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The Office recap: ‘The Surplus’ divides the staff, unites fans behind a vintage episode


I’m not waiting until tomorrow morning to get down on paper (well, on screen anyway) how awesome I thought tonight’s episode of The Office was.

You know those 712 reasons why you loved this show at its best? This episode had 645 of them, and it wasn’t even supersized.

This  episode was about next-to-nothing. Seriously, a rift over how to spend a $4,300 surplus would barely constitute a B- or C-story most episodes. But the writers blew it up. They took a completely relatable scenario and dissected the petty office politics that would erupt when put-upon office drones are forced to choose between basic comfort and the tools they need just to do their jobs. It was like they were stuck for what to write about, so they called in a security guard to settle the matter.

And for good measure, they split Pam and Jim on opposite sides.  On that note, Pam is a fiercely competitive individual, and she’s not afraid to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants.

Not that it works on man-child like Michael who no doubt sincerely views her as a daughter. Or a sexy sister-in-law.

I’d just like to point out that I totally called that Pam would be gunning for new chairs when I previewed this episode earlier today. She’s been on the look out for new digs for her rear end since Michael fell for the chair model lady. Meanwhile, Oscar is shaping up to be quite the office nemesis  to Pam, first challenging the cowardice of her microwave note and now taking up the cause of a new office copier.

I’m sure Jamfans were anxious about potential friction in this one,  but pitting Jim against Pam was a good move. First off, it was about something totally trivial, but as couples are wont to do, they took it ridiculously seriously. I mean, Jim went for lunch with Michael and laughed at his jokes. Pam flirted with him?

Suffice to say, no need to start the Jam doomsday clock back up.

I should touch upon the B-story, the actually dramatic portion of the episode, which threatened to make me punch a hole in the Internet if it was mishandled. Dwight, Andy and Angela went to Schrute Farms to plan the wedding.

I’ve sworn I couldn’t take another week of Angela stringing poor Andy along. I mean, the guy’s a pathetic jerk, but the whole bit was  becoming unfunny, and as we know lame is double offensive.

But this worked. I never saw Dwight’s ploy coming, and yet he managed to do the unthinkable. He finagled a wedding out of Angela right in front of Andy. That is so Dwight, right down to the twine ring.

Angela was all set to come clean — if she can ever indeed be clean again after all her dirty doings with Dwight in the warehouse — when he revealed his wedding ploy. The kiss she plants on Andy back at the office was an un-Angela-ish sight to be hold. Poor Andy’s lost eight deposits on 12 venues, but he’s a step closer to seeing what’s underneath those high-buttoned blouses.

As for Michael and his financial quandary, I’ll just say this: I’d take the $645 too. Difference is, I’d have known about it all along and wouldn’t have put it to a public vote. Was their any doubt the two sides would reach their own accord? They weren’t going to let Mr. Bonus, the guy who took home $3,000 for firing Devon and celebrated by nearly ruining Christmas, get away with their chair money.

I redact my comment from earlier today that this has  been a season so far of good but not great episodes. Clearly this one was great. Whether it proves to be memorable remains to be seen, but I think it will. “Weight Loss”, “Baby Shower”, “Crime Aid” and “Business Trip” reached similar heights. “The Surplus” was right up there with them.

And the best part was, it was about nothing.

Here is an incomplete list of things that made me laugh out loud, just off the top of my head…

  • Andy stepping in horse flops in Dwight’s barn.
  • Pam telling Michael not to take his ass away.
  • Andy stepping in horse flops in Dwight’s kitchen.
  • Michael calling Toby the silent killer.
  • Kevin thinking Michael was a mathematical genius.
  • Hank being called into settle the argument and Michael losing patience with him.
  • “Explain it to me like I’m an 8-year-old.”
  • “Explain it to me like I’m a 5-year-old.”
  • Michael choking on tira misu cocoa powder. Twice.
  • Michael wearing a fur coat — splattered with blood.
  • Mose throwing a basketball at Andy’s head.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 10:59 pm by Brian Howard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: The Office, The Surplus
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