Friday, November 17, 2006

The Office Season 3 Episode 8: "The Merger"

Last night, The Office was “supersized” and they could not have picked a better episode to muscle up. We all knew Jim was not going to be away from our Office for long and I’m really glad he’s back to torment Dwight.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The episode starts with the last day at the Stamford office. Andy (Daily Show’s Ed Helms) made up these little “Stamford RIP” signs. He seems the most excited to be moving. He keeps bugging Jim about their soon-to-be-boss. “What is he like? Is he into sports?” Jim just kinda shrugs like he always do. How could you possibly explain Michael?

Meanwhile, back in Scranton, the office is abuzz with excitement. Or, at least, Michael is. He sends Pam out to buy breakfast for the branch and has prepared giftbags (which contains pencils and coupons) for the new soldiers. Dwight is already talking about firing one of them, as an example. He cites the example of Japanese POW camps, where they would kill a prisoner on the day a new batch arrives. Dwight is really twisted. Do you think it has something to do with his love of beets?

Finally, the new recruits arrive! Some random faces we don’t know from Stamford appear and then Karen and Andy. Michael immediately insults Karen by questioning her origins. She takes in stride, though, wearing her typical expression of bewilderment.

Andy, I think, is Dwight’s evil twin separated at birth. Before stepping into the Scranton branch, he has hatched a plan to become Michael’s “Number Two” within a matter of weeks. How? Simple. “Name repition, personality mirroing, and never breaking off a handshake.” As soon as Andy enters, Michael gives him an exaggerated “Hello!” Andy gives him the same hello right back. We then cut to Michael talking to the camera, saying something like, “I like this Andy guy.”

And then (as the commercials would have us believe), the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Jim and Pam’s reunion! Pam leaps off her chair and gives Jim a big hug. Jim seems pretty surprised and maybe a little embarrassed. But his wide smile betrays his emotions. He goes straight for his old chair, which is now occupied by Ryan. There is an uncomfortable pause where Jim asks if Ryan wants to keep his chair. Ryan says Yes, so Jim – in typical Jim fashion – gives up and lets him have the chair. Next is the REAL meeting we’ve all been waiting for, Jim and Dwight’s. Dwight is smug, as usual, saying something about him being “Assistant Regional Manager in charge of YOU” (Maybe I made that up), but is frazzled when Jim stares at the top of Dwight’s head.

The other new people are: Tony, Hannah, and Martin.

Quickly, Michael calls them all in for the company breakfast. Of course, only the new people can eat. Angela looks more than pissed than usual.

And then, the big moment of the episode. Michael’s orientation video: “Lazy Scranton.” (SNL reference #1) Apparently, Michael has a history of cheesy parodies for orientation videos like The Scranton Witch Project (which was probably better than the movie itself). My favorite line from Lazy Scranton: “Call poison control if you’re bit by a spider;
But check that it’s covered by your health care provider!”

The usual mumbled grunts and shaking of heads follows as the workers shuffle back to their desks. Soon after, the two groups start to butt heads. Karen is shocked at something that smells like a “funeral home” that seems to be Phyllis, Martin is annoyed at Creed’s loud phone habits, Stanley is annoyed by Martin’s attempt at black solidarity, and Hannah’s use of a breast pump offends everybody.

So Michael attempts to play the referee and bring everybody together with another group meeting in the conference room. Michael breaks out a boombox and attempts to renact a scene from “A Night at the Roxbury” (SNL reference #2). The boombox doesn’t work and Michael, angrily, doesn’t want help from Dwight. Andy attempts to save Michael by humming the familiar tune and Michael starts with the head nodding and before we know it, Michael and Andy are doing the bump-n’-grind thing on the new big guy. He seems very uncomfortable (Cut to Toby, who always looks uncomfortable.)

He has the new people get up on a table to show that they’re “not above the rest of us.” Hannah points out the strangeness of it, but Michael doesn’t really see the irony. When Tony refuses to get up on the table, both Michael and Dwight attempt to force the big guy up on the table. Tony gets mad and quits.

Michael, shocked and annoyed, fires Tony. Jan later calls and informs him that if he had just let Tony quit, they wouldn’t have to pay him severance. Oh well.

Next, the office workers are surprised by Michael running in, screaming about the guys at Vance Refrigeration (their next door rivals persumably) slashing their tires. Everyone floods outside, only to be surprised that everyone's tires have been slashed, expect Michael. hmm? Michael's grade-school ploy seems to work, though, because the next scene has some of the new people and Phyllis and Kevin talking about how weird Michael is.

In the parking lot after work, Jim gets in his car and receives a call on his cell. It’s Karen. They set a date to meet after work for drinks.

Soon after, Jim sees Pam getting into her car and rushes over to talk to her. He apologies if “things were weird,” (cause, you know, they never are with these two) and says that he’s actually seeing someone at the moment. Pam doesn’t miss a beat and says, “It’s okay. We’re just friends.” (Yeah, right.)

The final scene of the show pits Dwight and Andy together in elevator combat. They start by talking about each other’s car and then quickly fall into fourth-grade “coughing” and calling each other losers. I can’t wait to see these two compete for the rest of the season.



Blogger Shawn said...


Scranton - what? - THE ELECTRIC CITY!

What about Andy trying to get in good with everyone and hitting on Angela by showing her the picture of the kitty as his screen saver...

This is going to get good!!!

November 17, 2006 6:56 PM  

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