We open up in Utica branch and Jim’s ex flame Karen is on the phone. With someone from Scranton, no less. Do we have a little bit of poaching on our hands? Perhaps we do.
Meanwhile, speaking of incompetent bosses, we’ve got Michael setting up a dummy at his desk, a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You open the door, the hand comes down, and the dummy triggers snoring sound effects. Because, apparently, it’s better to be at work and asleep than not at work at all, if you’re Michael Scott. The first victim, Stanley, questions the logic and informs Michael that he’s gotten an offer from Utica for more money, and he’s going to take it.
I guess that explains why we started in Utica.
Michael announces the news about Stanley, and when everyone claps, Michael gets on them for misinterpreting his tone. Michael relates it to Jim dumping Karen, and then says that, “You can’t take the hilarious black guy from the office.” True enough, Michael. Stanley has morphed into a real scene-stealer, though I think Darryl might have gained on him this season.
Oscar, Toby, and Pam have a little at-work club, called the Finer Things Club. No paper, no plastic, no work talk, costumes and artwork as appropriate, and discussions of fine books. Lovely. Oscar gets the line of the night. Later, Andy gets rejected from the Finer Things Club, and we get a lesson on the levels of activities at Scranton.
Michael and Karen have a confrontation. Michael offers Toby, who is neither a sales person nor one of Michael’s employees, but can’t even bring himself to fake talk up Toby without expressing his disgust at the HR flack. If Karen is going to poach someone, then Michael’s going to poach someone from Utica. Of course, Michael puts his foot in his mouth, but this just leads us to the complicated Michael scheme of the episode and a little interruption of the lameness of the Finer Things Club. A panty raid to Utica ensues where the goal is to prank them. Jim’s reluctance to be a part of the scheme turns around immediately. Silly string, warehouse uniforms, and of course, Molotov cocktails courtesy of Dwight, whose idea of prank is apparently maim.
Dwight is full of a lot of weird ideas, as per usual. After using an empty soda can as a toilet and cutting his penis on it, Dwight has a lengthy explanation of the eyes as a place of defense. The eyes, Dwight says, are the groin of the head. Dwight is obsessed with the eyes.
Hey, it’s Kevin! Ordering from the vending machine, distracting the Finer Things Club. Phyllis also joins in, making microwave popcorn. Andy confesses his affection for Stanley, calling him a kind old Uncle Remus.
The prank gets out of hand. Did you expect anything other than horrible results out of this group? Michael tries to buy time by talking Jim into getting back with Karen, but Jim is not interested. This leads us to our inevitable Jim and Karen face-off. Jim is a little unconvincing, which suggests to me that Pam and Jim troubles are on the horizon.
Michael does get in a nice speech where we, as usual, get to see how much his employees mean to him. Both to Karen while in Utica, and to Stanley himself in Scranton. Stanley, of course, reneges on his plans and decides to stay, because, all along, all he wanted was a raise. Michael, apparently, called his bluff. Stanley wonders if Michael is a secret genius, then even he laughs that idea off.
Jim gets an invite to the Finer Things Club, because he’s so embarrassed by the whole Utica thing. Aww, more Pam-based sweetness. Jim, of course, screws it all up by, uh, being Jim and speaking in an awful Irish accent.
Line of the Night: Oscar: “Besides having sex with men, I would say that the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.”Who Earned 10 Schrutebucks: Jim’s entrance into the Finer Things Club was awesome, as it shows Pam throwing her boyfriend a bone, Andy being crushed by his lack of acceptance, and Jim being himself by making the Finer Things Club eat potatoes and dress like turn-of-the-century Irish peasants while discussing Angela’s Ashes. It was a very good B subplot.
Who Has Been Deducted 50 Schrutebucks: They’re taking Michael in an entirely too goofy direction. I’m not sure I like it.
Ron Hogan is counting down the days until the Hollywood writers’ strike takes away his beloved Office. A pox on them all! Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics and the Flektor Development Blog.