Children of all shapes and sizes invade the office during an eventful Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Some view it as an opportunity to exercise their hormones, thereby provoking the ire of their overprotective fathers, while others are content with general mischief and tomfoolery. Still, others manage to make it through the day without uttering a defiant word, and, in the process, reveal a wisdom far beyond their years.
Michael’s humanity is always exposed in the most painfully effective ways. Take tonight’s trip in the Way Back Machine, for instance.
Edward R. Meow : So, tell me, what do you wanna be when you grow up?
Michael : I wanna be married and have 100 kids so I can have 100 friends, and no one can say no to being my friend.
Edward R. Meow : [Pauses for several seconds] Uh… oh, ok. Well, nice talking with you, Michael. Back to you, Miss Trudy!
As difficult as it was to watch little Michael embarrass his present-day self, the aftermath proved even more punishing.
Melissa : Did you get married?
Michael : Uh, no.
Abby : Why not?
Michael : Uh, it just never happened.
Sasha : So, do you have any kids?
Michael : Uh, nope.
Jake : Do you have a girlfriend?
Michael : I do ok.
Melissa : Was Chet Montgomery cool back then?
Michael : Yes.
Jake : Even I have a girlfriend.
Michael : Ok. Alright, ok.
Sasha : So you didn’t get to be who you wanted to be.
Michael : I guess not.
Michael Scott has got to be one of the most likeable unlikeable characters to have ever graced the television screen.
Dwight belongs in Colonial America with a bonneted Angela at his side and an army of mini-Dwangelas working the fields.
Dwight : This is a very special story. It’s called Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann from 1864. The great tall tailor always comes to little girls that suck their thumbs. Are you listening, Sasha?
Sasha : [Nods]
Dwight : Right? And ere they dream what he is about, he takes his great sharp scissors out and then cuts their thumbs clean off.
Michael : Dwight, Dwight.
Dwight : There’s a photo…
Michael : What the hell are you reading?
Dwight : These are cautionary tales for kids, Michael.
Dwight and young, impressionable minds are two things that should never be placed in close proximity to one another.
It’s good to see Jim getting on with his life despite all that’s happened over the past several weeks.
Michael : I… am… like Superman, and the people who work here are like citizens of Gotham City.
Dwight and Jim : That’s Batman.
Michael : Ok, I’m Aquaman. Where does he live, guys?
Jim : The ocean.
Michael : I work with a bunch of nerds.
Something about his delivery here always cracks me up.
It’s funny, I actually imagined Pam being good with children given what we saw of her mother during Sexual Harrasment.
Pam : I am actually looking forward to Take Your Daughter to Work Day. I am not great with kids, but I wanna get better… because I’m getting married. So I put out a bunch of extra candy on my desk so the kids will come talk to me. [Pauses] Like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.
You know, the witch nabbed a bunch of kids before Hansel and Gretel put an end to her wicked ways.
There wasn’t much dialogue exchanged between Jim and Pam during Take Your Daughter to Work Day, but the camera did reveal some telling observations. Four scenes caught my eye, in particular.
Jim : What are you reading?
Abby : From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Jim : Oh, best book.
Abby : Yeah, but I read it before.
Jim : Pssh. So have I. Hey, question: if you had to spend the night in the Met or the aquarium, which would it be?
Abby : Definitely the aquarium.
Jim : Definitely. Yes. Glad you said that. You don’t wanna help me with some of my sales, do you? ‘Cause I’m kinda swamped.
Abby : Sure.
Jim : Really?
Abby : Mmm-hmm.
Jim : Yes. And you’re Abby, right?
Abby : Yeah.
Jim : I’m Jim. [Gives Abby a high-five] And let’s sell some paper.
Abby : Alright.
Jim : Let’s start with your mom.
Pam may be absent from the conversation, but I’d say it’s pretty easy to read what’s going through her mind as she watches Jim work his magic, especially after he’s successfully coaxed Abby into helping him.
Pam : He’s not coming out. He won’t pick up the phone.
Jim : I can’t believe his mom dressed him like that. That’s the real tragedy.
Roy : [Wrestling with Jake] Pam, Pam! I love this guy.
Note her reaction at the end of this scene after Jim turns his back to her. And that, folks, is how you successfully fuel speculation in one second flat.
Kevin : [Encourages Abby] Go ahead.
Abby : Do you wanna come over for dinner tonight?
Jim : Oh man, I would love to. I can’t tonight, but can I come over some other time?
Abby : [Nods her head]
Kevin : What are you doing? You never have plans.
Jim : Thanks, Kev. Um, I’m actually going on a date.
Kevin : Nice.
There is clearly some form of distress, be it jealousy or regret, evident in Pam’s face after she hears of Jim’s date. Words of affirmation they are not, but it’s something close.
Jim : Why does he own a guitar if he doesn’t know how to play it?
Pam : I think he thought his ukulele skills would transfer.
Jim : [Sneaks away as Pam is looking away]
Pam : My theory is that… [Notices that Jim is leaving and waves goodbye]
This final scene is more difficult to read, but the lingering camera suggests that the wheels are turning upstairs.
So, what we have here is a collection of assorted glances and gazes that, when taken together, would seem to support the notion that Pam is beginning to see the light. We’re definitely set for things to reach a breaking point sometime over the next few episodes — perhaps not the breaking point, but a breaking point, nonetheless — though a lack of concrete evidence keeps things in Even territory for the time being.
Stanley was bound to erupt at some point, although mistaking Kelly for a credible source of information seems like a pretty serious misstep. Paternal instincts interfering with his typically sound judgment, no doubt.
Stanley : That little girl is a child! I don’t wanna see you sniffing around her anymore this afternoon. Do you understand?
