against children.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim seems more and more at home with each passing week in Stamford.

[Karen walks into the break room and scans the vending machine]
Karen : Damn it.
[Jim walks by and notices her cursing at the machine]
Jim : What’s up?
Karen : Uh, nothing. They’re just out of Herr’s chips.
Jim : Oh.
Karen : But don’t worry about it. My snack food doesn’t fall under the umbrella of your authority.
Jim : Mmm, that’s where you’re wrong. I’m your project supervisor today, and I have just decided that we’re not doing anything until get the chips that you require.
[Karen smiles]
Jim : So I think we should go get some. Now, please.

Like Pam’s weakness for french onion (is it just me, or is there a connection be drawn between Grief Counseling and The Fight?), Jim has zeroed in on a certain dietary vulnerability of Karen’s.

[Karen insists that she’ll do whatever it takes to find the chips. Andy turns around to see what she and Jim are talking about]
Andy : Hey, what are we doing? What’s the game? I want in.
Jim : Oh, there’s no game. We’re just trying to get these chips for Karen.
Andy : Did you check the vending machine?
Karen : Oh, the vending machines. How did we miss that?
Jim : I have no idea. We went right for the copier
Karen : Hmm.
Jim : And then we checked the fax machine.
Karen : Yeah, nothing there.
Andy : Did you check your butt?

It’s unclear what sort of history Andy and Karen shared prior to Jim’s arrival, although the conversation above would seem to indicate that the two weren’t afraid to take shots at one another. United against a common enemy, two co-workers spend their days exacting delicious revenge against said enemy. It does seem familiar, doesn’t it?

Confessions of a Receptionist

As much as I enjoyed the Jim/Pam relationship, it’s been nice to see them develop independently of one another. Whereas Jim’s situation at Stamford is much like it was in Scranton with Andy and Karen filling in for Dwight and Pam, respectively, Pam’s life seems to have taken a more dramatic turn. Not dramatic in the spectacular sense, mind you, but rather in the sense that she’s had to contend with more change, an odd realization given that she’s the one who stayed behind.

[Dwight looks behind Pam’s desk for a box]
Dwight : I need a box, I need a box. A small box. Not confining…
Pam : Is it for the bird?
Dwight : Yeah.
Pam : I have it covered.
[Pam shows Dwight a tissue box that she’s converted into a casket]
Dwight : Oh, thank you.
Pam : If you want to do something for the funeral–
Dwight : Yes, please.
Pam : Maybe you could play a song on your recorder.
Dwight : Excellent.
Pam : Do you have it with you?
Dwight : Always.
[Pam pumps her fist in the air. Cut to interview]
Pam : Did I wake up this morning thinking I’d be throwing together a bird funeral? You never can tell what your day here is going to turn into.

Creativity is what drives Pam. She prefers not to display it in ways that call attention to herself, instead reserving it for moments where it may be quietly admired.

[Everyone is gathered outside for the bird funeral]
Pam : I’d also like to say a few words if that’s ok.
Michael : Yes.
Pam : What do we know about this bird? You might think not much, it’s just a bird, but we do know some things. We know it was a local bird. Maybe it’s that same bird that surprised Oscar that one morning with a special present from above.
[Everyone smiles]
Kevin : Oh, I remember that. That was so funny.
Pam : And we know how he died: flying into the glass doors. But you know what, I don’t think he was being stupid. I think he just… really, really wanted to come inside our building to spread his cheer and lift our spirits with a song.
Dwight : Not a songbird.
Pam : An impression then. Lastly, we can’t help but notice that he was by himself when he died, but of course, we all know that doesn’t mean he was alone because I’m sure that there were lots of other birds out there who cared for him very much. He will not be forgotten.

I’ll be honest, the notion of a bird funeral seemed a little ridiculous to me at first, even for a show with as good of a track record as this one when it comes to handling outlandish subject matter. It turns out I had nothing to fear: listening to Pam speak at the service was surprisingly touching. As absurd as it may sound, I found it poetic, although the absurdity does wear off a bit when you realize that her words were actually meant for Michael. There are few shows that could pull off a eulogy to a bird and even fewer that could deliver it in earnest. Credit Jenna Fischer for bringing genuine emotion to a scene that would be considered a farce in any other context.

The Jim/Pam Index

This marks the first time during the entire run of the show where the Jim/Pam dynamic has been completely nonexistent for an entire episode. Previous episodes have always worked in a conversation or some unspoken exhange between the two indicative of their tangled relationship; even the first three episodes of this season managed to sneak in several glances and expressions without having them in close proximity to one another. Grief Counseling has nothing. As is often the case when two people no longer see each other, Jim and Pam seem determined to put the past behind them, and as such the Jim/Pam Index drops Down again.

On the bright side for those of you who cling to hopes for a reunion, the potential for buildup is certainly looking good.

Supporting Nod

Stanley, who remains calm and collected in the face of flying saliva.

