• Season 4 : Episode 8
  • First aired on November 15, 2007
  • Written by Lester Lewis / Directed by Julian Farino
  • Recap by Linus
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.

Michael can’t handle the truth, but he sure can manhandle it. Jan brings suit against Dunder Mifflin and Michael is called to New York to be deposed, pitting his two most fundamental desires against one another: To be liked by his co-workers, and to be liked by a woman — any woman, anywhere, even one who smokes and manipulates him and won’t get a jobby-job. While teacher’s away, the children play: Darryl’s superior table tennis skill leads puts a bee in Kelly’s bonnet, and inspires Jim to take up practice to relieve Pam of Miss Kapoor’s trash — er, smack — uh . .. talk.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Michael in the context of a legal proceeding is a pretty terrifying prospect, especially if you’re counting on his testimony to prove, well, anything.

[As Jan drives Michael to his deposition, she coaches him on his lines.]
Michael: So here’s the deal: I am on my way to New York to be deposed as part of Jan’s wrongful termination lawsuit. The company fired her for having the courage to augment her boobs.
Jan: And they displayed a pattern of disrespect and inappropriate behaviors.
Michael: Yeah.

What Jan is doing here is illegal, but if Michael were my star witness . . . I don’t know. Michael wouldn’t be my star witness. I wouldn’t count on Michael to do or say anything if there wasn’t some way for me to control him. Like, puppet strings. Or a microchip implanted in his brain.

[Michael, Jan, and her lawyer, apparently named Schneider, wait to be called in.]
Michael: Hey, Schneider, real quick: Whaddya call a butt-load of lawyers driving off a cliff?
Schneider: A good start. And I think it’s bus-load.
Michael: Yeah, a bunch of rich lawyers took the bus. [To Jan.] Where’d you find this guy?

Michael has an uncanny ability to say things about other people that they want to say about him. Remember that brief period in which Andy made Michael look sane and responsible?

[Michael is deposed by Schneider and the company lawer, Diane Kelly.]
Schneider: How long have you known Ms Levinson?
Michael: Six years and two months.
Schneider: And you were directly under her the entire time.
Michael: That’s what she said.
Schneider: Excuse me?
Michael [enunciating more clearly]: That’s what she said.
Schneider: Ms Levinson told you that she was your direct superior?
Michael: Wh — why would she say that?
Jan: Can we just move on to another question?
Diane Kelly: Wait, I don’t understand. Who is on record as saying this?
Schneider: With all due respect, I’m in the middle of a line of questioning. Now Mr Scott, what you say Ms Levinson said, regarding your employment status, with respect to her corporate position?
Michael: Come again? That’s what she said. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Pablo Casals had the cello, Van Gough had oils, Shakespeare had the sonnet. Michael Scott has “That’s what she said.”

(Side note: has anybody else caught themselves saying “that’s what she said” in the company of other people, and then realizing that you sound like a not-so-bright teenage boy when you actually say that and nobody knows that it’s a pop culture reference? I would feel so much better if I knew I wasn’t the only person to whom this had happened.)

[Schneider reads from Michael’s diary.]
Schneider: This is plaintiff’s exhibit 107. I quote from an entry dated January 4 of this past year: “Just got back from Jamaica. Tan almost everywhere. Jan almost everywhere. Hee hee. Oh, Diary, what a week! I had sex with my boss. I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere. Jan was very specific that this is not going anywhere, that it was a one-time mistake. But we had sex six times, so you tell me. I am definitely feeling very eerie.”
Michael: Irie.
Schneider: Irie. Sorry. “More tomorrow, XOXO, Michael.”

How surprised am I that Michael has a diary in which he writes like a 12-year-old girl? Zero. I am zero surprised.

[After Michael has learned that Jan continued to give him poor performance reviews after their relationship began, she tries to convince him that Dunder Mifflin “is the enemy” by reading from David Wallace’s deposition.]
Schneider [reading]: Starting paragraph six: “Counsel: Mr Wallace, regarding Michael Scott, was he a contender to replace Jan Levinson? David Wallace: Yes.”
Michael: See? I was the number one contender. I was being groomed.
Schneider [still reading]: “Counsel: Was he your first choice? David Wallace: Michael Scott is a fine employee who has been with the company many years. Counsel: Was he in the top five of contenders? David Wallace: What do you want me to say? Come on, he’s a nice guy. There were many people I considered. Counsel: Was he being seriously considered for the corporate job? David Wallace: No.” . . . I have one more question, Mr Scott: Wouldn’t you agree with Ms Levinson that the company exhibits a pattern of disrespect toward its employees?
Michael: Absolutely not.

