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October 2, 2014

The Office: The Meeting

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 24th 2009 11:10PM
The Office: The Meeting(S06E02) Well, we knew the closing of the Buffalo branch would intrude on the world of Scranton at some point. Little did we know that it would produce convoluted but ultimately positive results.

Well, the results could have been even more positive, but you just know that can't happen in the world of Dunder Mifflin, not with the insecure Michael Scott running the branch and the seemingly clueless David Wallace in the executive offices.

This episode proves to me that Wallace is either a brilliant executive or the most patient sap I've ever seen in an executive position.

Why else would Wallace put his faith in Michael time after time, even though the only sliver of competence Michael has shown is his ability to actually produce sales (even when he leaves the company)? Michael's humiliated Wallace a number of times, most recently when he blabbed at the company picnic that Buffalo was closing, well before Wallace had a chance to tell anyone. That in and of itself would be a fireable offense in the real world, but not at Dunder Mifflin.

In fact, Michael was not only not going to get fired, he was going to get promoted, and at Jim's suggestion; Jim would get the branch manager's job and Michael would oversee the entire northeast region. Man, this must be at least the second or third time a promotion has been dangled in front of Michael, only to have Michael squander away the opportunity through his immaturity and insecurity. I know in corporate America, people rise to the level of their incompetence (just ask NBC president Jeff Zucker), but this takes it to the extreme.

So, due to Michael torpedoing Jim -- using Toby's jealousy-laden evaluation as evidence of Jim's unworthiness -- and his clumsy attempts at fixing things, he and Jim are now co-managers. It feels like a comedown for Michael and a bit of a compromise for Jim, doesn't it? However, it'll be interesting to see how this whole arrangement is going to work. Michael already thinks his "best friend" is going after his job, and he's afraid he's going to lose Jim, Pam, and the baby -- the closest thing to a family he has at this point -- in the process. This arrangement isn't going to make him any less paranoid.

And poor Jim... his job is dependent on how his partner Michael does. Very scary thought, as Jim well knows: "He does as much damage in the dark," something Jim now realizes after trying to keep the promotion plan a secret from Michael.

Oh, and Dwight's scream at the end of the episode was priceless. How the haughty have fallen...

More fun stuff:
  • The other two subplots were amusing but no more than just distractions. As someone who's planning a wedding, I did appreciate Pam's efforts to trim her guest list as much as possible. Guests mean money. More on this in a second.
  • Michael's fake cheese-cart scheme to get into the meeting between Jim and David actually worked, due to Andy's hilarious sell job. "Have the Goldfish swim in the blue cheese" and his almost appetizing description of the rapidly oxidizing fake cheese were great.
  • Creed: "Think they're talking about me?"
  • I loved Michael's lament that the closing of the Buffalo branch has made things "chaotic. There's work... every... day." He also laments that Dave "happens" to come for a meeting during the one four-month period when things are hectic. And this is the guy Wallace wanted to promote.
  • Last week, Andy doubted his sexuality. This week, he's yammering about this "weird, nebulous flirty thing with this cousin of mine." What skeleton is going to pop out of Andy's closet next week?
  • The third plot, where Toby and Dwight team up to catch Darryl in a workman's comp lie just didn't work. It was nice to see them team up, but mistaking Darryl's sister for Darryl was a bit too easy. Yes, she's burly. Yes, she wears an Eagles jersey. But, jeez, they even pulled out the quasi-racist line "you look exactly alike." The funniest part though, is that Toby is the one who called Darryl's sister an asshole, yet no one filed a complaint against him. He'll just be filling in the paperwork.
  • Ok, more about the wedding; clever that Pam and Jim set it in Niagara Falls to keep people from wanting to go, but they were thwarted by Michael granting anyone who goes a day off.
  • It was also great that no one wanted to send a proper RSVP. Kelly will only go if Ryan does. Ryan will definitely or maybe "come by," depending on when you ask, Meredith will RSVP by text on the morning of the wedding and will eat the "fanciest" meal, "unless there's ribs." Who wouldn't want those folks at their wedding?

[You can see clips and free episodes from our friends at SlashControl.]

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Alexandra

ok SERIOUSLY what is up with David Wallace asking Michael how he feels about Jim WITHOUT explaining to him that no, Jim will not be replacing you. That part made no sense. Any normal executive would let Michael know that before asking him about Jim because seriously who would say good things about someone who may or may not be taking your job?? I object!

September 26 2009 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan_Screenplays

I thoroughly enjoyed the episode but did not laugh as much as last week. I loved the cheese cart bit. Here's my take:
http://wp.me/pCufw-4J

September 25 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Horse N. Buggy

Doug, you've never heard the *very* racist remark that white people can't tell black people apart because they all look alike? Of course, I've also heard black people make the same comment about white people. And then you can take it further that black and white people say it about Asians. Etc, etc, etc.

So, the brother/sister "you look alike" joke was a twist on that. I wasn't offended by it, but it felt like a line that would have worked better on 30 Rock - they do jaw-dropping un-PC comedy much better than The Office.

I think Jim would make a great boss, but where would the comedy be in that?

September 25 2009 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Buffone

How is it racist to say a brother and sister look exactly alike? You guys are way too PC on this site...

September 25 2009 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Doug Buffone's comment
Eric

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. And they DID look alike, too! I thought that part was really quite funny. In fact, the whole episode was pretty fantastic, but I am a little mad at Michael. I'm sure they couldn't have Michael away so much, though. Too bad, because that would have been an interesting little plot line.

September 25 2009 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron

I was laughing so hard during the opening that there were tears. By far the best part of the episode!

September 25 2009 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allison

Cold open was awesome. I really can't believe that they got that one through the censors. Poor Oscar.

I was so mad a Michael for getting in Jim's way. Jim and Pam save him over and over again and he still treats them so poorly.

September 25 2009 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thomas Long

I can't believe that no one mentioned the cold open where Michael asked Oscar what to expect during his upcoming colonoscopy. Funniest moment of the whole episode.

September 25 2009 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Thomas Long's comment
Joel Keller

That was in my notes, and I thought it was great. I guess I got caught up in the episode and forgot all about it. I also forgot Michael letting out a "that's what she said" when Jim asked "why do you keep screwing me?" or something like that, and Jim just stopping him with a "no."

September 25 2009 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

... and the best part, Joel? ... Michael associating regretful thoughts with things that "she" said, whoever she may be ... my money's on Jan.

September 25 2009 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

Did anyone else noticed that every single character got a line? I was having trouble thinking of the last time that happened.

September 25 2009 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Greg's comment
Martin

I don't remember seeing Stanley ....

September 25 2009 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darth Ackbar

Unless I'm mistaken, Kevin didn't have a line.

September 25 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

What bugs is that all along Jim has been supposed to be #2 man due to the closing of Stamford and his rock solid performance there. Add that to the fact that Jim would likely have gotten Jan's old job and my credibility is too strained. I can't believe Wallace would have left it up to Michael. Honestly, I think a shake-up where Jim is in Michael's old job and Michael is sort of a new Jan would have been great. I suspect nothing will change and that's a missed opportunity I think.

September 25 2009 at 7:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CC

I actually hated Jim in this episode. Those comments in Jim's evaluations weren't totally unfounded (yes, Toby was jealous, etc). Jim isn't the most successful salesman (Dwight is), he isn't good at managing employees (remember the birthday celebration fiasco?), and he did used to spend too much time at reception.

And the way he confronted Michael after he (Jim) walked David Wallace out to his car - come on, Jim! It's not like you've done much to prove yourself around Dunder Mifflin! I would have just let him go.

September 25 2009 at 12:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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