The Superstar

A close call with Dwight delivering what I thought to be his finest performance yet, but I simply couldn’t ignore Pam’s wonderfully delivered eulogy.

Transmissions from the Office

  • [The Stamford branch is having a meeting in the conference room]
    Josh : What’s going on with Fairfield County Schools? Karen, did you generate that price list?
    [Karen fumbles through her papers]
    Karen : Um, shoot. Uh, I will. Sorry.
    Josh : Ok, just get it done. Jim, will you make sure?
    Jim : Oh yeah, definitely.
    [Andy coughs out, “suck-up”]
    Andy : Josh, did you hear what I said?

    Speaking of suck-ups…

  • [Creed is in Michael’s office with Michael and Dwight]
    Creed : Ed was decapitated.
    Michael : What?
    Dwight : Really?
    Creed : He was drunk as a skunk. He was flying down Route 6. He slides under an eighteen-wheeler. Pop! It snaps right off.
    Michael : Oh, my god.
    Dwight : That is the way to go. Instant death. Very smart.

    Part of me thinks Creed was making all of this up. A very large part of me.

  • Creed : You know, a human can go on living for several hours after being decapitated.
    Dwight : You’re thinking of a chicken.
    Creed : What did I say?

    I rest my case.

  • [Michael is on the phone with Jan]
    Michael : I don’t understand. We have a day honoring Martin Luther King, but he didn’t even work here.
    Jan : I understand how you feel, Michael. I really do, so would it be helpful to give everyone the day off?
    Michael : You really don’t get it, do you? You really don’t understand these people. That is the last thing that they would want is a day off.

    Actually, I think she understands them more than you do, Michael.

  • [Michael is standing beside Stanley’s desk]
    Michael : Oooh. Can you imagine how much blood there was? If it happened right here, it would reach all the way to reception. Probably get on Pam.
    Phyllis : Ok, that’s enough.
    Michael : What?
    Stanley : We do not want to hear about this?
    Michael : Well, you know what I didn’t want to hear about it either, Stanley, but I did. Now I can’t stop picturing it. He was working, on his way home. Wham! His capa is detated from his head!
    Stanley : You have just spit on my face.

    His capa is detated! Whoever penned that line is a genius. All the cool kids will be saying it soon.

  • Dwight : I’m sorry, I grew up on a farm. We slaughtered a pig whenever we wanted bacon. My grandfather was reburied in an old oil drum.

    Farm or not, an oil drum seems like an awfully crude way to bury someone, no pun intended.

Odds and Ends

  • Check out Dwight’s reaction to Michael’s comedy routine during the cold open. Dwight, you are such a dork.
  • I’d listen to Dwight when it comes to infectious diseases, Michael. He might know a thing or two about them.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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This looks like a nice, dark episode of The Office, I wish I knew who the writer was. Regardless, I will be parked in front of my TV at 8:30 pm just like every other Thursday, can't wait!

1Posted by Derek on October 12, 2006

Uh-oh, looks like another down for the JPI thanks to the spoilers about RAM and Jaren.

2Posted by Pat D. on October 12, 2006

That is one mighty long list of co- and guest stars. Hurrah!

3Posted by Catherine Zeta-Jones on October 12, 2006

Can't wait for tonight's Andy Freak Out!

4Posted by Jake on October 12, 2006

Spoiler alert, maybe?

5Posted by Kalon on October 12, 2006

Loved this episode. It was very very funny!

6Posted by Kerry on October 12, 2006

Another disappointment. Without Jim there the whole thing just falls apart.

7Posted by MaryLamb on October 12, 2006

Boy, that was pretty wickedly dark humor. Ed Truck's demise was not met with much reverrance...LOL. Good episode, though. Although I have to admit, my eye has been caught over the Pam/Jim thing. I'm started to get worried about them; they're spending too much time apart, and their relationship is starting to vanish!

8Posted by Philip on October 12, 2006

I haven't ever laughed as hard when watching this show as I did when they were passing the ball around, and BJ told the story of his cousin, and then Kevin told the Weekend at Bernie's story. I was crying. As for the whole Ed Truck thing, I thought that Michael disliked him very much, didn't we learn that in the carpet last season?

9Posted by Nathaniel on October 12, 2006

That was very nice of Pam to realize Michael's fear of dying alone. Very good episode.

10Posted by Jim's Sandwich on October 12, 2006

I thought it was a really good episode.... dark, but really good. I'm actually really liking the Jim-Karen thing, it's very realistic: guy has crush on girl he cant have, braves is out and follows his hear, gets crushed and gets as far aways as possible, and then finds someone who he can actually have a relationship with and she seems to like him back.... I like that it's still warming up. I think Karen is cute. I've been in this situation.

Also, I don't know if anyone else knows, but Ricky Gervais is writing one of the episode this season... and my money is on "the merger".

