The Office: Lecture Circuit, Part 1

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

This week: Missed birthdays! Road trips! Awkward Andy, just like every other week!

We open with Jim staring at his phone, which is making heavy breathing sounds. Jim explains that the phone guys came in and showed Michael how the phones have a PA system. And then they just left.

It goes on for awhile, including Michael's impersonation of a pilot, Michael's phone call to his doctor about a disgusting wart, Michael's impersonation of a principal... until Jim takes a pair of scissors into the office, and under the pretense of looking for something under Michael's desk, snips his phone cord. All hail Jim.

Well, I guess the credits were supersized just for the Superbowl. We're back to the normal, shorter ones again.

Here we are at a motel in some other town that is not Scranton. Michael picks up Pam from her room and as we watch Pam load up the rental car (she's his hot roadie, and she's getting paid time-and-a-half, 24 hours a day, for three days), Michael voices over that he's on a lecture circuit at the behest of David Wallace, travelling to all the branches (except Nashua; still a little raw, he says) to tell them about his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that make him so... successful, I guess is the word.

Pam says she's gotta bring in the bucks now that she has a mortgage, and Michael tells her not to say "bucks" because it's not ladylike. Apparently she is actually chauffering Michael around; he's in the backseat and all.

Back in Scranton, Kelly storms into the office and tells both Jim and Dwight to screw themselves as she stomps to the annex. Phyllis informs them that they forgot her birthday yesterday. The two boys interview that they were appointed heads of the party planning committee. They HATE it. I think that might officially have been the first co-interview with both Jim and Dwight. They don't share chair arms very well.

Michael, in the car on the way to Utica, asks Pam how she feels about seeing Karen again, and wonders if that's why she's wearing extra makeup today. She interviews (from Scranton) that she hates the idea that someone out there in the world hates her. She even hates thinking that Al Qaida hates her, and feels that if they really got to know her, they wouldn't hate her. Karen knows her, though.

Stanley brings a pretty lady into the office, and as they head back to the kitchen, Andy asks Phyllis who she is. Phyllis says she's out of his league. Mostly he is just trying to get over his broken heart, it would seem.

Dwight and Jim peer over Kelly's cubicle wall and attempt to apologize, but she's all "Screw you!" and Dwight's all "IF YOU EVER" and Kelly so doesn't care, and Jim's like, "Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys." Jim wants to make it up to her, but her only wish is that such a terrible thing never happens to anyone else, blah blah blah... Dwight: "What kind of cake do you want, IMBECILE?" She wants ice cream cake. As do I.

Michael and Pam have arrived at the Dunder Mifflin office in Utica. Michael makes awkward small talk with Rolando, the receptionist, suggesting that he and Pam could maybe go on a little friend date sometimes. Rolando's like, "Yeah no, Karen will be right out."

And right out she is. She and her hugely pregnant belly. Pam stares in shock, but Michael is not nearly so polite. He gasps and oh-my-Gods and covers his mouth and asks if it's Jim's. Karen's like, "OF COURSE NOT." Well, Michael's relieved. And rude. So rude, trying to figure out the last time Karen and Jim would have had sex, telling her she's huge, just... it's impressive, even for Michael. Pam's even horrified at him for once. And here I thought she was becoming immune.

Dwight's decorating the conference room with under-filled brown and gray balloons ("They match the carpet!") and a plain banner that declares, "IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY." It's factual (if a day late), but Jim is not impressed with the lack of exclamation point. Dwight is not impressed that Jim has only collected $6 so far for the birthday fund -- the $6 he and Dwight contributed.

Andy, meanwhile, has run out to the parking lot to see if he can spy any of this mystery girl's CDs in her car. He sets off her alarm, but does discover she's into Feist.