The ultimate miscalculation on the part of Jan and her lawyer here was to assume that Michael evaluates loyalty in the same way that they do: financial rewards for services rendered. But this is the man who hadn’t had a raise since becoming Regional Manager. Despite his financial difficulties, Michael is not looking for remuneration. All he wants, still, is for people to like him. If David Wallace had not said, “He’s a nice guy,” Jan might be four million dollars richer today.

The Many Faces of Jim

All Jim wanted to do was play ping-pong. Can’t a guy play some ping-pong and not be pressured to do anything greater with himself? At least not anything that involves spending time in a locked room with Dwight?

[Dwight rumbles Jim’s practice table in the conference room.]
Dwight: All right, what is going on here?
Jim: Dwight! Thank God you’re here. As it turns out, one of our biggest clients is a ping-pong master. And I have to play him tomorrow, or we lose the account. Can you help me out? Will you help me practice?

Here’s the secret to handling Dwight: When he catches you doing something wrong, make up a bad movie plot, and tell him he’s part of it.

[Pam interrupts Dwight and Jim in the middle of practice.]
Pam: How’s it going?
Dwight: Well, he has gone from completely hopeless to simply miserable.
Jim: Check this out, though. Spin serve.
[He serves. Dwight knocks a winner back at him without looking up from his mobile phone.]
Jim: Well, it works like, eighty percent of the time, so . . .

One sort of gets the impression that Jim was happier just getting beaten by Darryl, not worrying about how good he was. It’s not like this is basketball, right?

Confessions of a Receptionist

One of the interesting things about The Office is that we’re not expected to like most of the characters. Even ones who always seemed fairly benign — Toby and Phyllis come to mind — have been shown this season to be petty and mean. In this episode, Kelly shows us exactly how limited Pam’s options are when it comes to companionship in the office. Could it be that Angela is the least offensive person around other than Jim?

[Pam and Kelly as Darryl destroys Jim at table tennis.]
Kelly: What has two skinny chicken legs and sucks at ping-pong?
Pam: Hi, Kelly.
Kelly: Guess whose boyfriend it is?
Pam: I don’t wanna guess.
Kelly: I’ll give you a hint: It’s not my boyfriend. I think it’s the guy over here.

Pam often seems to find herself in situations in which she is the only adult in a room full of grown-up children. Kelly, however, can drag just about anybody down to her level.

[Pam has built Jim a practice table in the conference room.]
Pam: You have to practice. You have to get really good and beat Darryl.
Jim: Oh, I can’t beat Darryl.
Pam: Please? Kelly’s trash-talking me because Darryl’s beating you.

And now we’re right back in high school. Kelly’s mama officially wears army boots.

[Jim cracks a decicive shot past Darryl.]
Pam: Yes! See that?
Kelly: Yeah, the floppy-haired girl you date won a point.
Darryl: Nineteen, serving four.
[Darryl wins the point.]
Kelly: Whoo! Nice, baby! Nice one! [singing, to Pam] Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your boyfriend. ‘Cause, ‘cause, he, he, ‘cause he sucks at ping-pong.
Pam: You know what, I’m sick of this! Let’s go, you and me.
Kelly: What?
Pam: Let’s go. Pick up a paddle.
Kelly: Okay. Bring it on.
Pam: I am.
Kelly: Think you can handle this?
Pam: In my sleep.

The feminist in me felt a little funny about a whole storyline that seemed to be about Pam living vicariously through her boyfriend. When she finally picked up that paddle, I was all, Yeah! Then, of course, they both totally sucked. Which the feminist in me might have taken exception to, if the rest of me hadn’t been too busy giggling.

Dwight Being Dwight

Just when you think you’ve got Dwight all sussed out, he surprises you.

