'The Office' Strikes Back
It's Pam's first official day working for the Michael Scott Paper Company. She walks up to Michael's door and sees a letter on the doormat addressed to the Michael Scoot Paper Company. She becomes very excited about this official piece of correspondence. Michael answers the door in his robe and says, "Oh good my hooker is here." Ah Michael always ready with a joke. Pam asks if he was expecting her he replies yes. Once inside his condo Michael offers Pam French toast for breakfast. She says yes then he asks her what shape she would like it to be. She looks at camera like Michael is crazy and then says, "Square," as if she's asking a question. We have to wonder what other shapes Michael can make French toast into.
Charles tries to get the office staff up to date on current happenings. One of those happenings is that he will be running the office until a suitable replacement can be found. He asks if anyone has any questions. Kelly asks where he's staying while he's in town. He says a hotel. Angela asks where he was born. He replies that he was thinking about questions that have to do with the day-to-day operations of the company. Andy asks how things are operating for the company, "just day-to-day." Charles wants to go over non-discretionary cuts. He looks at Stanley who is doing a crossword puzzle. Stanley puts it away as he feels Charles staring him down. As Charles addresses the group Jim notices that Dwight is breathing heavily. He asks Dwight to stop. Dwight acts as if that is the way he normally breathes. As Jim tries to argue that it is not the usual way Dwight breathes Charles interrupts and tells Jim to stop talking and listen. Jim tries to explain what was happening but Charles doesn't care, all he wants to hear Jim say is yes. Jim squeezes out a begrudging yes as Dwight smirks with triumphant glee. Dwight says to camera, "Oh no, the new boss does not find Jim adorable." Then smiles like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Pam asks Michael what they're going to do after breakfast. Michael, who has made a huge mound of French toast, stands in his kitchen whipping eggs with a whisk. He says they'll talk about their plans after he makes breakfast. Pam grabs the whisk and tries to get Michael to stop beating eggs. Michael fights her for the whisk. She lets it go and eggs spill all over Michael's robe and down his legs. Michael freaks out and tells Pam he can't run the company, he quit the only job he's ever loved to do this and he can't do it and he has egg in his Crock's.
Phyllis tells Stanley and Creed that they she has never seen Charles drink or eat anything. Stanley wonders if he even uses the bathroom. Creed says, "Oh he does, he does." Now we know what Creed does on his breaks.
Michael lies on the floor of his condo doing crunches with his Abdominizer. He says he feels weak, much weaker than he did the day before. He thinks he's aging backwards, like Benjamin Button, "but in reverse." Pam suggests that whenever she feels overwhelmed she makes a list and it helps her feel better. Michael won't admit that he's overwhelmed but he is willing to let Pam make a list and start with the easy stuff. Pam grabs a notebook and writes down as she says, "work-out, check. Eat an enormous breakfast, check." Michael retorts, "Don't patronize me Pam." Pam thinks he should get dressed he says he can't get dressed he has too many things to do before he gets dressed. He needs to find a hundred clients. Pam says that's impossible. They need to come up with one thing they can accomplish that day. Michael suggests that they hire a sales team. He suggests Ryan. Pam says no. Michael argues that Ryan is, "everything I'm not and everything I am, he's the whole package." Pam still says no. Michael suggests Vicrum the guy he worked with over at the telemarketing place. He also says they have a potential investor, Barbara Keebus. She's local woman who invests in local businesses. As Michael is getting dressed Pam explains to camera that sometimes in a relationship when one person is freaking out it actually makes the other person calmer. She hates the fact that she used the word "relationship" in regards to her and Michael. Just then he comes out of his room, dressed and ready for the day. Pam checks another thing off the list and they leave.
Charles notices soccer stills on Andy's computer screen saver. Andy acts like he wasn't supposed to see that and says it's his private obsession. Charles says it his too. Andy says to camera that he hates soccer, "but guess who doesn't hate soccer, Charles Minor." Charles was actually in Germany for the 2006 Cup finals. Jim tells camera that he's never been a kiss-up. He believes that if you really want to impress your boss you should do mediocre work, half-heartedly."
