They want eleven dollar bills, and it turns out Michael has only got ten. Going broke under the weight of Jan’s remodeling projects and his own irrepressible need for more magic supplies, Michael has taken a second job working at a call bank. But it all comes crashing down when he begins to neglect his duties at Dunder Mifflin, leaving Oscar and Jan to attempt to save the day as a baffled and desperate Michael does a runner. In other news, Jim and Pam have a “romantic” night away at Dwight’s new bed and breakfast, which leads them to discover that Dunder Mifflin’s top salesman is still struggling with his recent breakup.
Michael’s been under a lot of stress this season. Little did we know that, beyond the pressures of baffling new technology and nearly killing one of his employees with his car, he’s bleeding green, as well.
[Michael talks to the cameras about his money problems.]
Michael: Yes, money’s been a little tight lately. But, at the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I going to be thinking about how much money I have? No. I’m going to be thinking about how many friends I have. And my children. And my comedy albums. I mean, I have a yacht, so I obviously did pretty well, money-wise.
I love that Michael, forty-something, still views the world in much the same way a child does: His grand achievements are still ahead of him, and truly his life has not yet begun. So what if his goals are, for lack of a better word, preposterous? He’s got dreams. Would that mine were as grand as his. Follow those dreams, kiddo.
[At his second job, Michael attends a “useless” staff meeting. His word, by the way.]
Nick: Make the call, say the lines, make the sale. Got it?
Michael: Very inspirational.
Nick: We’re offering a fifty dollar bonus tonight to the guy with the most sales, all right?
Coworker: Or woman.
Michael: Or trained seal.
Nick: You can make jokes when you’ve made a sale there, rookie.
Is there a human being on Earth who has less self-awareness than Michael? (Well, maybe Andy.) I often wonder what he sees when he looks in the mirror. A comedian with the head of Steve Martin, the body of Jim Carey, and the talons of a hawk?
[Michael, having been forced to quit his second job, scrambles for other methods of finding cash.]
Michael: I was thinking about doing some gambling myself. You know, just a little bit of money. Maybe doubling it, and doubling it several more times. I don’t know. Kinda, just for fun — I was thinking, do you have any tips or ideas about sure things? Like a boxer, um, who is gonna throw the big fight, you know, he’s tied into some crooked dealings and maybe his kid is sick or something, like, who would I call about that?
Kevin (whispering): The Mob.
Michael (adapting an concordantly low tone of voice): Do you know anybody in the Mob?
Yes, Michael. Kevin is actually a made man. He once stabbed a guy to death with a pen, and then had dinner with his mom while the body sat in the trunk of his car outside.
[Seemingly out of options, definitely out of money, Michael has bolted for the train yard. He sits in an empty boxcar.]
Michael: What am I doing? I am blowing Dodge. I am getting out of town. Whatever you call it, I am running away from my responsibilities. It feels good.
Oh man, if only it were this simple. If you could solve your problems like this, I can think of at least one ex-girlfriend, two college professors, three credit card companies and one major metropolitan police department who would have had to eat my dust after I took the midnight train to Georgia.
[Jan attempts to talk Michael off his train.]
Jan: Well, when my life fell apart, and they screwed me in New York, and I felt like my whole world was collapsing around me, I didn’t have anyone. I mean my whole family still won’t even talk to me on the advice of council, and my friends were just waiting for this to happen.
Michael: That’s very nice of you to say.
Jan: Michael, no, what I want to say is, you were there for me. By my side. Without even a thought. It’s just who you are. I mean, no matter how badly I treat you or what I’m going through, you just — you are there for me. And that is a guy worth staying beside. . . . So where’s this train taking us?
Michael (crying): I think the engineer left.
This was a very touching scene, and a necessary one, in my mind. There’s always been some question as to what Jan saw in Michael (or what he sees in her, for that matter, other than her fake breasts), and now we know. She sees what we, the audience, get to see only in glimpses: He’s stupid, vain, and childish, but he’s also loyal and possesses a redemptive innocence. Besides, she did say that a major factor in the breakup of her marriage was a desire for kids — and dating Michael must be very much like having a giant kid.
Dwight has started shaving again, thankfully, but all is not well in his life. I sincerely hope his bed and breakfast — agro-touristic — whatever it’s called, I hope it goes better than his relationship with Angela and her cats.
[In the parking lot, Dwight returns to Angela things she left at his farm.]
Dwight: One Cardigan. One sleeping cardigan. One sleep apnea mask.
Angela: What about my cherub figurine?
Dwight: You took that with you.
Angela: No, I left it on my night — your night table, by the lamp.
