Thursday, December 4, 2008

Office Recap, "Surplus"

How The Office Got Its Groove Back

NBC, if you're going to promote yourself as "Comedy Night Done Right," then you're going to have to crank out more episodes like tonight's The Office and 30 Rock. It also might help if they stop promoting Kath & Kim as their hot new comedy. Seriously, guys, you're not fooling anyone.

Also! I couldn't ever recap 30 Rock because I would just end up quoting the whole thing, so instead...I'm going to cite an uncanny similarity that I have to Liz Lemon from the episode. Trust, there's always one, usually more. This week's confession? Like dear Liz, I would also buy cream soda in bulk. Yum.

But enough about that, let's talk about the awesomeness that was "Surplus." Oscar, the only competent accountant, dumbs it down for Michael, who still recognized it was a surplus yet needed the lemonade stand analogy. The $4300 needed to be spent by the end of the day and I suspect that Oscar was holding out on that little tidbit of information until he'd be most likely to get the copier. The matter is taken to the whole office where an EPIC showdown begins--Oscar in one corner, Pam in the other. Use the chair, Pam! *rimshot*

Toby thinks the money should be put towards air quality control and I never realized how much I missed him until Michael threw back at him, "You're the silent killer!" A barely-audible "You'll see..." made up for the ridiculousness of him coming back.

Jim is firmly in the copier camp, which puts him at odds with his fiancee. I know that in some less-than-intelligent corners of the internet, people were freaking out that this was going to be the end of JAM, along with every other minor conflict. Dear people-who-cannot-comprehend-subtlety: Jim and Pam are going to have a long, blissful life with one another and they will bear many floppy-haired, artsy children. STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT.

I knew none of you were actually concerned about that; I just needed to get it off my chest. Pam's competitive streak has been shown in other storylines, but she was on fire this week. The difference between Pam of "Frame Toby" and the Pam of "Surplus" is that she was dealing with the whole office as opposed to just Michael. She knows how to control him better than any one else. As for convincing Jim, she fluffed up her curls and applied some seriously hot red lipstick. It's a good try, but Jim somehow resists her temptation. I'm sure they have real fights out of the office, but anything we see on camera is just to keep their mundane work semi-interesting.

I was surprised to find that I wasn't very invested in the Dwight-Angela-Andy plot at the beginning of tonight's episode. For going on months, they've dragged it out and I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but my interest has started to dwindle. On the other hand, I'm always in favor of a trip to Schrute Farms. The conditions seem less-than-ideal for a wedding, like how "no slaughtering" must be requested at an additional fee. Andy steps in manure not once, but twice. Is there a term for doing a lame joke once and then repeating it so it seems funnier? I guess I did laugh the second time, so it worked. Dwight has converted one of the barns to be a sweetly romantic setting for the wedding. I'll admit, I can see why Angela gets the American Girl Doll clothes charmed right off of her. In a twist you could see coming from 186 paces away, the German Mennonite Minister weds Dwight and Angela right there and then. It's a confusing time for her anyhow and then Dwight has to go and ruin it all. In an unexpected display of affection, Angela sucks Andy's face off during work, post-tuna sandwich. Ugh.

Bonus: MOSE!
Bigger bonus: Mose squarely hitting Andy in the head with a ball.

There are a number of tactics used in the final surplus decision, such as letting Hank the Security Guard decide to everyone suddenly showering Michael with the affection he so often craves and never receives. Choking down his tiramisu, Michael learns that he can get 15% of the ending amount. $645 can buy a lot of coats or one awesome fur coat. Instead, in a rare display of workplace ingenuity, Michael lets Oscar and Pam duke it out. That would have been fun to see, but we as the viewers only get the end result--chairs win! The show excels when it takes small plots and expands them to the main plots, which is what made the halcyon days of Seasons One and Two so wonderful.

How great was that tag scene with Jim and Pam? Making copies has never seemed sexier. Congratulations to John Krasinski for Sundance selecting his film, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, to be shown at the festival. And more importantly, congratulations to me for living in the state that hosts Sundance, so you better plan on some hardcore celebrity-stalking going on that week. I'll probably call it Operation:JKras.

Last thing--I have to know, would you have sided with Oscar or Pam? I would have wanted new chairs.


Jess (fushmush) said...

It's such a shame that they felt the need to remake Kath and Kim. The original Australian version is hillarious. (Although, I am an Australian. Maybe you have to be Australian to get it.)

Bayjb said...

I haven't watched 30 Rock yet but I have to agree it was a great Office episode. The JAM stuff was awesome and it was great to see them on opposite sides. The tag scene was great and when she "threatened him," it was hilarious. I was a little put off by the Dwight/Angela/Andy development, but Mose hitting Andy in the head was classic. Michael's fur coat incident was great too. Solid all around. Oh yeah, can I come live with you and stalk with you during Sundance? I'll buy the provisions during stakeouts.

