Well, folks, it is with a heavy heart that I write the following recap for last night’s episode, “Survivor Man”. Not because it wasn’t funny, which it was (you can thank writer and possible Farinelli, Steve Carell, for that.) And it’s not because Peach Cobbler gets such a bad wrap, which it deserves. No, my depression today is with regard to the Writer’s Strike, an event which has to happen but which will also deprive us of new Office episodes following November 15, read: next week. Only one more new episode. To understand what it feels like for me to even type out that last sentence, please see this video of a Mortal Kombat character ripping out the spine of his adversary. May God (i.e. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) heal this divide soon. Otherwise, I will have to begin writing recaps of House Hunters or Ace of Cakes or another oddly addictive reality show with no real payoff (other than houses and cakes), and nobody wants that.
Speaking of cakes and forced segues, let’s focus on last night’s episode, “Survivor Man”, which featured some nice topsy-turvy power struggles we had never been privy to before. Michael learns that arch-nemesis Toby was invited on an outward bound weekend with Ryan and some other Branch Managers, Michael, of course, not being included. If you’ve ever been the one not invited to a party — and believe it or not, I have been that person! — it’s a pretty crappy feeling. And, dare I say, unprofessional of Ryan. Michael may be annoying, but if the other Regional Managers are included, Michael should be too! We really hope the Guild settles their contract with AMPAS soon, so that they may write an episode where Michael strikes outside of Vance Refrigeration. Also, Phyllis rock climbs.
Strangely, what seems to upset Michael the most isn’t so much that he wasn’t invited, but rather that Toby cracks up the staff with his sly little anecdotes and one liners such as “No More Smores!” Michael, the embodiment of the bratty 5-year-old that lives within all of us, throws a mini-tanty, going so far as to interrupt Toby’s documentary confession in the conference room. Upset and left out, Michael decides he’s going to emulate a reality show called “Survivor Man”,
a clear rip-off of the Bear Grylls show “Man vs. Wild” based on some show called Survivor Man, where one man lives off the land and the land alone. OK, the land, and a roll of duct tape, and one of Dwight’s 300 hidden knives, including one belonging to Mr. A. Knife. His knife collection is sort of like a Back Woods Afikomen… only, when you find it, instead of getting a $5 reward, Dwight will cut your face open. Anyway, all Michael wants to do is reenact Broken Mountain, and who is Dwight to stop him.
Dwight and Michael drive out into the middle of nowhere, where Dwight slams Michael on the head with his shoe to “disorient” him. Seriously, if I ever need to cast “Scary Rapist #4” in my upcoming motion picture (release date, 2041), Dwight’s the guy.
AFTER THE JUMP: An incredibly thorough recap replete with photos from the episode. We only have one more new episode left right now, so I took my sweet time with recapping this one… click ahead to check it out!
Meanwhile, back in Scranton…
Jim (played by John Krasinski of Surprisingly Buff fame) has a plan: Instead of having 4 separate “surprise” birthday parties for various members of the Scranton staff, why not merge all of those parties into one big party. Having once worked in a dismal office setting myself, Office Birthday Parties (“OBP”s) truly are one of the worst things: Having to smile and celebrate with people you loathe physically hurts. In other words, I’m not down with OBPs. (/worst joke of the day.) Jim ends up digging his own saccharine sweet grave when his coworkers begin demanding individual cakes. To escape the insanity, Jim heads into the privacy of Michael’s office. And our transformation begins. (In other news, did anyone else notice Phyllis cracking up when Michael surprised her in her car?) SHOW HIGHLIGHT: Michael singing the falsetto high parts of “Happy Birthday” and scaring Kelly in the elevator.
Back to Survivor Mike: With Dwight looking on as a guardian angel (or angel of death, depending on how you look at it), Michael thinks of things to do alone in the forest. He spends roughly 97 percent of his time fashioning his pants into other things. I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Simpsons episode where Marge was forced to resew her Chanel suit into various other Chanel suits in order not to get kicked out of the country club. Did anyone else think Michael kind of looked like the Abu Ghraib prisoner with his pant-hat?
It’s a real shame Steve Carell isn’t willing to cross the WGA picket line. Sure, we know he’d be a scab and a downright bad person Ellen DeGeeGee, but we would be glad to sit through 22 minutes of Michael Scott’s Greatest Falsetto Hits. If ever I was to risk literally dying laughing, this would be the way.
The Scranton Dunderlings sure like cakes! Their incessant nagging is getting to Jim… getting to him so much he begins acting and gesturing… like… Michael. And he doesn’t even notice it! Kudos to Carell for writing Creed into this week’s storyline. He’s a cobblerman, that Creed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he could put away spoonfuls of various compotes.
After a few hours of Cast Away-ing it up in the woods, Michael gets hungry. The only eggs in the vicinity were thieved by Dwight, and given his skills, a wildberry frittata does not seem completely impossible. So what else does our favorite branch manager do but head straight for the hallucinogenic mushrooms? Dwight swoops in, bodyslams him to the ground, hand removed the fungal bits from Michael’s mouth, and swathes him in a Battlestar Gallactica sweatshirt like an injured baby bird. It’s all very sweet, actually. Micheal/Dwight <3!
Michael returns to the Scranton Branch just in time for the Birthday song! Only two people can make me laugh so hard from their singing: 1. Donkey from Shrek (yes, I said it!) and 2. Michael Scott, good lord.
As Creed devours his Cobbler, Michael and Jim have a heart to heart. Jim learned a valuable lesson this episode: Being Michael sort of sucks, in more ways than he even realized. Dealing with all those personalities would drive even the most childish of men with hemeroids crazy. And then… something very sweet happens: Jim cracks his first genuine “That’s what she said” jokes. And they smile. Heart = warmed.
I really enjoyed this week’s episode. It had everything a good office episode has: Lots of character interaction, hair-brained ideas, and a solid ending. Nothing too outlandish or unbelievable, nothing too slow, everything just right. Pam’s role was certainly dialed down quite a bit, and to be honest, I didn’t really miss her — though, if it counts, I really liked the sweater she was wearing! Maybe I’m spoiled, but usually if an episode features Michael and Jim, Mimicoco is a happy camper.
ONLY ONE MORE EPISODE LEFT! Good sweet lord, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? And yes, I HAVE EVERY REASON TO USE CAPS! THE SITUATION IS DIRE! DIIIIREEE! Ima go skip around the room for a few hours and think about how empty my life is about to become.
If you missed the episode, check it out at NBC.com. For those of you not interested in “crossing the picket line”, do not click on the NBC.com link! And thanks for being so patient today, I give these recaps all my love. Now, off to watch 30 Rock in my quiet office on a Friday night. Have a great weekend everyone!