[A Dwight talking head.]
Dwight: All of my heroes are table tennis players. Zoran Primorac, Jan Ove-Waldner, Wang Tao, Jeorg Rosskopf and of course Ashrov Helming. I even have a life-sized poser of Hugo Hoyama on my wall. And the first time I left Pennsylvania was to go to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Andrej Grubba.

So, Dwight’s skills include: Purple belt in some form of martial arts, bowhunting, paintball, beet farming, carpentry, and, of course, sales. Now we find he’s what you might call a “gifted amateur” when it comes to table tennis. How does he find time in the day to persue all of these things, and still read Harry Potter to Mose?

(For all you sticklers out there, I looked up all of those names on that list of famous table tennis players, and the only one I can’t confirm the spelling / mere existence of is Ashrov Helming. If you have information on this mysterious man, please leave us a note in the comments.)

The Jim/Pam Index

I don’t want this to sound like a harangue, but I would have liked to see Pam realize sooner that there is more honor in your own victory than in your man’s. That said, it’s usually a mistake to read messages into plotlines on television shows. And it’s easy to forget, sometimes, that Pam lived a lot of her life in a very restrictive and unsupportive relationship, in which she was a wallflower and her boyfriend was a Neanderthal. She’s come a long way, our girl, but she’s still learning to break out of the roles that Roy forced on her.

Which explains why Jim, ultimately, is a little baffled by her desire for him to beat Darryl at ping-pong. But when you come right down to it, if Pam wants something, Jim wants it, too:

[Pam has given Jim the lowdown on Kelly’s trash talk.]
Jim: So you’re asking me to defend your honor against Kelly.
Pam: Sorta, yes.
Jim: Bring me players.

Jim’s probably not cut out for the white knight role, but Pam brings that sort of thing out in him. Her honor needs defending? He’s strapping on his armor.

The Deposition gains induction into the Table Tennis Hall of Fame on the JPI.

The Superstar

Michael ends up on top. That’s what she said.

The Supporting Nod

Anybody who can draw this kind of distinction ought to win something:

[A Kelly talking head.]
Kelly: I don’t talk trash, I talk smack. They’re totally diffferent. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like, “Your mama’s so fat, she could eat the internet.” But smack talk is happening, like, right now, like, “You’re ugly and I know it for a fact, cos I got the evidence right there.”

And so Kelly it is.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Pam: Every time Michael’s in a meeting, he makes me come in and give him a Post-It note telling him who’s on the phone. I did it once and he freaked out, he loved it so much. The thing is, he doesn’t get that many calls, so he has me make them up every ten minutes.
    [Cut to a montage of Pam handing Michael notes: One says “good morning”, the next is a smiley face. He importantly says he’s in a meeting each time. Now he sits with Ryan.]
    Ryan: You have to know how to work this. There is no excuse for this. I can get you a tutor if you need –
    [Pam hands him a note with a hot dog saying, “hiya buddy”, on it.]
    Michael: Ah, this is a very important client, but I have the most important client sitting right in front of me — my boss. So I will call him back.
    Ryan: No, no, customer service is obviously priority one. You can take the call.
    Michael: Money isn’t everything, Ryan, and you’re my friend, and I don’t want to be rude.
    Ryan: Take the call, friend.
    Michael: I refuse, no. My house, my rules. I insist.
    Ryan: I insist you take your work calls.
    Michael: All right, Pam, would you put the call through? [Picks up phone.] Hiya buddy.

    Do you ever get the feeling that Pam just likes to watch Michael hang himself with his own rope?

  • Jan: And they displayed a pattern of inappropriate behaviors.
    Michael: Yes, yes. Pattern. Pat-hern. My friend Pat took a turn. That’s how I remember that. Could we pull over and put down the top? I’m feeling a little queasy.
    Jan: No, I want it up. My hair. Remember, it’s not just a pattern, it’s a pattern of disrespect and inappropriate behaviors.
    Michael: Disree. My friend Disree got new specs. Dis-re-spect. My friend In Ah Pro drives a Prius with his behind neighbor.
    Jan: Does this work for you?

    Michael wants the top down. In November. I don’t know what the weather is like in Scranton right now, but I’m looking out my window and it’s snowing, and I’m in Oregon.

  • Jan: Stop saying ridiculous things. He’s just going to tell the truth, the truth is very, you know, complicated, so we went over it carefully, just so that we wouldn’t leave anything up to chance, or Michael’s judgement.