Elizabeth Marie said...

*dies* Best episode of this season and best review too! Love it. Although I have to admit, I'm one of the neurotics that freaks out and starts panicking that Jim and Pam will break up at a moments notice. May or may not have called the boyfriend during previous episodes in hysterics and fully convinced that surely THIS TIME it would be the end of J&P.

Anyways I loved how you summarized this episode (not something I could do since I would just end up badgering my readers to go watch it) and I would totally have picked chairs too. You can always buy a new copier. You can't buy your way our of lower back problems. Hmpf.

Justin said...

I'd be on team copy machine. The value of a good one of those is unmeasurable. And besides, if you want a better chair you can go to Office Depot and buy one for yourself.

Stephanie said...

The triangle between Dwight/Angela/Andy is getting old. I feel like Angela's character has changed drastically and I liked her a lot more before all of this started.

Jim and Pam were adorable as always, but I'm still on the fence about how likable this Pam is. I think I enjoyed rooting for her before, and now that she is "there" as a viewer its almost not as fun. I'm probably over thinking it. Actually, I'm certain I am.

My wish for you and all of your readers is for us to get some JKras goodness. You have to get a picture of him, or some type of back of his head sighting.

srah said...

I'm Team Copier. You sit in a bad chair all day, you get used to it. A bad copier experience can ruin your day.

Mose hitting Andy in the head was the best part of the episode! Dwangelandy is my favorite part of the show this season, because I feel like they're trying to force us to care about where Jim/Pam are going, but I'm genuinely curious about Dwangelandy. I have no idea where this is going to end up.

GiromiDe said...

I would have sided with Pam. A comfortable chair makes all the difference.

Of course a branch that haphazardly run would buy a copier instead of rent one along with a long-term service contract.

I loved Oscar in this episode. Yes, he was withholding the surplus until the last possible day. Remember he was also withholding the 15% bonus.

He didn't skip a beat explaining the surplus to Michael not once but twice, which makes me wonder if he were an accountant in real life. I enjoyed his dialogue with Michael when it was clear he knew about the bonus. I like that Oscar has been given more time in recent episodes.

The end of the episode was handled perfectly. Michael handing the decision to the two camps fell perfectly into character. He was hoping they would fight long enough for him to get the bonus.

I don't know who added the choking bit with the tiramisu, but it's the little touches like that that I love about this show.

The Dwangandy story never really caught my interest until Schrute Farms came into a play a few weeks ago. Dwight's maneuver was brilliant.

And, Gretchen, the second manure gag was funny, but mostly because of Andy's reaction.

Ashley said...

I think you're right. The Office best when it's focused on the office setting, with occasional trips outside, not the other way around.

The tuna thing grossed me out, to, ha.

(P.S. "I want to go to there."

Mandy Sue said...

I have a crappy chair at work and a crappy copier. I would pick the copier hands down. As someone else said, you get used to the crappy chair but a copier who eats your documents really will ruin your day.

And I still love the Dwangandy story. I like it because its hard to say what she will really do. I do kind of wish that they would wrap it up though because it has been going for along time. I actually kind of liked Dwight's's so him!

EP said...

We have a crappy copier at my workplace, but I would have sided with Pam in the debacle. I would much rather have a comfy chair at my desk. Lord knows I spend enough time there...

Chuck said...

Gretchen, you have obviously never had to deal with an awful copier. I'd bring my own chair if it meant no mystery paper jams.

Wickedly Scarlett said...

Copier. Just because every stupid office job I ever had, I was ALWAYS the one who had to fix the CRAPTASTIC copier and let me tell you, that is the most annoying thing in the world. I would just buy myself my own little office chair and sit happily in it for the rest of my days on the job ;)

Maxie said...

I liked the main plot, but I don't like it when they take dwight out of the office! I think the side plot kind of screwed up the whole thing for me :-(

BobK. said...

When Andy stepped in the pile o'poo a 2nd time, I laughed so hard, and what made it even better was it was in the house.

Good write up :D

Gretchen said...

Jess--I have heard really good things about the Aussie version.
Bayjb--Yes, you should come help me stalk!
Elizabeth Marie--Re: Chairs. EXACTLY. It's not worth the pain.
Justin--Sure, sure.
Stephanie--Overthinking is what us Office fans do best. :)
Srah--Yep, I'm *still* laughing about Mose and Andy.
GiromiDe--I forgot about the choking bit! That was awesome.
Ashley--Yeah, it's called The Office for a reason.
Mandy Sue--Dwight's so devious, isn't he?
EP--Ain't that the truth.
Chuck--I've worked with bad copiers, but never awful copiers, so maybe you're right.
Wickedly--Okay, you guys are really making a good case for Team Copier.
Maxie--But Schrute Farms is so funny!
BobK--Thanks. And what was it doing in the kitchen?