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The Office recap: Broke…’Yeah Jim, like I would use a bad apiarist’

April
26

Michael’s balls were in Wallace’s court, the one place none of us ever expected to find them.

And in the end, things wrapped up rather tidily for The Office. This might be cause for a tirade at some other point in the series. Not this point, though. No, this happy ending was earned, and I just didn’t think that would be the case Michael walked out and took Pam with him.

I didn’t trust the writers, but this was one time a measure of trust would have gone a long way.

“Broke” might describe MSPC’s ledger sheet, but it says nothing about the idea factory calling the shots at Dunder Mifflin.

The very tone of this episode — desperate, uncertain…suspenseful? — was palpable. Pam seemed in crisis. Jim seemed suddenly optimistic. And Michael shined when it counted, recognizing a job is indeed a good thing to have, more so than a buyout.

He backed Wallace up against a wall and not only didn’t flinch but went for the throat. “I only have to wait you out,” he said, coldly and confidently.

And with that, a far-fetched plot diversion — Michael starts his own company! Hilarity ensues! — crept into the realm of the plausible. You could see the writers brainstorming this one, asking what made it so farcical, what kind of obstacles would he face, what would indeed scuttle the whole venture when inevitably it was scuttled. And then they approached those likelihoods head-on.

So Pam, Michael and Ryan are making paper deliveries at 4 a.m. in an old Korean church van (with the misleading writing on the side still attracting riders), their accountant is telling them their numbers don’t add up and spooked customers are about to start migrating back to the familiar stability of the mother ship.

But that’s not happening fast enough, so David Wallace has to stop the bleeding at his erstwhile top branch. After a few extended hi’s — lovery for Kelly and Kevin there — he turns to Charles and Jim. Oh, not so fast. Dwight is Charles’s guy, something David finds incredibly hard to believe.

And this is where viewers got a little love from the writers after the last several weeks of dumping on Jim and making him out to be inept and off-balance. As soon as Dwight mentioned his apiarist, you could see him pulling Charles down like an anchor. Then all it took was a little prodding and strategic button-pushing for Jim to orchestrate Michael’s — and let’s face it, ultimately, Pam’s — triumph.

Even when it all started to fall apart and Dwight caught wind of Michael’s dire straits, Jim had but to divert him with a challenge to his case-cracking resume in order to ensure Charles would never hear another word the beet-meister had to say.

But that wasn’t my favorite moment. No, that came a few minutes earlier, after Dwight had made his second bee-related suggestion.

David: I can’t believe I’m about to say this but the cheapest option is to make Michael an offer.

Charles: Yes. I was going to say the same thing. We should buy him out.

Jim: Oh, but you didn’t.

After a ridiculous soccer snafu, an inexplicable tuxedo-clad introduction and multiple unprovoked managerial smackdowns, Jim had his moment. It was over fast, but it satisfied. (TWSS).

It was nice to see Michael go to bat for Pam (though not so much for Ryan, who cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars — nice to acknowledge that — and couldn’t plausibly be rehired). Now it looks like Old Pammy is going into sales. (You can call her that if you buy paper from her.)

A word about that. I don’t love that her artist’s dream was cut so short, and yet now we’re seeing her take a step forward by moving up to sales? Pam is a deep and fascinating character, but if the writers are to be believed, she can only be saved from a bad relationship with a co-worker by a better relationship with another co-worker. And professionally, she has little future pursuing her own dreams, but things look up when she pursues her fiance’s career?

I’m not fine with those choices.

But I am fine with my show returning to some of its previous form. This show felt good. I can’t break it down so easily or so coherently. It just had that tone. Steve Carell directing could be why this one was so good, but things have been looking up for a while. That said, when I watch my DVD set, I might skip the seven episodes starting with “Employee Transfer” and pick up again at “Prince Family Paper.”

We’re in the home stretch of the season, with three episodes remaining. I don’t know what to expect, mainly because I don’t know what’s on the line at this point. Not much from what I can tell. It’s like the show is resetting. How good a thing that is remains to be seen.

A few, OK several, random observations:

  • Michael is just a 44-year-old guy with a paper route. His pulling the van away on Ryan reminded me of him doing the same thing to Ryan with his Dundie.
  • Ryan’s clean, huh? He admitted as much when he said the morning air makes him sick. He also refused Pam’s offer of champagne at the end. Way to close a plot hole, even a year later.
  • He didn’t go to Thailand. He was in Fort Lauderdale. Figures.
  • Nice morning peck on the cheek by Jim. I bet a lot of the ladies made screensavers of the shot right after that.
  • Michael drinks milk and sugar every morning

Andy: I don’t want to have said that…but I think it’s important that you know it.

  • Dwight over Charles’s shoulder!
  • Vis a vis Angela, Dwight’s been there, done that.
  • Charles is a major suck-up. And his commentary on that fact made for Jim’s shortest talking head ever.
  • Way to go Phyllis, speaking up about how David’s avoiding Michael’s phone call might be why they all lost clients.
  • The accountant tapping the Enter key and whispering, “Crunch,” followed by Pam asking, “Did it help?”
  • How does Michael afford an accountant, let alone a delivery van and two employees?

Pam: “Dont’ blame the child; blame the 30-year-old woman who got in the passenger seat and said ‘Drive, kid. I trust you.'”

  • I need a Dwight ringtone like Jim’s. “Idiot…This is Dwight, by the way.”
  • This is worse than the day Steve Martin died.
  • I liked the feel of the confessional scene with Michael, Pam and Ryan. Pam can’t even get a retail job. Ryan never went to Thailand. Michael’s never had pad thai. (“Diversity Day” call-back?
  • Charles: What is wrong with you?

    Dwight: Oh man, if only Michael had children. That’s how you really apply the pressure.

  • Lastly, Michael telling Charles, “Nope, you’re done” and Charles letting him have his moment.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 10:17 pm by Brian Howard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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