Pam tells Michael the next thing on the list is to open the mail. Michael reads the letter aloud. It states that it is in violation of his condo agreement to conduct a business out of his condo and he will forfeit his condo if he continues to do so. Pam says they need to add finding an office to their list. Michael begins to freak out and asks how they're going to pay for an office. Pam interrupts and says that next on the list is song parodies. Michael says he wants to sing "Achy Breaky Fart" then changes his mind and chooses "My Stumps" which is about a man who lost his legs instead of lady lumps. Then he says, "We can do this." Pam looks at camera and says, "We can do this." We hope so.
Andy impersonates Pele. Stanley says he loves an obscure player from Argentina that he's reading the name of off a notebook he's hiding. Charles asks Jim if he likes soccer. Jim says no. Charles says it's not for everyone. Jim says it's because he's more of a player. Dwight latches on to this and won't let go. He says he's never heard Jim talk about playing soccer and that he and Charles should play a game together after work. Charles thinks that's a great idea and tells Jim that they'll play a pick-up game in the parking lot after work. Jim is mortified. He tells camera that he did play, from second to forth grade. He played for the Orange Team.
Michael and Pam pick up Vicrum from his telemarketing job and hire him onto their dream team. Michael says he need to pee and stops at a bowling alley. Vicrum comments to Pam that Michael is very confident. She says, "He can be." Vicrum says, "Confidence, it is the food of the wise man but the liquor of the fool." Pam says she's looking forward to getting to know him better.
Michael finds Ryan in the bowling alley, working behind the counter. He asks if Ryan can imagine working for a company who doesn't know his past because they have no files. Ryan stops and tries to imagine such a company. Back in the car Vicrum asks Pam if it's possible that Michael is bowling since he's taking a long time to come out. Pam has to admit that, yes, it is possible. She goes in to find Michael. She finds him wooing Ryan. She says it wasn't on the list. He says it is. She looks at the list and is shocked to see it's actually on the list. She asks Michael when did he add it but it's too late. Michael thinks everyone deserve a second, second chance. He asks Ryan how much he gets paid at the bowling alley. Ryan says, "Sixty thousand a year." Pam says, "You get paid by the year at the bowling alley." Ryan asks, "How much do you make Secretary?" Then he steals three pairs of bowling shoes and takes off with his new co-workers.
Charles tries to get Jim to set him up with a balled up piece of paper in the break room in preparation for their big game. Jim has to use his hands to set Charles up for the goal. Charles says he's looking forward to the game. Jim says, "Yeah it's going to be terrible," under his breath.
Michael shows up at a nursing home with his new crew to speak with his Nana about investing in his new company. He introduces his dream team to Nana and her investment club. He introduces Pam as a girl who reaches for the stars and maybe one day she'll surprise everyone and actually grab one. Then he tells everyone Vicrum came from humble beginnings as a nero-surgeon to become one of the top telemarketers in the Liposfedrine industry. He doesn't want anyone to call it a comeback when he introduces Ryan as the youngest person every to be a V.P. of Dunder Mifflin. Nana asks how they'll make money in these trying economic times. He thinks he'll succeed because he'll work harder. She asks what his Mission Statement is that he will never be beat, he will never give up, he is on a mission.
Charles asks what position Jim plays. Jim says, "Left." Charles tries to clarify if he means halfback or forward. Jim thinks he's definitely a forward. Charles is very excited to have a striker on his team. He tries to start the game off right but the rest of the office takes the ball down the field instead of lining up for the kick-off. Jim tells camera that his only strategy is to stay away from the ball and touch it as little as possible.
Nana is not sure about Michael's business. Michael tries to reassure her by telling her Papa would have wanted her to invest and that he doesn't need to sell paper, he could sell medicine. She says that is what concerns her. Her friend wants to give him a chance but Nana isn't buying. She says it's not a handout club; it's an investment club. She tells Michael, "I love you but no, no Michael." He's crushed. On the ride home Vicrum asks what kind of name is Nana because he thinks she asked some valid questions. Pam explains she is Michael's grandmother. Vicrum is not happy; he asks to be dropped off back at his telemarketing job. He tries to give Michael some advice but Michael slams the door in his face and drives off.
