Season Two opens with a not so strictly red-carpet affair. The annual Dundies Awards are fast approaching, much to the delight of Michael and dismay of everybody else, except for Dwight who still clings to aspirations of becoming the world’s only D.J. volunteer sheriff’s deputy. Awards night finds us at the prestigious neighborhood Chili’s, where Pam shares a tender, slightly alcohol-clouded moment with Jim and Ryan learns that it’s not always good to be sexy.
Michael is the antithesis of making sense.
Michael : So, I–you know, an employee will go home, and he’ll tell his neighbor, “Hey, did you get an award?” And the neighbor will say, “No man, I mean I slave all day, nobody notices me.” Next thing you know, employee smells something terrible coming from the neighbor’s house. Neighbor’s hanged himself, due to lack of recognition. So…
Michael has a gift, if you can call it that, for spinning truly ridiculous tales. He’s able to take the simplest premise and transform it into the most ludicrous story you’ve ever heard. The matter of employee recognition awards is a relatively straightforward topic and one that certainly does not demand the inclusion of decomposing neighbors.
In a move hearkening back to the days when cooties was an epidemic and naptime marked the highlight of your day:
Dwight : Excuse me, everyone, can I have your attention please? I just wanted to say that the women in this office are terrible, especially the ones who wrote that stuff about Michael on the bathroom wall. Having a bathroom is a privilege. It is called a ladies room for a reason, and if you cannot behave like ladies, well then you are not going to have a bathroom.
Pam : You’re taking away our bathroom?
Dwight : We are going to have two mens rooms.
Phyllis : But where would we… go?
Dwight : Be prepared to hold it, folks, from 9 AM…
I would have liked to have seen how this one would have turned out. The absurdity of it notwithstanding, let’s assume for a moment that this plan was actually carried out. Male solidarity is clearly out of the question in such cases of ridiculous insanity, so Dwight would have been left to fend for himself against an office of enraged women. So, basically, Dwight would have been beaten up by a bunch of girls.
Jim’s first look arrives a scant 1:35 into the episode as he shoots an I can’t believe I have to deal with this stare to the camera in reaction to Michael’s Fat Albert impersonation.
Michael : Hey, hey, hey! It’s Fat Halpert!
Jim : What?
Michael : Fat Halpert! Jim Halpert! So why don’t I take you on a tour of past Dundee winners. We got fat, Jim Halpert here. Jim, why don’t you show off your Dundies to the camera?
Jim : Oh, I can’t, because I keep them hidden. I don’t wanna look at them, and get cocky.
Michael : Oh, that’s a good idea.
So evasive. It’s a good thing Michael is so clueless, otherwise we might have some real problems.
Booze never lies. Behold, the real Pam:
Michael : This last Dundie is for Kevin. This is for the Don’t Go In there After Me Award. It’s for the time that I went to bathroom after him, and it was really, really smelly, so… yeah.
Pam : [Claps hands] Yay, Kevin! Woohoo, Kevin, for stinking up the bathroom!
Jim : Yeah! Alright, Kev!
Pam : Woo! Hey, I haven’t gotten one yet. [Gestures to Jim]
Jim : Yes, I have not gotten one either. So, keep going!
Pam : More Dundies! [Everyone joins in] Dundies! Dundies! Dundies! Dundies!
Michael : Alright, alright, alright, alright, ok. Alright, we’ll keep ‘em rolling.
This scene, I think, is the reason why a good number of the Pam fans out there exist. Despite everything Michael’s done to her, she still doesn’t want to see him hurt. Not badly, at least. Obviously, some of this is the alcohol talking, but we do see a bit of remorse in her face when she leaves with Roy and Darryl at the beginning of the ceremony, before she’s had a chance to commandeer everyone’s drinks. After seeing Michael pelted by the onlookers, it’s pretty clear that everyone in the room is thinking the same thing, but only she is able to act on it. Maybe she has the copious amounts of liquor to thank for it, and maybe she doesn’t. Actually, yes, she probably does, but the world is a better place for it.
On a sidenote, Pam is the type of drunk we all imagine we are, some of us more accurately than others: the cheerful, agreeable type with enough of a wild streak to keep things interesting.
