Ready, set, go! The race is on to claim Pam though beware, men: wandering eyes are liable to get you ousted from the running. Michael and Dwight head to Philadelphia for an office supply convention and run into a familiar face. Pleasantries are exchanged, followed by a heavy dose of inquisition and absurd posturing. Michael’s plans for a raucous evening are derailed by the conspicuous absence of his right-hand man, no doubt engaging in some debauchery of his own.
This episode may have had the greatest density of painfully awkward Michael Scott moments yet. Let’s have a look at the evidence.
[Michael and Dwight run into Jim at the convention]
Michael : There he is. There’s the traitor. Traitor! Traitor! Come here, you. Come here!
[Michael and Jim hug]
Michael : Aaagh! The prodig–the progidal…
Jim : What?
Michael : … my son returns.
It wouldn’t be a proper Michael Scott reunion without him flubbing a line or two.
[Josh and Jim meet up with Michael and Dwight in Michael’s hotel room]
Michael : Hey hey!
Jim : That is a lot of liquor.
Michael : Yeah.
Jim : And a dart board.
Michael : Well, that’s how we do it in Scranton. Or did you forget?
[Michael and Dwight start dancing and singing, terribly]
Michael : Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, cause a Scranton party don’t stop.
[Michael and Dwight start beatboxing. Still terrible]
Beatboxing and raising the roof are best left to the pros or at least the mildly talented.
[Michael offers Josh and Jim a drink]
Michael : One for the road, gentlemen?
Josh : A shot of Midori, perhaps.
[Jim laughs. Michael and Dwight join in with forced laughter]
Jim : Oh, no, sorry, it’s an inside joke. There was this bartender in Stamford who, uh… You know what? You just have to be there.
Michael : Wish I was. I love inside jokes. Love to be a part of one someday.
Josh : Um, we should…
Jim : Yeah, alright.
Does he have any idea what he’s actually saying or is he really that starved for attention? You’re never quite sure with Michael.
Josh : Alright, Jan just emailed me. She wants us to meet her up front.
[Michael pretends to check his cell phone]
Michael : Yep. Yeah, she’s up front.
Dwight : You don’t have email on your phone.
Michael : I don’t… have to, I just know.
[Michael pretends to answer his phone]
Michael : Yes, hello?
Dwight : No one just called you.
Faking an incoming call requires great improvisational skills, which Michael has absolutely none of. And yeah, Dwight? Not helping.
[Michael challenges Josh to a paper airplane throwing contest. Josh accepts after some prodding]
Michael : You first.
[Josh throws his paper airplane. He misses the target, barely]
Dwight : Oh, nice try, Josh!
Michael : Not. Hit the rim. Ok, and…
[Michael throws his paper airplane. The plane loops in midair and lands beside Michael]
Michael : Ok, double or nothing.
Josh : What, we didn’t bet anything, Michael. We–
Michael : Well, let’s…
Josh : You know, we should go. We gotta go.
Michael : Come on, come on. Come on!
Josh : We’ll do it… later.
Quintessential Michael Scott: challenge your rival to a competition and then proceed to lose miserably.
[Dwight and Angela are talking in the break room. Their backs are turned to one another so as to not attract attention]
Dwight : Don’t be mad. It is a business trip.
Angela : But I don’t understand. It’s for managers.
Dwight : Monkey, I am an ARM. Assistant Regional Manager.
Angela : I know. I ju–I was just really hoping we could spend some time together.
[A look of guilt overcomes Dwight’s face]
Angela : Are you still there?
Dwight : Yes, monkey.
Angela : Don’t monkey me. You can’t wait to get out of here, ARM.
Now there’s a monkey I wouldn’t want to cross. Most threatening monkey ever.
Assuming that Angela has her facts straight — and she does, because she’s Angela — that would mean that Jim is now a manager. Dwight is quickly losing his advantages over Jim, even the imaginary ones.
[Jim has just reunited with Michael and Dwight at the convention]
Michael : It’s good to see you, too.
Dwight : Oh, hey. How’s it going up there? Have you made any sales yet?
Jim : Yeah, sold about 40,000.
Michael : Hey…
Dwight : Shut up. That’s impossible.
Jim : No, it’s not. And I did. Yeah.
Dwight : Well, I did it too.
[Cut to interview]
Jim : You know, when I saw Dwight, I realized how stupid and petty all those pranks I pulled on him were. And then he spoke. I wonder how hard it would be to get a copy of his room key.
Put together a couple desks and it’s Scranton all over again.
