The Office Recap: Heartbreak in Nashua

Friday, February 13 by

Michael and Pam continue their quest to Nashua, while back at the office Dwight and Jim are still trying to figure out Kelly’s party. Jim and Dwight seem to keep on finding ways to screw stuff up, from getting the cake wrong, to coming up with a theme, and Michael is devastated to find out that….*dramatic music*…Holly has a boyfriend in sales in Nashua named AJ.  Oh yeah, and some weird shit goes down with Angela and her cats.  Check it out after the jump, junkies.

Episode 15: Lecture Circuit: Part 2
Full Episode Online: NBC Official Site

Pussycat, pussycat, I love you

Angela comes int break room, her smile bright as the sun, and Oscar comments, “You’re more chipper than usual.” Apparently, she’s bought a cat for seven thousand dollars, a third generation show cat, and its father was in “Meet the Parents” – its name: “Princess Lady!!!” she squeals out. “Seven thousand dollars?” scoffs Creed. “I could have got you a kid for that.” Angela brings them all to her computer to see her nanny-cam that she has set up to view her cats, obviously completely in love with them, while everyone stares, kind of creeped out.  Later, they find one of the cats humping Princess Lady. Angela freaks out and rushes off to save the cats from their horny selves, and when she arrives later, Oscar and Angela happen to see her on the webcam.  As they watch, Angela starts to lick the cats, cleaning them as if she were a cat herself.  Whaaat? Okay, what is this weird touch of voyeurism we’re seeing here?  Do we really need to see that Angela licks her cats?  It’s kind of reaching for plotlines, even if it is hilarious. At least it shows they’re not willing to put limits on where their characters can go – we already know Angela looooves cats, but we didn’t know she loved them this much. Let’s hope Angela doesn’t leave her webcam cam on during mating season. As Meredith pointed out when Angela claimed the humping cat was fixed, “I know fixed, and that ain’t fixed.” When Angela comes back, both Oscar and Kevin claim to not have seen her computer screen the entire time she was gone, and while Angela is responding, she coughs up what looks like a hairball.  Eeww.

Lost Love
Pam’s informing the camera that Nashua sounded very pleased when she called them about their surprise visit, and they finally arrive, with a snapshot of course of Michael in front of the building. They walk in and talk to the receptionist, and find out that Holly is apparently on an HR retreat for the next three days, and if he needs to reach her right away, he can talk to AJ, her boyfriend, a salesman. Michael looks over at the guy, crushed, and later Pam approaches him as he sits on the curb, despondent, outside. Okay, that’s kind of lame. After that buildup they’re just going to kill it?  I wonder if Michael will go ballistic on the guy or something, but he’s gotten over his tantrum phase mostly (remember the beginning of the fourth season?). Michael weeps out, “She has a boyfriend.” “I’m so sorry, Michael,” Pam says, sitting down next to him. Michael asks how she can do this to him, and Pam says that she doesn’t think she did it to him. Michael says he doesn’t think he can do the presentation, and Pam starts to share about when Jim left, but Michael cuts her off and says, “Pam, please, I’m going through something here.” Pam is silent, used to Michael insensitivity. She then tries to cheer him up, telling him what a great job he’s going to do on his presentation, and how Holly will be impressed when she gets back and everyone tells her about it, and she’ll realize what she’s missing. “And she’ll move back to Scranton, and her boyfriend will die,” Michael replies. “Maybe,” Pam chuckles. “One step at a time.” I love Pam and Michael’s interactions – she treats him like a little kid, and though he does overstep his boundaries sometimes, she has a lot of fun with him. She’ll be a good mom someday.

The Odd Couple
Jim as he’s proudly placing his cake in the fridge, hears Dwight yelling at Kelly, interrogating her about her time in juvie – she finally breaks under his stare and voice, confessing that she stole her boyfriend’s boat because she had dumped him, and apparently it had been his father’s, not his. The worst year of her life, she says. “And I can’t believe you’re making me talk about this on my birthday!” “I thought you said yesterday was your birthday!” Dwight accuses. Jim interrupts, telling her he got a cake, and she lights up briefly, until she sees, and says she hates it, because there’s no writing, no decorations on the cake, no nothing – just a flat cake. (Yeah, Jim and Dwight, come on.) “It doesn’t even have my name on it!  Do you guys even know my name? My name is Kelly!” Jim informs the camera in a talking head that he forgot if there was an “e” between the “l” and “y.” “I don’t even know what the theme is,” Kelly says. Simultaneously, Jim says “Birthday” and Dwight says “Frosting.” “Those aren’t themes. There’s always a theme,” she sighs, walking out of the room. Phyllis, who had been observing, says, “There’s always a theme,” smugly. Nice touch, Phyllis.  Later, Jim tries to get Dwight to help him plan the party, but Dwight brushes him off, working on something on his desk. Jim looks aghast, and Dwight lifts up his project – a “very effeminate” sign, as Jim puts it, proclaiming that the party has been moved to 3 PM.  Dwight places it proudly on the door to the conference room.  “You’ve been working on that this whole time?” Jim says, “For something we could have just announced to the whole office?” He then belts it out to everyone, and Stanley replies in a monotone: “I know, I just read it on the sign.” Dwight gives Jim a triumphant look.

