Steve Carell, The Office
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)

Officers, I missed you guys last week, but this was not the Scranton welcome back I wanted: “The Promotion” had a few good moments, but none of those moments seem tied to the main plot. Like Meredith and Creed, let’s do this.

Dwight couldn’t get anyone to sign his expense report — it’s too “day to day” for Michael, and Jim was being his usual sassy self, giving Dwight the run-around until Dwight emitted the most animalistic grunt of frustration ever expressed by a human being. Dwight was jealous. Also, Dwight’s hair looked different to me. Longer, maybe? Flatter? Parted from farther back on his crown?

Doo-doo, do-do-do-do-dooo, etc.

The transition to shared power did not go well, to the shock of… no one. Oscar pointed out the obvious strain of having two bosses, sarcastically asking, “Where would Catholicism be without the Popes?” Ten points for Oscar!

Jim complained that Michael was holding too many useless, time-wasting meetings, which I thought was Michael’s major strategey. All the best episodes involve pointless, time-wasting meetings! Jim cited a recent meeting about planets. Well, it started out about toilet paper, but, as Michael said, “what part of the human body does one use toilet paper on?” I believe that’s how Carl Sagan got interested in astronomy, too.

Pam gazed longingly at a box of donuts and chitchatted awkwardly with Phyllis about her wedding registry. “Why doesn’t Crate and Barrel let you register for a toaster full of cash?” Pam confessionalized. Curse you, etiquette!

Michael assembled Oscar, Stanley, Creed, and Kelly (“one of each”) in his office, much to Jim’s chagrin. Kelly told the camera that she loves rivalries: “Michael or Jim? Paris or Nicole? Heidi or L.C.? It’s so much fun. But I guess if I’m really thinking about it, and answering your question honestly, I’d have to go with L.C. Heidi’s a bad friend, and her skin is terrible.” I know Kelly’s supposed to seem vaguely awful, but I badly want to hang out with her.

David Wallace called Jim and Michael to tell them that they can’t give cost-of-living raises to everyone this year, but it will be up to the two of them to divvy up the small budget increase. The Scranton bosses bickered, and Michael snapped: “I hate the fact that we have to do this together! … When I am irritated and we have to work together, I don’t see you anymore; all can see are how big and gross the pores on your nose are.” Two skincare comments in as many scenes? Strange times, kids.

Creed and Meredith shuffled papers. Creed: “Hey, why haven’t we ever…?” Meredith: “We have.” Mmmmbest.

Jim wanted to make a pro and con list about how to distribute the funds; Michael wanted to tease him. Jim showed the camera a pie chart he made of how Michael spends his time: It’s about 60 percent procrastinating and 40 percent “distracting others.” There’s a tiny line between the two labeled “critical thinking.” Heh. “I made it bigger so that you could see it,” Jim explained. For someone complaining about other people’s procrastination, homeboy sure does have a colored-in chart.

Pam ashamedly told Kevin that she and Jim just want money for a wedding gift. After a beat, he totally agrees, writing her a check (and putting “to love’s eternal glory” in the memo line). She felt bad — until she noticed he made it out to Mrs. Pam Halpert, and then she was so adorably happy I couldn’t help but love this moment. (As a total aside, did anyone else think it was weird that both The Office and Community had jokes about check-writing and what goes in the memo tonight? Coincidence? Or conspiracy?)

Jim and Michael went another round, with Jim shouting that Michael can’t make hard decisions, and Michael basically daring Jim to try making one himself. Jim’s attempt to level with everyone backfired when they found out he was only giving raises to the sales staff. I still don’t quite understand why Michael’s goofy “give everyone a 1.5 percent raise” plan wasn’t any good. Jim tried to “rewind” and did a total Michael Scott move by robotically walking backwards, and Pam gamely rolled her eyes.

The bosses tried another method, this time voting with beans (??? what???) for who could get merit-based raises. Dwight gloated that his coworkers were “starting to notice how terrible Jim is,” and he sowed the seeds of discontent by revealing the weird bean-sorting plan.

Back in the main room, Dwight gave a rousing — well, bizarre, but rousing — locker-room/Braveheart/take-down-the-man spiel, hoping his coworkers would rise up with him and topple Jim. I watch Glee so intently I half expected to hear the opening strains of “Do You Hear the People Sing” here. Oh, well!

In Jim’s tiny, cramped office (which I can’t place on this floor plan), Michael sighed and relaxed. “I used to have to do this part alone, and it was the worst,” he confessed to Jim. He saluted their new-found bond by giving Jim a matching “World’s Best Boss” mug, complete with a splash of gin in it. Hee.

In the outro, Ryan scammed Pam out of $50 by somehow convincing her to let him “invest” it with a guy who has an algorithm for gambling on college basketball games.

A few awesome lines and moments

Michael wondering if Jim is short for “Jimothy.”

Michael: “That was not the way I heard it.”

Kelly: “How is that going to repair Ryan’s car?”

Stanley swatting Andy’s hand with a notebook.

Michael drawing a picture of Toby as a goblin.

Okay, on repeat viewing, I found a lot more I liked about this episode, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling it was just a placeholder, basically just killing a week until The Big Wedding Episode OMG next Thursday. Did you get the same feeling, Officers, or were you more into “The Promotion”?

Episode Recaps

Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

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