The Office: Prince Family Paper

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

This week: Debates on Hilary Swank's hotness! Top secret paper recon! Dwight and Michael in a car!

In the opener, Jim has run a red wire from Dwight's computer all the way out to a telephone pole in the parking lot and up the pole. Dwight, because he is paranoid, tracks the thing right up to the top of the telephone poll as Jim interviews that he got 500 feet of wire for 20 bucks at a flea market. He says Dwight will be fine climbing the pole; after all, he made it up there himself.

Michael is on a conference call with David Wallace, who's asking Michael if he would be willing to do some field work that would normally be assigned to a regional supervisor, which their region is missing right now. Michael is stoked. David informs him that he's to do some recon at an area company called Prince Paper; they're hoping to go after their market, but haven't been able to get much information on them because they're not a public company. Michael makes fun of David's archaic faxing suggestion. As he should.

Phyllis and Stanley are all Hot or Not over Hilary Swank, and before you can blink, the whole office is involved in the debate. Jim calls a vote to settle the nonsense; unfortunately, there's a 5-5 tie, as announced by Kevin. Jim: "Thank you, accounting department."

In Michael's car, Dwight and Michael review their reconnaissance plan: Michael will be posing as local business owner Michael Scarn, looking for a new paper supplier. Dwight will be himself looking for a job opportunity. They debate the relative merits of Denny's vs. IHOP for their celebratory lunch. (Dwight is anti-IHOP for some ridiculous reason. I cannot imagine what it is. They have the best pancakes known to man.) They also set up a lip-licking signal to let each other know they need to get out if things get hairy. It's a very, um, suggestive sort of lip licking.

As Michael heads in to Prince Paper, he explains to us the business food chain using, as a metaphor, the example of sharks and littler sharks until you get down to the single-cell shark, and this is all we need to know about business. It makes just as much sense when he says it, trust me.

The folks at Prince Paper are beyond friendly, and the owner introduces his wife, son, and granddaughter to Michael, who is posing as a lawyer wondering things like how many clients do they have? (About 80.) When did they set up shop? (When Mr. Prince came back from 'Nam. Michael: "Oo, Vietnam! I hear it's lovely.") Do they ship special paper on the same truck as regular paper? (My, you know an awful lot about paper for a lawyer.)

The Hilary Swank Debate is still going on, and Kevin notes the difference between beautiful and hot. A painting can be beautiful, but that doesn't mean he wants to bang it.

Dwight enters 10 minutes after Michael, posing as a job hunter. He is his typical forceful self, even going so far as to suggest Mr. Prince ditch his son and hire him instead. He asks about their clients, then brags that he's got 90 clients himself.

Back at the HSD, Jim is on about celebrities as mythical creatures. Kevin's not having it; he just wants to see a picture. Jim gets Kevin to close his eyes and he starts whispering about Hilary Swank coming into the office and telling him she read his online profile and she wants to make out with him. Is she hot? Kevin nods with vigor and heads over to the pro side of the room. But he remembers himself and tells Jim to respect the game: it's "Is she hot?" not "Would you do her?" He retreats to the anti side.

Dwight has scored himself an impromptu job interview, and when he starts telling Mr. Prince about how awful his boss is, Michael, still hanging around the office somehow, derails the conversation by asking for a photo memento of Mrs. Prince, and helping Granddaughter Prince with her math. Um, by helping, I mean "helping." As soon as she starts marking down the answer they arrive at, Grandma is all, "Don't put that."

Kevin's main argument is that Hilary Swank is mannish and he kept expecting a second plot twist in Boys Don't Cry where we find out that she actually is a boy. Angela, who's been abstaining from this nonsense until now, can't take it anymore, and though she doesn't agree with "hot" as a descriptor of attractiveness (It's a temperature, people!), she says that Kevin deserves to lose because of what he just said, and she takes the pro side of the room. The pro side cheers.

Over at Prince Paper, Mr. Prince hands Michael a list of references comprising their top clients. Michael kind of can't believe it, but still manages to lick his lips horrifically at Dwight, who bad-acts that he took the bus here and was wondering if this kind sir would give him a ride. They celebrate in the car, and Michael's so excited that he drives forward into the concrete barrier. He backs up, but the barrier keeps the bumper.

Back to Hilary Swank for a minute: Toby hasn't voted yet. The whole office sits in anticipatory silence as he studies the photos hung on the wall. He turns around, grimacing and shaking his head. Kelly cries that if he's saying Hilary Swank isn't hot, he's saying she isn't hot, because she obviously is not as hot as Hilary Swank. She storms out.

The Princes come racing out of their office to help Michael and Dwight. Mr. Prince assesses the damage and goes back in for his toolbox. Mrs. Prince brings out some coffee. Dwight deems it disgusting and wonders if it's instant. Ew. The Princes get them set up with some duct tape and send them on their way. Dwight thinks they're suckers, but Michael is clearly starting to feel bad.

Pam's pro-Swank argument is that the women in the office can't give Kevin any say in this sort of thing; they don't even give him full internet access. Oscar's got a complicated-looking PowerPoint presentation involving facial symmetry and grids (and he's anti-Swank, too -- his summary is that while she is attractive, she's not hot). When Dwight and Michael re-enter the office looking dejected, the debate has devolved into discussion of Kevin's feminism, or lack thereof.

In his office, Michael is torn. He wants to live and let live, although he knows Wallace would absolutely eat up the information he could feed him. Michael says that his heart tells him no; Dwight points out that Michael's heart has led him down many a wrong path before. Michael: "That's true: Jan... Ryan..." Dwight says he should use his brain; plus, if they don't do it to Prince Paper, someone else will, and moreover, someone else will do it to them.

Stanley's up in the debate, and his argument is that he's trying take a more optimistic approach to life, what with the fact that he's got only 20 or 30 more years left to live. He sums up thusly: "Look at this healthy, sexy, pretty, strong young woman. Come on, people! She. Is. Hot." His speech is the most I've ever heard him say at a time.

Dwight's using some twisted Lord of the Rings metaphor to convince Michael to give Wallace the information. Michael seems convinced, but he suddenly runs out of the office with the list in his hand. Dwight chases him out into the hall, down the stairs, out to the parking lot to Michael's car, and then back up because Michael forgot his keys, and when Michael makes a break for the parking lot through the back door, Dwight heads out the front and cuts him off, snatching the list from his hand. Michael makes several grabs for it, but Dwight's all, "It's over," and Michael concedes defeat, but not before one final grab attempt.

The rest of the staff is retaking the Hilary Swank vote, and it's now tied at 6-6. Well... thanks for the entirely inconclusive debate, Rest of Office.

In Michael's office, he's on a conference call with David Wallace, who's very pleased with the results of today's coup. Michael, in an interview, calls the situation bittersweet: bitter in that he slightly destroyed a nice family, and sweet in that David Wallace thinks he did a good job. He says that's why he doesn't like bittersweet chocolate.

In the tag, as Michael and Dwight wander dejectedly into Michael's office, Michael glances at the pictures of Hilary Swank hung on the wall, and distractedly asks who this is. "Oh, she's hot," he off-the-cuffs. The yea side rejoices. And lo, it was determined that Hilary Swank is hot. Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Tags: the office, the office u.s., michael scott, michael scarn, dwight schrute

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Original Comments Posted (2)

sarahm says...

Jim trying to do sexy Hilary Swank whisper to Kevin was the creepiest thing I've ever seen.

Jan 26, 2009 3:03am

Sarahm says...

Also? "Why don't you just send it in on a dinosaur!?" was probably the best line of the night.

Jan 27, 2009 6:38pm

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