11Posted by Rolo on October 12, 2006

Very enjoyable episode. Moving Jim to another branch was brilliant. With him putting moves on Karen, the Jim-Pam romance arc has got at least another full season or two before they fully hook up again.

I also loved seeing Michael vulnerable, sensitive and lonely again. The way he expresses himself is always odd, but somehow in this episode it was quite poignant (which is very un-Michael in most other episodes).

12Posted by Dave on October 12, 2006

Ummmm Mindy Kaling got hot as hell??? When we gonna play "Who'd you Do?"

13Posted by Joe NYC on October 12, 2006

Yessup. Mindy Kaling is hot sauce on hot wings.

14Posted by Matty on October 12, 2006

Here's my thoughts on the merger...

Karen is coming to Scranton. Pam will see the way she's moved in on Jim and she'll finally begin to fight for Jim's attention. I think Pam will win in the end, though I do like Karen now. Basically, she's a near clone of Pam. I see her getting involved with someone else in the Office. Perhaps Roy or Ryan?

Andy has got to come too, but I think it'd be odd to see him and Dwight interact. I'd expect there is someway he could fit into Scranton.

Josh is probably not going, IMO. Michael is a funny boss, but Josh is actually an effective boss. He's due for a promotion to Corporate, and we know from the deleted scenes Jan would do that, maybe just to make Michael jealous.

Michael will remain Regional Manager at Dunder Mifflin, due to some remarkable OT sale or action. I see Jim becoming "Assistant Regional Manager", while Dwight remains "Assistant to the Regional Manager".

15Posted by Joe on October 13, 2006

When the merger happens, I expect Josh to work out of the same office as Michael, although one will slightly out-rank the other. (I suspect Josh will have power much like Neil did over David Brent in the UK version) The competition between the two characters will be hilarious....as we saw in the Convention episode. Michael trying too hard to impress the staff (old co-workers....and especially the new ones!)

I can't stress enough how much I think Jim and Pam being apart right now works. I KNOW it was a major draw last season, but put yourself in the writers shoes, and EVERYTHING they've done this season makes sense. The only thing that had me worried was that I wasn't into Pam's character as much this season, but last night episode restored my faith bigtime. The Million Dollar Baby story and the eulogy were some of her best stuff ever.

Truth of the matter is, Jim and Karen almost certainly WILL hook up by the time a merge happens, and it'll affect Pam pretty hard, I think. You must admit, it's gonna make for very compelling TV! "JAM" isn't doomed, but having it put on hold for the time being allows the writers more freedom.

Nathaniel, you bring up an interesting point about Michael not really caring for Ed Truck in the Carpet. I thought of it orginally too. But the way he reacted was much more than just about his previous relationship with his former boss. Michael overreacts to get attention. It's kind of his thing.

M@

"If I can depress these people, then I've done my job."

16Posted by M@ on October 13, 2006

Now that Jim has left "The Office" and has his eye on Karen, am I the only one who's kinda rooting for Roy and Pam to get back together (I almost feel bad for him)

17Posted by Matt on October 13, 2006

I also don't think Michael was over-reacting to get attention, but rather was thinking about his own demise, and wondering "if this is how they behave when Ed dies, imagine what they'll be like when I'm gone."

18Posted by Matt on October 13, 2006

A little lazy and just copying this from another spot. Thought it was great. I watched with a bunch of friends and we all enjoyed it. Michael was perfect, if I can just get them depressed and "good" grief. Pam is back! She can torment Michael with the best, love the coffee request. Still, she recognizes genuine suffering, instead of the hug at the desk or the perfect movie death scene (have to add, of course, Michael would recognize a Kevin movie), and fashions together a moment that brings out the best in everyone, even Dwight. I also loved the fact that you could see Kelly hanging on to Ryan at the bird funeral, oh, the humanity. The Jim trying too hard and looking for some sort of snack thing was lame, so doubly offensive. However, the big shock was when Karen spoke French, everyone in the room busted out laughing. We've decided she is now Officially Sexy, however, some of the guys held back because she needs to lose the shirt, so, Catch-22. Any way, in my opinion, Karen and Jim really don't got it.

19Posted by Kaitlyn on October 13, 2006

some of the theories on here are great, especially the "merger" one where pam will get jealous of karen and eventually fight for jim...i love that idea, whether it will happen, who knows?!
I also didn't know that Ricky Gervais was writing an episode, that is awesome news, i love the bbc office as equally as the us version
The movie death scene was HILARIOUS.

20Posted by kelly on October 13, 2006

Preface: huge fan.
Verdict: didn't enjoy this week as much as previous.

Karen has grown on me (she had me from "Isn't he cute?")...but I thought the Herrs product placement sub-plot was lame. Plus the whole thing with the bird was so over the top it didn't really connect with me. Not that this show doesn't go over the top often, but something about it just missed the mark. Really until the funeral I didn't laugh at all.

A few random obsevations:

How did Creed find out about the decapitation?

