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The Office recap: Family Matters

The paper pushers take casual Friday to uncomfortable extremes, while Michael must deal with the consequences of his defection and return

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The Office
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

The Office

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Oh. My. Goodness Gracious. Officers, this was the episode I’ve been waiting for for weeks. Creed! Toby! Kelly! So many jokes! ”Casual Friday” hit my favorite Office sweet spot of gentle plot advancement wrapped in inter-personal politicking. Not to make this a process story, but: I take notes when I watch the episodes, and generally those notes run about a page, page and a half. My notes for ”Casual Friday” ran a little over three pages. Squee!

We opened on Kevin lugging a massive pot of Malone-family-recipe chili into the DM HQ, which he tragically dropped and spilled everywhere. He attempted to save some of it by scraping it back into the pot, but given the amount of foot traffic at the front of the office and the fact that I can’t think of a time that carpet was ever vacuumed (though believe you me, if there was one, the Officers will no doubt mention it in the comments), I’d say the five second rule is gruesomely invalid.

After the credits, Pam and Ryan were holding a giant paper circle that Michael broke through triumphantly, à la a high school quarterback. Without explicitly telling us so, it was clear the former employees of TMSPC had practiced this little re-introduction routine. Michael immediately convened a meeting in the conference room — and I immediately convened a squealing-with-glee session, because, as we’ve established by this point, I love a group scene, and the conference room is basically ground zero for yuks in my book.

Kelly’s outrageously garish hat was in the conference room. Oops, I mean everyone was in the conference room, except all I could see was that checkered abomination. Seriously, somewhere, Aretha Franklin’s inauguration hat is saying ”finally, someone to take the heat off of me.” Anyway, Michael complimented everyone on the reinstitution of casual Fridays and encouraged everyone to share ideas at the meeting. It’s worth mentioning that Dwight’s casual-making sartorial choice was just to remove his tie. Not only was that a great, could-be-under-the-radar bit, but it also highlighted what I really adored about this episode: That’s the Dwightiest thing ever. This episode saw everyone being aggressively, explicitly themselves, for better or worse, and it felt like a real callback to episodes of yore.

”Everyone here turned their back on me,” Michael confessionalized. ”Am I going to ask them to beg for forgiveness? No. Am I going to ask for a big crying apology? No. Am I going to ask them to slit their wrists for me? No. I just want a tiny, microscopic version of that,” he said. Michael’s announcement that Pam and Ryan would be salespeople went over like…well, most Michael announcements.

Ryan sat down at his new desk across from Meredith, who whispered, ”don’t fall in love with me, kid.” Best!

Pam and Phyllis met in the kitchen, where they were wearing the exact same outfit! Bwahahaha. Phyllis laid the smackdown on Ms. Beesley for stealing some of her clients.

NEXT: The coup begins