• Season 3 : Episode 12
  • First aired on January 11, 2007
  • Written by Michael Schur, Lee Eisenberg, and Gene Stupnitsky / Directed by Greg Daniels
  • Recap by Jamie Harris
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.

Hidden agendas abound as the Dunder Mifflin sales team sets out to proselytize the Electric City on the merits of all things paper. Andy bends Michael’s ear in an elaborate vendetta against his arch-nemesis while Phyllis just sees what needs to be done and does it. Dwight’s good deed gets punished and he finds his place in a long history of men brought to ruin for the sake of true love, but it’s Stanley that gets the last laugh and then some.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Look up subdued, competent, responsible in the dictionary, and you will not find Michael Scott as reference. Usually he is the living antonym of each of those words. And yet, apart from a few characteristic moments such as his new friend Harvey, the talking computer, this week has Michael playing all three.

He acts with the air of someone who has faced an event of cataclysmic proportions and by no account of his own escaped with his life, and must now reconcile himself to the world forever altered. In other words, he’s so shell-shocked from what went down last week he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

Andy : Ohh, man. Talk about your classic lame-dash-o. Do we even want that guy buying our paper?
Michael : Yes.

Michael? Seriously? He fends off much of Andy’s flattery and even has a serious, strictly business call with Jan. A red letter day all around.

I have no delusions that the reborn Michael Scott has any chance at survival, but it’s heartening every once in a while to see him earn the management title and remind that, after all, he’s a heck of a good salesman and sometimes, even a good boss.

Dwight Being Dwight

It’s an age old story: gallant knight saves fair lady, proving the depth of their love, only for his actions to be mistaken as traitorous and placing him in the gravest of peril.

Dwight : It’s gonna be okay.
Angela : How is it going to be okay, Dwight? Everyone will know our business.
Dwight : That’s not the worst thing in the world. I’ll just stand up in front of the office and reveal our true love.
[Angela sighs]
Dwight : It won’t be that bad. Look at Kelly and Ryan.
Angela : I hate those two people more than anything in the entire world.
Dwight : Well, I don’t have a lot of choices.

You know you’re in a bad way when you look at Kelly and Ryan to set the precedent. And something about Dwight’s line of revealing their true love evokes both a sigh and a shudder. Their love is not love unless a little creepy.

Dwight : One of my life goals was to die right here, in my desk chair. And today, that dream shattered.

As far as life goals go, there are the more ambitious, the more adventurous, the more noble, and none taken more seriously than this. End scene with Dwight heroically renouncing his post, presumably forever, and yet, I guarantee, absolutely not. This is so far from over, it’s hardly just begun.

The Many Faces of Jim

Pairing Jim with Dwight for any mission is the default for premium entertainment value.

Jim : Seriously, you’re gonna sit in the back?
Dwight : Uh, yeah. It’s the safest part of a car. In the event of a crash, the driver always protects his side first.
[Jim hits the brakes and Dwight slams his head into the back of the seat]

A few warm-up power jams later– in the absence of a stairwell, all Dwight needs is a back seat and some Motley Crue– it’s time for Jim to strike again.

Jim : After you, sir.
Dwight : No thank you, I never let anyone walk behind me. 7 out of 10 attacks are from the rear.
Jim : Okay, but that still leaves a 30 percent chance that I’ll attack you from the front.
Dwight : Uh, yeah, but it will be easier to stop. I can always block the blow. Or I can counter it with–
[Jim slaps him and Dwight is left stunned]

Still, Jim and Dwight could never be classified as outright enemies– instead, their bond lends to some kind of unorthodox brotherhood. Watching them double-team a client is a thing of beauty, and at the end of the day, when Dwight has said his farewell with bobbleheads in tow, it’s Jim that gets the final emotional embrace, and Jim that might miss him most of all, if for the worst kind of reasons.

Confessions of a Receptionist

It’s fairly well known that Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey share a close friendship in real life, which makes the off-kilter antagonism between Pam and Angela within the show all the more amusing, and now, an extension of their friendship all the more gratifying.

Pam : Angela, you seem so happy. I bet you wish you were like this all the time.
Angela : This friend of mine– let’s call her, Noelle– she missed this deadline turning something in to corporate in New York. But then this gallant gentleman– we’ll call him Kurt– he drove all the way to New York and handed it in for her! Because– I don’t know– I guess he just really likes her a lot.
Pam : Well, that’s great.
Angela : [beams] Yes, it is.

