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The Office recap: Bittersweet Moments

While Michael and Dwight get intel on a rival paper company, the rest of the paper pushers debate the hotness of actress Hilary Swank

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The Office

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Buncha meanies! No, not you, the writers ofThe Office. Staging a Hot or Not debate about a somewhat androgynous actress who has trouble picking roles? Mean. Crushing a sweet little family business so that your boss can eat what you kill? Mean. Snaking 500 feet of red wire through your office, driving your co-worker up a telephone pole? Mean, but funny. (It’s no Future Dwight, but funny.) This was an unkind little episode, folks, so much so that even Jim was mean — no, to someone besides Dwight. Are we all doing the slow nod of recognition? Thought so.

Ooh, before we go on, I should read the announcements: Your regular recapper, the divine Ms. Whitney Pastorek, will be done screening movies at Sundance and back to watching TV with you next week. Your sub is fading back into the recesses of EW‘s L.A. office, returning to furtively peeking out only when someone buys cupcakes — and not a moment too soon, because she’s wicked sick with a head cold that makes her feel like Phil Leotardo and sound like Froggy from Our Gang. But she’s had a lovely time, and hopes you did too.

Back to Mikey Mike and the Funky Bunch. It wasn’t the best episode, by any means, but there were moments we can clench in our chubby little fists — like that gem of an opening with Dwight discovering that nefarious red wire. Anybody else spend too much time in their heads wondering how early Jim would have to come in to set up those gags? Which means he must have a secret key, right? Or he bribes that grumpy dude in security. And how much time does he spend at home conjuring up plans? Does he keep them in a special notebook? How much money has he spent pursuing them? It was only $20 this week, but add it all up: It’s like when Carrie Bradshaw realized she’d spent her condo down payment on shoes — only Jim hasn’t had the epiphany. Then again, torturing Dwight has to be cheaper than a therapist, so…moving on.

Before we can debate, though, we have to vote: Hillary Swank plotline, hot or not? (Abstain if you want to, Angela. “Nobody cares.”) I vote “not.” It isn’t the mean thing I’m opposed to; I just didn’t think it was all that funny. Sure, Kevin had a couple of good lines, first declaring, “A painting can be beautiful. But I don’t wanna bang a painting.” Then he shut down Jim’s sweet little daydream about Hillary somehow discovering Kevin’s profile on the Webz and making her way to Scranton to find this cuddlebug who works at a paper company. “It’s: Is she hot? Not: Would you do her? Respect the game.” (And somebody holla, because those two assertions seem directly contradictory. Either she’s hot ’cause you wanna “bang” her, or she isn’t. Pick one.) But the overall concept didn’t seem particularly inspired, even if it did give Pam an excuse to throw this out there: “Ladies, are we prepared to let the Kevins of the world decide anything for us? Anything at all? We don’t even give him full internet access.” That might be the line of the night, though it has competition.

NEXT: Michael makes a play for the crown