Dwight: You are incorrect. I was recently scrubbing my room of memories, and I didn’t see it there.
Yet another thing that I wish worked. Scranton must be a magical land, where all your problems can be solved with a train ride and the thorough application of soap and elbow grease.
[Jim, investigating a terrifying ghostly moaning, has found Dwight, fully clothed, sitting on his bed, weeping over Angela’s cherub figurine]
Jim: Hey, Dwight.
Dwight: Oh, Jim. I thought you were Mose.
Jim: Does Mose have nightmares?
Dwight: Oh yes. Ever since the storm.
Jim: (glances to the camera, nonplussed)
Dwight: Is everything satisfactory with your stay?
Jim: Yeah, yeah.
Jim: I just thought I heard crying, or . . . moaning, or something, in here.
Dwight: Oh. Well, I’ll look into that in the morning. Thank you for bringing that to the attention of the staff.
One gets the sense that Dwight lives in a much more Gothic universe than the rest of us. It’s like Jim’s in Scranton, and Dwight is in a William Faulker novel.
There haven’t been a lot of references of the emotional reality of being Jim this season, I guess because it’s so obvious that he’s delirious just to be with Pam. But he is still a man who just went through a fairly harrowing couple of years.
[Jim and Dwight sit in the stairwell, Dwight weeping weirdly into the wall, Jim attempting to comfort him.]
Jim: Did I ever tell you why I left Scranton?
Jim: Yeah, I didn’t think I had. Well, it was all about Pam.
Dwight: (still unintelligible)
Jim: Yeah, I mean, she was with Roy, and I just couldn’t take it. I mean, I lost it, Dwight. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, and weird stuff, like, food had no taste. So my solution was to move away. It was awful. And it is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And that includes you.
You really get a sense of the depth of Jim’s despair, here. In those days, at least in front of the camera, he was pretending nothing was going on. You knew he must have had to have been pretty desperate to make a play for Pam only weeks before her wedding, but it makes it so much more real to hear it in his own words. This is Jim’s first really reflective moment of the season. It’s good that his response to self-examination is to go lay a big smacker on Pam.
Pam is a hip lady. That’s one of many things to love about her — she goes to the movies, she listens to pop music, she gets the pop culture references. I think, on an objective coolness scale, you’d have to say she’s cooler than Jim. This comes in handy when Michael decides to start imitating movie characters.
[Michael has been impersonating the Meryl Streep character from The Devil Wears Prada all week.]
Michael: I owe you an apology.
Pam: You finished the movie.
Michael: Yeah. It was awesome. Big surprise ending — won’t ruin it for ya.
Pam: No, go ahead.
Michael: Meryl Streep is the bad guy. Never see it coming. Anyway, if I was mean, in anyway, to you, I am sorry. I just want what’s best for you, Menushka.
Pam (mouthing): Menushka?
[Cut to a talking head with Pam.]
Pam: Macushla! He’s watching Million-Dollar Baby. [Her smile fades.] He’s gonna try to kill me.
I looked it up. Macushla is an anachronistic Irish word meaning, roughly, “darling”. I had assumed it was Yiddish. Either way, Pam’s too smart to fall prey to any harebrained scheme of Michael’s.
Pam and Jim continue to stride forward into a brave new world, passing new benchmarks in their relationship every day. Dwight and Angela, meanwhile, are in a state of collapse.
[We hear Jim’s voice as we see a montage of Schrute Farms activities: Beet-mashing, manure shoveling, what have you.]
Jim: You know, I just realized, this is Pam’s and my first night away together. I sued to play it over in my head, and it was just a little bit different. Maybe a nice hotel, or a romantic dinner. Wine. But wine that wasn’t made out of beets. Didn’t think Dwight would be involved at all. And I always imagined less manure. I mean, some manure, but less.
This little scene here sort of bookends the Jim and Pam story line this episode, along with the one above in which Jim bares his soul to Dwight. Both give you a sense of just how long Jim has lived with the idea of Pam, and both end with a little humor beat that almost seems as if it’s there to distract you from what he’s really saying. Also, given that Pam still had her bra on when she woke up in the middle of the night, I’d say there’s probably another aspect of this evening that didn’t go exactly how Jim imagined it.
[Jim, in the wake of his confession to Dwight, storms back into the office.]
Pam: Hey, I was thinking about dinner, we –
[He interrupts her with a long, deep kiss.]
Jim: Uh, dinner. Let’s see, maybe we should try the new Italian place where the dry-cleaner used to be.
[Cut to a talking head with Pam.]
Pam: Jim’s just really passionate about Italian food.