I caught Kelly's extensions too, but didn't anyone notice that Angela was wearing a very uncharacteristic outfit? Not too terribly "slow train from Philly" but definitely a change.

I feel for Roy.

Where was Oscar? They mentioned him at the funeral but he was nowhere to be found!

As cheesy as the fake "going down the stairs" thing is I can't do it, much less several times. Props to SC.

I know I got on people for overanalyzing last week, so don't crush me for my comments...I guess I was just putting all my TV eggs in the Dunder-Mifflin basket and came away less than impressed. As long as this show doesn't go down the same annoying third-season toilet as LOST, The Office is still my fav!

21Posted by Jermaine on October 13, 2006

Think Oscar's off on his 3 month paid vacation....and I imagine Creed, who probably knew Ed Truck quite well, spoke with relatives of his or something. 100% agree on LOST, hoping they'll turn that ship around. So to speak

M@

22Posted by M@ on October 13, 2006

As viewers, we all know about the merge, and we all know/expect Jim and Pam will get together, but the great thing is that Jim has no idea. It'll be great to watch him have to deal with being next to Pam after allowing himself to fall for Karen. I think he'll be in total shock when he hears about the merge because I think he believes Pam is now just a part of his painful past.

This was an okay episode. Kind of surprised me to see how many people liked it. The bird segment was a letdown after the movie death segment, which was hilarious.

23Posted by Bill on October 13, 2006

There's so many unrequited crushes being farmed out to ponder. JAM consumed most of my summer (until Entourage started up). And I just felt like I was gonna die when Karen started being all cute to Jim. I don't like her. Karen seems aggressive and Jim isn't. She'll do in a rebound kind of way ultimately he is not a psych "ko"path, so I'm going with Karen as flavor of the month. Why doesn't she just go away? Or better yet let's pit her against Angela in a battle to be in charge of the women.

Pam...why isn't she emailing Jim at least an apology and opening up the door? Wouldn't any normal friend do that?

Favorite character is Creed. So random. I just laughed my butt off when he said (many episodes ago) "That is Northern Lights Sativa" - or was it Indica. Too funny. Lives in Canada, part of the week. Would love to see more of his weirdness this season along with the rest of the long suffering staff.

So, although I agree they are killing me with the Jim & Pam separation it does keep me interested.

24Posted by scody on October 13, 2006

great episode last night.funniest this season thus far.I believe Michael was upset w/his employees' reactions to Truck's death because he was thinking about his own death and how people would react.When everyone didn't appear sad enough or not crying enough,then Michael thought that's how it would be when HE died.Not enough Creed last night,they need to develop his character more.Jim would have been hilarious in the Scranton office last night,imagine what movie he would have described! He is definitely smitten w/Karen-didn't you all see the look on his face when she spoke French on the phone? It was clear he has feelings for her.He has definitely moved on,Pam is someone from is past.He'll always have a soft spot for her in his heart,but she is clearly in his past.You can't get anymore real than that.Pam and Roy seem to be starting something over as well.Not crazy about that at all.If they get back together,he'll resort to his old ways in my opinion.

25Posted by Katrina on October 13, 2006

I agree on this week's episode of "The Office" not being stellar. I feel like this season so far has really been more about getting the lay of the land as far as the new situation and character interplay, and the funny hasn't been ratcheted up as high so far. It's almost become a character drama with little flashes of comedy. I really like how they're handling the Jim/Pam situation, though. The Karen character is absolutely perfect: likeable enough that you're almost rooting for Jim to get together with her, but decidedly not better for Jim than Pam. They're okay together, but they're not perfect together. Same with Roy - you feel kinda bad for the guy, and he seems a lot nicer now, but you know that if they got back together, he'd revert to form.

26Posted by DJR on October 13, 2006

Oh and I gotta disagree on "Lost" -- I think that show's as good as ever.

27Posted by DJR on October 13, 2006

Where the show is going right now is kind of iffy, but I don't have any doubts with the writers. If they kept what they had going with season two, which was kind of the part where fans of the show got really comforable with the characters, things would get pretty boring after a while.

This way, it's a bit of an experiment, and although I don't find myself laughing hysterically in every episode, it's good development in the way of the show. Lastly, it's just realistic. I've never watched a show with as much realism as "The Office", so despite the fact that it's not classic "Office" mentality, I still love this show more than ever.

Plus, the opening of this episode is probably one of the best ones I've seen yet.

28Posted by Rebecca on October 13, 2006

At first, i thought last night's episode was a little slow. I definitely enjoyed the second viewing a lot more. I thought it was good.

About Michael not liking Ed: everyone brings up some great points about how he thought that people would react the same way when he died as they did w/ Ed's death. I kind of thought that the reason he overreacted was b/c Kelly gave him a reaction in the first place, when he first announced the news. He seemed fine when he made the initial announcement, and then Kelly started to console him (and he didn't need to be consoled). It looked like he realized that he could get some more attention via his grieving for Ed's death. However, it turned into something more when Ed and the bird's lonely death epitomized Michael's fear of dying alone. The Michael Scott character is really great and Steve performed wonderfully last night.