A milestone episode for the JP Index, for obvious reasons. The kiss set many hearts aflutter, but let’s not discount the prelude to the moment. After witnessing the exodus from the front row, Ryan ditches Jim to hang out in the back with the cool kids. Jim bravely chooses to weather the storm at the front, though, and is rewarded for his efforts when Pam returns to help him take on the brunt of Michael’s assualt. That Awesome Blossom just got a whole lot awesomer.
She goes on to steal his beer, which in most cases would be grounds for dismissal, but here results in a smile accompanied by a slightly bewildered look. The rest of the evening is the stuff of alcohol-induced dreams as Jim/Pam fans are left wanting more. Up, up and away the JP Index goes.
Finally, I have the chance to give Stanley the recognition he deserves.
Michael : And here we have Stanley the Manly. Now, Stanley is a Dundie Allstar, aren’t you Stan? Why don’t you, uh, show them some of your bling?
Stanley : I don’t know where they are. I think I threw them out.
Michael : Oh no you didn’t.
Stanley : I think I did.
Michael : Hmm. Why did…?
Stanley won’t stand for guff or cheap plastic trinkets. The conversations between these two never fail to entertain.
A tight race between Michael and Pam, but Pam wins in the end by a red nose. Chili’s may not have enjoyed her spectacle, but we sure as hell did. It must have felt great to walk out with something other than the World’s Longest Engagement Award, even if that something was a lifetime ban from one of America’s most recognizable restaurant chains. Based on her reaction, I’d have to say that it was a good trade.
Jim : So, you ready for… the Dundies?
Pam : Ugh.
[Cut to interview]
Pam : You know what they say about a car wreck where it’s so awful you can’t look away? The Dundies are a like a car wreck that you wanna to look away, but you have to stare at it because your boss is making you.
Well, that sounds horrible. Pam’s look of disgust after Jim mentions the topic tells us all we need to know.
Dwight : Mine are at home in a display case above my bed.
Michael : Yeealech! TMI. TMI, my friends.
[Cut to interview]
Michael : TMI? Too much information. It’s just easier to say TMI. I used to say, “Don’t go there,” but that’s lame.
Before you ask, yes, “Yeealech” is the best I could come up with. I’m not sure exactly what Michael uttered, but it sounded like a mangled combination of yuck and blegh.
Dwight : So, what’s the joke? You’re not perfect either.
Pam : We’re not laughing at you, Dwight.
Dwight : So who are we laughing at?
Pam : Um, just something somebody wrote.
Dwight : Who? Dave Barry?
Kelly : No, just something that was written on the ladies room wall.
Dwight : What is it? Who wrote it?
Pam : Um, it’s kind of private.
Phyllis [Whispers] : It’s about Michael.
Dwight : That is defacement of company property, so you’d better tell me. Kelly, if you tell me, you’ll be punished less.
A fine offer, but Kelly thinks she’ll pass. Diplomacy is, like many other things, a foreign concept to Dwight.
Dwight : [Watches Meredith leave and then sneaks into the ladies room]
Phyllis : Dwight, get out of here!
Dwight : No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Phyllis : What are you doing in the ladies room?!
Dwight : It’s not what you think!
Dwight : Why were you in there?!
Phyllis : You are a pervert!
Dwight : What were you doing in there?!
Phyllis : You are a pervert!
Dwight : I am not!
Dwight’s plan clearly did not account for the possibility that there could be two women in the ladies room at the same time. Caught red-handed in the act, he says the first thing that pops into his head: why were you in there? Awesome.
Oscar : The Dundies are kind of like a kid’s birthday party… and you go… and there’s really nothing for you to do there, but the kid’s having a really good time so you–you’re kind of there. That’s-that’s kind of what it’s like.
Truer words were never spoken. Give this man more lines.
Stanley : You said we could bring our families.
Michael : I did, and why didn’t you, Stanley?
Stanley : I did. My wife’s name is Terry.
Michael : Well, I’m looking forward to meeting Terry.
Stanley : It’s this person whose hand I’m holding, Michael.
