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The Office recap: Road Trippin'

The Michael-Holly romance comes to an end after a long drive, Jim and Pam have an eventful lunch, and Dwight gets under Andy’s skin

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The Office

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Good evening, my little binder clips, and welcome to last night’zzzzzzzz…

Whoa. Guess I dozed off there. Last night’s episode was a snoozer! After the stroller-throttling chaos of two weeks ago and the finely tuned machine of last week (mea culpa on totally missing that Creed joke, btw; sometimes I’m too busy taking notes to process information), this half hour felt like swimming through mud, as we got three storylines — Holly’s goodbye, Dwight’s Ivy-laced attack on Andy, and Jim and Pam’s lunch with the Halpert brothers — each more comatose than the next. Of course, I don’t expect any show to consistently exceed expectations, but The Office isn’t just any show…and this was the first time I honestly regarded it as little more than a speed bump on my way to 30 Rock. (Which I haven’t watched yet, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I really want to get this recap over with so I can go do that ASAP. Blurg!)

No surprise that after making out in front of David Wallace last week, Michael and Holly are being separated — can’t have the HR rep committing an ongoing HR violation, you see. And so we say farewell to our darling Amy Ryan, as Holly ships back to her old branch in New Hampshire. It seems there was a short discussion with Michael about whether she could stay in Scranton, consisting largely of playground lingo; all immaturity aside, I gotta say that if faced with a choice between New Hampshire (where Holly has dated four different men in the last year) and Scranton (where crazy people like Jan and Dwight live), I’d head for Jed Bartlett country, too. And so all of Holly’s things got packed into Darryl’s one-ton for the seven-hour journey northward. Michael piled in, too, along with a bag of activities he’d packed for a small child (puzzles? cat’s cradle?) and a mix CD featuring Tom Cochrane’s not-so-beloved tribute to the open road as it relates to the human condition, “Life Is a Highway.” With this, Holly, Michael, and Darryl all joyously sang along. The first time, anyway.

Meanwhile, Jim was left in charge of the office, but he took the day off to go to New York and have a celebratory engagement lunch with Pam and his suit-wearing frat-hole brothers. Jim! And Pam! Together in the same place! Finally! And it was boring as hell! The idea was that Pam wanted to prank Jim by pretending to have lost her engagement ring in her ceramics smock (whoa, slow down there, Ashton), but the brothers derailed that and decided instead to just be really mean to Pam about her choice to be an artist. This hit a little close to the truth, maybe they weren’t actually kidding, Pam clearly has some doubts herself, blah blah blah! Seriously: That’s the best they could do there? I can’t help but wonder if, to quote Pam herself, “They came up with that idea really fast.”

Jim’s absence, naturally, left the door open for all sorts of wacky hijinx back at Dunder Mifflin, as Dwight — whose lizard brain was totally rocked last week by Phyllis and the powerhouse concepts of kindness and true love — put what was clearly Phase 1 of his Get Angela Back Master Plan into effect by showing up in a Cornell sweatshirt and claiming that he was applying to Andy’s alma mater. (Cornell, according to Dwight’s logic, is an excellent university: “Without its agricultural school,” he said, “we probably wouldn’t have cabbage. At least not modern cabbage.” I’m not even going to ask.) Oh my, did Dwight wearing that sweatshirt ever vex Andy! Um, but why? I count Ivy League graduates among some of my closest friends, and while they do all seem to be proud of where they matriculated, to an exaggerated degree, I found Andy’s reaction to Dwight unreasonable on two different levels: (1) It was really extreme in its negative vehemence…and yet somehow not extreme enough (considering the guy’s a former rageaholic and this is The Office we’re talking about here), and (2) I kind of didn’t buy said moderate negative vehemence, because Andy is nothing if not a total joiner of a guy. I mean, he wants everyone to sing along, you know? It seems like the idea of Dwight wanting to go to Big Red would be right up his alley. But no, it really freaked Andy out, and so there were a variety of confrontations involving banners and bobbleheads and fake interviews and the whole thing ended in a stalemate, especially when Andy showed up in a pair of overalls for the credits bumper, carrying a crate of beets. Touché?

NEXT: Dress-up time