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October 21, 2014

The Office: The Surplus

by Jay Black, posted Dec 5th 2008 12:13AM
And we're back baby!(S05E09) For a moment, tonight's episode played like an issue of What If? where we got to take a step back from Earth 616 and take a look at an alternate reality of What Dunder-Mifflin would look like if Michael's vision of himself as the word's most beloved boss actually came true! We also got to see why it can never, ever actually happen.

The sad part is that the office as Michael would like it to be -- filled with ridiculous, unnecessary high fives and almost-sexual harassment -- actually looks like a fun place to work. Be honest, when Michael was doing his Stayin' Alive strut down through all the Mifflinites, you kinda dug it. For just a brief millisecond, D/M was a (gasp!) positive work environment.

Of course, it wasn't to last. For one thing, it came from the office's own self interest. For another, we are talking about Michael Scott here...

Let's get this out of the way first: I am not enjoying the soap-opera plotting of the Angela/Dwight/Andy triangle. It's starting to read a little bit like fan fiction (except without all the horrifying sex pairings).

That said, Andy Bernard is probably the funniest character on the show right now, and this plotline is giving him a lot of time to shine, so I'm torn on how I feel about this. It would be like if my wife suffered severe head trauma which caused her to suddenly find me as attractive as she does Jim -- I'd enjoy the benefits while feeling morally dubious about their source.

Tell me, am I alone in disliking the path they're taking with this plot?

The main action took place in the office tonight, however, and it was some stellar stuff. Each character got to play to their strengths, while a seemingly tiny disagreement opened some real-world strife between Jim and Pam.

Michael has to decide what to do with a budget surplus, which Dunder-Mifflin treats just like any other dumb, bureaucratic company: you spend it or you lose it (how long is it before the heads of the Pennsylvania paper industry fly on down to Washington to ask for their bailout?)

Instead of deciding, Michael does what he always does and puts it to a vote, with about half of the office wanting new chairs, and the other half wanting a new copier. Nothing new here; the twist is that Jim is on the copier side and Pam is on the new chair side.

You know I love this stuff. The Office is like the NBA; it's a lot more fun to watch when they play small ball. The more miniscule the disagreement, the better the show.

The entire office fights for Michael's attentions -- Jim and Oscar take him out to lunch, Pam puts on makeup and compliments his ass. But, in the end, Michael decides against spending the money so he can buy himself a fur coat with the bonus he gets for saving it. Solomon he is not.

This has the effect of making no one happy, so Michael decides to let the office choose their own fate (they go with the chairs, though we don't get a good reason why). And it's in this that we see why Michael can never have a true relationship with anybody: because, in the end, it's always all about him, and he's not smart enough to convince people otherwise.

Other stuff:

- Was anybody else disappointed that Pam didn't undo any blouse buttons in her efforts to "sexy up"? And, no, don't ask me about my fan fiction...

- Speaking of Pam, she's a new person since ditching the Big Apple, eh? First the note on the microwave, now a full out offensive to make sure her lumbar gets the proper support. How do we like the new Pam?

- One more Pam note: did anybody else think the copier was a no-brainer? It's a business; copying comes before properly aligned spines. Maybe I'm just used to being a corporate cog, but I totally sided with Jim and Oscar on this one.

- Mose! There can never be enough Mose!

- Dwight and Angela are fake married now. Really? Sigh...

- I hate disappointing just one person. I really hate disappointing everyone. But I love Burlington Coat Factory. You go in there with $645, you are literally a king.

As always, throw your red paint on me in the comments.

The Office' Photos

    THE OFFICE Steve Carell as Michael Scott and Amy Ryan as Holly star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Steve Carell as Michael Scott and Amy Ryan as Holly star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor and Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE Amy Ryan as Holly and Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone star in the episode "Weight Loss." Airs Thursday, September 25, 2008.

    NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Rainn Wilson, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, ''Did I Stutter'', (Season 4, airing May 1, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, ''Night Out'', (Season 4, airing April 24, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Mitch Haddad / NBC

    THE OFFICE, Rainn Wilson, Cassie Fliegel, ''Night Out'', (Season 4, airing April 24, 2008), 2005-. Photo: Mitch Haddad / NBC

    THE OFFICE, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, ''The Dinner Party'', (Season 4, episode 4013, aired April 10, 2008), 2005-,. Photo: Chris Haston / NBC / courtesy everett collection

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Forehead

Why does it seem like I'm reading the same two comments over and over again? "I dont' like the new pam, she's a b!tch." "The German wedding was predictable."

The office is hilarious and imagine the writers know what they're doing. Keep up the good work.

