The Office: Singles Mingle

Friday, March 6 by

A bloo drive van shows up in the Dunder-Mifflin parking lot, and as Michael’s giving blood he talks to a cute lady whom he has a hard time forgetting, setting up a singles mixer in the office in an attempt to find her. Outside of the office, Jim and Pam go on a couples date with Phyllis and Bob, swapping stories and exchanging awkwardness. It’s a pretty decent Office this week, right after the jump.

Episode 16: Blood Drive
Full Episode Online: NBC Official Site

Phone Tag
A dude from Textar comes into the office to inform Pam that he’s there to see Michael Scott about installing a new phone system into the office, but Pam informs him apologetically that he’s not there at the moment, and when he comments that he always seems to be gone when he shows up, Pam confides to the camera that the new phone system eliminates about 95% of her job. “I’d like to see a machine give out candy to everyone, though,” she says, giving a satisfied nod, only a second later mumbling under her breath, “Vending machine.”  The Textar dude decides he’ll make an appointment, and Pam, after an awkward pause, admits that it’s a great idea, and she opens up her appointment book, flipping through several empty pages in a row, muttering that he really seems to be booked. Jim, from his desk notices something’s up, so he gets up and comes over, introducing himself as Michael Scott. “Oh, here he is,” Pam says, smiling.  Jim strikes up a conversation, and when Michael walks in from his office, Jim says, “Jimbo!”  “Jim…” Michael says, slightly confused.  Jim gives Michael two thumbs up and does the Fonz, followed closely by Michael, Pam, and even an enthusiastic Dwight rushing over to join in.  The Textar dude excuses himself as a bunch of “heeeeeeys!” follow him out.  Great cold open.

Single Awareness Day

Michael and Kevin come in to work to find the entire entrance smothered in Valentine’s Day decorations, not to mention a blood drive truck sitting outside.  Valentine’s Day?  Isn’t it a little late to air an episode related to that day? Not that it really matters but it is curious.  “They’re really shovin’ our faces in it this year,” Michael says. Kevin confesses that he misses Stacy, and Michael says that it’s been four months since he and Holly dated, and since Holly was way hotter than Stacy,  it’s a whole lot harder for him.  “I can only imagine,” Kevin says.

Sexy hostility
Jim and Pam happily inform the camera that this is their first and only Valentine’s day as fiancées.  “You’re only engaged once.  Present company excluded,” Jim quips. Kelly tells the camera that she got a valentine from a secret admirer, and when she opens it to read it, her face falls when she realizes it’s just a note from her dentist.  Michael comes into the office, placing Pam’s decorative flowers on the floor behind the desk, saying that they’ll look much better down there, and he wouldn’t want them to fall.  He tells the camera in a talking head that since most everyone in the office is single, it’s up to him to protect them from having love shoved into their faces.  He even goes so far as to approach Jim about the “sexiness” going on between him and Pam, which is creating a hostile work environment.  “So hostile becomes sexy,” Dwight muses.  Michael tells Jim that because he and Pam insist on having their own little love fest, they’re going to have a party where he’s not invited.

Blood Lady
Michael comes into the blood drive van, slightly nervous at the sight of a big needle, saying hi to a lady who’s giving blood right then too, who tells him she can’t talk because she’s really nervous.  They chat briefly, and then Michael gets the needle stuck in him and he says he feels like a human juicebox, which makes the woman chuckle.  He makes a mistake, then, and looks straight at the bag of blood, starting almost immediately to feel queasy.  He asks the woman to distract him, to talk about things that don’t have blood in them, and she mentions various things, among them a hat, with no blood in it, and Michael finishes the rest: “filled with soup.”  “You’re cute,” the woman says, and Michael, hardly daring to believe his ears, looks off to the side towards her.  “What?”  “You’re done,” says the nurse, removing the needle from his arm.  “Oh, I was so nervous about this, I don’t think I ate for three days,” Michael says, which of course means that he immediately passes out.  “Is he okay?”  the woman asks.  He wakes up later to find that the security guard is giving blood now, and the mysterious woman is nowhere to be seen.  He notices that she left her glove behind, and when he asks the nurse to give him her name so he can return them, she tells him they can’t give out that information.