Of all of Pam’s duties a receptionist, none is greater than her responsibility to save Michael from himself on a daily basis.
[Michael enters the office, excitedly]
Michael : Pam?
Pam : Yeah?
Michael : Did you see Oprah yesterday?
Pam : No, I didn’t.
Michael : I, uh, I am going to be a father.
Pam : What was Oprah about?
Michael : Angelina Jolie was on. And she adopted a baby from Asia and she said that it changed her life, and that really inspired me. So I want you to look in to see how much a little Chinese baby would cost.
Pam : That’s a really big decision.
Michael : I know.
Pam : Maybe you should wait before you adopt…
Michael : Well–
Pam : … or not adopt.
We can only hope that her subtleties aren’t lost on him. Who am I kidding? Of course they’re lost on him.
Michael : Just do it, ok?
Pam : Roy’s sister looked into it, and the application alone costs $1,000.
Michael : Um. Find out if there’s a cheaper… less expensive baby out there, ok?
Pam : You know, she also said the waiting list is like eight months.
Michael : Eight months?
Pam : Yeah.
Michael : I don’t even know if I want a baby in eight months.
Pam : Probably won’t.
Michael : You know, Pam, if in ten years… I haven’t had a baby, and you haven’t had a baby–
Pam : No, Michael.
Michael : Twenty years.
Pam : No, Michael.
Michael : Thirty.
[Pam pauses for a moment before relenting]
Pam : Sure.
Michael : It’s a deal.
[The two shake hands]
This scene really speaks for itself.
The tension remains thick in Week Two of the new Jim/Pam era.
[Jim stops by Michael’s hotel room]
Michael : You like cosmos?
Jim : Yeah, sure. Sounds good.
Michael : So why are you here? Is Josh busy?
Jim : Michael…
Michael : I get it, you know?
Jim : Did I do something, or… ?
Michael : No, I totally get it. He made a better paper airplane. Stamford does better in sales. I get it. We had some fun. We had some laughs.
Jim : Wait, wait, wait, I didn’t transfer because of you. You’re a good boss. You’re a great boss.
Michael : Pfff. Not better than Josh.
Jim : Michael, it’s not about… I transferred because of Pam.
Another secret bites the dust. Jim should know better… or should he? Despite Michael’s countless failings as a manager and motivator of his employees, I find that this bond between Michael and Jim really works. Michael somehow seems like the perfect outlet for Jim’s struggles with Pam, the explanation for which is completely escaping me at the moment.
Michael : Oh, my God. You don’t even know. She’s single now.
Jim : No, I heard something about that. It’s just, I kind of put it all on the line. Twice, actually. And she said no. Twice.
It looks like I was wrong with my prediction from last week: Jim does know that the wedding was called off, although it’s unclear who told him and how long he’s known.
That said, the man has a point. Love does not in fact conquer all, especially for prototypical nice guys like Jim. The sting of rejection will dissuade most of them from even getting close to testing that theory. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being considerate and accomodating that the same qualities that make you so endearing to others also prevent you from taking risks that are really in your best interest.
It is my opinion that Jim has done all that can be reasonably expected of him. I hate to formalize something as complex as this relationship, but if there is such a thing as etiquette in this situation then surely it dictates that the next move rests on Pam. As for why she hasn’t attempted to mend her relationship with Jim, I can only assume that she has her reasons. The artificial need for compelling television aside, I’ll admit to being somewhat confused by her reluctance. Jim was obviously interested in her prior to his transfer, and three months of separation, though significant, really seems inconsequential given their history. He’s as close to A Guaranteed Thing that I can imagine, and yet, she chooses not to pursue.
My guess is that it’s a matter of self-confidence and maybe a slightly hyperactive conscience. She feels responsible for driving Jim away; she’s quick to blame herself for what’s happened and she feels that she doesn’t deserve another chance. To the rational onlooker, this behavior doesn’t make a whole of sense, but to the afflicted it offers them an escape from the possibility of disappointment, albeit at the cost of personal happiness. Combine that with her timid personality and it’s not difficult to see why the two remain apart.
The Convention rates a Down on the JP Index.
Angela, who pulls off the steamy rendezvous by showing a little leg. Yowza!
Michael continues to impress through great acts of unimpressiveness punctuated by unexpected moments of brilliance.
Michael : Guess where I am going? I will give you a hint. It is a booze-fueled sex romp where anything goes. You are correct, sir! I am headed to Philadelphia for the annual Northeastern Mid-market Office Supply Convention. And Jim Halpert is going to be coming, which will be fun. Poor, little guy has been stuck working under Josh. The poor man’s Michael Scott, as he is known around my condo.