Pam is too awesome. Period. I was starting to doubt her at the beginning of the season. Her longing looks at Jim's old desk, etc. etc. were just a little boring, but last night she pulled off a stellar performance! This is the Pam that Jim fell in love w/! She brought everyone together at the funeral and she made Michael feel good. She really felt for him and her eulogy was fantastic, reassuring Michael that he wouldn't die alone. Really touching. And her duet w/ Dwight was great! Dwight's awesome, too :) Yeah, i really do like Karen, but she doesn't hold a flame to Pam. I can't wait for Jim to see the new and improved Pam! And i know everyone really wants Jim back in Scranton, but the alone time is allowing Pam to really grow into her own person and character and i think it's needed. He'll be back in time, no sweat. I think we'll be able to survive w/o any JAM for awhile.

Roy. Wow, he's really fighting for her. Jim used to be the one to take Pam away from her problems (which used to be work and Roy) but now Roy's fulfilling that role. This season is proving interesting indeed.

The whole robot scene w/ Dwight and Michael: genius.

The conference room scene was very funny. But most of all i was glad to see Ryan catch on to Pam's humor. Made me happy. And when Kevin followed suit. Such a great scene.

The Karen and Jim scenes were cute but i found them a little bit boring and i think that's why i gave the initial viewing of the episode a low score in my book. I'm just used to seeing more from Jim in terms of humor, charm, sarcasm, etc. etc. and although he did some charming last night, it just wasn't the fun Jim i'm used to seeing. But that scene between him and Andy was hilarious! Andy is too cool!

Anyway, sorry for my huge comment!

29Posted by OfficeAddict on October 13, 2006

Best episode of the season so far, I think. Agree with everything the above poster said. All the characters were clicking tonight: Kevin, Stanley, Kelly, Ryan (his conference room confession had me in hysterics), (Dwight - a little more on this below) and a home run performance from Pam...she was, by and large, an empty character the first 3 episodes, but she really came through in this week's ep. I enjoyed the Jim-Karen stuff too...I'm starting to like Karen alot.

Two underrated parts of the ep for me:

1. Dwight returning to his second-season form, sycophantily sucking up to Michael while trying to help out by offering hairbrained suggestions. Seeing Dwight persistently trying to shove a dead bird into an empty soda can...playing a eulogy on his recorder...proudly confessing about how he siphoned fluids from another fetus is just something so Dwight-esque.

2. When Jenna said, "You never can tell what your day's gonna turn into", the way she said the word "never" had more than a hint of a Midwestern twang...I know it brought her out of character a bit, but I liked it...maybe it's just because I like Jenna.

A nice step back toward the top.

Preliminary Grade: B+ / A-

Wayne

30Posted by Wayne on October 13, 2006

Loving Karen + Jim's chemistry.
GO KAJIM!!!!

31Posted by Jay K. Cagatay on October 13, 2006

Wayne, i totally noticed Pam's "twang" during that line. I'm glad someone else caught it. Definitely Jenna there...not Pam, but still cute.

32Posted by OfficeAddict on October 14, 2006

I am surprised they didn't go for the obvious Ed Truck died under a truck joke. Would've made my day if they did.

Decent episode, but I felt last week's was better.

33Posted by Derek on October 14, 2006

I've written this before, but I'm a dissenter re: the show's success is due to its realism. It would be incredibly boring were it true to real life. Luckily, it's not, I contend.

While not every boss is a perfect executive, nobody who does the things Michael does could keep his job for more than a day or two. Seriously, it wouldn't even be Jan's decision. He would be slapped with a lawsuit, and the EEOC would set up shop in Scranton, in an eye blink.

Moreover, I don't see Jim and Pam's relationship as anything like realistic. To pine for someone for that length of time, and not have it come to fruition one way or another despite daily, intimate interaction, just isn't likely. I'm not saying it's never happened, but that kind of dealing surely is the rare exception and not the realistic rule. Just as some kind of overwrought, showy romance would be unrealistic, so too is this. That's why it's so great to watch on TV.

Finally, the harsh fact is that this story arc with Pam growing up is necessary because there was a legitimate undercurrent of distaste with her character in the first two seasons. Yeah, she's sweet, but she's also a person who was emotionally cheating on her fiancee (if he's such a lout, she should have broken it off) and, at least partially consciously, leading on a guy she knows deep down is in love with her to make herself feel better about it. Saying she was too weak or clueless to realize this at all is a bit condescending, I think, and is borne out of the need to rationalize somewhat unpleasant traits of a largely pleasant character.

34Posted by Clarence on October 14, 2006

I don't think Jim has an eye on Karen. I think he felt bad for her...she was reprimanded by her boss in front of everyone and he made light of it. That's just Jim. And he's not sure how to deal with Andy just yet. Andy is hilarious. SABATEUR. I can't wait to see his character grow on the show. Karen probably has an eye on Jim, though I see her with Ryan, who can be very caustic. Karen and Kelly matching wits would be very funny. This episode just okay for me. Look forward to the next one.