A Lunch to Remember

Inside the office, Phyllis invites Jim and Pam with her and Bob Vance to take the afternoon off and have lunch with them, and it won’t matter to Michael, because, as she says, “Michael is terrified of Bob.” Meanwhile, the rest of the office is getting into the bitter Valentine’s Day spirit, as Meredith and Kelly put up torn hearts on the wall of the conference room and cupids with ripped-off wings.  “Now it’s just a stupid baby,” Meredith says, smacking it onto the wall.  However, Jim, Pam, Phyllis, and Bob are having a decent time at lunch as they’re looking at their menus, Bob commenting to them that he doesn’t understand how they can work with “That jackass, and that other jackass, and that new jackass.”  “He’s talking about Michael, Dwight, and Andy,” Phyllis explains, but Jim assures her that no explanation was required.  Back at the office, in the circle in the conference room,  Michael suggests that they all go around the room and tell their worst relationship stories, and he thinks Kelly should start, because of Ryan.  She says that his heart was in the right place, but Michael points out that now his heart’s in Thailand, “along with the rest of his body, having random sex.”  Kelly just looks at the ground, and Michael apologizes, moving on to Oscar, who flat-out refuses to say anything despite a couple of nudges from Michael.  At the dinner out, the foursome are still having a great time, swapping stories about how high they’ve bowled as Pam shares that Jim uses a six-pound ball.  Later, Bob and Phyllis are gone from the table, and Pam and Jim wonder whether they should eat the food that soon arrives at their table, or if they should wait for them to get back.  Ten minutes go by, and still no sign of either of them, so Pam and Jim resort to scavenging one fry at a time from Bob’s plate of steak and fries.  When Bob and Phyllis still won’t show up, they check both the men’s and women’s bathrooms, but there’s no sign of them there either.  However, when they put their ears to the handicapped bathroom door, they hear the terrifying sound of Phyllis and Bob having dirty bathroom sex.  They almost run back to their table, their appetites completely lost, and have to deal, later, with Bob giving Phyllis forkfuls of his meat. So, obviously this was the filler part of the episode, but it still managed to be pretty funny, even if the punchline to the scene could be seen a mile away.  It does succeed, though, because we get to see a, er-hem, different side of Bob and Phyllis, as well as experience some out-of-office time with some characters we normally only ever see inside the office.

Lonely hearts
Back at the office, Oscar is opening up about his story – apparently he had told someone how he felt about them, and was crushed when he found out they weren’t gay.  “That’s very sad,” Michael says.  “I’m not done,” Oscar says. “Oh my God,” come the words from under Michael’s breath.  Oscar finishes the story: apparently, a friend of his saw this same dude in a gay bar, just a week later.  While everyone around the room groans in sympathy, Michael’s face cracks into a grin.  “Well, then it’s a happy ending.  You should call him.”  Oscar just shakes his head and doesn’t bother saying anything.  Angela’s turn: she shares a story about how two men dueled for her heart and she didn’t end up being with either one of them, and Oscar says that they were already all there, they saw Dwight and Andy fight over her.  Angela says that these were actually two different men, and Oscar can hardly believe it. “You’ve actually had two sets of men duel over you?”  “I guess I have,” Angela says.  Michael decides Andy should be next, but he seems to be missing from the proceedings, and Oscar reveals that he’s on one of his honeymoons – because he had booked so many, he didn’t want to waste them all after Angela fell through, so today he’s probably hot air ballooning.  Kevin shares the story of him and Stacy: a Sunday morning, reading the paper, and Kevin saying out loud, “Oh my God. I think the Eagles could clinch the NFC East!”  And Stacy’s words: “We’re done.”  Michael decides they don’t need to do this; instead, they should be looking for all the other single people out there, because “there is a girl out there for all of us, maybe even in this very building lot.   We need to find a way to get them all together.”  Dwight suggests a net, and Michael suggests a mixer, which Dwight instantly disapproves of, saying lonely people breeding with more lonely people will only produce a much lonelier younger generation – he’s interfering with natural selection. In a talking head, Michael tells the camera that so what if they sell a little less paper today – he is going to be Cupid’s sparrow, the funny little bird.