    The best laid plans of mice and men.

  • [A montage of Kelly talking smack and trash to Pam.]
    Kelly: [In the warehouse.] Your boyfriend is so weak, he needs steroids just to watch baseball. [At Pam’s desk.] Jim couldn’t hit a ping-pong ball if it was the size of the moon. [Back in the warehouse.] Were Jim’s parents first cousins that were also bad at ping-pong?

    Kelly Kapoor: The Jeorg Grubba of smack talk.

  • Jan: People underestimate Michael. There are plenty of things that he is well above average at. Like ice skating. He is a very good ice skater.

    I don’t know. I think they’ve pretty much got him figured out. It doesn’t take much to estimate Michael.

  • Schneider: How long have you known the plaintiff?
    Michael: I haven’t actually seen it, but I have seen The Firm, and I am planning on renting The Pelican Brief.

    Don’t do it, Michael. Just — no. Do not give your support to John Grisham. He doesn’t need it, and it won’t make your life any better.

  • Schneider: Did Ms Levinson ever say why she thought she was being fired?
    Michael: She thought it had to do with the twins. That’s what I call them.
    Schneider: Can you be more specific? Who are the twins?
    Michael: Do be delicate, they hang of m’lady’s chest. They . . . make milk.
    Schneider: You don’t need to go any further — her breasts.
    Michael: Yes.

    I’d bej very interested to see what Michael’s idea of indelicate is.

  • Diane Kelly: Are you telling me that your relationship began two years ago and not in February, as you previously testified to here?
    Michael: Line.
    Diane Kelly: I’m sorry, what?
    Random Lawyer Guy: He asked for a line, like in a play.

    One wonders if Michael actually thinks Jan’s going to supply him with a line here. I half expected him to tell everybody that he was Agent Michael Scarn and that he had a gun.

  • Court Reporter [reads from the record]: Mr Scott, do you realize you just contradicted yourself. I did? Yes you did. Can I go to the bathroom? No. I really have to, I’ve been drinking lots of water. You went five minutes ago. That wasn’t to go to the bathroom, that was to get out of a question. You still have to answer it. First, can I go to the bathroom? No.

    I can totally see this scene in my head.

  • Michael: I don’t think anybody in this room has a right to read my diary.
    Diane Kelly: It’s basic discovery. We have a right to review it.
    Random Lawyer Guy: Okay, let’s make ten copies of this diary.
    Toby: Could you make it eleven?

    When Toby interacts with Michael, I love him. When he interacts with Pam, I get my wig on.

  • Michael: How could you give up my diary like that?
    Jan: I had to. I’m sorry, but I need to win this. We need to win this.
    Michael: How’d you even find it?
    Jan: You keep it under my side of the mattress.
    Michael: I don’t like the lump. I’m really upset about this.
    Jan: All right. I stole your diary, and gave it to my lawyer. You emailed a topless photo of me to everyone in our company. Let’s call it even.
    Michael: Fine. I love you.
    Jan: I love you too.

    I don’t know about you, but this relationship is starting to give me the creeps.

  • Diane Kelly: Mr Scott, who is this other woman . . . Ryan, who you refer to as, “Just as hot as Jan, but in a different way.”
    Michael: Not a woman. Just a cool, great-looking best friend.

    Now, do we think that Michael is a repressed homosexual, bisexual, merely confused, or very effectively hiding an alternative lifestyle from, like, everybody? Because this isn’t one of those situations in which a straight man is comfortable enough with his sexuality to recognize a nice-looking man when he walks down the street. Something about Ryan really creams Michael’s Twinkie on the most fundamental level.