35Posted by not Ms. Fillipelli on October 14, 2006

So Pam got a new car. Can anybody here ID it? It looked like a 2 dr hatchback but I didn't recognize the body style from the brief camera shot.

36Posted by Mark on October 14, 2006

I read in Kristin's E column that there would be some Pam/Jim development in episode 3. I wonder how that affected the swith in episodes, as this one should have been 4th but there was no Jim/Pam references...

37Posted by Veronica on October 14, 2006

I thought Pam's car was a Matrix?
My question is: what song is Pam singing during the bird funeral? I've been trying to place it all day. It seems like it might could be a Lionel Rickie song? Someone please tell me the name of this song!

Also, spoiler alert: somewhere I heard that Pam would have a secret admirer in the office, and I don't think it's Toby Flenderson; I think it's Ryan. He catches all he little jokes and backs her up.

38Posted by Brown University on October 14, 2006

obviously, I meant Lionel Richie. Sorry about that.

39Posted by Brown University on October 14, 2006

Great ep.
I hope Andy becomes a regular.

Unrelated - are there any easter eggs on the season 2 dvds?

40Posted by Stefan on October 14, 2006

Pam lives alone in her own apartment and has a new car, all on a receptionists salary? I know years ago when I was doing that kind of office work, I had to have a roommate to get by. Not important, but interesting to note. They must pay well at Dunder MIfflin.

41Posted by Tammie on October 14, 2006

Clarence,

While I agree that the show is not entirely realistic (and that it's a good thing it isn't), I think you're somewhat understating how realistic it actually is....I feel that the show is more a realistic exaggeration of office life rather than an unrealistic satire.

Concerning Michael's behavior...over the first half of Season Two, I thought his behavior was, while obviously exaggerated, was extremely faithful to how an Office manager might act. Nearly all of his actions (hosting a horrid company awards dinner, conducting shoddy and superficial performance reviews, horribly mishandling the downsizing of an employee, scrapping Secret Santa for Yankee Swap) were things that an inept boss would do. His stupidity was not offensive or excessive, as it was in later episodes, but grew out of his inability to handle a situation properly. Honestly, I think the first 11 episodes of that season (from "The Dundies" up until "The Injury") contained a near-perfect and highly realistic characterization of Michael and are my favorite episodes of the series.

I can only think of a few instances over that stretch (giving Angela the "Tight Ass" Award, and his makeshift screenplay are the only prominent things I can think of) in which Michael did something that was unrealistic. I think "The Injury" was the first real instance where his behavior became over-the-top...but before that, for half the season, it was grounded in observation and realism.

About the Jim/Pam thing...I didn't find it that unrealistic at all, but to each his own.

And your comment about Pam "growing up" was spot-on...but isn't the evolution of her character a perfect example of the realism of this show that few others possess?

This isn't a 2-dimensional show like "Friends" where all of the main characters are perfect people. With the exception of Jim (whose character is just a little too perfect for my liking), all of the main characters are portrayed as morally ambiguous people with prominent flaws. You eluciated pretty cogently about Pam's faults...Michael and Dwight, any casual viewer should be able to see that they are complex, conflicted individuals...Ryan is a sarcastic prick who acts smug toward others...the only one who is too wholesome is Jim.

In recent eps, I will agree with you that the show has become more unrealistic, but for many ep's this wasn't the case.

Interested in your thoughts on this,

Wayne

42Posted by Wayne on October 14, 2006

Brown University - According to John, the prop guy from The Office, the song Pam sang at the bird funeral is called "On the Wings of Love". Who it's by, i have no clue. Can't help you there. Sorry if that's of no help.

43Posted by OfficeAddict on October 14, 2006

by Jeffrey Osborne. You can give a listen here: http://www.myspace.com/pambeesley

There are many Michael cringe inducing reason to fire him moments. I loved when Kelly slapped him across the face in Diversity Day. Pam is growing...nice to see her enjoying her independence. I wonder if she and Jim are emailing.

44Posted by not Ms. Fillipelli on October 14, 2006

Pam "getting her own apartment" could technically still include a roommate... it's just that she's living on her own initiative (and independently instead of with a fiance). But a receptionist could be making $30K, taking home $20K, which is about $1600 a month. You can probably get a nice enough one bedroom in Scranton for $550/$600, a car payment for$325... she's fine. Remember, she has her lunches covered for the next five weeks!

