Business takes a turn for the weird when Michael finds a toxic package waiting for him at the office. In an effort to escape the stench, he commandeers Jim’s desk where he spends the rest of the day making false promises and inciting general mayhem. Meanwhile, Jim sets up shop at the back of the office and barely makes it through the day. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, inspiration arrives from a familiar source.
The latest incident at the office puts all of Michael’s friendships to the test. It’s a good thing there weren’t many of them to begin with.
Michael : Last week, I would’ve given a kidney to anyone in this office. I would’ve reached right into my stomach and pulled it out for them. But now, no. I don’t have the relationship with these people that I thought I did. I hope they ask. So they can hear me say, uhhh… no. I only give my organs to my real friends. Go get yourself a monkey kidney.
I know of no better way to gauge the quality of a friend than by the evolutionary rank of the creature whose organs they are worthy of receiving.
Dwight’s suspicion knows no bounds. It’s a wonder his relationship with Angela has survived for so long, though threats of divine retribution probably have something to do with it.
Michael : Here she comes.
[Cleaning lady walks out of the office]
Michael : All clean? Great.
[Michael and Dwight walk back into the office and then right back out]
Dwight : Still stinky.
Michael : That is worse.
Dwight : She probably scrubbed it into the fibers of the carpet. Total permeation.
Sinister doesn’t even begin to describe it. No man or woman is that evil.
It has not been a kind month for Jim.
Jim : Pam’s on vacation, and she gets back tomorrow, so it’ll be nice to see her. It’ll be nice. And, uh, she set a date for the wedding with Roy. Uh, June. Summer. So, that’ll be nice. And that’s that.
And there we have nice being used three different ways.
There is an impenetrable bubble of indifference that extends around reception. Invisible to the naked eye, it does an exceptionally good job of keeping the Michael out.
Michael : Watch out, Pam. You’re next.
Pam : You’re gonna throw my things on the ground?
Michael : Maybe.
We’ve come a long way from the mock firing of the Pilot. My money’s on Pam if they ever come to blows.
This episode manages to serve up a healthy dose of Jim and Pam without having them exchange more than a few sentences.
Never has it been more apparent than it was in The Carpet as to what’s really keeping Jim at his job. It turns out a day without Pam isn’t much of a day at all as we are treated to shots of Jim wandering aimlessly around the office. Take the episode in the break room, for instance: faced with the choice of listening to Pam and Roy happily getting along versus death-by-yabbering from Kelly, he instead chooses to retreat into the men’s room to enjoy his coffee.
The remainder of the episode is an exercise in how to cope with a meaningless existence. Hyperbole, perhaps? Maybe, but you wouldn’t know it from Jim’s demeanor. First, we get a shot of him approaching the snack room for his routine lunch with Pam and then turning away when he notices Roy at the table. A short while later, we catch a glimpse of him waving goodbye to Pam through the break room door. She doesn’t see him, and we get a sense that we’ve just seen the last straw. Our next shot is one of him acting out of desperation.
Jim : Hey, Brenda, this is, uh, Jim Halpert from the boat. And I got your number from the corporate directory. And, well, I was assuming that you probably gave it to them because you wanted me to ask you out, right? Um, so give me a call back. You can get my number from said directory, um, or just check your email… ’cause I just sent you one. Yikes. Uh, give me a call back… I hope. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
Kelly : You just asked a girl out on the phone.
Jim : Yup.
Now, we’ve crossed into truly dire straits. Cold-calling business acquaintances for dates is a tactic best left for the Michael Scotts of the world. Jim does it anyway, though, as an entire nation of viewers throws their collective arms into the air. We would have had a riot on our hands had things been left at that; luckily, Pam extinguishes any threat of commotion with what may very well be the finest closer we’ve seen yet.
Jim : [Listens to voice mail messages]
Pam [On voice mail] : Hey, Jim. It’s Pam. I keep looking up to say something to you, and then Michael’s there, and it’s horrible. Anyway, I’m bored. Come back.
Pam : Hey, guess what. I moved my computer so I can’t see Michael’s head. It’s working. I think I can have a career as a very specific type of decorator.
Pam : Sudoku. Level: moderate. Time: 18 minutes. Suck on that, Halpert.
Pam : I’ll transfer you. Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam. Hold, please. Dunder Mifflin, this is–ok, sorry. Michael was standing at my desk and I needed to be busy or who knows what would’ve happened, so thank you.
Pam : Hey, what’s that word we made up for when you have a thing stuck in your shoe? Anyway, I have a thing stuck in my shoe.
Pam : Hey, I have a chance to sneak out of here early, and I’m not messing this up so I’ll see you tomorrow.
Pam : Calling from my cell phone. I don’t know if you guys figured out who did that to Michael’s carpet yet, but I have a theory that it involves an interdepartmental conspiracy–everybody in the office. We need to talk.
I’d call this sequence genius, but that would be selling it short. The more I watch it, the more I realize how lucky we are to have a show like this on the air. It gives me hope that despite the pressure to appeal to the lowest common denominator, there still exists a place for shows that are less concerned with immediate gratification and more concerned with simply getting it right. And this scene definitely gets it right.
Sooner or later, the writers of the show are going to give me a reason to slap one of these things with a clear, indisputable negative rating on the JPI. Not today, though. Despite all of the forlorn looks, The Carpet still manages an Even.