Back in Utica, Michael fakes a shocking cell phone call out in the hallway, then comes into the conference room and announces that it's going to be hard for him to do this, because his father just died. A few people act sympathetic and/or horrified before he follows up with, "NO HE DIDN'T! And this isn't even a cell phone! This is a calculator! But you bought it!" Karen raises her hand, and he asks her if she needs to go pump her breast milk. She wants to know what he's talking about, and says that now they just think he's a liar. (Also a crazy person, but that's just implied.)

He interviews, back in Scranton, about learning the Pledge of Allegiance to the tune of "Old MacDonald," and then back in Utica, he's on about mnemonic devices and it's all very horrifying and offensive as he comes up with crude nicknames for every person in the room (Sugar Boobs? Black Woman? Oh, you bet). Karen says he's being insulting, declares the meeting over, and asks to see him in her office.

Stanley is meeting with this mystery woman in the breakroom. Her name is Julia, and I guess she's a potential client and a friend of Stanley's family. Andy brings them coffees and tells Stanley that because of his diabetes, he put Splenda in his, and how many? "One, two, three, four, Splendas in your coffee, Stanley, None in yours, Julia, 'cause I don't know how you take it, but if you'd rather--" And if you think he's not singing it to the tune of Feist's "1, 2, 3, 4," you'd be wrong. Very, very wrong.

Stanley pulls Andy aside and gives him a talking to about how he is crazy. Andy just wants a brother to do him a solid, ya know? Stanley says that if he really likes her, he can give him two clients in exchange for her. STANLEY!

Michael's showing Karen his next trick, which involves a chainsaw. Karen's so not into the idea, and suggests that she just distill the whole thing and email it to her team. Pam asks when she's due, and Michael gets all up in her business asking about sperm machines or something, but Karen tells him that her husband impregnated her, actually. His name's Dan and he's a dermatologist she met in a bar. She seems very happy.

Karen asks about Scranton and Jim, and Pam replies that everyone's good, and takes a few seconds to get to the point: that she and Jim are engaged. Karen is momentarily taken aback, but covers well and hugs Pam in congratulations. Michael leans in front of the camera to say that it's a wonderful moment, this old hatred developing into a new friendship.

Stanley hands Julia off to Andy, and he settles in REAL close to discuss billing, and whether those should go to her house, or... her boyfriend's house? To her business address, she says. Andy wonders how her boyfriend deals with all her success. Well, she slowly says, she doesn't have a boyfriend. Andy runs out to ask for some advice from the boys. Oscar hurries away, but Creed tells Andy about how he got Squeaky Fromme -- no small talk, show her who's boss, just kiss her -- and he has never steered you wrong, Jim. Andy seems to feel a little slighted by this mistake.

Pam and Michael walk out of the Utica branch and run a post-mortem on the talk he gave and how good it was for her to see Karen and get some closure. Now she doesn't have to wonder if she did something wrong.

Andy walks Julia to her car, and he gives her the Nard-dog guarantee: that as a new client, she'll always be taken care of. He leans in and tries to kiss her, but she's like, "What the hell?" He apologizes and says he just got his heart broken and she's just so pretty, and... She interjects that she just got out of a relationship too, and it's hard, but when he asks if she wants to talk about it sometime, she declines. Shut down.

Andy interviews that they lost the account. NO REALLY.

Jim calls Dwight from the store to ask how old Kelly is, because they only have numbered candles. Dwight guesses 24 and 37. Jim's like, I am not asking you for an approximation here. So Dwight sneaks into Kelly's personnel file, and shares with us that she spent a year and a half in juvie about ten years ago. WHAT.

In the car, Michael's thinking about what Pam said about closure, and he asks her if she remembers Holly. She's like, "No, remind me." He talks about her blonde hair and her great boobs -- not too big, not too small -- and Pam, with a sidelong look to the camera, goes, "Perfect boobs. Of course I remember Holly." Michael feels like he needs to go to Nashua to get closure, and Pam says then they'll go. They're going to blow off the Rochester lecture and go see Holly.


Except for the tag, where Jim's still collecting $3 from everyone for Kelly's party. Creed gives him a $3 bill. Of course.

Tags: the office, the office u.s., office recap

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