Pam teams up with Dwight to prove Jim finds her replacement attractive

By Erin Strecker
Updated November 11, 2011 at 08:08 AM EST
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Everyone has been there: Something starts as a joke or an offhand comment, like you tell a friend you have a crush on this guy, and then you keep joking about it and joking about it far past the point where it’s funny anymore, and instead it gets weirdly serious and everyone is uncomfortable because you pushed it too far and now it’s really awkward, but it’s too late to back out. Going too far and caring too much was the plot last night on The Office.

Whether you found the above situation oddly amusing or deeply unsettling is how you probably found Dunder Mifflin this past episode, which featured a nine-months-pregnant Pam training her temp replacement, the very cute and young Cathy, and growing increasingly paranoid that Jim thought Cathy was hot.

In the “Don’t Ask A Question You Know You Won’t Like The Answer To” school of thought, Pam knew that Cathy was — objectively! — very attractive. Hottest in the Office Ryan even wanted in on that. Heck, Pam even wanted some fries with that shake. But when Ryan asked if Cathy was single, Jim said he “doubted it,” leading Pam to believe that Jim was attracted to Cathy, and lying for her benefit. I’m actually with Pam on this one — “doubting it” doesn’t mean you want to date her, but it does mean you know she’s hot. She should have accepted it and moved on, but Pam wouldn’t drop it.

I’m trying to cut Pam some slack this episode. Overall, I think recently she’s been a lot less fun of a character than she used to be. I’m not sure whether it’s having her grow up and become less amused at office hijinks, or whether she just — by nature of the writing — had to become the sane, and therefore less fun, character at Dunder Mifflin. I know many have made the opposite argument about Jim: He needs to grow up and drop the stale shtick with Dwight. But a less playful Jim makes for a much duller show (see season 5, when he was temporarily co-boss with Michael). Of course, I find Jim objectively attractive, so that probably plays a fair amount into my reasoning. I’ve also never been nine months pregnant, so I feel like I’m in no position to judge this round.

Anyway, being a good husband, Jim naturally didn’t confirm Cathy’s hotness, and instead explained to the camera: “No, I’m not going to tell my nine-month-pregnant wife that I find her replacement objectively attractive. I’m also not going to tell my 2-year-old daughter that violent video games are objectively more fun. It’s true, but it doesn’t help anybody.”

At lunch, Pam wandered into the break room, where everyone was discussing Cathy’s relationship status. Ryan heard she was single, leading to my favorite group scene of the evening, where the whole gang could tell Pam was upset and all tried to make her feel better by talking about how beautiful she — and Helen Mirren — were. Phyllis told her she had, “that pregnancy glow” and Gabe — who really is continuing to be a favorite character of mine — creepily explained, “It’s one of the most common fetishes.” Dwight, of course, was disgusted by this whole exchange designed simply to make Pam feel better. “Helen Mirren was born Helen Mirenoff. You’re fake-salivating over a Soviet-era Russian.” Talk about an exit line.

NEXT: Pam and Dwight team up on a search for the truth

Pam still couldn’t let Jim’s crush go, and was quickly becoming obsessed with getting Jim to admit he found Cathy attractive. She enlisted the only person who’ll tell her the truth: Dwight K. Schrute. He didn’t mollycoddle anyone. He also, coincidently, doesn’t high five pregnant ladies, but win some, lose some. I mentioned last week how much I love the two of them together, so you know how psyched I was for them to team up, even if it was over something a little silly.

Speaking of silly, they went straight to the obsessive, crazy lady source: Kelly Kapoor, who explained that they are definitely on the right track — you don’t want to end up like Elin Nordegren (that reference should have been Pam’s clue to peace out). Kelly elaborated that they have to give Jim the Matchmaker Test, finding out who among his friends he would set up with Cathy. If it’s his hottest friend, Pam and Dwight will know that Jim finds Cathy attractive. You know she’s pulled the Matchmaker Test with Ryan a zillion times. The plan is actually kind of perfect. Unless, of course, (in my personal biggest laughing out loud moment of the night) the guy is aware of the Matchmaker Test. Then you get Mike Tibets. Jim explained, “Mike Tibets is the most boring-looking guy I know, so if that was for the Matchmaker Test, I think I’m in the clear.” Cue that grin.