[Queue a talking head with Jim.]
Jim: Yeah, I’m very passionate about Italian food. In fact I’m in love with Italian food.
A few notes: First of all, that’s about the most passionate kiss you’d ever want to lay on someone in front of all your coworkers. I know some people were hoping to see tongue, but they were standing at reception, in front of the whole office, as far as I could tell. Second, after Pam’s line about Italian food, she lights up one of those really serious Pam-smiles that leave you a little giddy for several seconds, even after she’s not on screen anymore. Third, I love the little detail about the dry-cleaner. It’s one of the things that’s great about this show — it gets the little nuances of everyday life, like how the restaurant you want to try is in the same space as the place you used to take your sport coats to get cleaned. Fourth, and finally, Jim said he was in love with Pam. That’s a biggie right there.
Jim said he was in love with Pam once before. That was a long time ago. Now, we’re back there, only this time, Pam’s got the guts to love him back. (Well, I assume so. She hasn’t said it, which I can imagine becoming an issue at some point in the future. But you get the picture.) All in all, I’d say Money rates an up, up and away on the JPI.
Meanwhile, Dwight and Angela are broken up, and not only that, but it appears that she’s moving on.
[Angela, cradling a cat that Andy has given her, approaches his desk — only feet from where Dwight sits.]
Angela: You may ask me out to dinner. Nothing fancy or foreign. No bars, no patios, no vegetables. And no seafood.
[Dwight, crushed, bolts.]
What, pray tell, does that woman eat? She’s vegetarian, as well, so without vegetables on her menu, she’s pretty much got noodles and bread available. Maybe that’s why she’s so small.
Anyway, the real slap in the face here, if you’re Dwight, is that the cat Andy used to win his date with Angela is none other than Garbage, the cat Dwight attempted to win her back with not so long ago. In light of Angela’s plans with Hawkman — er, Andy –, and the whole cat business in general, Money rates a bottle of bourbon and a Johnny Cash record on the Dwangela S&P. Sigh.
I don’t know if this is unprecedented, but I’m going to say it is, and hand out an unprecedented three-way tie in this category: Much love to Darryl, for showing Kelly what a real man is like, Oscar, for playing the straight man despite the fact that’s not straight at all, and Dwight’s cousin Mose, who makes Dwight look downright normal.
I considered giving it to Dwight again, but truth be told, it can’t be anybody but Michael this week. This was one of those episodes where The Office showed us a little bit of its heart, and a little bit of Michael Scott’s, too.
Dwight: Agrotourism is a lot more than a bed-and-breakfast. It consists of tourists coming to a farm, showing them around, giving them a bed, and giving them breakfast.
It turns out that agrotourism is a real thing. I, personally, can’t feature it. Isn’t history at least partially the story of man’s desire to get out of the fields, and into the cities?
Kevin: The bar uses an applause meter. That is why it is so important that you all come and applaud only for my band, Scrantonicity II. NOT SCRANTONICITY, which I am no longer a part of.
I’ll do that as soon as you check out my band, Dork Side of the Moon XXXXVII.
Jim: I can’t believe this place is real. I mean, I’d heard about his beet farm for years, but –
Pam: The Beets Motel.
Jim: “The Beets Motel”. That is — wow.
Pam: Thank you.
Jim: The Borscht Hotel.
Pam: Eh. The Embassy Beets. Radish Inn.
Jim: How are you doing this?
This was a very sweet little scene in which you got to see exactly why it is that Jim is so passionate about Italian food.
Dwight: Now then, do you have any special needs or dietary restrictions?
Jim: Yes. We will be requiring a bedtime story.
Jim: Not even Harry Potter?
Dwight: No, Jim. C’mon.
Mose: But you promised!
I’m not sure Mose is grown-up enough for the seventh Harry Potter book. There’s some pretty serious stuff in there.
Jim: I’d say one in six.
Jim: I thought you asked me what our chances were of being murdered here tonight.
So, who’s the killer? A grieving Dwight, a short-circuited Mose, or Freddy Kreuger?
[Stanley, on the phone, explains why he was so mad when Michael cold-called him to sell diet pills.]
Stanley: When I’m at home at night in my own house in my sweats drinkin’ some red wine watching my mystery stories, the last thing in the whole godforsaken world I wanna hear is the voice of Michael Scott.
That’s the fastest I’ve ever heard Stanley talk. I know there oughta be some more commas in there, but he didn’t stop to breathe through that whole thing, so I’m not going to put any in. Anyway, what “mystery stories” do you suppose Stanley watches? My guesses: Monk, Law and Order, Cold Case, and House, and maybe that thing with Dame Helen Mirren that they run on PBS sometimes. Stanley seems like a PBS sort of person to me.
