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October 10, 2015

The Office: Traveling Salesmen

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jan 11th 2007 11:56PM

(S03E12) WOW! WOW! WOW!

What an episode! What an absolutely brilliant episode! I cannot remember ever guffawing over every single line in a single sitcom episode as I did watching this one. If the performances in this particular one don't garner the actors in this show a plethora of Emmys, there ought to be an investigation.

I believe this was Steve Carell's single best performance so far as Michael Scott. He displayed the full range of his personality--jokester, arrogant jerk, charming salesman, sensitive soul, and added a new one--anger. The look on his face when he learned of Dwight's clandestine visit to the New York office could have cut through steel.

The Sales Dream Team was hysterical! Who would have known that despite all of their complaining, backstabbing, and overall dour demeanor, that the sales staff at the Scranton office actually are good at what they do? Naturally, their methods are little off-center, such as Phyllis bringing Karen with her to get a makeover including bouffant hairdos in order to secure a contract with a customer whose wife's hair could literally touch the sky. Or how about Dwight and Jim teaming up to demonstrate to their client how Dunder Mifflin offers good customer service?

Of course, things went a little awry when Michael and Andy went on a sales call together, whereby Andy's arrogance and general suck-uppiness caused their efforts to fall short. One can definitely get the idea that the infatuation between Michael and Andy is going to lead to disaster, but more on that later.

For me, the single funniest part of the entire show was Stanley's reaction to Ryan's incompetent sales technique. As I and many commenters have said here before, Stanley's attitude and facial reactions are simply priceless! His laughing at Ryan in his car literally had me in stitches.

But what would a classic Office episode be without a few mind-bending plot twists? As mentioned above, Andy is out to get Dwight and will do anything to leap over him to gain Michael's favor. However, he has likely taken things way too far. In fact, he may have "Schruted it" for himself. After his joint sales call with Michael, you could just tell that Michael didn't feel comfortable around Andy.

Plus, Andy's sabotaging of Dwight upset Angela, and with Dwight doing his best to save Angela from a major screwup from not turning in tax forms to corporate on time by driving in to New York to do it himself, it was an easy opportunity for Andy to exploit. However, as we saw after Dwight dramatically "resigned", Angela looks like she will play a major role in the eventual ouster of Andy and the return of Dwight. Come on, does anyone really expect the Dwight character to be written out of the show?

However, Michael's anger at Dwight for lying to him showed a different side of Michael that we never saw before. He really was angry, and although he is a goofball, he apears to have no hesitation to be ruthless when necessary.

We also are on the verge of seeing some major sparks in the Jim-Karen-Pam dynamic. Surprisingly, Jim admitted his previous crush on Pam to Karen, but Karen seemed to accept it and is wiilling to move forward. However, it would seem likely that tensions will arise between Jim and Karen, and certainly Pam will be a major source of that tension, whether she wants to be or not.

Another brilliant episode. 'Nuff said.

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Maybe I'm reading a bit too much into it, but I wonder if Phyllis is actually a member of Team Pam. Earlier this season, with the merger imminent, she excitedly started to ask Pam about Jim's return. And why else would she tell Karen about Jim's crush on Pam this episode, if not to plant a few seeds of doubt in Karen's mind? As evidenced by the "big hair" strategy, she's more calculating than she lets on.

January 20 2007 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No one mentioned Michael going into the women's restroom because "the Mens room was disgusting."

and Jim holding up an old photo wishing he could warn Young Jim about Dwight...priceless.

January 15 2007 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. I loved the first shot of Karen and Phyllis after the makeover, and when Jim slapped Dwight.

Pam now has the information that should get Dwight his job back. But she'll have to consult with Jim as whether or not to do it. Karen will see them involved in secret discussions and get jealous.

January 14 2007 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brilliant. I cannot wait for Dwights return. You know Angela will break all hell loose!

January 13 2007 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Absolutely amazing episode! I love when Dwight and Jim are in scenes together, it's always amazing to watch.

January 13 2007 at 6:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I highly recommend going to the NBC website to check out the deleted scenes... they are both great and definitely worth seeing!! They cut out a Toby scene where they were following through with his crush on Pam (that was breifly introduced a few episodes back) and there is another scene with Phillis at the elevator that just cracked me up!!! It's too bad this show is not an hour long, I'm sure they'd have no problems keeping us laughing the whole time! http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/

January 13 2007 at 1:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No mention of the hysterical interaction between Jim and Dwight, when Jim said that he and Dwight should go on a double date with their girlfriends.

How great of an episode would that be? Karen and Jim out bowling with Dwight and Angela, the possibilities are endless.

January 12 2007 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's interesting how the characters in this show are developing into full human beings. Even Angela, who could easily be nothing but despicable, has her vulnerabilities (she screwed up the taxes, and was nearly unwound by it) and her fierce loyalties (weird as it is, she really does love Dwight). Dwight and Jim may pound at each other in the office, but they know each others talents and how complementary they are to each other. Michael may be desperate for love, but he's a natural salesman and someone very vulnerable to hurt.

And that's not even touching the Jim/Pam relationship or how wonderfully subtle the characters of Stanley, Phyllis, Toby and Oscar (when is he due back?) have emerged. And then there's all the guys in the warehouse. This is turning out not to be a series about caricatures, but about real, deeply flawed people.

Meanwhile, I'm developing a real affection for 30 Rock, and that show is nothing but caricatures. NBC has two really strong players in these two.

January 12 2007 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone else think that Andy purposely sabotaged the sale, just so he could use the term "Schruted" later with Michael? Which, by the way, was embedded in the biggest suckup line of all time -- "A lot of people in _your_ office are saying it..."

January 12 2007 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't think Andy's badness hurt the episode - it was important. For one thing, obviously Ed Helms is not going to be on the show forever. Also, this show can't go on powered by Michael's inappropriateness alone... I think throwing in a genuine bad guy really adds to the mix.

Frankly I think Andy is borderline psycho, like someone who could be a serial killer (manipulating people) if he was so inclined. A little creepy. He makes Dwight look like Jimmy Stewart.

January 12 2007 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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