The Presentation from Hell
“Gooooooood morning Vietnashua!” Michael says, one hand on an imaginary set of headphones. “Sales! Sales is what bwings us togevah today. What do you do when your client says, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about paper.’  And get them to show us the money!” Pam gives little aside looks to the camera, concealing a small grin, while the crowd looks on, actually kind of entertained. This is really good writing, actually – Michael is finally on his game, but he’s not out of character at all – I’m pretty sure he’s used at least three out of those four phrases in previous episodes before, but because he wants to do his best to win Holly back, he’s putting his all into it, not getting nervous, and ploughing on. If there could be a standing ovation in blog writing , I’d give one right now. But of course, as soon as he goes up, he starts to go twirling down, by first asking, by a show of hands, how many people in the room are salesmen. He points at AJ and asks, “AJ, what kind of name is that? Do you race cars?” “I’m a salesman, that’s why I raised my hand.” “Oooh, ouch. Good, you’re funny. Very good and funny. Tell me, AJ. Are you dating? Is there someone you date?” Pam gives one look to the camera that says, “It’s all over.”  “Yeah, why, are you interested?” AJ replies, getting a chuckle from the crowd.  They go back and forth, and when Michael finds out it’s serious, between him and Holly, he blurts out, asking if she ever talks about him, and if she ever mentions Michael Scott? AJ says no, she hasn’t, and Michael asks, “Does it feel good?” “What?” “Your life,” he says, collapsing to the floor, first sitting on the chest containing the chainsaw, then falling all the way to the ground, giving Pam the cards and crawling backward out of the room, breathing heavily. Pam gets up, like a true trooper, and tries to pass it off like it was a confusing presentation designed to illustrate the confusing situations that can arise is sales, but finally admits that she’s just trying to bridge that gap between what had just happened and the fact that she’s going to be doing this presentation. “Sales is a box of chocolates, you never know which vendor you’re gonna get,” she says in a Forrest Gump accent, adding at the end for explanation, in the dead silence that follows, “Forrest Gump.” Later in the presentation, she’s going around the room giving nicknames to people, and ends on “Holly’s boyfriend,” pointing out how these “pneumonic” devices can help make a connection and memorize names. “I have a chainsaw!” she cries out in the next dead silence. She swings it out of its case, and the crowd barely moves. “Eeeeee,” she squeals, feebly imitating a chainsaw’s whirr, swinging it through the air. “Cutting down the competition…” This is excellent writing, and great character interaction. Though it is disappointing that Holly’s not around, there’s some great moments that are coming out of it, and it looks like Holly may not entirely be out of the picture yet…

Bestest Birthday Ever
Dwight and Jim share a debate over suggestions, and Dwight insists that Jim writes down “Horse Hunt,” which Jim reluctantly does.  Dwight’s explanation for the rules: “It’s in the name.”  Jim reviews their list: “Beer, fights to the death, cupcakes, blood pudding, blood, touch football, mating, charades, and yes, horse hunting.” “You’re right, forget horse hunting,” Dwight says. “It’s stupid.”  Jim asks him his favorite birthday, and Dwight starts to tell the story of him being in the womb, and Jim figures out what the story is when Dwight describes his mother ripping the umbilical cord with her teeth. “Okay, stop. Forever, stop that story. That’s disgusting, and that doesn’t count.”  Dwight says the Schrutes don’t celebrate birthdays, and he looks forward to not celebrating it every year. Jim shares a story about one of his favorite birthdays, going to the natural history museum with his dad when he was seven, and looking at fossils all day, and at the end, he got a plastic triceratops. “It was awesome,” he says, smiling. “Hey, that’s cool,” Dwight says, all friendly. “You know what’s even cooler than Triceratops?  Every other dinosaur that ever existed.” “Didn’t see that one coming,” Jim admits, half-smiling, to the camera. At the party, Kelly walks in, and Meredith begins to shout out “Surpriiiise!” before Dwight cuts her off. “Hey, hey. It’s not a surprise.” The sign still glares on the wall: “It is your birthday.” On the cake, Kelly’s name is misspelled as “Kelley.”  Jim looks at her awkwardly and says, “A cake with your name spelled correctly, right?” Kelly shakes her head, and says there isn’t even a theme. “You haven’t heard it yet, though,” Jim says. “You don’t hear a theme, you see it,” Kelly replies. “And what the hell’s a chiclet doing on my cake?” According to Jim and Dwight, it represents a pillow or a TV – her theme is she can choose to sleep for an hour or watch TV for an hour, and she lights up, overjoyed that she has her own party with a theme. She chooses sleeping, because she’s been watching a lot of TV all week, and Dwight gives her a pillow and blanket to lay on the floor under the table, where she looks at the camera and says, “I’m too excited sleep!” Aw, how cute. That was a good ending to the birthday arc – the lame party idea actually turned out perfect for Kelly, who surprised everyone by, for once, not being a bitch.  To giver her credit, though, lately she’s been nicer, and come on, they did forget her birthday. Dwight comes in an hour later, banging together trash can lids. “Birthday time is over! Now go make up for the work you missed while you were taking your nap.” He slaps her on the ass as she walks out. “Many happy returns,” he says, closing the door.  The camera flashes to sign on the wall. “It is your birthday.”