Charles tries to pass to Jim. He kicks the ball really hard but Jim ducks and it hits Phyllis in the mouth instead. She says she thinks he swallowed one of her crowns from her teeth. Charles is horrified. He asks Jim why he ducked. Dwight chimes in and asks, "Yes why would such an experienced soccer player duck at the very last moment?" Jim asks if he can get Phyllis some ice. Charles asks Jim if that will make him feel better?
Back at Michael's condo Ryan asks if Michael has TNT. Michael says yes he has all the channels; he even has satellite as a back up for his cable. He tells Pam to come inside but she's not leaving the car. She freaks out and says she can't do this. She had a real job, she sat ten feet from her fiancé, she had health benefits, she should have just gotten a tiny tattoo on her ankle. Michael says his Mom used to say that average people are the most special people in the world and that's why God made so many of them. Pam says they don't have any money and why was she the only person out of the whole office who followed him. Was it because she's the stupidest because his own Grandmother doesn't believe in him? Michael let's her in on a little secret. They both quit their jobs and they have some choices. They can start this paper company or they can start this paper company. That's their only option. He thrives when people don't believe in him. His math teacher told him he wouldn't pass his class and he went out and scored the most goals in the history of his school's hockey team. He tells Pam he's going to make some calls and get them an office and they're going to succeed. She pulls herself together and gets back to work. Michael finds a free office in the most humiliating place ever: the same office building as Dunder Mifflin. He tells camera that he had to step up and be man. Earlier Pam stepped up and was the man. "Think that a woman can't be a man, well that's your stereo-type," he says in voice over as they walk into their new office. It's an unused, over-sized storage closet that they can use for free. Perfect. Pam says, "I could work here. I can see this." So that's that.
Michael and Pam put the letters into the directory right under Dunder Mifflin. Charles finds Michael and says, "Michael, you're back." Michael informs Charles that he is there legally and he is a new tenant and his new competition. He suggests that Charles get ready because he's going to open a whole can of whoop ass on him, in fact he's going to open a whole six-pack. Charles leaves and Michael says to Pam that he thinks he looked scared.
The next day (and the next episode in a two episode special) Michael arrives at work playing Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" really loudly while wearing sunglasses. He announces, "It's Britney bitch and I'm back." He tries to cut a red ribbon with a pair of garden shears but instead just rips it down and says, "Welcome to the Michael Scott Paper Company." Even the opening credits are done from this new office.
The new receptionist at Dunder Mifflin is named Kelly. Jim explains that Kelly Kapoor's plan is to hover around Jim's desk so that every time Charles calls for Kelly, the receptionist, Kelly Kapoor can show up and say, "You wanted me." If she does this enough times he might actually end up wanting her for real. Jim admits it's not such a bad plan after all. Charles thwarts it by deciding to call one Kelly "Kapoor" and the other "Hannah." Kelly Hannah asks to be called by her middle name, Erin. Charles says, "What a pretty name." Yes it is a pretty name. Kapoor gets really upset because her middle name is Rashaniganda and she hates it! Kevin thought Rashaniganda was a boy's name. Of course he did.
Meanwhile in Michael's new office is located below the bathroom so they hear every flush. Michael has sent out an evite to a pancake luncheon. He's received 6 yeses, 1 maybe and 11 no's. 788 have sent no-reply but out of that group 782 have viewed it so he's very optimistic. He tells Pam and Ryan that he needs 800 copies of a coupon for "unparalleled customer service." Pam and Ryan just stare at the paper. Pam tells camera that she can't make the copy because then she'll become the girl who makes copies and end up becoming the receptionist again. And the worst part is she likes making copies, they come out all warm. But she must stay strong and take her chance.
Andy comes into Dunder Mifflin dressed in hunting gear. Dwight tells camera that he's taking Andy hunting with him. It wasn't too long ago that they were sexual competitors and Dwight hated him but as he studied what he hated about Andy he grew to like him and a friendship blossomed.
Ryan talks to his friend on his cell phone. He tells his friend that they should get together over the weekend. Michael says, "You said you were going out of town this weekend." Ryan says, "Please don't listen to my phone calls." Then he tells his friend that Pam is a 7 in Scranton, although she'd be a 6 in New York and that he's working for his old boss from his old job." Pam is offended. The truth can hurt.