Michael: It’s so competitive here. What’s a dollar worth in your land? Medical school must have cost like, 40 bucks or a donkey or something.
Vicram: Uh, no.
Michael: I woulda been chief of surgery. Or a cowboy.
Vicram seems like a nice guy. Lets Michael share his food. Doesn’t punch his lights out. That sort of thing.
Jim: You okay?
Dwight: I am better than you ever have been or ever will be.
How miserable does Dwight think other people’s lives are, exactly?
Ryan: What I really want, honestly, Michael, is for you to know this information, so that you can communicate it to the people here, to you clients, to whomever.
Michael: Ugh, okay.
Michael: It’s “whoever”, not “whomever”.
Ryan: No, it’s “whomever”.
Michael: No, “whomever” is never actually right.
Jim: Well, sometimes it’s right.
Creed: Michael is right. It’s a made-up word used to trick students.
Andy: Actually, “whomever” is the formal version of the word.
Oscar: Obviously it’s a real word, but I don’t know when to use it correctly.
Michael (aside): Not a native speaker.
Kevin: I know what is right, but I’m not gonna say, because you’re all jerks who did not come see my band last night.
Ryan: Do you really know which one is correct?
Kevin: I don’t know.
Pam: It’s “whom” when it’s the object of the sentence, an “who” when it’s the subject.
Phyllis: That sounds right.
Michael: Well, it sounds right, but is it?
Stanley: How did Ryan use it, as an object?
Ryan: As an object.
Kelly: Ryan used me as an object.
Stanley: Is he right about that.
Pam: How did he use it again?
Toby: It was, Ryan wanted Michael, the subject, to explain the computer system, the object –
Michael: Thank you.
Toby: — to whomever, meaning us, the indirect object, which is the correct usage of the word.
Michael: No one asked you anything, ever, so whomever’s name is Toby, why don’t you take a letter opener and stick it in your skull?
Whew. So, a few points:
(1) That is the longest riff they’ve ever had on this show, I’m sure of it. It far outdistances the “Dwight Schrute is now wearing a baby’s bonnet” scene.
(2) Pam is right. Another reason to love Pam: she’s good with grammar.
(3) Creed, so good with infer versus imply, appears to have taken some more drugs since then.
(4) Kelly is wrong. She used Ryan as an object — essentially a boyfriend-doll; she was impervious to any of his wishes, desires or signals. Ryan used her as something else.
(5) Paul Lieberstein, who wrote and directed this episode, certainly teed one up for himself to hit it out of the park in this scene. Way to make yourself look smart, man.
Michael: I was never in this for the money. But it turns out that the money was a necessity for me. I tried to live the dream. I tried to have a job, a girlfriend, another girlfriend, another job . . . and I failed. But the good thing about the American dream is that you can just go to sleep and try it all again the next night.
I tried to live the dream the other day, but Jenna Fischer’s assistant has stopped answering my e-mails. And then when I woke up the next day, I forgot to try to live the dream again.
Stanley: I bet it’s Jan spending him straight into the poorhouse.
Kevin: Yeah, women be shoppin’.
I cannot say I sponsor Kevin’s taste in movies.
Michael: Whatcha talking about? Okay, I know what’s going on. You’re talking about Jim and Pam. If they’re having sex — what it looks like. You know, I think –
I know of a couple of web sites Michael can go to, if he wants to discuss that exact thing in more depth.
[Darryl and Kelly, now apparently dating, have contrasting talking heads.]
Darryl: It’s like she only wants to hook up when Ryan comes around. It’s getting to the point where I get excited every time I see that little dude walk through the door.
Kelly: Darryl Philbin is the most complicated man that I have ever met. I mean, who says exactly what they’re thinking? What kind of game is that?
One hopes that dating an actual man will help Kelly grow up a little. Also, one hopes that no one comes up with a cutesy portmanteaux of their names, so I don’t have to start giving the “Kerryl Update” every other week.
Michael: We’ll find another way. We’ll ask PowerPoint.
Oscar: Michael, this is a presentation tool.
Michael: You’re a presentation tool if you think I’m gonna tell Jan about this!
Oscar: I’m done.
Oscar rarely gets the funniest lines, but throughout the second half of this episode, he anchored Michael, playing his humor while preventing from driving into any lakes, if you know what I mean.
If you want to reach Linus with offers of money, sex, or fame beyond his wildest imaginings, he can be contacted at email@example.com. And he promises he spelled it right this time.