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'The Office' recap: What a dump!

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Image Credit: Justin Lubin/NBCSomething didn’t sit right with me about last night’s Office. Was it the near-absence of the “interviews”? Was it the mere two seconds of hearing Pam’s voice? The lack of hilarity between Michael and Dwight? Or is it simply that the throne of humor is moving on from the stars of seasons past to the likes of Andy, Erin, Kelly, and Meredith. Their stars shone brightest last night and saved the low points from the people we previously tuned in to see.

Last night’s premise was that Sabre sent leads over to Michael to distribute to the sales staff. The sales staff has become more and more cocky (which makes me think of Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles saying he’s “king of the dips—s”) and everyone is starting to resent them. But no one more than Michael who can’t stand that a blue index card with a lead written on it could possibly generate more interest than a meeting about the lost Lost and Found.  “The way this place used to work was make friends first, make sales second, make love third,” he says in his usual delusional way. One by one, the sales staff members have to find their leads. Michael turns Jim’s leads into clues, leading him on a wild goose chase through the kitchen and into the parking lot. Angela blackmails Phyllis (fabulously bitchy last night!) into doing clerical work before she can get her potential commission leads. And Erin, officially my new favorite character on TV, lured Andy into the most adorable, almost sexy but actually just awkward game of Hot-or-Cold.  The more she said “hotter” the more it seemed like our sweet little receptionist had hidden the leads in her bra. When she said “lower!” you could almost see the steam shoot out of Andy’s ears at the prospect of a blue index card being hidden somewhere downtown.  In the end, the cards were under Erin’s computer keyboard.

Kevin hid Dwight’s in the garbage can, but Erin emptied that along with Toby’s babaganoush, which then got emptied into a dump truck, which, nautrally, meant Michael and Dwight had to go off campus to the Scranton dump. For some reason, this scene between these two comedic giants was lacking. The pacing was off. The dialogue not as sharp as usual. The high point for me came when Dwight said with a completely straight face, “This place has gone to hell.” While those boys were throwing trash at each other, the sales staff tried to figure out a way to buy the affection of the rest of the office. They set out a spread of food. They were ready to announce their plan to part with a portion of their commissions. And then Oscar made the stupid move of making peace over a paltry spread of pastries. You could have had cash, Oscar! Team Accounting should have put Kelly Kapur in charge. She would have gotten something better out of the sales staff. In the end, what came out of this whole sales lead debacle? The office got a new purple bean bag chair from the dump. And Andy and Erin got the most romantic kiss possible on a heap of filthy, stinky, vile garbage.

Very important observations:

-Dwight has six phone numbers.

-Dwight might watch American Idol Rewind. How else would he have come up -“Dwight out”, a.k.a. Ryan Seacrest’s erstwhile sign-off?

-Andy’s red pants are awesome. Any man who wears red pants deserves accolades here (to go with the mocking he’ll inevitably endure everywhere else).

-The Angela-Phyllis rivalry continues to be brilliant. Remember the episode about office party planning? Ooh, Angela was loving making Phyllis come over to her desk, when Phyllis had previously told her she was too busy.

-Kelly watches the Kardashians. I’m not surprised by this, but it’s worth noting.  Her reasoning? “It’s about a family. A real family.”

-Toby patronizes the local Syrian restaurant.

-There is a Syrian restaurant in Scranton.

– Phyllis loves purple (though I suspect she wouldn’t have liked that sweater Dwight found inside a discarded bathtub)

5 best quotes of the night:

“You couldn’t handle my undivided attention.” – Dwight to Michael

“Nothing but vomit and diapers over here” – token Pam moment of the night, which, though not particularly funny, did allow us to hear from the new mom

“Yeah, I basically wish you were dead.” – Erin, in a beautifully misguided attempt at flirtation with Andy

“Okey-dokey,” – Meredith, not skipping a beat after Dwight tells her to take off her dress

“If they don’t have an iPod by now, they really don’t want one” – Phyllis, saying a truism of life. Don’t buy iPods for your friends anymore, people. They’ve got one. And they’ve got at least one ipod shuffle that they bought, loaded up with songs, and then lost. Sorry, maybe that’s just me.

Honorable mention goes to Erin for “People love shells from far away beaches.” By “people” she probably means “grandmothers” and “senile neighbors.” But I like it. And if you can’t get an iPod, a shell is the next best thing, right?

What did you all think of the episode? Do you love Erin as much as I do?