After last night’s episode of The Office, Branch Wars, I realized something about myself: Ferris Bueller references make me instantly happy. Say, for instance, I receive a letter in the mail from the IRS informing me of an impending audit. That would suck pretty badly. But you know what would make things a little better? Hearing the words “geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies” spoken in that very order, preferably by the delightful Edie McClurg. Which is why no opening gag on The Office has ever pleased me as much as yesterdays, with Michael rigging up an oddly similar looking dummy to a series of ropes and pulleys in an attempt to fool his coworkers that he’s asleep at his desk. The fact that producers were able to nab the exact same snoring track used in the film was a nice touch.
And look who is back: Karen-uh Fillipelli-uh, who has become the regional manager of the Utica branch, a city I’m only familiar with because I’m pretty sure I own towels produced there? Anyway, it seems everyone is getting promoted at Dunder Mifflin except for the people who really want it (Michael, Pam, and especially Dwight.) Any signs that Dwight is upset over Angela were completely absent from this episode — Sad Dwight was back to Conspiring Dwight, and Angela wasn’t seen once! Maybe she finally took her first sick day in 10 years? Nice to think about.
Now, everyone take a moment to thank Mindy Kaling and The Office producers for creating an episode based around Stanley Hudson. This man deserves tonz o’ time in the spotlight. He really is a hilarious black guy! Michael is sure Karen is out for revenge following Jim’s break-up, and as per usual with him, becomes very territorial of his Scranton fam. Mo Money, Mo Problems indeed.
Windex your monocle and dry clean your cod piece, because you are about to be introduced to The Finer Things Club, an exclusive gathering of the most high-brow Scranton employees (Pam, Oscar and Toby), where “finer” things such as books and art are discussed. Also, no plastic utensils allowed. It’s sort of like Fight Club… for people with college educations. It also seems pretty clear that Toby is in it to win it, i.e. Pam’s undying love.
In an effort to get back at Karen, Michael tries recruiting Utica’s best salesman. It is on that conference call with said salesman that Michael faces a depressing reality: Scranton is the laughing stock of Dunder Mifflin, and he, it’s ringleader. Michael convinces Jim to hit the road with him and Dwight to make a great sale… which of course, is code for “Utica Panty Raid.” Buckle up Jim. Jim attempts to call Karen, and his phone is thusly intercepted by Dwight, who throws it out the window. Well, the phone, and precious memories of Jim’s brand new niece-or-)nephew (niece-phew?) They stop the car to retrieve irreplaceable memories.
Phone now found, Jim goes to call a cab, only to realize that Dwight and Michael have a prank planned (Michael refers to it as the “Best Prank Ever”, which I will, of course, take as a reference not only to the show Best Week Ever, but also to this very blog, and most importantly, me.) What does the prank entail? Innocent things, like jumpsuits, terrifying fake mustaches, silly string, and a gallon of gasoline.
In exchange for not blowing anything up, Jim agrees to don a warehouse uniform and tag along. And might I say that Jim looks especially adorable in his — or, rather, Madge‘s — uniform? I’ve always had a thing for blue collar men, so this should not be surprising. Jim in a fake moustache, however? Not so much my thing. (Though Michael looks part-dapper, part-Emilio Estevez in Another Stakeout.) I’d like to present the following photo to you, just to savor and revel in its delight. I am entitling it The Three Moustache-teers:
After the jump: The rest of the recap, my thoughts, and our final video from The Office Convention in Scranton, PA last weekend!! Click ahead…
During the drive, Michael notices a strange leaking sound. At this point, I was sure the gasoline had gotten all over the trunk and that the show would meet a sad, fiery end. More disturbingly, it was Dwight peeing into a bottle. The shock and awe of this occurrence, causes Michael to swerve wildly about the highway, which causes Dwight’s urine to “spray.” I am trying to be as scientific about this scene as possible as it was slightly disturbing. Disturbing because… Dwight cut his… penis… on the lid. Dwight’s penis. That is all.
Andy tries to join The Finer Things club. And he fails. I really want Kevin and Andy to start a Mediocre Things Club, but clearly this will never happen.
The gang arrives at Utica, where poor Jim insists he’s not leaving the car. Could there really be anything worse than being forced to see your ex while wearing a costume and moustache? No, there couldn’t be. Well, we guess you could have chalk blown in your eyes… that would be pretty crappy. Considering they are the groin of the face and all.
Anyway! Kevin gets some food and Phyllis makes some popcorn, somehow disturbing the ebb and flow of The Finer Things’ meeting. Stanley tells Andy he will definitely be leaving, and Andy genuinely expresses his disappointment, by calling Stanley his “Uncle Remus.”
The plan for Michael and Dwight to silly string the Utica branch changes when they come upon an industrial copier, which they decide to steal while simultaneously breaking their hip and screaming like tiny children. Karen comes back, and Michael asks Jim to take her back to a hotel and make love to her (while thinking about Stanley). We’d like to acknowledge Joss Whedon, who directed this episode with a smooth style and grace we like in our Office’s: Nice work of folding in the documentary cameramen, as well as keeping the characters centered. Back to our recap: Karen sees Jim and the jig is up. Humiliation ensues!
Karen admonishes our Moustache-teers (while also mentioning how broken up she was about the Jim break-up). Michael and Dwight leave sort-of scott-free, while Jim is asked to stay behind — very middle school like, the entire thing.
Now, before delving into this scene, we would just like to say we thought Jim was being a major d*ck. Karen tells him that if he wanted to see her he should have called, and he immediately shuts her down. Sure, they may not be dating now, but at some point he did probably put his thing in her thing, which makes me think he could have been a little more sensitive to her feelings. He tries to backtrack, but did he really have to tell her how happy he is? Her reaction = JUST. We sort of love Karen for the balls she exhibited in this scene.
And just when you think Stanley is leaving, just when you’re sure that this sweet little bird is going to fly away from Scranton, Stanley fesses up that he’s not going anywhere. It was a ploy to get more money, a ploy that failed. No need to place that ad for a middle-aged black man with sass! Michael is indeed some sort of backward secret genius, no?
Finally, Pam asks Jim to join The Finer Things Club. Meh, the sexual tenshy between Karen and Jim was the best Jim plot of the season yet — our Krasinski-crush-pangs were in full effect!! Maybe because he wasn’t being so syrupy sweet with Pam? Maybe because I’m one of 9 million jealous American women? We’ll never really know, will we?
I really liked this episode a lot — the pacing was quick, the jokes funny and fast, the cast operating at a high level of hilarity, moustaches… overall, few complaints. We’re grateful that Stanley isn’t leaving (though we obviously called that bluff from the episode’s beginning), and really enjoyed seeing Ass-Kicking Karen again. Especially considering our Team Paminess is slowly dwindling….
And to cap things off, here is our final video from last weekend’s Office convention — where we play WORD ASSOCIATION with STANLEY (i.e. Leslie David Baker)!! Who is HILARIOUS! As well as a glowy Mindy Kaling and deep-thinking Ed Helms. This video is proof that Stanley needs more lines:
Let the commenting begin! And be sure to check out Officetally for all of your quotable needs.