Odds and Ends

  • Upon first watch, I didn’t think this episode was that funny. But when it came time to recap it, I kept finding more and more stuff I wanted to include. This show often gets better with re-watching.
  • Jan’s evaluation of Michael was harsh, but she’s not wrong.
  • I love that Ryan has a little cadre of dudes with stupid beards and annoying blackberries. They look like they deserve one another, all of them.
  • As promised, an update on the Writers Guild of America strike: News over the last couple of weeks has been mixed. One thing we know for sure is that The Office is shutting down before almost any other show, partially because of Greg Daniels’ militant stance, and partially due to the fact that some of the show’s performers are also writers who are refusing to cross picket lines. There will be no new episodes of The Office until the strike is over. This is not true of Heroes, 30 Rock, Chuck, or any of a number of other shows, which will probably be able to soldier on into next month. Predictions on the duration of the strike have been dire from all sides, with the highest I’ve seen from the head of the American Motion Picture and Television Producers (the alliance of studios and networks), who said he expects the strike could go on for nine or ten months, which would affect next season as well as this. What we know for sure is that if this strike stretches on for longer than twelve weeks — through the end of January — the rest of the 07-08 season will be cancelled, and the only new programming will be shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica, which have shows in the can that haven’t been aired yet because of scheduling. The big news is that the WGA and the AMPTP will be returning to the negotiating table on 26 November, only three weeks after the strike began. There are no guarantees — the two sides had been negotiating for months already when the strike began — but for the first time since the writers walked off the job, things are looking up. I’ve started a blog for the purpose of keeping up with strike news.
  • Though things look up on the strike front, there will certainly be at least a few weeks with no Office. Never fear! Next week, we return with a recap of “The Alliance”.

Linus is a kung-fu master and already has an in with the Galnathian overlords who will soon be coming to take over Earth. You can write him to beg for mercy at woodstein52@hotmail.com, or drink his Kool-Aid at That’s Not What She Said.

The Story in Pictures

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just start watching Survivorman....or Entourage.

1Posted by Dwigt on November 15, 2007

Oh man I can't wait for this one, it sounds goooood.

2Posted by Karin on November 15, 2007

Right. Can hardly wait to see Mindy tonight!!!

3Posted by Monday Morning. on November 15, 2007

I almost pee’d my pants when Michael pushed Toby’s tray right off the table. Toby’s most emotional moment of the series destroyed in a broken pile on the floor! Michael’s loathing knows no boundries. Priceless.

4Posted by emstevens on November 15, 2007

Darn good ep. Kinda sucks tho...was hoping for an ep like last week so I wouldnt miss the show as much. ;-)

Lets hope they get this settled ASAP.

5Posted by Pat D. on November 15, 2007

Oh, poor Michael. He's been so betrayed.

6Posted by Hank on November 15, 2007

Great episode. (Do I ever dislike an episode of this show?)

The Michael side of the story was some of the best in this show's history. The trial was a masterful blend of humor and awkwardness. I loved how everyone (with Toby being one exception) remained serious and stern in the face of Michael's extreme blunders. And yet it remained so complex, such a blender of emotions, betrayals, etc. I especially loved the last moments of Jan and Michael driving home in the PT Cruiser...FLAWLESS! It was the perfect antithesis to the sitcommy cheese of Jan's speech to Michael on the train in the earlier episode.

Sadly, Jan is the real villain here. She's manipulative, cutthroat, and suing a company for an arbitrary reason. Dunder Mifflin didn't do anything wrong. If we remember from earlier, she was terminated because of her "erratic behavior"--disappearing for days, shopping on-line all day while she was supposed to be working, etc. It had nothing to do with her "enhancement," and the company had every right to do what it did. I think, in the end, Michael knew this deep down inside, which is why he said what he did at the end. And maybe, just maybe, there was some acknowledgement of him, deep down inside, that he really wasn't qualified for the position he was going for.

It works for me, at least, because part of the show's dynamic for some time is that Michael is a child lost in a world of professionalism. Part of the humor for so long has come from the fact that Dunder Mifflin, and especially its corporate headquarters, IS a professional and respectable company that tries to treat its employees right (despite what Jan may say--I think she knows this as well). So how a ninny like Michael could ever rise to the level that he did makes it all the more intriguing.

And poor Toby! His moment with Michael was one of the best of this season. It was so quietly heartbreaking, and revealed so much about Toby...and then Michael (who himself is still a child), just dashed it all to pieces of a lunch tray on the floor.

7Posted by Philip on November 15, 2007

Also, the Ping Pong story...good but not fantastic. I liked it, but it wasn't on the same level as the other story going on. Jim being the brunt of Pam and Kelly's competitiveness was funny. And I am STILL laughing over what Dwight said to Jim when he realized that the practice game was for a rematch with Darryl.

