Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
The Office recaps are back! That's all right, no applause necessary. Unlike in tonight's episode.
The party planning committee is working on Michael's upcoming 15-year anniversary shindig. Though the definition of the word classy is up in the air, Jim's definitely wearing a tux, the passive-aggressive backlash of Dwight's memo about the dress code last week.
After the credits, the new vice president, one Charles Minor (Miner?). Michael, on Pam's speakerphone announcement of his visitor: "Minor? I hardly know 'er!" Michael demands a round of applause from the employees. He announces a surprise in the break room, but sends Dwight in to stall everyone -- with boring stories about Scranton's history -- while he sets up the real surprise in the conference room: bagels turns from O's into C's. Apparently he spent all night on them.
Michael tells us that he met Charles last week at corporate and they really hit it off, and that surely this will be better than having his ex (Jan) or his best friend (Ryan, natch) in charge of him.
Kelly thinks Charles is like the black George Clooney. And it seems that Angela might provide a little competition in this area. Is it still a competition if the prize has no interest in being won?
Jim introduces himself to Mr. Minor, but he just wants to know why Jim is wearing a tux. Jim tries to explain the prank he's pulling on Dwight, but Charles is so not into it. Jim's so awkward that Pam grabs him by the arm and drags him away before he can dig himself in a deeper hole. In a co-interview, she laughs at him that he just HAD to wear his tux today, and tells us it took him 40 minutes to get ready this morning.
Michael introduces Charles around to the rest of the office, but only gets as far as Oscar's failed gay relationship, Angela's sexual history around the office, and Kevin's lack of sexual history before Charles cuts him off and says he'll just say hi to everyone at once. Michael demands another round of applause.
But what Charles is really here for is to encourage the team through the tough economic times and tell them they're trying to prevent layoffs (and Michael was supposed to share this next part with the office at large last week but of course did not) through cutting things like 401K contribution matching, overtime, and discretionary spending. Michael tries to persuade Charles out the door at this announcement (demanding more applause), but it turns out he's here to hang out and observe all day. Michael interviews how totally thrilled he is that the new boss is taking an active interest in everything that's Michael's responsibility.
He calls up David Wallace at corporate and tells him that he thrives under lack of accountability and didn't know he was to be "managed." David Wallace thinks they'll get along all right. Dwight, ever sitting in on the conference calls, tells Michael to ask about the anniversary party, so Michael asks if David's coming to it, but that's not what Dwight meant. Well, would hiring Cirque du Soleil employees give them a tax break? Was that the question he meant? There's a long pause on the other end of the line. Dwight: "Did he hang up?" More pause. Then David Wallace's small voice: "No..."
After an attempted and failed get-to-know-you chat with Charles, Michael calls corporate again and is rebuffed by David Wallace's assistant. Dwight calls back for him and attempts to smarm his way past her but suddenly shifts into kidnapper mode, yelling that he's got David Wallace's son in the trunk of his car. Michael hits the hang-up button, horrified. He calls back, tells the assistant the son is fine, and she finally puts him through... to Charles Minor, answering on his cell from out in the office. Michael stammers something unintelligible and hangs up.
Pizza delivery guys arrive, bearing lunch from Charles for the whole office. Michael's all offended because he brought breakfast this morning and he feels upstaged. He tells Charles he's being "hypercritical" after he just said no more parties. He tries to call David again, still to no avail. Kelly, eating pizza, asks Angela if she should seduce Charles.
Kevin asks Michael if it's ok if he puts in some overtime this weekend to fix some spreadsheets and Michael applauds his effort and says yes. Charles, standing over their shoulders, says no, based on the new budget rules. They argue back and forth until Michael just starts copying everything Charles says. Pam interviews that Michael's level of upset bears an negative correlation to his level of immaturity, and he just skipped the Ace Ventura talking butt thing. He never skips that.
Back to the party planning with Pam suggesting Russian nesting doll-like strippers (with cupcakes for the smaller strippers). Charles walks into the conference room and peeks over Jim's shoulders, where he's written something about a two-way petting zoo ("You pet the animals, they pet you back," he explains in a small voice). He determines this is not a good use of company time and sends all but Michael back to their desks. He then dissolves the party planning committee and tells Michael the workplace is not designed for his vanity. HA HA HA. Shows how much he knows.
Michael starts indignantly yelling about how he's been there for 15 years, Charles has no right, he's going to New York to talk to David Wallace, he's telling him everything, Charles is so screwed, etc. He storms out of the office hollering about how paper's made or something, and shoves a chair out of his way, quite ineffectively.
Later, Jim (still be-tuxed) heads into the conference room to try to make a better impression on Charles, but things don't go well when he brings up his imaginary position as "Number 2" in the office. He interviews that for his next trick, he's going to make his career disappear.
In New York, Michael brushes past David Wallace's assistant and finds him just coming out of the bathroom. Michael is so indignant. (I know I've used this word a lot, but there is really no other way to describe Michael's attitude this entire episode.) At this particular moment, he is indignant because he bought all these FIGS for his PARTY and now he has no USE for them and nowhere to STORE them. He has sacrificed so much for this company! A family! Hang-gliding! The opportunity to drive his car to the top of Mount Washington!
Back in Scranton, Charles is on his way out. Angela runs up and preens, "It was nice to meet you, Charles Minor." Charles is like, "...Yeah, k." Kelly, meanwhile, is in the lunch room pondering the trials of having half-black, half-Indian kids, but Phyllis tells her that Charles just left. She bolts out to the parking lot, where Angela is screaming frantically after Charles, whose scarf she seems to have. Back inside, drenched from the rain and mascara dripping down her cheeks, she snots that Kelly and Charles will never happen, because he's a sophisticated man.
To New York for the final scene: David Wallace gives in to Michael and tries to appease him with a promise to move some money around and personally see to it that Michael gets his party, and his figs, and that he, David Wallace, will be in attendance. Michael pauses. Michael processes. Michael quits.
He shakes David's hand and walks out, but not before stopping to utter this gem: "You have no idea how high I can fly."
While Michael is obviously an idiot, it was only a few short episodes ago that David Wallace was looking to Michael to figure out why, in this economic downturn where everyone is losing money, Dunder Mifflin Scranton is doing the opposite. He may be unreasonable, and at times certifiably nuts, he is also a great salesman that knows how to connect with people when it matters. (And of course, David Wallace also transferred Holly, the love of his life, because they were dating.)
So in a way, I can see Michael "growing up" at that last moment and realizing that David was just humouring him and that he truly isn't respected.
If we're lucky, this will lead to actual real growth for Michael. The last time we saw him like this was after the Dinner Party episode last season where he realized Jan was taking advantage of him and he stood up for himself. I liked that version of Michael.