The Office: Traveling Salesmen
(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.