No one parties like paper suppliers.
Angela : In the Martin family, we like to say, “looks like someone took the slow train from Philly.” That’s code for “check out the slut.”
A very judgmental bunch, those Martins.
[Kelly walks up to Pam’s desk]
Kelly : Oh, my God! Are you so excited for tonight? I’m so excited. You guys are gonna click. I can feel it. So what are you wearing?
Pam : This.
[Pam motions to her current outfit. Kelly attempts to conceal her disappointment]
Kelly : You look so pretty.
Pam : Thank you.
Is that restraint I see? What have you done with the real Kelly?
[Creed meets up with Angela and Meredith in the break room]
Creed : There’s my girl. I noticed you handing out some shekels. How would one get on that train?
Angela : That was per diem for Philadelphia.
Meredith : Ugh, that town smells like cheese steaks.
Angela : That town is full of history.
[Angela storms out of the room. Creed takes her seat and helps himself to her meal]
Creed : Andrea’s the, uh, office bitch. You’ll get used to her. Mmm.
[Creed extends his hand to Meredith as if they’ve never met]
How Creed manages to make it to work every morning is beyond me.
Michael : I was shocked when he told me he was transferring to Stamford. It’s like with firemen. You don’t leave your brothers behind. Even if you find out that there is… a better fire in Connecticut.
Michael : Look, I think we need to set some ground rules.
Jan : What are you talking about?
Michael : The 800-pound gorilla in the room. Carol. I’m still dating her, so nothing can happen between us at the convention.
Jan : Step away from me, Michael.
You know what Jan could use? A taser.
[Pam is reading the newspaper in the breakroom. She laughs mildly at one of Allen’s cartoons. Kelly walks in]
Kelly : Allen’s cartoon is so funny, right?
Pam : Mm-hmm.
Kelly : And they’re, like, so smart. I don’t even know what they mean half the time.
[Kelly leaves. Toby enters and waves at Pam. She doesn’t notice]
Jim, Pam, Roy and now Toby. It’s a love quadrangle.
[Michael is grilling Jim about why he left Scranton]
Michael : Is Josh funnier than I am? Does he even have a girlfriend? Because I have two, basically.
Jim : Michael, it’s really not a competition.
I’d hope not given the wedding band on his finger.
Michael : I have generated a lot of interest in my party this evening.
Jan : What party?
Michael : Party I’m having tonight in 308. Obviously, you are invited.
Jan : Michael, um, Jim and Josh are in meetings all day, and I am in and out of meetings. I–I can’t stay on top of you 24/7.
[Michael stifles a laugh]
Nice going, Jan. That one will keep Michael going for another several weeks.
[Pam is consulting Phyllis for dating advice]
Phyllis : You should order the most expensive thing on the menu, so he knows you’re worth it.
Stanley : If you do that, you’re gonna have to put out.
[Pam rolls her eyes]
Phyllis : Oh, yeah. You’ll have to put out.
[Pam can’t believe what she’s hearing]
Stanley? Phyllis? Is that really you?
Michael : Jim and I have different definitions of friendship. I think it’s talking and being friends, and Jim thinks it’s moving to Connecticut and being best friends with Josh. Well… phooey on that. I, uh, I’m done. I am not going to be speaking with him anymore. Whatevs. Long distance relationships never work.
Whatevs. Let your inner Summer Roberts out.
[Michael walks in late to a meeting with Jan]
Michael : Sorry, my meeting ran late.
Jan : Really?
Michael : Yes, Jan. Really. With a rep from Hammermill.
Josh : They’re exclusive with Staples.
Michael : Used to be. Evan’ll call you in the morning to work out the details. We can now sell Hammermill products.
Dwight : Yes! Ha!
Jan : Well, Michael, I just–I underestimated you.
Michael : Yeah, well, maybe next time you will estimate me.
Michael really knows how to take a compliment.
Jim : Dwight’s room key. And Dwight’s room.
[Jim opens the door to Dwight’s room]
Jim : What can I say? Old habits die hard–
Angela : D?
[Jim backs out of the room quickly before seeing Angela’s face]
Jim : Oh, my God. Dwight got a hooker.
You’ve just witnessed the first and only time anyone called Angela a hooker and got away with it.
Michael : Some people need dozens of friends to say, “hey, look at me, I’m popular.” But not me. I’m very picky. I need three, maybe two. When you meet that someone special, you’ll just know. Because a real relationship… it can’t be forced. It should just come about effortled-lessly.
It never gets old.