It’s fun to see them get to share a little girl time on screen– and about time, since if Pam were the least bit spiteful, Angela’s secret would have never been a secret to start.

The Jim/Pam Index

I’ve heard many theories floated as to how Karen would learn pieces of the past, and Phyllis, previously responsible for nudging Pam towards Jim and well known for her support of the two, has been a recurring theme. And what do you know, Phyllis it is.

Karen : Thanks, that was fun.
Phyllis : Yeah, I really enjoy spending time with you. You’re a very nice person.
Karen : Thank you.
Phyllis : And I’m so glad you’re with Jim. He was hung up on Pam for such a long time… I didn’t think he’d ever get over her.

My bet is that Phyllis knew exactly what she was doing from the moment she selected Karen as her sales partner, and watching her pull it off without so much as a hint of malice is all kinds of awesome. I like Karen far too much to wish her harm, and it is time she knew the odds and nobody else is telling. Once the truth is out there, she makes a good move by going straight to the source.

Karen : Did you ever have a thing for Pam?
Jim : [taken aback] Pam? Did I ever have a thing for her? No. …Why, did she say something?

Unfortunately for Karen– cue rejoicing in the camp of Pam– that kind of response does not exactly inspire confidence. Watching Jim try so hard to make nothing of it even borders on the painful.

Karen : I moved here from Connecticut…
Jim : Yeah– okay, here’s the– I… had a crush on her before I left, and I told her about it, and she didn’t feel the same way. So it didn’t amount to anything, and I left.
[Karen is unsure]
Jim : I’m really glad you’re here. Okay?
Karen : [smiles] Okay.

Sincere, yes. Deflective, likely. The whole truth? Far from it. For one thing, there’s a huge difference between a crush and what drives you to a fervent “I’m in love with you” speech within weeks of her marrying another guy. But for the time being, the distinction is negligible and easily glossed over. The question of Pam’s attachment and their current relationship also remains untouched, and thus Karen is appeased, Jim is relieved, and only Pam has the side of the story that could correct the omission. After the tumult of last week, Pam is not yet to be found.

And thus, Traveling Salesmen draws the JPI Down, though it remains to be seen how having Karen in the know, at least of the partial truth, will affect the ongoing dynamic. I doubt she will let the matter fully rest, if only pursuing it in observation, and her no-nonsense approach surely promises some drama down the road. Bring it on.

Supporting Nod

The glamorous Phyllis Lapin for telling it like it is.

The Superstar

No coin toss this week. Dwight, Dwight, and Dwight.

Transmissions from the Office

  • Andy : Five of us transferred from Stamford. There’s two of us left. Me, and Karen. It’s like we’re touring Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and dropping off one by one. Well, guess what. I‘m not falling in a chocolate river.

    I get a vague impression of Michael channeling Willy Wonka, and it’s just as disturbing as you might think.

  • [Dwight and Angela meet over the reception desk. He reads messages, she takes some candies from the bowl]
    Angela : Everything okay?
    Dwight : Just fine. You are in the clear.
    Angela : Thank you. [She dumps the candies in front of Pam] I don’t want those.

    Pam must check herself in the mirror from time to time just to make sure she hasn’t turned invisible.

  • Michael : Okay, now going by seniority, Phyllis, our resident senior.
    Phyllis : We’re the same age.

    Phyllis never fails to remind, and Michael never fails to forget.

  • Michael : Next up, the Super Fly himself, Stanley.
    Stanley : Pass.
    Michael : You can’t pass, you gotta pick somebody.
    Stanley : [sighs] I’ll take the kid.
    [Cut to interview]
    Ryan : I’m very flattered. I was his second choice, after “pass.”

    Stanley isn’t going to make you symbolically sow beets into the fertile earth of Schrute Farm. I wouldn’t complain.

  • Karen : Why are we turning in here? This is a beauty salon.

    Cue theme from Working Girl.

  • Stanley : [near hysterical with laughter] And you just said, “Hi. Hi. Hi.” You sounded like… my niece… and she’s six months old!

    Poor Ryan. Driving Stanley to fits of glee is an achievement indeed, but not exactly one you can flaunt at business school.

  • Michael : You know what they say. Fool me once, strike one. But fool me twice… strike three.

    When Michael begins a sentence with, “you know what they say,” it is absolutely guaranteed to be nothing anyone has ever said before.

