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October 31, 2014

The Office: Heavy Competition

by Jay Black, posted Apr 17th 2009 12:50AM
This is the alternative text to The Office. If you're a google-bot looking for ways to link to this page, please feel free to use this information to our mutual benefit.(S05E22) This review will go a whole lot better if we all just forget about that odd Jim/Andy subplot. Go on, it's okay, just wipe it from your mind. It's a little like pretending that the Star Wars prequel trilogy didn't happen, but easier because it's only a B-story and not an eight-year ordeal of codependency with George Lucas.

Did you forget about it? Good, because now we can talk about the A-story ... which was awesome!

Tonight's episode was exactly what I want from The Office. I'm actually a little worried that the writers broke into my house and read my secret wish diary. Not only did we have good laughs and a hilarious (if slightly over-the-top) war between Michael and Dwight, we got to see something we've never seen before in an Office episode ...

... Michael Scott in full-on salesman mode.

Sure, we've seen tantalizing hints of what Michael was capable of in the past, but the writers always felt the need to undermine Michael's brilliance as a salesman with his incompetence as a boss. Freeing Michael from Dunder-Mifflin also freed the writers to explore just what got Michael to be the boss in the first place.

I'm loving this. I've long thought that the thing that most hurt The Office's ability to satirize the American workplace was Michael's cartoonish buffoonery. Because The Office needs believability for its satire to work, Michael's actions, while funny, were often at odds with what a lot of us love about the show. It doesn't matter how many brilliant little moments you worm into the corners of an episode if Michael does something completely outlandish like kidnap a pizza delivery boy.

There have been several times when this show has teetered on the brink of becoming a bleak workplace comedy full of funny wigs and catchphrases.

But this new Michael -- as slick and smooth as Ricky Roma in there -- changes all that. The issues that made Michael such a terrible boss (namely, his little-lost-puppy neediness and his grand-gesture attempts to manipulate situations) are precisely what makes him such a wonderful salesman. It's not a stretch to believe, then, that Pam would put up with Michael's craziness, because that craziness gets results.

Of all the changes that we've seen in recent months with The Office, this is by far my favorite. I can't wait to watch Michael Scott dismember Dunder-Mifflin like it was a bear struck by a Pontiac Trans-Am.

Other stuff:

-- Only nine grand to snag "I Love Treble" for your wedding? A bargain, if you ask me. (Seriously, for the comments: what would you realistically pay to have Andy Bernard and his a cappella group come to your wedding to perform?)

-- Brief note about the B-story: did anyone else find Jim completely confusing (and bordering on a-holiness) during it? Jim should stick with messing with Dwight.

-- It certainly looks fun working at the Michael Scott Paper Company. Though I'll be honest, I think it's a pretty big choking hazard to stuff that many cheeseballs in your mouth.

-- Tall.

-- Beets.

-- I don't know why, but Michael's face right after discovering that the meatball parm was the worst sandwich on the menu made me laugh for a full minute.

As always, your comments are the rotting fish in my ceiling.

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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33 Comments

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freefoo

The cold opening was the best! Forget method acting, it's the cheeseball proficiency that's gonna get you noticed. And the dynamic between Pam and Michael I think works. She's still being the realistic interpreter of the world for him, and he's adding this crazy unpredictability to her life, which -- as much as she loves stable, unchanging Jim -- she seems to crave.

April 22 2009 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Scarn

its "Here comes Treble"!! and yes, i would hire them.

April 18 2009 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shd

Love this discussion. Serious Office fans in the house. Just had to say - it's not I Love Treble, it's Here Comes Treble. And yes, I would mortgage my house to have them at my wedding... if I weren't already married.

April 18 2009 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shd's comment
Jay Black

Believe it or not, I spent a good solid twenty minutes on Thursday thinking about the Nick Nolte/Julia Roberts movie "I Love Trouble". There was actually a time in our nation's history when Nick Nolte could a) greenlight a movie and b) be a believable love interest for Julia Roberts. I found that fascinating.

But alas, the title stuck in my head and thus the mistake in the review.

My apologies everyone! But mna-mna is right, this is a great discussion. Keep it up.

April 18 2009 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DK

OK, so Andy vocalizing the actual bass solo to "You Can Call Me Al" was one of the greatest things I have ever heard.

Also, Spin Move!

April 17 2009 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jothie

Loved this episode. Loved the B story too. At first it was alittle strange.. I didnt know where the "joke" was going.. then I thought he was just trying to make Andy feel like a good friend.. then he was smiling like a crazy person through the glass and I was like "wtf Jim, thats just mean." But then I understood what Jim was doing at the end when he said the bit about Angela. The emotions Jim faked for Andy where the emotions Andy were bottling up inside and should have been expressing. He was helping Andy to understand those feeling. I liked the b-story alot after the last scene.

The rest of the episode was just great. Great great great great. Screw the CIA.. the president should be investigating the writers of the Office for torture for making us wait a week and sometimes longer for the next one!

April 17 2009 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

I loved the morning cheer and accompanying dance moves. I found myself for the rest of the evening chanting "U-G-L-Y..."

The cold open was funny too, one of the best. Pam yawned and two cheesballs came flying at her.

Between I Love Treble and Scrantonicity who scores higher on the Clap-O-Meter?

April 17 2009 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrjcjenkins

I don't know about you, but I want Here Comes Treble to play at my wedding. After last weeks horribly depressing episodes this was a welcome funny change.

http://www.joeonthetube.com

April 17 2009 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr Sak

I thought the funniest part is when Michael asked Dwight if he was wired and Dwight pulled up his shirt and his pants fell down.

April 17 2009 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

I'm really loving the "Michael starts his own company" storyline too, even though at first I thought it was going to be the sign that the show was on the back nine. But it has been great so far.

April 17 2009 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Martin

The B story was good and neccessary. Like others said, it was the most efficient way to get Andy to let go... He needed to see what he was feeling inside since he obviously refuses to show it for real..

April 17 2009 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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