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The Office recap: Eyes on the Prize

Michael’s reluctance to take credit/blame for his big idea puts him at odds with Dwight, while Kevin tries to make a move on a girl

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The Office
Justin Lubin/NBC

The Office

TV Show
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Why hello there, my little binder clips! God, it feels like it’s been ages since we’ve met here at the Office TV Watch. I’d like to thank the handsome and noble Jeff Labrecque for filling in for me while I was on vacation last week, and I’d like to thank whoever fills in for me next week while I’m at SXSW. But I am here now, and you are here, and that’s all we need to have a party, or so I once heard Prince say. Anyway.The Office! It was kind of cute tonight, and kind of flat in places, and kind of sad, as we watched what happens when a bunch of lonely men have way too much time on their hands.

Michael had this idea, you see, to slip five Willy Wonka-style Golden Tickets into boxes of paper, entitling whoever found them to ten percent off their total order. Whimsy! Excitement! Fantasy! Disaster if the person who finds the ticket happens to be Blue Cross, your biggest client! And total catastrophe if that client finds all five of them at once because you are the regional manager of a paper company and you don’t understand what a ”pallet” is! It really doesn’t matter if you have taken the time to dress up in a bow tie and top hat and somersault around the office interrupting phone calls and rhapsodizing about extraordinary jelly beans. You are still going to wind up costing your branch an everlasting gobstopper of money, dude.

So there we found our story: Blue Cross got their giant order half off in the middle of a recession. Jim was out fifty percent of his sales, which would have been fine except he has a mortgage to pay. (”It’s not my fault you bought a house to impress Pam,” countered Michael. ”That’s why carnations exist.”) David Wallace up at corporate was understandably steamed. Pam tried her best to stall the inevitable confrontation using a list of emergency locations for Michael when he doesn’t want to take David’s call — ”trapped in an oil painting” was indeed the best of the bunch, although ”Obama fashion show” was pretty damn good, too — but corporate couldn’t be fended off forever. Someone in the Scranton branch was going down. So Michael Scott, the man who loves his employees above almost everything else in the world despite occasionally trying to convince them he serves as a net (or a Toilet Buddy, if you will) for all their ”crappy subconscious ideas,” had to man up and decide who was going to take the blame for his failed idea. And he picked Dwight.

Dwight? His right hand man? His faithful servant? How can you ask Dwight to fall on his sword? Luckily, since Dwight knows from literally falling on swords, this would prove no easy feat: The simple Jedi mind trick of ”oh my god, you had this great idea” didn’t work, nor did pulling out a fake diary and reading the entry from the day on which Dwight supposedly came up with the Willy Wonka plan, since Dwight keeps an actual diary — to keep secrets from his computer, so brilliant — and noted the very day that Michael dreamed up the plan himself. And besides, Dwight said, he doesn’t even get Wonka. ”I wasn’t given candy as a child,” he said, in one of the better-written lines of the night, ”so a movie that fetishized it that much would have made no sense to me. Plus we weren’t allowed to see movies.” (PS: Whatever you do, don’t bring up the book.)

NEXT: Honesty is its own reward…right?