That said, Pam and Jim are almost starting to bore me a little bit. So far...(so far!)...the writers haven't done much with them. They seem to still be a normal, happy couple. I keep expecting something earth-shattering to take place, and it keeps not taking place!

Well, I guess I can quit complaining since the show's going down for a loooong time. I'm still optimistic about the future, though!

8Posted by Philip on November 15, 2007

I don't know if anyone's proposed this before, but maybe the impending strike explains why the writers didn't want any real shakeups in the Pam/Jim storyline right away. They wouldn't want to lock themselves to some particular new development when they return in days, weeks, or months -- they might not have enough of a season to follow through on the alteration. Come to think of it, we haven't heard about the Angela and Dwight storyline for some time. I think this episode is great, real old-school Office quality, but it still doesn't commit the writers to much of a new story arc (as far as I can tell) when they finally get back to writing the rest of the season. May that day come sooner rather than later!

9Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 15, 2007

Excellent point, Moratorium.

10Posted by Philip on November 15, 2007

Maybe the reason that nothing earthshaking has happened with Jim and Pam is that they are intended to be a normal, happy couple. Despite the fact that Dwights don't occur in nature, the Office is ostensibly supposed to be based on real life. It isn't the Jim And Pam Show, they'll always be focal characters, but their relationship should, for the sake of the show's integrity, be left as more or less as a higher profile Phyllis/Bob Vance.

11Posted by Duder on November 16, 2007

Well, maybe that's the case, Duder, but a normal, happy couple doesn't have much of a plot to portray. Some historian once said, "Happy countries have no history," i.e. there are no significant tensions, and hence nothing worth recording. Phyllis and Bob Vance don't have much of a plot per se, except insofar as Michael messes with them in the wedding episode.

As for Dwight, as unbelievable as it might be, I know a guy like him. Very weird, to say the least!

12Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 16, 2007

I loved how the boys snuck upstairs when Pam and Kelly began their grudge match in the warehouse. They didn't care about winning, trash talk, or proving anything. They just wanted to play. So simple and honest.

Oh, and Dwight and Mose at the end hammering like champions. Golden.

13Posted by Black Pepper Snake on November 16, 2007

Hey, Moratorium and Duder...

Yeah, I've worked with several Dwights before. Yeah, I know that's hard to believe, but I've tangled with many-a coworkers who were just flat-out insane/crazy and had all kinds of Dwight qualities.

14Posted by Philip on November 16, 2007

Loved the Michael parts of this ep. In particular when parts of Michael's diary was being read. The entry about Ryan and Toby cracking up over it.

15Posted by Trace on November 16, 2007

I like how Jim was reluctant to "get serious" about ping-pong for himself until he realized he would be defending Pam's honor. Very noble.

16Posted by Wesley on November 16, 2007

Because of the strike... I felt like I was watching a season finale.
I enjoyed this episode for many reasons.
I'm glad that we weren't left in the middle of some cliff-hanger plot line. Last week "Earl" was a to-be-continued...and I yelled at the t.v in a panic "they'd better have the other half already filmed!!"
In MY opinion, as much as I love JAM.. I like when they are not always the center of every episode.
And those are the rantings of Denise with a headache....

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

17Posted by Denise on November 16, 2007

WOW! Great episode. I also didn't find the Jim/Darryl ping pong stuff that interesting or necessary, but the story line with Michael and Jan was phenomenal. Every once in awhile Michael really surprises me and makes me understand how he got the position of regional manager. Michael does have some integrity and is not the idiot he often comes off as. Michael obviously realized that Jan could never match the loyalty of Dunder Mifflin, but also I wonder if it crossed his mind that she might just leave him once she received her settlement. Keep in mind, that she has no income of her own right now. I'm not saying he said what he did to keep her, but that he realizes that her loyalty is not to him. EXCELLENT EPISODE!

18Posted by Tammie on November 16, 2007

First off, kudos to Duder on emphasizing what I've been saying and feeling about Jim/Pam's relationship: It should NOT be something that should be standing out each episode. WHEN it does, it feels like a whole Ross/Rachel thing, and NBC loves to exploit it. I am fond of the show MORE when it just let's it be the relationship it is and not some over exposed average "will they/won't they" relationship.
That said, I thought this was a very good episode, compared to "Branch Wars", which I thought was horrible and one of the worst of the entire series.
Michael's arc in the episode was great, and I felt so bad for him for his realizations. He's heartbroken, and I felt for him. With what he revealed to Jim last week, and his arc this week, it reminded me why his character is central to the show. I feel like him many times in my life, so seeing him just seeking acceptance, whether it be from his employees or from David Wallace, it shows that he just wants people to be happy. He's the Spongebob Squarepants of the corporate world, always doing his best/trying his hardest to be "glass half-full".

