Jim, Andy, and Kevin combine good business with bad golf, while Michael drives recruits away from his booth at a job fair
The Office
Credit: Byron J. Cohen
Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)

”The Office” recap: Staying the course

It’s time to shed a tear if you love hosting business lunches over a bowl of Skillet Queso: Chili’s is no longer ”the new golf course,” as Michael claimed in season 2’s ”The Client.” The golf course is now the new Chili’s. Which explains why no one ”almost had Awesome Blossom coming out of [his/her] nose” last night — or awesome anything for that matter. In the pantheon of Office episodes, I’d put it in the middle. It certainly wasn’t the crackingly-funny or disturbingly-insightful Office we’ve gotten used to over the years (think: ”The Client,” ”The Dinner Party,” and ”Diversity Day”). That said, this episode definitely had its charms.

Let’s start with Andy ”My Grandfather Would Be Spinning in His Urn” Bernard. I’m trying to figure out what is grosser, his bleeding boobs in ”Fun Run” or last night’s blistered hands. I laughed and I gagged. Moreover, I was delighted to see him sporting those J.Crew chinos with the animal embroidery. Every spring I wonder who actually buys those. They carry, like, a trillion different kinds, so it’s gotta be someone, but have you ever seen anyone actually wearing them? They’re ridicul-arse. Kevin, with his World Series of Poker-bracelet-winning self in full force, was also great — especially when he name-dropped acey-deucey, the silliest sounding golf game ever.

If Andy brought the funny to the course — with his pants, his crap driving, and all — then Jim brought the serious. We know now Jim’s on probation at DM. (As some of you pointed out, the deleted scenes at the NBC website show Ryan as the force behind the bad review. I’m with TV Watcher kd, who wrote that Toby has never had the gonads to do something like that). So, Jim was under the gun to land this particular client — a junk-mail executive played sedately by Phil Reeves, the crazy boss from Girlfriends (you might remember him from a small role in Evan Almighty) — and he did so by being persistent. Plus, you know, a bit of a stalker — and I mean that in the sweetest way possible. Remind anyone of how he never gave up on loving/getting Pam? Jim’s a slacker and a closer at the same time: ”That guy can do anything he wants to do.”

With Jim, Andy, and Kevin out golfing, Michael and a crew at the job fair (more on that later), and almost everybody else playing hooky, Angela and Dwight got some needed alone time at the office. Who didn’t want them to just grab each other for an old-school, Birkenstock-clad seven minutes in heaven? I hope they are headed for reconciliation. I know I once wrote that every time I looked at Dwight’s face I saw Angela’s murdered cat, Sprinkles, but that’s wearing off quickly. Moreover, now every time I see her new paramour, Andy, I envision pus-covered palms, so I guess it evens out.

NEXT: ”Pam will be eye candy”

Which brings me to what I really believe last night’s episode was about: setup. Sure, we got some pretty funny lines (like Michael saying he was attending the job fair to ”euthanize this place”), but what did the job fair do really? First, it opened up the possibility of a new character, the summer intern (provided they ever recruit someone and he/she stays through the fall). It also got Pam reminiscing about her high-school days, thinking about her graphic-designing dreams, and considering a move to NYC or Philadelphia — which could either be terrific for the adventurous side of PB&J (let’s cross our fingers) or really bad if Jim wants/needs to stay in Scranton. If you truly consider it, Jim’s relentless pursuit of that client to regain his job security is the exact opposite of Pam wanting to leave Dunder Mifflin. Not good. Then again, DM does have a New York branch. Hey, isn’t there a possibility that Ryan will be canned, Jim will get his job, and PB&J can both move to the city? Maybe we’ve just figured out the season-finale cliffhanger. Thoughts?

Last week, I ended the TV Watch with the Creed Creep-O-Meter, but not for this episode. Sure, it was pretty weird when he called Angela ”Pumpkin” and said, ”We’re gonna ditch this bitch” — but lemme tell you, nothing that Creed could’ve said would’ve matched Michael’s hair-raising gems last night: ”Pam will be eye candy,” ”Pam Beesly, the office hottie. She will do you,” (Who wasn’t reminded here of Ricky Gervais’ crack-of-Dawn joke when he dropped that bomb?) ”Kiss her… Kiss her good,” during Jim and Pam’s sweet snog. If Pam stopped humoring him, she’d have a slam-dunk sexual-harassment lawsuit.

Let’s end instead by congratulating Angela Kinsey, who gave birth to a baby girl (Isabel Ruby) on May 3rd, and starting to discuss the finale. Did anyone see B.J. Novak on Wednesday’s Conan? Sure, he was a gas (he’s always great on this show), but he didn’t give away anything about what’s going to happen. If you’re interested, the addictive OfficeTally.com has a bunch of spoilers.

So, what’s in your heads? Jim and Pam headed to the altar (boy, their kiss was sweet) or in the opposite direction? Happy to see Toby go, or do you like his deadpan delivery? Pumped, like me, for an hour-long epi (they sadly always seem to end so soon)? Or really sad to see a show that just came back go away so soon? (P.S. my favorite line? The twisted homage to Airplane, when Pam asked, ”Are you serious?” and Michael replied, ”Yes, and don’t call me Shirley.” To which I’ll add Lloyd Bridges’ line: ”I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”)

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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