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''The Office'': Occupational hazards

On ”The Office,” Michael risks his neck to prove that white-collar work can be dangerous too, while the staffers start to gamble on everything they can think of

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Steve Carell, The Office

The Office

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
Pending
seasons:
8

”The Office”: Occupational hazards

Let’s just put it out there. This episode, with its safety training gone bad, had one of the best end-credit scenes ever on this show. The look on Stanley’s face as he stared at the shattered watermelon covering his Caddy, and the accompanying silence, was priceless. I can’t believe that Michael smashed a watermelon on a black man’s car!

Not surprisingly, this all started because of Michael’s overdeveloped need to fit in. He desperately wanted the upstairs gang’s safety training to be as cool as the one Daryl had performed in the warehouse earlier. Though his logic is often flawed, Michael was right that Daryl — on crutches thanks to the ladder-removing trick of an office worker who shall remain nameless — had the advantage of good visuals. That baler looked mighty impressive, especially when Dwight seemed to be sticking his head into it. That was also about the time when Kevin and Jim began their ever-escalating betting craze by wagering on how many people each year lost an arm to the baler.

Big props to guest star Patrice Oneal as Lonny, the warehouse worker with the incredulous disdain for Michael and the nerve to take on Kelly and her big mouth. No surprise that Ryan didn’t want to stick up for her against the Sea Monster.

We should have seen that Michael would go a little buggy after Daryl said that the perils of carpal-tunnel syndrome and eyestrain described in Toby’s manual were indicative of the office workers’ ”Nerfy” lives. In a desperate move to one-up him and prove the danger of depression for office workers, Michael staged a fake suicide attempt from the building’s roof. He and Dwight had to scrap plans to use a trampoline to break his fall after a test with a watermelon led to the situation with Stanley’s car.

Michael may be completely oblivious about many, many things, but as soon as he realized that the car might belong to Stanley, he told Dwight to call his lawyer, James P. Albini, to see if he handles hate crimes. You might remember James from the ”Sexual Harassment” episode (and from his billboards).

This was another gem penned by B.J. Novak (who also plays Ryan). He kept a very nice light touch on the whole love triangle thing, only giving us that one wonderfully uncomfortable moment at Pam’s desk when they were betting on how many jelly beans were in the container. It figures that it was Kevin, often prone to putting his foot in his mouth, who said that Jim had an unfair advantage because he’s spent hours and hours at Pam’s desk for years. Jim and Karen gave the most furtive nothing-to-see-here looks to the camera. Brilliant.

And dating Kelly finally paid off for Ryan. This was a perfect example of why I go back and forth between hating him and pitying him. I wanted to knock that smug look off his face as he collected money for wagering correctly that it would take Kelly two minutes and 42 seconds to explain Netflix. But then I thought about how often he has to sit through such idiotic rants, and I realized it’s a wonder that he hasn’t strangled her yet. And then I remembered that they are all just TV characters and I should move on. (But Ryan did have one of my favorite lines of the night: ”Is it warm enough for me to wear a long-sleeve tee?”)

There was also just the right amount of screen time for the reformed Andy (a.k.a. ”Drew”), who had to put up with Dwight shunning him, at least until Dwight needed him to go get an air castle to replace the trampoline for Michael.

Creed Creep-O-Meter: 5. It was little wonder Creed didn’t notice that he was biting a potato instead of an apple, what with the crazy, methodical chomping he was doing, but it was freaky nonetheless. (Almost as freaky was the rarely seen big smile lighting up Toby’s face as he got the payoff for finding the potato and putting the bet in motion.)

What did you think of this episode? Have you ever gotten the bug to bet on mundane things in the office or elsewhere? And did you think at any point that Michael was actually going to jump?