19Posted by Jose on November 16, 2007

I find it funny how Toby got his tray pushed off the table while mentioning what it was like being a kid stuck between warring parents. Michael seems to have had similar problems, at least with his step-father. And then, as they're both thinking about childhood, Michael strikes back in the most childish, elementary school manner -- messing with someone else's cafeteria tray.

20Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 16, 2007

Oops, Philip already beat me to that last point!

21Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 16, 2007

I may be the only one, but I really like the low-key JAM stuff. I think it's sweet that Jim devoted himself to improving his ping pong playing to defend Pam's honor. I mean, Jim is one of the least competitive charecters on TV. He stays at a job he cares nothing about and (we can assume) gave up a higher paying job to stay with Pam. I think the only time we ever see Jim fight for anything is when Pam is involved (including the basketball game), and I love that. I don't want JAM to become a Ross/Rachel. The Office writers are too talented to have to fall back on romantic tension as way to keep ratings up.

22Posted by Down with Ross and Rachel on November 17, 2007

When the lawyer from Dunder Mifflin first mentioned Jan's low performance reviews for Michael, I initially thought she meant his performance in the sack. We know that Jan taperecorded it and critiqued it with her therapist (!).

Next, after the lawyer asked Michael if Jan's judgment was "at least seriously flawed" when she said he should be reassigned to sales, Michael was speechless. Of course the betrayal hurt, but maybe he also trusted her judgment enough to realize that he should be in sales instead of being branch manager? The writers emphasize that he is much better as a salesman than as a manager. And then his claim that he would have had Jan's job blew up in his face. That was an intricate scene, to say the least!

23Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 17, 2007

CAVEAT: I work at a law firm, and while I haven't actually sat through a deposition, I've read through enough and done enough depositions summaries to have an idea.

Jan doesn't have a case. The best she can hope for is a nuisance settlement, but if DM's attorneys are ballsy enough and figure it's worth the price of trial, then she's SOL in front of a jury. The good thing is, neither side really wants a trial, and neither side would ever, ever use Michael as a witness. Ever. You don't know what he's going to say and he's contradicted himself at deposition. You'd be nuts to call him as a witness.

On the other hand, if Jan ever finds out about what Ryan said to Michael before the proceedings, then she might have a case - Ryan was essentially telling Michael to lie and say nice things about DM, which Jan could argue that he did in response to the final question.

It was nice to see David Wallace be a good dude. I've always gotten the impression he's a good dude, even if he is a CFO and businessy, but still, it was good to see that he wasn't about to sell out even a guy like Michael. Hopefully Wallace will find out about with Ryan said and tear him a new one.

As for Kelly, I wanted to smack her sooooooooooo hard. Oh wow.

24Posted by Karin on November 18, 2007

I think this is honestly the first time in a long time that an Office episode felt like an old-school Season 1 or Season 2 episode. The episodes that feature awkwardness between Michael and corporate (usually in the form of Jan shooting Michael bemused/scathing glances, pre-relationship phase) have typically been some of my favorites (The Client, Valentine's Day). Even The Job, while hilarious and one of the best of the season 3, still felt like a newer, progressive Office. I loved this episode because it showed Michael at his twisted, complicated, juvenile best: Cracking a"twss" in a deposition hearing? His undying loyalty for Dunder-Mifflin? Even the glimpse into Michael's brain via his stolen diary... I loved every awkward pause and nuance in this week's episode. AND the fact that the issue of whether Jan knew about the photo is finally resolved... Talk about payoff... Thanks writers, even though you're on strike now:( We still love you and are unbearably depressed about the loss of our weekly dose of the Office.

It's a drug, you know it is!

25Posted by BabyBear on November 19, 2007

oh and how could I forget, and using "Yesh" as a legal oath?

Best use of Yesh... EVER.