Ryan : Yes.
Stanley : Boy, have you lost your mind? ‘Cause I’ll help you find it. Whatcha looking for? Ain’t nobody gonna help you out there. Jesus can come through that door, and he’s not gonna help you if you don’t stop sniffing after my child.
Ryan : Ok.
[Cut to interview outside]
Ryan : Stanley yelled at me today. That was one of the most frightening experiences of my life.
Now that’s Stanley the Manly. I predict difficult times ahead for Melissa’s future boyfriends.
Michael, who demonstrates yet again that he’s got a surprisingly good singing voice. Listen to that falsetto!
Michael : Listen, I like kids. But this is not a kids’ environment. This is like HBO. No limits. Who knows what I’m gonna say? Crazy stuff. And it is R rated. It is not rated G.
Next up: Dunder-Mifflin, Raw and Uncut.
Dwight : [Looks at Sasha, Toby’s daughter] Hmm. Hello, tiny one.
Toby : Come on. [Hurries Sasha along]
Dwight : You are the future.
Toby recognizes the threat of prolonged exposure to Dwight all too well.
Kevin : Abby’s my fiance Stacy’s daughter. I think she’ll have a good time. I just hope she doesn’t look on my computer. [Pauses] Actually, I’d better go check.
I hope Stacy realizes what she’s getting herself into.
Stanley : Michael, you remember my daughter Melissa.
Michael : Oh, yes. Hello, how are you? Good to see you. Wow, you’ve really grown up. You know what? Don’t mind me saying so. She is turning into a stone cold fox. Better keep the frat boys away from her.
Melissa : I’m in 8th grade.
Michael : Oh…
Stanley : She’s in middle school.
Michael : Yeah, middle school’s amazing. It is extraordinary. An extraordinary time.
The limits of cluelessness have never been stretched further.
Toby : Ok, tell ‘em what you wanted to say.
Sasha : Do you need any help?
Angela : No… thanks. We’d have to explain everything. It’s probably just easier if we do it ourselves.
Toby : Alright, I wasn’t expecting that. Let’s, uh, let’s go draw.
Kelly : Oh, my God. She is so cute, I wanna die. Don’t you just love kids, Angela?
Angela : I guess I wouldn’t mind a pair of small, well-behaved boys.
You know what this reminds me of? Captain Von Trapp and his pre-Julie Andrews progeny from The Sound of Music.
Ryan : Kelly and I both agreed that we would just have fun. And I’m learning that fun for Kelly is getting married and having babies. Immediately. With me.
This can’t possibly end well.
Pam : I only have one goal today. To make one kid like me. Just one.
C’mon, kids! How could you not like Pam?
Abby : [Shakes Jim’s hand]
Jim : Ow, ow, ow, ow, you broke my hand.
Dwight : There is no way that hurt.
Jim : Really? ‘Cause she’s pretty strong, Dwight.
Dwight : Little girl, come over here. Shake my hand. Come on, I don’t have all day.
Abby : [Shakes Dwight’s hand]
Dwight : I didn’t feel anything. Nothing. You’re so weak.
Dwight’s children, assuming that such a troubling future is ever realized, will have pathetically low self-esteems.
Michael : Children cannot lie. They are innocent, and they speak the truth. And out of the mouths of babes, Michael Scott is freakin’ cool.
Michael definitely has a way with words, for better or worse. Usually for worse, but for better, I think, in this case.
Angela : [Approaches Dwight so as to not attract attention] You know, I never misbehaved in front of my father because he was a very strict disciplinarian. I can only hope my mate has some of those same qualities.
Angela is to Dwight as a black widow is to her tragically screwed partner.
Jake : You’re just a middleman.
Michael : I’m not just a middleman.
Melissa : Wait, why doesn’t the sawmill just sell the paper directly to people?
Michael : You are describing Office Depot, and they’re kind of running us out of business.
Dwight : We have better service than they do!
Probably not necessary to defend company practices to a bunch of kids, but hey, I’m not the Dunder-Mifflin Salesman of the Year.
Michael : This is Creed. And he is in charge of… something, right?
Creed : That is correct.
Michael : Say hi to the kids.
Creed : Hi, kids.
Michael : Yay!
Creed : Have you ever seen a foot with four toes?
Kids : Eww!
Michael : What are you doing? Stop it, stop it! Just no no no. No, no! Would you cut it out? What is your problem?
Creed : The hair covers it up, mostly…
Don’t use drugs, kids, or you’ll end up with four toes and the inability to perform tasks lasting longer than a phone call.
Michael : That is Miss Trudy. Can’t tell from her costume, but she had an amazing body.
Jim’s reaction says it all.
Jake : Mr. Poop, I have to tell you something.
Dwight : Uh, ok, but first that’s not my name.
Jake : You’re ugly.
Dwight : Well, at least I’m not a horrible little latchkey kid who got suspended from school, so…
Jake : Meredith!
Angela : [Gives Dwight a look of approval]
Dwight and Angela leave a trail of crying children behind wherever they go.
Michael : Yes, it is true. I, Michael Scott, am signing up with an online dating service. Thousands of people have done it, and I am going to do it. I need a username, and I have a great one: Littlekidlover. That way people will know exactly where my priorities are at.
If there ever was a sure-fire ticket to prison, this is most certainly it.
Dwight : The Schrutes considered children very valuable. In the olden days, the women would bear many children so we would have enough laborers to work the fields. And if it was an especially cold winter and there weren’t enough grains or vegetables, they would eat the weakest of the brood. [Pauses for a moment, then laughs] They didn’t eat the children. [Pauses again] It never came to that.
Good thing it didn’t. Otherwise, Dwight might not be here today.