  • [Demonstrating their customer service to a client]
    Jim : And this, [holds up his phone and dials] is Dunder Mifflin.
    Kelly : Dunder Mifflin customer service, this is Kelly.
    Jim : Hi Kelly, this is Jim.
    Kelly : Omigod, Jim, how are you?! I wanted to tell you– [he snaps phone shut]

    That’s a very effective sales tack that Ryan will never, ever use.

  • Dwight : I like Karen. She’s pretty. Appears intelligent.
    Jim : Well, I like pretty women who have the appearance of intelligence.
    Dwight : My girlfriend is also beautiful and smart. She could be a model. Or a college professor. Which is intimidating to a lot of guys.
    Jim : We should go on a double date.
    Dwight : [scoffs] No thank you.

    Yes, please!

  • Jan : Dwight’s name is on the security sign-in sheet, but I don’t know who he met with, and where it asks you to state your business he wrote, “Beeswax Not Yours, Inc.”

    Clever, perhaps, even witty, yet nothing but suspicious. Also calls into question the security protocol of the corporate office.

  • Dwight : I overslept. Damn rooster didn’t crow.

    Angela’s sudden invitation, the secret lives of Noelle and Kurt, and now this rounds out a trifecta of priceless reactions from Pam.

  • Michael : Okay, you know what, I want you to think about your future at this company. I want you to think about it long and hard.
    Dwight : That’s what she said.
    Michael : Don’t you dare.

    Wow. This goes down in the books as one of the greatest Michael/Dwight moments ever.

  • Dwight : Ahem. May I have your attention, please? This will only take a moment of your time. [Unfolds paper and reads] Although I love this company more than almost anything in the world, I have decided to step down from my post and spend more time with my family.

    Not really a viable excuse when you’re known to reside in an eight bedroom farmhouse with Cousin Mose.

  • Dwight : I do not fear the unknown. I will meet my new challenges head on, and I will succeed, and I will laugh in the faces of those who doubt me. It’s been a pleasure working with some of you, and I will not forget those of you soon. But remember… while today it is me, we all shall fall.

    Proportionately dramatic, no doubt due to the militant seeds Jim planted back in Dwight’s Speech.

  • Angela : [close to tears] Dwight? From sales? Was one of the most honorable and efficient employees this company has ever had.

    Andy is officially classified as meat, Dead. With a capital D. Because the only thing more terrifying than crossing Dwight is crossing Dwight and bringing Angela to tears.

Odds and Ends

  • Good Sport of the Year award to Karen for keeping the glam look all day.
  • On the same note, Phyllis at last earns her Bushiest Beaver honor, spelling error intact.
  • Michael tossing Dwight his laundry was the perfect throwback– literally and figuratively– to The Coup, and it turns out, not a moment too soon.
  • The photo of young Jim and Dwight almost rivals Michael’s glory days of mullets and fanny packs.
  • An episode would no longer be complete without Andy composing a musical number.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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This episode will probably rank up there this season with "Branch Closing" and "Back from Vacation". Those two in my opinion were the top two. We'll see if this can take the number one spot. Stanley and Ryan working together = comedy.

1Posted by Podd Tacker on January 11, 2007

LOL, agree with Podd...Stanley needs to be the superstar this week.

2Posted by Pat D. on January 11, 2007

In Pam's words...

Wow. That was...wow.

3Posted by Kerry on January 11, 2007

"One of my life goals was to do in this office, sitting in my chair."

LOL. :)

4Posted by twins15 on January 11, 2007

OMG, I can't believe it!

They've GOT to get Dwight back. GOT TO. I can't live without watching Dwight work at Dunder Mifflin anymore.

Great episode. One of the best this season so far.

I have to give kudos to every character, but in my humble opinion...this was Andy's breakout moment. Ed Helms is magnificent in this role, but here, he really shined as the horrific lying little weasel that he is.

5Posted by Philip on January 11, 2007

I was a little dissapointed on the lack of "Jachael" interaction, but I guess I should be happy that it looks like she still doesnt know about that picture, right?!

6Posted by Erin on January 11, 2007

Top notch episode -- we laughed so many times. Loved the dash-mounted cameras in each car. Great to see our little dysfunctional office gang out there making business happen. Andy better watch out -- Angela's got him in her sites!

7Posted by Cindy on January 11, 2007

God I cannot wait to see Angela totally dominate Andy
I

8Posted by Jon on January 11, 2007

hey what the heck
what happened to the second half of my comment?

9Posted by Jon on January 11, 2007

Man, I was taping it and didn't get the whole thing. Dammit!!!!

