Michael brings his staff together for a day of dancing, Jim and Pam figure out exactly what kind of wedding they want, and Kelly gets closer to someone in the office who's not Ryan!

By Margaret Lyons
Updated May 08, 2009 at 10:18 PM EDT
Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC
S5 E25

Officers! I lost an eyelash today and wished for a wonderful episode of The Office, and I think we can all agree that my wish came true. ”Café Disco” felt like a reimagining of ”Casino Night” or ”Booze Cruise” to me in a lot of ways — not as heavy or emotional, certainly, but still a chance to see our Dunderheads in a charming and demonstrative not-quite-work environment. Part of me thought that the dissolution of the Michael Scott Paper company happened way too quickly, and that we’d be going back to business as usual without enough acknowledgment of what had transpired, so I’m relieved (although not surprised) that that hasn’t happened. Instead, change really is afoot in a lot of ways. We saw shifting allegiances, a possible budding romance, goodwill where there used to be bad, and some awesome little nuggets of Officey cuteness.

We opened on Kelly/Erin (from here on out just Erin), the new receptionist, squealing that she’d won an art contest. I actually bought it for a second, thinking maybe she was going to be set up as the Pam that could have been, until Dwight walked up and handed her a prank fee. His maniacal, sort of vicious laughter in the confessional sent a chill down your humble recapper’s spine: an unleashed Dwight? That’s a terror force.

After the credits, we saw Michael down in the former TMSPC offices, shaking his groove thing to ”Car Wash.” He admitted that he still sneaked down there, and I started thinking that if we don’t see someone wind up in that damn shower before the season ends (one more episode!), I am going to be livid. Someone! Needs! To get showered! I’m hoping for a League of Their Own–style ”you need to cool off” kinda thing, but I’d accept…I don’t know, Creed taking an actual shower down there.

Michael bemoaned that DM has a ”strict no-lunch-with-the-boss policy,” which he blamed on Charles. Michael’s chronic, crippling loneliness is a touchstone for The Office, and I’m consistently impressed that the show can find new and different ways for Michael’s isolation to be manifested. He tried to get someone to have lunch with him, and we got our first glimpse of Ryan’s emerging manorexia: ”Food is the one thing I can control,” he says. Hmm.

The too-helpful Erin tried to find out who left a map of Ohio in the printer, and we discovered that not only does Erin carry her birth certificate with her at all times, but…Pam and Jim were getting married! I mean, we knew they were, but they told the camera they were getting married today. At the courthouse in Youngstown. They adorably told the story that that very morning, Jim suggested they elope. ”I had just woken up,” Pam so-adorable-I-can’t-stand-it said. ”I didn’t look cute. That’s how I know he meant it.”

And the sound of a million ”squees” descended upon a nation.

Erin came downstairs to Michael’s dude lair, where she accepted an espresso and started dancing. And not under duress! She really seemed to like it.

Michael tried again to, well, make everyone like him via his downstairs rumpus room, and said it was as way of comfort ”Daddy’s here.” Leave it to Oscar, who might be the most underutilized character on this show, to say disparagingly, ”please don’t refer to yourself as our ‘daddy.”’ Oscar is up there with Jim and Pam as the sane voice in this crazy DM world, and even though his insights are used to full effect, I can’t help but wish we got to see more of him. Also, Andy responded to Michael in a baby voice, which will more or less haunt my nightmares.

NEXT: Kelly and Andy connect

Michael tried to sell everyone on hanging out in the vacated office — and Dwight dropped a so-bad-it’s-awesome (or was it just awesome?) impression of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Michael couldn’t get anyone on board until Erin referred to the space as a ”café disco,” which, of course, Michael loved. What’s more timely than the term ”disco” to mean a place? Nothing.

Kevin was the first to accept Michael’s invite, though he couldn’t really figure out the espresso machine. When Angela came down to retrieve the wandering Kevin, she and Michael got into a faux-dog-owner back-and-forth, instructing Kevin to stay, to eat a cookie, to come, etc. It was simultaneously hilarious and surprisingly depraved. Michael said he knew how cigarette execs must feel: ”You just want to give people a smooth, fun way to relax, and suddenly you’re just some terrible monster….”

Michael’s next attempt to woo companionship had him holding his speakers up to the vent. The music, lo, it moved Phyllis, who swung by her hubby’s office to see if he wanted to come dance. But she was met with her sort of doppelganger, Bob’s new secretary, and she was crushed. She headed downstairs and started jamming with Michael — but thew her back out (and screamed a darling epithet). Michael called Dwight to help him deal with his debilitated saleswoman, and they clumsily brought her back upstairs in a rolling chair.

Michael was devastated that no one approved of his disco, and angrily instructed Erin to ”shut it down.” But when she went downstairs, Kelly went with her, and between the lights being off and the music being on, the two ended up starting their very own dance party — and they had a fan, Leo (Office scribe Gene Stupnitsky). He told his buddy (another Office writer, Lee Eisenberg), and the next thing you know, there was an honest to goodness dance party in full effect.

Back upstairs, Dwight — in an undershirt — was cutting Phyllis’s top off.

At the dance party, Erin had invited a non-Dunder Mifflin pal, much to Oscar’s bafflement. And then, in my favorite bit of the episode, Kelly made eyes at Andy and initiated what Andy believed was a dance-off…and what I believe was the beginning of my new favorite coupling on this show. Team Kandy!

Michael came downstairs and was thrilled to see everyone having a good time.

Dwight continued to rub Phyllis’ back, and he told us he’s using horse massage methods on her (though given last week’s pony meat reveal, I wonder…). He also rubbed her with ”oil from the gland of an otter.”

In the episode’s best sight gag, Angela marched into the dance party without even ducking to walk under the limbo stick taped to the wall. Tiny! Creed brought a disco ball to the party, which apparently used to be his rearview mirror.

Phyllis admitted to Dwight that she’s afraid Bob Vance (Vance refrigeration) might cheat on her and then laughed at how silly it sounded. Dwight seemed completely concerned…in his own weird, kinda creepy Dwighty way. When they went downstairs, it was clear that Phyllis’s concerns were for naught.

Jim cut a bouquet of flowers for Pam, who was now in a pretty pink dress. They decided on their way out — past a sleeping Stanley — to swing by the dance party. As they danced to ”YMCA,” the lovebirds admit to each other that they sort of like the cheesiness, and they decided to have a big-ass wedding after all. As much as I was looking forward to these two finally sealing the deal, a done-up Very SpecialOffice with their elaborate nuptials could be really fun. They gleefully gazed into each other’s eyes.

Back upstairs, in the women’s bathroom, Kelly was piercing a wimpy Andy’s ears. Uh, again I say ”Team Kandy.”

Whew! Overall, I thought ”Café Disco” was a lot of fun, especially because everyone was back together, interacting all at once. That said, it didn’t particularly advance any kind of plot, which wouldn’t be a big deal except that next week is the season finale. Generally, I like when The Office has a mega buildup leading into its last episodes, so for it to be absent a central, critical issue at this point seem strange. But not necessarily in a bad way; there are enough irons in the fire that I’m convinced next week’s ”Company Picnic” installment will still pack a punch.

Your turn, Officers! Let’s all grab espressos and talk ”CafééDisco!”

Episode Recaps

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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