After looking up Mike’s Facebook page, Pam realized what was up, and knew she had been played, leading to a very Friends-esque “they don’t know that we know that they know,” which I thought was where this was all heading, but — surprise! — we got something better: Hand-to-crotch action.

Extreme circumstances call for extreme action, and Dwight was willing to go all the way for Pam. Or more accurately, to make things more difficult for Jim. Dwight wanted to measure if Jim was attracted to Cathy when he was chatting with her, so Dwight had a way overblown fall, giving him an excuse to feel up Jim. Sorry he fell down, Mr. Balance. Unfortunately, it seemed getting frisky was for naught, because unless Jim has some very soft erections (something he definitely clarified to Pam), Jim wasn’t attracted to Pam’s replacement. Case closed?

Not so fast. When that plan failed, there was only one option left: Dropping it A lie-detector test, a.k.a. a blood pressure read at the local pharmacy. Pam acknowledged that it was crazy and nuts (though Dwight would never say that) but she thought it was the only way to end this once and for all.

Naturally, Pam discovered how ridiculous this all was when she realized the real thing she should be concerned about was Jim’s high blood pressure. Dwight was not as convinced (and the fact that Jim Halpert was a fake name isn’t helping anything…). Faced with a real problem, Pam sprung into caring mode, and she and Jim left the pharmacy together. All’s well that ends well for our favorite couple.

It wasn’t said aloud tonight; this week’s Robert California Dark Truth was implied. Robert and his (local celebrity!) friends crashed Kevin and the Zits’ practice (name never officially voted on) in the warehouse — which wasn’t nearly as funny as it should have been. Robert and Co. were way too good of a band to be goofing around with Kevin, Darryl and Andy. We learned that if your (slightly creepy) boss is ever overeager about something, back away slowly. You’re going to be way out of your league.

NEXT: Top lines!

Top Lines:

++“Really? Because your mom is dead.” –Erin, once again taking a joke way too far

++“You’re a band?” “Thank you.” –Robert and Andy

++“CEOs don’t play tambourine. Tambourines are for girlfriends.” –Andy dropping some hard truths

++ “Five bucks if you can get him to admit it.” “Done.” (goes for a high five) “I never touch a pregnant woman.” “Yup, that’s the Dwight I need.” –Dwight and Pam, the Dream Team

++”Ground rules: Our only loyalty is to the truth. Rule 2: we stop at nothing…Rule 3: Don’t fall in love.” “Yup. Done.” –Dream Team, once again

++“I’m going to write something mean on his wall.” –Kelly, about Mike Tibet

++ “He’s probably a drug dealer. That’s the best way to land a hot girlfriend — get her hooked on blow.” Gabe, explaining Cathy’s boyfriend’s likely occupation. Bonus: Kelly nodding in agreement

++ “The hottest thing ever is a 66-year-old pregnant woman?” –Dwight

++ “…Increased blood flow to the crotch. I say we start there.” “With the crotch?” “With the crotch.” –Dwight and Pam

++ “Jim has no discernable sense of humor, Pam, you should know that.” –Dwight

++ “Does your husband ever have very soft erections, ’cause if not, I just grabbed a very soft penis for nothing.” –Dwight

++ “It’s like a porno…did anybody order a pizaa?” “It’s not a pizza.” “Yeah, and we’re not about to make love.” –Andy and Darryl

How did you all like this episode? Were you on Pam’s side, or should she have let it go? And who else thinks that Dwight and Pam should star in a buddy comedy together?

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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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