10Posted by Kyle on January 11, 2007

Andy messed with the bull...now here come the horns!

11Posted by Philip on January 11, 2007

Wow, the look that Angela gave at the end was deh-vastating. I was deathly afraid for a moment there. Sidenote: Angela Kinsey gets more screen time than BJ Novak as far as I can tell; she should get a lead billing on the credits. I know he's a producer and all, but come on.

Secondly, it was sad that Jim wasn't there to revel in Dwight's resignation. I don't think that he would truly be happy about it though, after their productive sales call...or if he knew how nice Dwight really is to Pam.

Lastly, Phyllis rocks! She is a Jammer for life and I knew it!

12Posted by secondrink on January 11, 2007

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! DWIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! Pardon my french, but F!@#@!@#!@#!@#!#@CK! (Cries) He can't be gone! HE Just can't!

Amazing and Devastating Episode. My life is over.

13Posted by emainiac on January 11, 2007

as usual, just a beautiful, witty and well-written episode! This show is so clever: stanely and ryan on their sales call, jim/dwight teaching about good customer service, the big hair girls closing a sale....

so many intellegent jokes, and they even managed to get rid of dwight in a cool way! (although we all pray for a speedy return of the man!)

rock on till next week......

14Posted by Aaron on January 12, 2007

Jim has a love-hate relationship with Dwight. He knows Dwight is just a doofus, but I don't think Jim will stand for what happened to Dwight...

so, next week, I believe we will see a major movement to get rid of Andy and bring Dwight back. Andy is a great character, but I think this move definitley puts his endgame into motion.

also Comcast sucks because our cable fuzzed out the entire episode. I could hear it, but couldn't see anything happening. iTunes Music Store here I come...

15Posted by Joe on January 12, 2007

Wow! Amazing episode. There were so many purposes to the episode and it still was the funniest episode of the season.

I agree about the Love/Hate relationship between Jim and Dwight. I seem them as brothers, Jim is the Big brother picking on the little brother (Dwight), or Jim is the little brother annoying the big brother (Dwight). Either way, JIm does care for Dwight as shown in "The Injury". I think the office will ban together to regain Dwight as part of the team.

Sadly, I think this episode was also a way of making people not like Andy so much because they will probably get rid of him in the next few episodes. Andy has become one of my favorite characters and he did a wonderful job in the episode.

16Posted by My Nerdsssss on January 12, 2007

Jim and Dwight are the best sales team ever. Who knew they would work so well together? Yay! I loved Jim calling Kelly and hanging up on her. Hee.

This was a really good episode all around, and I agree with whoever said it above - Ed Helms rocked. So hard. The oompa-loompa song? Come on now. I'll be sad to see him go. But of course we need Dwight back.

17Posted by Kat on January 12, 2007

Fool me once, STRIKE ONE, fool me twice....STRIKE THREE!!

18Posted by Zech J. on January 12, 2007

i loved dwight psyching himself up in the car like he has done in the stairway.
rock on dwight!

19Posted by kevin on January 12, 2007

A brilliantly written episode. I've been on dozens of sales blitzes, and they got every detail (well, maybe not every detail--- Todd Packer should have been involved) exactly right.

I like it when they show the subdued, professional, competent side of Michael: it makes him a much more sympathetic character. For all his weirdness, he's a helluva salesman.

Tom C.

20Posted by Tom C. on January 12, 2007

Also, it appears Jimbo bought a 2007 Subaru WRX wagon. He must be pulling in the big bucks now, as #2. No more Corollas for Mr. Halpert.

Oh, and for some reason Angela was looking HOT in this episode.

21Posted by Pat D. on January 12, 2007

I want Dwight to come back, guys, but I really, really, REALLY hope they don't get rid of Andy! Like Todd Packer (whom many were worried about vanishing this season), he's just TOO GOOD of a character to be gotten rid of!

22Posted by Philip on January 12, 2007

This is the second week in a row where Dwight caused me to shed a tear! Kudos to Rainn for an awesome performance!!

23Posted by Jez on January 12, 2007

I never thought I'd be so sad to see The Schrutester leave... Then again, I never thought it would be so endearing to see Dwight & Jim work as a team!

24Posted by Steve-O on January 12, 2007

Michael: I want you to think long and hard...
Dwight: (interrupting and earnest) ... that's what she said.
Michael: (beat) Don't you dare.