45Posted by Karen on October 14, 2006

I would say Jim does havea pretty big character flaw. He's an extreme creature of habit. Its been stated that he does the same things over and over again, and doesn't venture outside of his comfort zone. For example, he eats the same lunch every day, even when he's brought out to lunch. Every vacation, he goes to Philadelphia. He stayed at Dunder Mifflin, biding his time, beating his head against the wall for years with the whole Pam situation, without trying to change it until it was too late. He didn't learn from the dangers of interoffice romance and is allowing it to happen with the Rashida Jones character. He stays at the same job doing the same things over and over again. When he had the chance to get out, despite clearly being bored with his job and not caring so much about the company, he stayed with the same company and transferred up to a position where he does the same thing, despite clearly being bored with it (as evidenced by the chips thing with rashida's character). Thats Jims character flaw.

I would imagine Jim is a pretty boring guy otuside of work. I can almost see him hanging out at the same places with the same people, over and over again. Thats just how I imagine him. I don't see him taking too many big risks in life. The one that he did, didn't really work out too well for him.

46Posted by John on October 15, 2006

Great synopsis, but I can't believe you left out the funniest part - when Pam, Ryan and Kev all described their "family deaths"!!! that was the greatest scene all season in my opinion...

47Posted by katie on October 15, 2006

I agree with you, Katie. That seen was fantastic. My sister and I were literally gasping we were laughing so hard. And Pam's "With cream and sugar?" was hysterical. She somehow conveys the perfect balance of teasing/torture and affection with Michael. Jenna Fischer was phenomenal in this episode.

48Posted by Mel on October 15, 2006

Okay, I'm a complete dweeb. I obviously meant "scene." It's just too early.

49Posted by Mel on October 15, 2006

John: Jim switched to Tuna from his usual ham and cheese and is now wearing suits. We know his ticket to Australia was non-refundable so he probably went. He's growing too. And he's got the cutest damn smile...makes me melt every time. He does say "wow" a lot. That could get old. Still....

50Posted by not Ms. Fillipelli on October 15, 2006

In my opinion, Karen is merely a Pam "surrogate" for Jim. He's still mildly depressed, and trying to fit in, but is still psychologically hindered by the whole Pam thing. She's available and closeby, so it's a convenient distraction from his heartache. I don't believe the Karen thing will evolve much before Jim and Pam re-connect.
And my favorite line from this episode was Michael's:
"His capa was detated!"

51Posted by Routesixtysixer on October 15, 2006

"There's such a thing as good grief. Ask Charlie Brown".

52Posted by Chris on October 15, 2006

"An awfully crude way to bury someone." I'll let it go this time, James, but don't be thinkin' you can get all punned out on us, now.

Also, Brown University, I have to ask -- do you attend Brown University? Because I'm at Brown University.

53Posted by tad gupty on October 15, 2006

Pam's new car was a two door toyota yaris.

I really like cars.....

54Posted by Rolo on October 15, 2006

I was surprised by how much I liked this episode. I could see where some wouldn't be that blown away by it, but I saw:
1. A great cold open.
2. A top-notch Jan-Michael-Dwight interaction
3. Just enough Kelly-Ryan
4. Classic Creed
5. Pam being a breakout star
6. And even if the Jim-Karen interaction was rehashed from "The Fight," it does get people talking.

Also, the episode did a nice job with recalling background stories. For instance, we know Phyllis and Michael, high school classmates, have worked together (with Creed) longer than anyone else at the office, since Dwight last season said he'd been Michael's #2 for 5 years, but didn't seem to recall Ed Truck.
Also, Phyllis gets disappointed again when no one throws her the ball (little sad fist pump after Kevin gets it), and as always, no one notices she's sad.

I think Pam could afford the car if you consider that for all of Roy's indifference, he probably was paying a lot of the bills over the years. Plus, with them living together, she could have saved some cash up. Or she just owes a ton of money for the car.

55Posted by James d. on October 15, 2006

"Farm or not, an oil drum seems like an awfully crude way to bury someone..."

I so want to craft a haiku out of that pun. If you had any spare time at all, I'd suggest you head there post-haste, james, and rip one out. We regulars over there revere punny poems.

Thanks for another great recap. I've added a new word to my vocab: douchebaggery. Nice.

56Posted by garbagethrower on October 15, 2006

I can't believe you didn't mention anything about Pam, Ryan, and Kevin telling stories from movies. Ryan's was my favorite: "my cousin... Mufasa..."

57Posted by Katie on October 15, 2006

Fabulous episode! I took me a few days to really let it all sink in, but it was perfectly crafted to set up the rest of the season.

Did anyone catch the fact that Dwight said "reburied his grandfather in the oil drum"? Remember in Casino Night when he said that they originally buried his grandfather in the tux he was wearing, so "family heirloom." In Grief Counseling they cut to Dwight shoving the bird into a similarly shaped soda can.

Were the writers hinting that Dwight dug up his grandfather and reburied him in the oil drum? If so, the upcoming Schrute beet farm episode hinted about during a recent interview, should be terrifying and hilarious to say the least.

58Posted by Jillian on October 16, 2006

I thought the exact same thing about the oil drum and tuxedo connection. Very funny and morbid at the same time.

