The Office: Sexual Harassment
We begin this episode with Michael (Steve Carell) talking about his proclivity of e-mail forwarding of risque material to his employees. In fact, he refers to himself as "The King of Forwards". Michael's long-time buddy (his "Best Friend Forever") Todd Packer shows up and, as the "Finchy" character in the British version, proceeds to offend nearly everyone in the office with his sexually explicit jokes. A short time later, Toby from Human Resources appears in suggests to Michael that there should be a review of the company's sexual harassment policy for all employees. Michael resists because he feels the office environment would take a downturn.
Before the meeting, Michael ventures down to the warehouse to get a "killer joke" to use during the presentation. The warehouse workers begin goofing on him, and he decides to walk in on the meeting with a blow-up doll. The meeting soon breaks up, but Toby says that if anyone has any questions they can come and see him. Dwight (the "Gareth" character from the British version) goes over to Toby and asks where the clitoris is.
Michael then shows a video on sexual harassment to some employees when the company lawyers show up. He is still resisting the idea of toning down the sexual innuendo by asking, "Can we afford to lose e-mail forwards?" After further discussion, Michael announces that because of the rigid sexual harassment guidelines he and his staff "can no longer be friends" and this is his "retirement from comedy". Of course, this doesn't last too long as he begins flirting with matronly Phyllis while Pam's mom shows up and is slightly taken aback at the goings-on.
This was an uneven episode for me. The subject was funny, but I thought the writers were trying too hard to push the envelope. It could have been a little more subtle but, again, I don't want to continue the comparisons between this version and the British version. In addition, the Dwight character is just too creepy. I'm sure many of us have worked with someone who may be considered a little "eccentric" but I think Dwight is a little too far off the charts. Someone who acts like he does in an office environment would have been shown the door a long time ago.
In any event, tonight's episode was OK, nothing great. Hopefully, the budding Jim-Pam romance will get some more attention as well as the toning down of Dwight.