The Great Office Robbery
Michael wanders over to Holly’s desk, and sees an old yellow cardigan sitting on her chair. He swipes a pair of scissors and snips off the end of a sleeve and tucks it in his jacket, then when he looks at the computer screen after accidentally having tapped it on, he sees a word document on the desktop marked, “Dear Michael.” Hm, a little too convenient perhaps? If they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, and by AJ’s word, pretty serious, wouldn’t a note like that be somehow noticed? I know it’s work computers, but still. In any case, Michael snatches it up into his thum drive and he and Pam head out, barely able to get the chainsaw case into the trunk, with the eyes of the entire Nashua branch on them from the window.  He and Pam go to a diner and he confesses to her that he stole the cardigan sleeve and the document; he couldn’t help it, which is completely believable of Michael. Holly is undoubtedly the closest person he’s ever found in the series, and she manages to be enough on the insane side to be able to cope with Michael’s childishness – she understands him like Jan or Carol never could. Michael says that he’s going to read it, but Pam says that he can’t, no matter what, but…she can read it. Michael agrees and goes to the car to fetch his computer and thumb drive, while Pam looks slightly guiltily at the camera. “What? I’m not in love with her.” Michael comes back, and after Pam reads it, she says she can’t give him details, but Holly still has feelings for him, and it’s definitely not over. Which isn’t the end, of course – we don’t know how old that document was, and we don’t even know if she wrote if Pam is telling Michael the truth, or just giving him false hope so he doesn’t become depressed?  In any case, Michael is relieved, and on his way to the next lecture, in the backseat of the car, he is so happy because of his closure with Holly that he suggest they go see Roy so that Pam can get closure with him, which Pam politely declines. Michael starts to think of various people he can apologize to, and he thinks of Tony – the fat dude from the Stamford branch who quit on the day of orientation. As he’s talking about him, though, he uses the nickname trick…”Jabba the hut..Pizza the Hut…Pepperoni…Tony!” He decides he could never apologize to him because he’s such a fatty, fat, fat person, while Pam looks, embarrassed, at the camera.

Review

I hope this isn’t the end of the “lecture circuit” series – but knowing “The Office”, it will probably cut short, as the main purpose of that journey  seemed to be this encounter with Holly, and if Pam is indeed telling, we now have Holly to potentially look for in future episodes. Michael’s character was handled perfectly in this episodes – he was both the best he’s ever been and the absolute lowest, and much of that credit has to go to Steve Carell’s brilliant acting.  I liked the moments where he cut Pam off as she was trying to share about Jim, or when he ranted on about the fat dude, Tony. This episode showcased how cruel, selfish, funny,  happy, confident, and despondent he could be, all in a half hour.  And Pam along for the ride always funny – the little touches she brings to her interactions with Michael are so charming, and such a welcome sane break from Michael’s insanity – they’re a good road trip pair. Dwight and Jim suck as party planners, but lucky for us, because these have been a couple of the most hilarious episodes “The Office” has had for awhile, and the unexpected ending with the randomness of an hour of sleep or an hour of TV was clever and made for a good ending that satisfied everyone. Dwight and Jim pulled off their party, and Dwight even compliments Jim on the good choice of cake, and Kelly got her theme, and slept for one hour. Now the episodes will probably settle down in terms of how much is happening – it might be nice to see one of those lighter episodes, like back in the day, when they all got caught outside the building because of the fire.. But for now, this is pretty damn good.

-Thomas Anderson
aka Movie Buzz Review Dude. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.

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