December 08 2008 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benihana

I had no problem with Pam's note on the microwave, but I think in this episode why I think many didn't like her was because she was forceful in the wrong way. Cool she wants new chairs, but she doesn't need to threaten Jim about it. Couples can have different tastes without being immature about it. Jim seemed pretty alright with his style, he calmly just said he'd disagree but then Pam took that as a personal insult or something. That's not cool. True she needs a new chair, but it's all about the style she presented it, as opposed to some of the other crew's methods of presentation.

Oscar was pretty forceful too, without threatening anybody. At any rate, if I was Oscar I would've just told Michael to take the bonus, it'd been better than letting Pam win. Although then I suppose Jim couldn't give Pam her come-up-ins at the end.

Anyways, just my 2 cents. And as for me, I don't really have a preference for which Pam I like, 'cause I've always been distracted by the shenanigans of Dwight and Michael to care.

December 07 2008 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kallie

"Grrr I'm so mad that Pam thinks for herself and stands up for herself now! Grrr I like subservient Pam more!"

Really guys?

I know it was funny on Always Sunny in Philadelphia when Mac said "Women don't have rights, you just take them." in the 1776 episode, but lucky for Pam (and the rest of us ladies) she's not in the 1700's. Let the woman have a little freedom! How is it that when Betty Draper of Mad Men gets a little kick of self esteem everyone cheers for her but when Pam insists on a new chair you guys hate on her? And if asking her coworkers to clean the nasty mess they left in the microwave is b*tchiness, then they should probably change the saying to "B*tchiness is next to Godliness"

As for Dwight/Angela/Andy, it's funny to see Angela, who is so prim seemingly falling apart at the seams over this whole deal. Last time I checked, The Office was not known for its crazy twists, a'la LOST, so who cares that we ALL saw a predictable ceremony in the works!? It was still funny.

This Office crowd sure is fickle, 2 weeks ago everyone complains about the pure sitcominess of the episode and this week raves about another sitcomy episode.

December 05 2008 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

"Have you come to a decision on the butter sculpture?"

Best line of the night.

December 05 2008 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
philly_phenom

I really liked how this ep worked. The main story was just that - a story and I enjoyed it. The sidebar - Dwight/Angela/Andy provided the laugh out loud moments.

Andy counting 8 deposits lost vs zero naked Angela sitings. Andy stepping in manure. Andy stepping in manure in the kitchen (I'm lol while typing this). Cousin Mose bashing Andy over the head with a pumpkin (now I'm crying from laughter).

December 05 2008 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stacie23

I loved the way that Pam and then Jim did those spooky little kisses. Jim's reaction after Pam gave him that kind of threatning kiss was awesome. He pretty much shuddered. Then Jim's reversal of that on Pam, with making her do his copies was a great scene as well.

I don't get the Pam hate all of a sudden. I see it as, Pam has now pretty much committed herself to being at Dunder Mifflin, so why shouldn't she feel comfortable there. It's one thing to sit back and say nothing if you know you aren't going to be there for awhile, but it's another thing if that is where you will be for the time being. Jim and Pam both have had times where they wanted to leave, but they both have ultimately stayed, and now both want to have stake in the company. I think it makes perfect sense that Pam wants the office to be a certain way. Meaning better seats, a clean kitchen and microwave and other things along the way. She's not b*tchy she's just an outspoken member of The Office, and she's allowed to be as long as she sticks around, which it seems she will.

December 05 2008 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
colby

Not sure where all the hate is coming from fans this season. I'm loving every episode.

Loved ...

- Andy's commenting on the ratio of how many deposits he's lost to number of times seeing Angela naked
- Andy: "Why is THAT in the kitchen?!?"
- Hank coming up to play arbitrator. Hank: "Let me see the copier again." Michael: "Alright, get out."



December 05 2008 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Masiv

I agree about the Dwight/Angela/Andy triangle. The marriage scene seemed lifted from an old episode of an 80s sitcom on Nick-At-Nite.

Also, Dwight said they were legally married in the State of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth!

December 05 2008 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Masiv's comment
D-Bo

Commonwealth is a superficial title. It's still a state...

December 05 2008 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MAKB

I know I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed the B plot even though I saw what was coming a mile away. Andy ranting that he'd looked at 12 wedding venues and lost 8 deposits was v-funny. And I loved the kiss Angela planted on Andy in the office for everyone (especially Dwight) to see followed by the announcement that she had 'personal' business to attend to .... predictable yes, but still executed to perfection.

December 05 2008 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to MAKB's comment
brent

It was legal buisiness, not personal. Well, same thing but yeah, that's what she said.

December 05 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brent

It was legal business, not personal. Well, same thing but yeah, that's what she said.

December 05 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Weak overall.

Best line goes to Creed: "The balls on you, man." (When Jim stood up to Pam.)

December 05 2008 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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