We’re finally seeing more of Ryan. If he keeps this up, I’ll have to give him his own section along with the rest of the starting five.
Jim : [Looks towards reception, occupied by Ryan while Pam is out on vacation]
Ryan : What?
[Cut to interview]
Ryan : Jim’s been looking at me kind of… a lot all week. I would be creeped out by it, but it’s nothing compared to the way Michael… looks at me.
[Cut back to the action where we see Michael staring at Ryan though the blinds in his office]
This scene is flat-out hilarious. I don’t know what I’d do if I ever caught someone looking at me like that.
Jim takes it for the second week in a row. The shot of him taking sanctuary in the men’s room pretty much sealed the deal.
Michael : Spamster.
Pam : Um… Pam, plus Spam, plus–
Michael : Hamster.
Pam : Right.
Michael : Welcome back. How was your vacation?
Pam : It was great.
Michael : Yeah? Did you get lucky?
Pam : [Taken aback for a moment]
Michael : Oop! Boink.
Michael wakes up every morning thinking of what nonsensical phrase to call Pam next.
Pam : Roy and I just got back from the Poconos. I get ten vacation days a year, and I try to hold off taking them for as along as possible, and this year I got to… the third week in January.
She must really love her job.
Creed : Hey, guys. Somebody making soup?
That is foul beyond foul. Normally, I would shrug this off as a joke, but this is Creed.
Michael : I am a big Fear Factor fan. Um, I’m a big fan of anything Joe Rogan does, actually. So, this is sort of like my audition tape. Um… [Clears throat] I can’t stand it. I can’t stay in here another second.
Any reference to NewsRadio is a welcome one.
Jim : What? I did not do that. That sounds disgusting.
Ryan : [Giggling] It wasn’t me. Um…it wasn’t me. It was not me.
Things have gotten really bad if even Ryan can’t control himself.
Michael : Ed Truck was the manager before me. Horrible. He hated fun. It was like, oh, Ed Truck is walking toward us. Stop having fun. Start pretending to do work. What a jerk. He’s–you know what? I swore to myself, that if I ever got to walk around the room as manager, people would laugh when they saw me coming and would applaud as I walked away.
First off, that fanny pack suits Michael well, almost as well as that glorious mullet of his. Second off, the headline in the newsletter (Michael Scott achieves top sales honors for Scranton for the third straight quarter) indicates that Michael may at one time have known what he was doing. And as for that promise he made to himself… I’d say he got half of it right, though not for the reasons he might have envisioned.
Kelly : I’m serious, my closet doors will not shut. I mean, it only takes so long to measure to make sure that clothes will hang up. ‘Cause aren’t all hangers, like, that big? So I don’t understand why the closet engineer didn’t think of that.
Someone send that guy back to closet engineering school.
Kelly : Oh, my God, he is so cute. Would you talk to him for me and see if he likes me?
Jim : Oh, no, I don’t think I can–
Kelly : Oh, please, Jim. Please, please, Jim. Please, please, please? He’s so cute. I like him so much. And I would do it, but I’m too shy. Please, Jim? Please, please, please? Please, Jim, please? Please, please?
The law of diminishing returns kicks in at around the third or fourth please.
Michael [Whispers] : Dwight.
Dwight [Whispers] : Michael.
Michael : Let’s set up accounting.
Dwight : What?
Michael : Old-fashioned raid. Sales on accounting. Follow my lead.
[Michael and Dwight walk over to accounting]
Michael : Hey, guys.
Oscar : Hey, Michael.
Michael : What’s up?
Oscar : Hey, Dwight.
[Dwight and Michael scream and laugh as they tear up everyones’ desks]
One look at Dwight and Angela and it’s easy to tell who wears the pants in the relationship. Angela was this close to clobbering Dwight with the Bible I’m sure she keeps in her desk.
Oscar : What happened in Michael’s office was wrong. I understand it. It makes sense. [Laughs] But it’s–but it was still wrong.
Incontrovertible proof that it is possible to be both right and wrong at the same time.
Michael : Why would somebody ruin a perfectly good carpet? I don’t know. Could be done out of hate. Could be done out of… love. It could be completely neutral.
That is the most twisted interpretation of love that I have ever heard.
Michael : This was no act of God. A person did this. A person who works in this office. Maybe all of them.
God wouldn’t touch that thing with a stick.
Michael : I am a victim of a hate crime. Stanley knows what I’m talking about.
Stanley : That’s not what a hate crime is.
Michael : Well, I hated it a lot, ok?
At some point, it will dawn on Michael that Stanley probably lives a more domestically sheltered life than he does. Actually, no… no it won’t.
Jim : Let me ask you something. It’s actually… a little awkward. What do you think of Kelly?
Ryan : I don’t know. Depends if you like a little junk in… Um, she’s really cool.
Jim : Are you interested in her?
Ryan : Yeah, totally.
Jim : Really.
Ryan : Did she say something?
Jim : She said lots of things.
Ryan : Do you know if she’s looking for a long-term thing or if she’d be cool just… hanging out?
Jim : I have no idea.
Ryan : Could you find out?
Jim : [Pauses for a moment] Yeah. Sure.
It’s like throwing someone to a pack of wolves.