Two and half season worth of wonderful pathos in this brilliant exchange. Loved this epi. Loved it.

25Posted by S. Kim on January 12, 2007

Andy must go down!!!!

26Posted by derek on January 12, 2007

"Boobs." Heh.

27Posted by Cecilia on January 12, 2007

LOL, that 'boobs' bit was hilarious.

Dwight will be back. Definitely.

28Posted by Cat on January 13, 2007

Hands down the funniest episode this year.And forget Jim and Pam, Ryan and Kelly, Dwight and Angela, Michael-Carol-Jan,Pam and Roy and Phyllis and Bob the #1 couple on this show is Jim and Dwight. That's why the whole Stamford branch story didn't work for me.These two guys should always play against each other.I think they should share an emmy this year. Also loved all the other sales calls, although i didn't get the whole Ryan freezing up thing. He wanted to take the lead and then couldn't do it. Why?

29Posted by hauseriv on January 13, 2007

When they played the slightly remixed version of the theme song, did anyone else think for a second that they were shuffling it around to make room for more "regulars" during the intro?

Just me? Okay.

30Posted by Matthew on January 14, 2007

Oompa Loompa Doompity Dossum
Andy's whole song was just totally awesome.
Why was it awesome? When Dwight had just left
It was awesome because Andy's a douche
Doompity Doom.

31Posted by Samantha on January 14, 2007

Top 5 Jim look when he first saw Karen post makeover.

32Posted by Dan on January 14, 2007

Did Dwight giving up his job to protect Angela remind anyone else of Drug Testing, when he gave up his most cherished activity (volunteer sheriff’s deputy) to protect Michael? Dwight can be a tool, but he’s loyal to those he loves. Bring back Dwight! (By the way, Rainn Wilson is listed in the “also starring” for the next episode in the blurb on the NBC website, so I have hope)

33Posted by Carly on January 14, 2007

Yes, Dwight is very loyal, but remember when he said he was going to whatever employer valued loyalty the most!!?

34Posted by Sara on January 15, 2007

You know, it really says something about how Jim feels about Dwight that he has a six year old picture of the two of them just lying around. That's kind of sweet.

35Posted by secondrink on January 15, 2007

is it a big deal? is it kevin?!

... Do you really not know, cause it IS a big deal.

the accountants rule

36Posted by Jon on January 15, 2007

I'd have to say, while I really do hate Andy, I thoroughly enjoy his many musical numbers.

37Posted by Cecilia on January 15, 2007

So do we now know that Angela's middle name is Noelle?

38Posted by JamaicaJanSunPrincess on January 15, 2007

"The mens' room was disgusting." - Michael Scott

Andy's talking head made all the better by this tag that could have easily been left out. It's all about the details in this show.

39Posted by Eric on January 15, 2007

Damn, no wins at the GG awards this year. Oh well.

40Posted by Pat D. on January 15, 2007

The look Angela was giving Andy was fairly remiscent of the look on Glen Close's face during Fatal Attraction. I sure hope Andy doesn't have any pet rabbits, Also, Angela's "Have you tried the petting zoo?" comment from "Back From Vacation" tells us that boiling a furry creature isn't far from her capabilities.

41Posted by Charlie Dreamer on January 16, 2007

"Oh young Jim, there are so many things I want to warn you about... but tragically, I cannot." And Dwight's hair in the pic! Classic.

The subdued Michael was incredible-- and we get to see what made him Salesman of the Year (twice). What an upset that Steve didn't take home the Globe last night, but Michael Scott's still the #1 Boss.

Looks like we get Oscar back next week... but more importantly, I know Angela and Pam will get us Dwight back. We need the Schrute!

42Posted by Tracy on January 16, 2007

jamie, you are amazing, and let me tell you why: not only because you referenced the bushiest beaver moment in season 2, but also because you wrote this:

"When Michael begins a sentence with, you know what they say, it is absolutely guaranteed to be nothing anyone has ever said before."

genius. and so true.

43Posted by megan on January 17, 2007

I still can't believe Dwight is gone! (For now at least) Where will the show go from this point? Well, there's still Oscar's return from his three month vacation sooo....

Anyways, this was indeed a fanstastic episode. I thought they would just go downhill after The Coup, but those writers continue to impress me Thursday after Thursday. Kudos Office writers. Kudos.

44Posted by Mireya on January 17, 2007

That was kind of awkqard when dwight hugged jim and karen asked what happened on the sales call

45Posted by robert on February 15, 2007