Charles asks Jim for a run down of his clients. Jim doesn't know what a rundown is and he's too scared to ask. He spends the rest of the day trying to figure out what he's supposed to be doing. After he comes up with a list of something he thinks is a rundown Charles tells him to fax it to his list of distributors. Jim has no idea what this means either, so he faxes the list to his Father just to make it look like he knows what he's doing.
Dwight tries to hit on Erin. He tells her that a prostitute was murdered in their building in 1816 back when it was a brothel. The woman was Hattie McGonagall. She was bludgeoned to death with the business side of a riding crop. He tells her the woman's ghost roams the halls and if she ever feels a tapping on her shoulder it's probably the ghost, then he taps her on the shoulder and makes her jump. He tells her he's just kidding but them he says her name as if a ghost were saying it. She tries to leave the break room when Andy comes in and pretends to block her path then pretends to dance with her. She laughs it off and leaves. Dwight and Andy try to compete with one another for Erin's attention, then they try to work it out but it all comes to a head in the break room later when they are playing some music together and Erin walks in. Dwight is on guitar and Andy on banjo. They try to out play each other, then out sing and out class but ultimately they bond over "Take Me Home Country Road" as Erin loses interest in either of them and leaves them to each other and their musical bonding moment. Then Toby knocks on the glass window of the break room and tells them they have to stop. Spoil sport. Doesn't he know bro love will always win in the end?
Michael is frustrated by the way Pam and Ryan keep fighting so he tells them to choose a corner and go to it whenever they feel frustrated or they need some privacy. Ryan uses his to call his friends. Pam tries to use hers to calm down but gets kicked out of her corner by Michael and sent to the one with the copier because he wants her corner. Pam gets fed-up and tries to get her job back but the position has already been filled. She ties to get him to hire her as a salesman, or a personal assistant or personal shopper. She's desperate but Charles shows no mercy. She just sits in the office for a while and enjoys the fresher indoor air than in her current office. Stanley and Phyllis visit Michael. Stanley laughs when he finds out that Ryan is working for him. Michael says Pam is around there somewhere. Stanley says she's talking to Charles. Michael tells camera that the Michael Scott Paper Company was a very bad idea and that he should just leave and start his own paper company and that will show them. Wait a minute.
Michael makes square shaped pancakes in the parking lot at his pancake lunch. Pam arrives and avoids telling Michael what she was doing. One person shows up to the pancake lunch and asks Pam for a card. She does him one better and gives him a scrap of paper with their phone number on it. He stays and eats some pancakes. Creed says they're terrible and puts back the ones he was trying to steal in his jacket. Meredith picks them up and says she'll take them home for her kid. Michael is completely defeated after only one person came to the lunch. He tells Pam and Ryan that he had a dream about eating a tuna and peanut butter sandwich and it was great then he woke up and made it for real and it was disgusting. He was telling the story when the phone rang. Pam picks it up and it's the guy from the pancake lunch. She pitches him. Michael tells her to tell him that they guarantee. She asks what they guarantee. He says just say it. So she says they guarantee his satisfaction, it's their guarantee, they guarantee it. She gets off the phone and announces that she made a sale. They all jump for joy. Just when Michael was about to give up he says, "Who would have thought that the thing that would save this company would be work and pancakes." He explains that although their company only has 165 square feet of office space they have big hearts and for their company, that is really what is important.
In the closing bit Dwight and Andy bond and argue over what songs are better Alco Pella. Dwight challenges with "Sweet Cherry Pie," "Enter Sandman," and "Rebel Yell." All of them, Andy says, are better without music. Angela just rolls her eyes and cannot believe her former lovers are now best friends. Her plans have truly been foiled.
The Office stars: Steve Carell / John Krasinski / Jenna Fischer / Rainn Wilson / B.J. Novak / Melora Hardin / Mindy Kaling / Brian Baumgartner / Leslie David Baker / Kate Flannery / Ed Helms / Angela Kinsey / Phyllis Smith
Story by Erin MacMillan-Ramirez
Starpulse contributing writer
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