Hey Karin, don't forget that if you smack Kelly, she might have a pretty nasty counter attack.. Watch out for retaliation a la Diversity Day... ;)

26Posted by BabyBear on November 19, 2007

Doesn't Michael's diary sound like his "talking head confessionals" with the camera? He addresses his imaginary "reader" in the diary with the same attempts at humor: "Tan everywhere. Jan everywhere."

27Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 19, 2007

Yeah, being as I am a wuss who fears personal injury, I don't think I'd ever get the guts to actually smack her, but oh man the ego trip she was having needed a smackdown of serious proportions. I cannot abide such an insufferable person.

28Posted by Karin on November 19, 2007

Minor typos on Dwight's table tennis heroes. Jan-Ove Waldner , Jörg Roßkopf (or Joerg Rosskopf if you can't type the special German characters), Ashraf Helmi , and Andrzej Grubba .

29Posted by What's Second Base? on November 21, 2007

Great recap, Linus. Thanks!

Two things:
1. I think Michael is so in love with Ryan because he images himself AS Ryan. He thinks Ryan is smart, cool, popular, and successful at work. If he were to every write a new movie, I think Michael would name his main character Ryan and he would play him.
2. Um, I definitly pulled out the "That's what she said" the other day while my husband and I were buying new toothbrushes. Of the one's on sale, I asked if he wanted the Gel Flex or the Deep Action. Unfortunately, he said he wanted the Deep Action. And I didn't even think, I just said it. We were still laughing about it like 6 hours later.

30Posted by Emily on November 21, 2007

Just a nitpick: An attorney representing someone in a court of law is a "counsel" (someone who gives advice), not a "council" (a ruling body).

31Posted by acsenray on November 21, 2007

Emily.... If I had a nickle for every time someone in my house said "that's what she said" ... I'd be a very rich woman!!!

GREAT re-cap as usual Linus.

32Posted by Denise on November 22, 2007

This one felt much more like the British version to me - many moments of extreme discomfort. I loved it, even if I didn't laugh as much as usual.

33Posted by JimmyBond on November 23, 2007

Just thought readers might be interested: Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that there is "basically" an agreement in place between the two sides in the WGA strike, though we shouldn't expect an official announcement for a few weeks. She seems confident in her source but cautious in her optimism.

Anyway, we may end up losing a few episodes of "The Office", but odds look good that "The Deposition" was not the de facto season finale.

34Posted by Linus on November 26, 2007

Linus, what does "get my wig on" mean in the plot summary? I'd hate not to understand something you've written.

35Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 26, 2007

It's like getting your drunk on, but instead of getting drunk, you're wigging out. Does that make sense? I was wondering about whether people would get that. I think I've watched too much "Buffy", and it's infected my brain.

36Posted by Linus on November 26, 2007

grr argh, Linus

37Posted by Denise on November 27, 2007

"It's like getting your drunk on, but instead of getting drunk, you're wigging out. Does that make sense? I was wondering about whether people would get that. I think I've watched too much "Buffy", and it's infected my brain."

Hmm. I'm fine with "get my freak on," "get my drunk on," etc. But with "get my wig on," you literally can take a wig out and put it on your head. So I can't read this without picturing some person sitting at home in front of his TV, wearing a wig. Thanks for explaining, though.

38Posted by Moratorium on Cornell Talk on November 27, 2007

Mwehhh! The first real week without The Office (assuming that last week would have been a repeat because of Thanksgiving regardless of the strike). Hopefully this week's talks will produce some results and soon! In the meantime, Linus are you still doing a recap of The Alliance? I'm jonesing for anything Office...

39Posted by Kristin on November 29, 2007

I'm furiously recapping as we, uh, type. So . . . hopefully tomorrow.

40Posted by Linus on November 29, 2007

[...] The Deposition The Deposition Summary courtesy of NBC. SUE CRAZY IN THE OFFICE–Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) finds himself between a rock and a hard place when Jan (Melora Hardin) sues Dunder Mifflin and Michael is deposed as a witness. Meanwhile, Kelly (Mindy Kaling) trash-talks Pam (Jenna Fischer) after Darryl (C… Read the full post from Northern Attack via Blogdigger blog search for creed+bratton. [...]

41Posted by The Deposition on December 24, 2007