New girls in town
2 PM, the time of the party, rolls around and a couple of ladies show up – Lynn, a plump redhead, and a shorter blonde one too.  Michael takes Lynn to the conference room, introducing her to Kevin, who merely stares at her, at a loss for words, despite Michael’s attempts to help.  Dwight hits on the blonde one, telling her he can untie any knot in the world, and when she says she believes him, he says she shouldn’t believe everything she hears – in fact he cannot untie every knot in the world.  He gets excited when he hears she uses a lot of paper at her work, and meanwhile, Kevin blows it with Lynn when he starts to talk about Stacy.  Michael’s happy with the mixer so far, saying that it’s not too late, as he stares nervously at the door. Dwight asks him why he’s doing that, and if somebody’s following him. Michael explains to them exactly what he’s doing, while Kelly oozes over how romantic it is that he met a woman while giving blood and is now trying to give her back her glove.  Michael kind of gets into it, going along with Kelly, saying that their blood bags may have touched, too, which Kelly squeals even further over.  Later, in the conference room, everyone looks up as a woman walks into the room. Michael shakes his head and says, “Meeeeh,” and we see her face; it’s the woman he talked to in the van, and she turns away, rejected and hurt.  Wow, now that is intense, but perfectly well done.  Michael’s a jerk often enough, but he doesn’t often have to fully live through the consequences of his jerky actions, and here’s an instance where he does, even if he may never know it himself.  Outside the conference room, Kevin confesses to Lynn that he gets really nervous when talking to pretty girls. “Feel how sweaty my hand is.  See?”  She reaches out and lays her palm upon his, and it’s one of those touching, sweet, and simple office moments.  Kevin asks her for her e-mail address, and she gives it to him happily.  “Good Valentine’s Day,” Kevin tells the camera in a talking head.  Not going so well for Dwight, who’s done trying to impress Blondie and instead is now just pitching paper to her.  She can’t take it anymore, and stands up, saying they already have a paper supplier where she works.  “Thanks for wasting my time, IDIOT,” Dwight calls out after her. “Dwight,” Michael says, walking up behind him. “You don’t deserve her.”  “Thanks, Michael,” Dwight says.  Five PM rolls around, and Michael opens up the floor for anybody to leave if they so choose – and for the first time, nobody does, Kelly offering him a piece of cake and sitting down next to him.  When they all leave later, Michael narrates over the scene that sometimes it’s not about Cinderella having the prince give her back her glass slipper, but about if the prince picked up the glass slipper at all; this was the first time in four months that he felt like he could be in a relationship again.

After a two-week long hiatus, this was a very good, but not great, episode of The Office.  We got to see action from several characters that we normally don’t see, from delving further into Bob and Phyllis’s creepy but undeniably cute and perfect relationship, to finding out more about Kevin’s background and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside when he got Lynn’s e-mail address. After a few weeks of only focusing on Michael, Jim and Pam, and Angela/Dwight/Andy, it felt good to have break and explore the smaller cast, and it was also interesting to note how Michael mentioned Ryan being in Thailand, as it’s the first time we’ve really heard about Ryan’s whereabouts since he asked Kelly for money and told her he was going to Thailand with his friends.  Does that mean we might see Ryan again sometime soon?  Not necessarily, but it’s worth thinking about.  As for the blood glove lady, she was nice and cute enough that it would be a shame if she never came back on, but if she doesn’t, it as fun while it lasted. One bad thing about this episode is how Michael seems to have become the new Jim and Pam; in other words, the writers are constantly throwing relationship problems at him when it doesn’t necessarily fit with his character. Part of his charm is how incredibly awkward he is around women, so why does he keep on impressing all these women?  Before the period where the show stated, we learned, in an episode a season or two ago, that Michael had slept with two women.  Now, in the course of the this series, he’s slept with Jan, Holly, and Carol, and he’s on his way to wooing another woman. I miss the old days where Michael was such a social klutz that he couldn’t really make it with any type of woman, which allowed for much more painfully awkward situations, part of what this series is all about.  To be fair, though, his meanness and stupidity did cause him to lose the girl this time around, so maybe there’s hope, or should I say lack of hope, for him after all.

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

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