59Posted by Tyler on October 16, 2006

tad gupty:
sha!!
John Krasinski went to Brown University. He's one of your illustrious alums

60Posted by Brown University on October 16, 2006

Isn't it possible that Dwight's Grandad being 're-buried' in the Oil Drum explains how Dwight came to be wearing 'the suit his randad was buried in' in ...was it Casino Night?

61Posted by D-elle on October 17, 2006

Where behind in Oz with regards to 'The Office' so I'm always reading Northern Attack well before I get to se the episode. It's a fanastic site!

Question: Isn't it possible that Dwight's Grandad being 're-buried' in the Oil Drum explains how Dwight came to be wearing 'the suit his Grandad was buried in' in ...was it Casino Night?

Can't say I thought this was a ground-breaking episode...But they're laying a strong, subtle foundation, thats for sure. And I don't think anyone who's a fan is in it for the instant gratification side of things :)

62Posted by D-elle on October 17, 2006

lol! Sorry Jillian - just saw your post. What can I say? Great minds....

63Posted by D-elle on October 17, 2006

not Ms. Fillipelli - According to Paul Lieberstein (Toby), he said that Jim did, in fact, NOT go to Australia. Nope, he didn't get to run into Dwight on his connecting flight to Mordor :( You can find out more Here. I was a little disappointed in Jim for not taking the trip b/c i figured he could use the vacation, but it seems Ryan was right.

However, i do feel that Jim has grown a little. Maybe not as much as say, Pam, but the mere fact that he's moved on (or seems like he's moved on) is growth enough. Plus, i think, for someone who was so stuck to routine, the fact that he transferred anyway was probably a huge step for him. And yes, he does have the "cutest damn smile" :)

64Posted by OfficeAddict on October 17, 2006

From the horses mouth (Pam/Jenna): http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=27753303&blogID=181449773&MyToken=3850595f-c4c0-4f7e-bb7f-202d225cf576

On another note - my brother-in-law emailed me last night and asked "Why is Pam not with Jim!?" I've been asked this question a lot. Here is how it breaks down:

1. On Casino Night (in May) – Jim tells Pam he is in love with her and wants to be more than friends. She says, "I can't." Later, Jim kisses Pam. She responds but then pulls away. Jim says, "So you're really going to marry him?" And Pam nods "Yes." Jim says "Okay" and leaves.
2. Jim transfers to Stamford – This is in May. We know he transfers because in his conversation with Jan on Casino Night she asks him if he's told anyone about the fact that he's accepted the new job.
3. Pam reveals that she called off her wedding 6 days before the wedding. Her wedding date was June 10th. So, Jim has been in Stamford for about one month* at this point. They haven't been speaking as Jim made it clear he cannot be "just friends". (I think it would be pretty awkward to assume they've been in contact over this time.)

People want to know why she hasn't called Jim all this time but you have to look at it realistically…she just got out of a 10 year relationship with her high school sweetheart. When she called off the wedding, Jim had already been living in Stamford. She has no idea what he is doing there. Maybe he has a girlfriend but even if he doesn't, what are they going to do? Have a long distance romance? I'm sure she's thought of it but it's awkward. She's not the type of person who takes a lot of initiative.

And now, it's been 6 months since she called off the wedding. She's never lived on her own. She's never had the chance to figure out who she is without a man in her life. She went on a date because Kelly set her up. I think we all know that Kelly can be pretty persuasive. She had probably been bugging Pam for a month and Pam finally broke down. But, she hasn't dated since. She's just trying to figure things out

65Posted by Chris on October 17, 2006

This episode ranks up there when it comes to being touching.

  • I felt beyond sorry for Michael when he was so upset about Ed Truck's death. He was making a big deal out of it because he didn't want his employees to behave that way when he died.
  • Michael was able to make me see the truly lonely person inside of him. I had forgotten about Michael's main problem with the whole Jim/Pam thing going on (which I will talk about a little later). But when I was watching this episode, I remembered Take Your Daughter To Work Day, and I remember how I found out that what Michael wanted was not to be lonely, and the only way he knew how to do that was to make people part of his 'family', hence why he wanted to have a hundred kids and have all of them be his friends.
  • But I saw this episode today, and I truly felt that the people in his office should have by now recognized his loneliness and made an effort to make him feel better. And for so long people just ignored him.
  • But when Pam went through all that trouble to make a box for the bird and make the funeral a metaphor to Ed Truck, I think that was a good move on her part towards Michael. She is always the one who takes on this responsibility to make Michael feel better, like in The Dundies, where she starts cheering for him after the others at Chili's are making fun of him.
  • I think the only way people in the office can expect more from Michael is by treating him like a peer and not just ignoring him.
  • The only other part of the episode I wanted to mention is when we see Jim go through loads of trouble to get the girl in the Stamford office her chips. I really think that now that Pam is free to pursue, he shouldn't give up on her.
66Posted by Sing on December 1, 2006