Okay, so the next time I throw a birthday party, I'm for sure going to hang up a poster that says, "It is your birthday." Professional, right? Maybe I'll throw in some half-filled brown and gray balloons just for the heck of it.
Lecture Circuit debuts the show's first To Be Continued tag. I have no doubt that they could have condensed this episode into 12 minutes of screen time, but maybe next week is so big that they had no choice. Regardless, I savored the episode because it took things slowly--a welcome change after the chaos of Sunday.
The episode opens with Michael taking advantage of the new phone PA system. In order, he pretended to be Darth Vader, a pilot, a ghost, a school secretary who told Toby Flenderson to go to the principal's office for wetting his bed, and a sports caster. Oh, and he also talked to his doctor about a mole. Mercifully, Jim yanks the cord. You know who's really cute with a PA system? Pam. "Luuuuuke, this is your father. Come set the table for dinner."
The scene opens on a seedy motel (guys, remember the Camelot from Veronica Mars?) and Michael walks out, followed by Pam. In the next room over. It didn't need to be said, but I said it anyway. They just eloped! Or maybe they robbed a bank! Those improv skills just keep coming in handy, don't they, Mike? For reals, Michael has been asked to give a lecture circuit to the other DM branches ('cept Nashua) since Scranton is the best branch. Northeast Pennsylvania represent! He tells the camera that he is going to share his 11 business herbs and spices while Pam loads the car in the background. Lately, we haven't seen many references to the BBC Office and there's this great episode where David Brent gives a motivational speech and makes Dawn carry all his stuff. Pam's going to be his hot roadie in a new cardigan. 72 hours of time-and-a-half? Niiiiice, but it's still not enough to keep you from questioning just why you're spending said time with Michael Scott.
Left in charge of the office are Dwight and Jim, who both also happen to be in charge of party planning. They gave an awesome double talking head and I could barely keep track of what they were saying. They, uh, forget Kelly's birthday which is a BIG mistake, 'cause hell hath no fury like a Kelly scorned. (Side rant: We've seen this before when Kelly falsified there customer surveys. I thought it was going to be Angela's birthday they forgot and that might have been funnier. Also, another birthday-related B-plot? Really? /rant) Yet, it is pretty sad that they forgot Kelly's birthday. She really did look cute and heaven forbid that she actually tell anyone. (Mindy Kaling, the writer of the episode, gave an interview to the Washington Post earlier today. She didn't answer my question, but I still love her anyway.)
So my little brother was incredibly surprised to find out that Rashida Jones is the daughter of Quincy Jones. Speaking of Rashida, "Lecture Circuit" is presumably the last time we'll see Karen Fillipelli. She's moving on to the Amy Poehley-Aziz Ansari-Greg Daniels project, Parks and Recreation. Pam and Michael's first stop is Utica, where Karen reigns as Branch Manager. We first saw the receptionist, Rolando, in "Branch Wars" and he's still a snarky little twerp. Karen's huge preggo stomach enters the room and about five minutes later, Karen herself shows up. It takes Michael a while to work out that the baby cannot possibly be Jim's. Michael then proceedes to lie to the Utica branch, makes Pam pelt them with mini candy bars, and then insults them using mnemonics. (Beardy, Baldy, Mole, Sugar Boobs, Black Woman, and Knocked-up.)
Post-chainsaw ("....And now I'm chopping off Phyllis' head with a chainsaw! Rin-nn-nnn-nnn!" Best. Andy line. EVER.) Karen takes things into her own hands. Did you know that you don't actually pump until the baby's born? Michael didn't. Things are awkward between Pam and Karen until they clear the air. Karen's married to this guy named Dan. We're supposed to think that he's a Jim-type because a) his name is only three letters long and b) he's super tall and goofy. She seems happy for Pam's engagement and then it's all like, "BFF! Let's be pen pals!"
Back to the Kelly birthday, Dwight's in charge of decorations and Jim has to collect money for the party. This is why straight guys don't get put in charge of planning parties. Dwight's decorations look like crap (literally) and all Jim's wrangled up is a three-dollar bill from Creed. I'm interested to see how this all works out.
So Stanley has this pretty new client named Julia and Andy falls hard for her. It was harsh of Phyllis to say that she was out of his league. Harsh and true! Boom. Roasted. Andy car-stalks her music choices and learned she likes Feist. He writes his own lyrics "1 2 3 4" and while it's not as good as Feist's Sesame Street version, it sure won me over. With his resistable charm, Andy convinces Stanley to let her have him as a client in exchange for two of his clients. Taking advice from Creed is never wise, especially when he thinks you're Jim. The Nard Dog's got a case of puppy love and when he goes for the kill, he gets shot down AND loses the account. Rough. (Ruff! Get it?)
In the car ride to Rochester?, Michael muses about how he never really got closure with Holly. I mean, he got a 7-hour car ride and a chance to say goodbye, but never really closure. Sounds like someone's a little unclear on the concept of closure. None of that matters because Pam is totally game to ditch the lecture circuit and visit Nashua instead. My gut tells me that this might not work out well....I'm not listening to my gut because hello, there's a chance Amy Ryan might be involved! I haven't heard anything that confirms her appearence, but seriously, they can't just dangle Holly Flax in front of us and not follow through.
To Be Continued...