Season two opened with The Dundies, in which this episode established that the employee award ceremony of the same name was something that just about everybody hated, making Michael that less likeable of a boss. In the five and a half years since, some things have changed.
The Search is the result of the car ride disaster running joke, and Jim's irrational overreaction in parenting.
How To Communicate Like Michael Scott:
#1 - Prepare for both the good news, and the bad news.
Since Erin made her debut on The Office late last season, not very much has been revealed about her character, except for the surface obvious. A year later, she finally gets an episode that revolves around her. In Secretary's Day, her more vulnerable and weird side is shown. She stated her necessity for trust, and has firm beliefs of what a relationship should be like.
When Pam set Michael up on a blind date with her landlady, it ended in a disaster. When Michael ended up dating Pam's mother, it too became a disaster. In Happy Hour, it comes off as ironic, that Pam would dare to set Michael up another time. As predicted, Michael made himself look like a fool, especially with his obnoxious clothing and behaviours.
The leadership of Sabre has brought on more changes to the Scranton branch, not just in procedures and policies, but also in workplace attitude. As the sales staff have been given a greater importance in the company, they have also displayed it in their attitude towards everybody else.
Michael has a history of being the polar opposite to every person that has managed him. In the case of Jo, she finds Michael's lackadaisical and unprofessional behaviours to be inappropriate, and counterproductive. As Jo has set the example of working hard and doing overtime, Michael has little reason to not mirror her work ethic.
After a near-two month wait, The Office returns with a new full length episode. This episode is deliberately meant to create a different feel, which succeeds, especially when contrasted with the clipshow from 2 weeks ago. The major change which everybody encounters is the acquisition by Sabre.
For the first time, Jim was able to look like the saner of the two co-managers. It didn't take much on Jim's part, as he was only being himself. This is easy, when Michael was entwined in perceived authority, sexism, and jealousy. His own personal insecurities and entitlement have led to him believing that he has the right to not only be Santa Claus, but to also take it away from Phyllis.
There are times when Michael has been able to take a situation from an inevitable doom, and turn it into a miraculous victory. These times are rare, and are dependent on Michael's invincible cluelessness, coupled with an antagonist that is all too grounded in reality.