Dwight : [Cues up Oh Yeah soundbite]
Michael : Shut it.
At some point, the hole that Michael is digging himself into will cease to be a hole and start to become a trench.
Michael : And now to someone who goes quietly about her job, but always seems to land the biggest accounts. The Busiest Beaver award goes to Phyllis Lapin! Yeah! Way to go, Phyllis! Nice work, per usual.
Phyllis : This says bushiest beaver.
Michael : What? I told them busiest… idiots.
Phyllis : It’s fine.
Michael : Well, we can fix it. We’ll fix it up. You don’t have to display that.
This scene always sends me into a laughing frenzy. Just when I think I’ve gotten it out of my system, it creeps right back in. There it is again. Dammit.
Ryan : What am I going to do with the award? Nothing. I-I don’t know what I’m gonna do. That’s the least of my concerns right now.
Pretty soon, Michael will be haunting Ryan’s dreams.
Michael : And the Tightass Award goes to Angela, not only because she is everybody’s favorite stickler, but because she has a great caboose, so… so, come on down.
Angela : No.
Economy of words. Angela is awesome for it.
Pam : [Laughs while slurping out of near-empty margarita glasses]
Jim : I think those might be empty.
Pam : No, no, ’cause the ice melts, and then it’s like second drink.
Jim : Second drink?
Pam’s “second drink” line is one my favorites of all time. Mindy must have been tipsy when she wrote it. Lines like that, rife with authenticity, simply don’t come into being under unguided hands.
Michael : Spicy Curry award goes to our very own Kelly Kapur. Get on up here.
Michael : There you go.
Kelly : Spicy curry, what’s that mean?
Michael : Um, not everything means something. It’s just a joke.
Kelly : Yeah, but why did you give it to me?
Michael : I don’t know. I just…
Kelly : This is a bowler.
Michael : I know. It’s jus–they didn’t have any more businessmen, so…
Kelly : But everyone else…
Michael : Just sit down Kelly.
Strangest trophy ever. Michael took an award that didn’t make any sense to begin with and somehow made it into something that made even less sense.
Michael : And this next award is going out to our own little Pam Beesly. I think we all know what award Pam is gonna be getting this year. It is the Whitest Sneakers Award because she always has the whitest tennis shoes on! Get on down here! Pam Beesly, ladies and gentlemen! Oh, here we go.
Pam : I have so many people to thank for this award. Ok, first off, my Keds, because I couldn’t have done it without them.
Pam : Thank you. Let’s give Michael a round of applause for MC-ing tonight, because this is a lot harder than it looks. And also because of Dwight, too. Um, so, finally, I want to thank God… because God gave me this Dundie, and I feel God in this Chili’s tonight. Woooo!
What a fantastic scene. Unbridled happiness isn’t something we see much of on this show, so watching Pam let loose for once is a real treat.
Jim : What a great year for the Dundies. We got to see Ping, and we learned Michael’s true feelings for Ryan, which was touching. And we heard Michael change the lyrics to a number of classic songs, which, for me, has ruined them for life. [Looks at Pam] What?
Pam : Nothing.
Jim : Ok.
Pam [Barely able to contain herself] : What?
Jim : I don’t know. What?
Pam : [Falls off her chair in a fit of laughter]
Jim : Oh my god, you are soooo drunk. Did you get that? Please tell me that you got–this is all gonna be on.
Watching Pam nod her head uncontrollably is way too much fun. The aftermath of this scene, however, is too horrible to speak of. Suffice it to say that Dwight takes his shirt off, and… ok, that’s enough. TMI, my friends.
Pam : I feel bad about what I wrote on the bathroom wall.
Jim : No you don’t.
Pam : [Laughs]
Jim : Oh, here she is. Careful, careful.
Pam : [Stumbles]
Jim : Whoa. Alright. Easy. Almost there.
Pam : Hey, um… can I ask you a question?
Jim : Shoot.
Pam : [Looks apprehensively at the camera] Um, I just wanted to say thanks.
Jim : That’s not really a question. Ok, let’s get you home.
And with that, message boards across the Internet were lit ablaze with speculation. Tiny Dancer was made for moments like this.