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April 25, 2014

The Office: The Michael Scott Paper Company

by Jay Black, posted Apr 10th 2009 12:14AM
The Michael Scott Paper Company alternative text: generated by BLOGOTRON 2000(S05E21) Okay, so this is the second slice of Office bread in the Parks and Recreation sandwich, and, in keeping with my long tradition of strained metaphors, it kind of felt like an end piece. Edible, sure, but it would have been nicer if it was as good as the episode that came before it.

While I'm enjoying frazzled Jim much more than "what-me-worry?" Jim, they're pushing the cringe humor between Minor and him a bit too far. Somewhere in the last couple of episodes, we went from "fun" to "not fun" (or, as we call it in the entertainment trade, from Last Crusade to Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls).

It was actually more interesting to watch my wife watching the episode: her face was twisting in grief for Jim's inability to figure out what a "rundown" was. It's a testament to good writing that we care so much for the characters that we feel their pain just as strongly as they do, but we need some laughs to lighten the load...

That's not to say the episode was humor free: there were a ton of great moments over at the Michael Scott Paper Company (I don't know who is happier that Ryan is back, me or Michael), and in Andy and Dwight's renewed sexual competition. I especially enjoyed the Banjo/Guitar duel, though I need to say this: it's unbelievable that any woman could resist Country Roads in German. Just not possible.

Other stuff:

-- Pam is a New York 6 and a Scranton 7? How dare you Ryan Howard? How dare you!?

-- I liked that Pam held her ground about not becoming a receptionist again, but I didn't buy that she'd go marching to Minor to ask for her old job back. I thought we settled her issues with The Michael Scott Paper Company last episode.

-- "You wanted me?"

-- The new Kelly didn't have a Holly-type entrance into the Dunder-Mifflin family, but, then, talking like Yoda sets the bar pretty high. I'm encouraged by her goofy dance with Andy in the break room, however.

-- "You could be hot too, if you made any effort at all." "Like how? Dyeing my hair blond?" "This is from the sun." "Oh, yeah, I bet." Fiesty Pam! Fiesty adds at least one point to your ranking, which means Pam is easily a Scranton 32.

-- Best subtle moment of the entire year: "I thought Rajini Ghanda was a boy's name."

-- The last five weeks have taken the show into an amazing new direction and it got me thinking: is The Office the first show to ever remain viable once the two leads got together? For the longest time, the idea was to stretch out the "will they/won't they" frustration out to unbelievable ends (see Frasier for more on this), but Jam has been jamming along now for a season and half and the show is as good as it ever was. I think Moonlighting lasted approximately one third of an episode past Maddie and David doing it. So, what gives? What did The Office do right?

As always, your comments are like banjo notes played in the break room just for me.

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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Shel

Does it ever get that bad between two people in an office? Worse. So much worse. It's one of the reasons I'm a freelancer now. I just couldn't take all the real-life stupidity around me in an office microcosm. I had just quit my job and started freelancing when my husband & I got the DVD set of the British office. It was so accurate, and so close to what I had just left, that I actually couldn't watch it. Truly painful.

But what I really wanted to comment on was a subtle little thing at the end of the episode. When they're all leaving and head out into the parking lot, Ryan gets into a station wagon that I suspect was driven by his Mom. I just thought that was so subtle, and so funny.

April 14 2009 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Damn I almost cried when MSPaper Co. made the first sale.

That was a great moment. Really really great.

April 11 2009 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
comctrl6

The cringe level was almost close to the British Office. The interactions between Jim and Minor were absolutely brilliant.

Jim wouldn't have asked Minor about what a "run down" was because he has, mostly inadvertently, already made enough of a negative impression of himself on Minor, that asking Minor a simple question like "what is a run down?" would really push Charles over the top.

Also, If I remember correctly, none of the negative experiences between Jim and Charles have been directly related to Jim's work ethics. Jim's tuxedo, his lack of attention in the meeting, etc. have not been directly related to his quality of work, though there were pointers to that in this episode ("why work harder than you should?"). So, I believe, it was only natural for him NOT to ask Minor what it was, which made it even more painful and hilarious to watch.

Did I mention I take great pleasure in other people's pain?

I love this show!

April 11 2009 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CC

Ryan having an MBA doesn't mean squat. As far as I know, he still hasn't made a sale. He acts like he's better than everyone he interacts with (which does not go well with potential clients).

I think Michael would have better odds going out to companies and try to get their business, than having kooky pancake (shaped like pieces of paper) breakfasts and such. We know Michael is a good salesman (albeit unconventional).

I thought a "rundown" was basically a summary of some sort - like maybe Charles wanted a list of Jim's clients. But then I thought maybe he needed to include information on like number of sales or whatever. I know Jim wants to make a good impression on Charles, but frankly, he should have just asked him what he wanted. Worst case scenario - Charles fires him, but David Wallace likes Jim enough - I think he would be safe.

April 10 2009 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CC's comment
D-Bo

NBC just posted an deleted scene showing Jim asking Charles what a rundown is: http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/video/clips/michael-scott-paper-company-clip-three/1085871/

April 14 2009 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diego M

that was pretty cold that he said that.

he bitter cuz he didn't get to date her.

season 1 and 2 pam was a 6 the new pam is easily an 8.

April 10 2009 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diego M

i like the new dynamic they introducing to the show. showing a strugglin start up and then showing the trouble that arises in at DM. however, i'm not thrilled to see the three guys being so clueless. Ryan has an MBA. doesn't he have any sales leads or anything he can give mchale to get some clients.

My favorite part was the talkin head of michael.
"This company was a mistake, i should leave them and start another paper company" so clueless.

i think the whole "pam talking to minor" will play a role in the future, michael doesn't forget.

April 10 2009 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

maybe jim did not know what a "rundown" was because when michael worked for him he would just slack off, because he did not care or because michael had him participate in a fun run or some other stupid thing instead. overall, i used to to think that this season was pretty stale, but they have totally changed it around since this charles guy was brought in the mix.

April 10 2009 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stg

I agree with Ryan though, Pam is pretty bland when in NY. I can see how she can considered a hot slice of ass in a one horse town like Scranton

April 10 2009 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrew

"Pam is a New York 6 and a Scranton 7? How dare you Ryan Howard? How dare you!?"

I had to pause my DVR so I didn't miss anything I was laughing so hard at this moment.

April 10 2009 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

Jay, in your article on "the Dream Team" you mentioned how good The Office is at the little things like the inate need to find common ground with a hard ass boss. Another "little thing" that The Office hit the nail on the head was with Jim being given an assignment and him having no clue what Charles was talking about. I've done that before in my own office as I'm sure many have.

I can't help but wonder if Jim could have just said that he was wearing a tuxedo because of something to do with his impending nuptials to Pam. Maybe that could have left a different first impression on Charles. Maybe Charles would have seen the adorableness in Jim.

April 10 2009 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Sarah's comment

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