The Office: Broke

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

It's 4:30 in the morning, and Michael tells us he's a 44-year-old guy with a paper route. The Michael Scott Paper Company has bought a rickety old van from the Korean Alleluia Church of Christ, maybe, and the three staff members are doing 5 a.m. deliveries themselves. Ryan can't handle the fresh morning air; it makes him sick ever since he got clean. Pam asks Michael if there's coffee. Michael hands her a giant travel mug and says, "Milk and sugar!" It's just milk and sugar.

Dunder Mifflin, meanwhile, has lost 10 clients to MSPC in the past month, because they keep undercutting their prices. In an interview in "his" office, which Dwight is present for, Charles tells us he doesn't know how to inspire these people.

Ryan thinks MSPC should consider getting a delivery guy. Michael thinks they should get Pam a loft bunk bed for over her desk. I see he's been taking space-saving tips from the Ikea catalogue.

The one and only David Wallace shows up at Dunder Mifflin. Charles totally kisses his ass, and Jim makes a smug, noisy kissy face at us in the breakroom.

David Wallace addresses the room. He says a general hi, Kelly pipes in with a hi of her own, he says another bemused hi back before starting into his speech again, but then Kevin interrupts with his own delayed hi. David is so confused by these people. He tells them about how MSPC is siphoning clients, and Phyllis says that maybe if he had just returned Michael's call, none of this would have happened. He's inclined to agree.

David and Charles head into the conference room, and David calls Jim along with them, but Charles pulls him aside and says Dwight's actually been acting as his number two. David Wallace says this is extraordinarily surprising, but Charles says he shows great promise. Charles invites both Jim and Dwight into the room. Dwight: "Come along, afterthought."

Michael, Pam, and Ryan visit a business accountant, who tells them they can't afford a delivery man. Their prices are too low; the lowest in town, actually. He tells them they should be using a variable cost pricing model instead of fixed cost, but no one knows what he's talking about. Michael tells him to explain it for Pam and Ryan's benefit, and Ryan asks him to tell them what he thinks that means. What it means is that as their sales go up, their operating costs will also go up. Um... dur? Michael demands another numbers crunch. It doesn't help.

They drive back to the business park dejectedly. While they're stopped at a light, a little Korean lady hops in.

Back at the office, Michael calls "Gerry" and begs more money for the delivery they made yesterday. How embarrassing. Pam likens this to how if a little kid gets behind the wheel of a car and drives straight into a tree, no one blames the kid; they blame the 30-year-old woman who got in the passenger seat and said, "Drive, kid."

David, Charles, Jim, and Dwight discuss the MSPC problem. Dwight suggests filling his office with bees. He has an excellent apiarist. Since no one can come up with anything productive, they call a short break. Jim sees that Pam's called him, so he gives her a ring back. They meet up in the hallway. Pam tells Jim that MSPC has maybe a month, and she doesn't know what she's going to do. He says they'll figure it out; they'll be fine. His phone rings, and the ringtone is Dwight's voice going "idiot idiot idiot." It's his new Dwight ring. Pam likes it. He answers, and the first thing Dwight says? "Idiot." He calls Jim back to the meeting.

The MSPC-ers share sad stories. Michael: he thought the worst day of his life would be the day Steve Martin dies, but this is totally the worst day. Pam: weddings are expensive, and so she tried to get a weekend job to help cover the costs. She applied at Old Navy, Target, and Wal-Mart, and didn't get a single call back for an interview. Ryan: he never went to Thailand; he went to Ft. Lauderdale. Where there was a great Pad Thai place.

The boys in the conference room at Dunder Mifflin are trying to discuss the issue in earnest, but Dwight's stuck on bees. David Wallace says the cheapest option they have is to make Michael an offer. Charles agrees that a buyout is feasible. They ask Jim's advice since he's closest to the MSPC employees, but he's obviously hesitant to share his insider information. He's conflicted, and says he could try to nudge them in the right direction. Charles and David send Jim down to talk to them right away.

When he gets there, he tells them what's up, honestly. Michael tries to explain some things, but Jim wants as little information as possible and says he was just sent to find out whether they might be interested in a buyout. Michael's stoked. He says yes, Pam says yes, Ryan says yes. Michael starts to say more, but Jim's like, "Three yeses, I'm out, see you upstairs."

Michael, Pam, and Ryan head to the elevator, promising each other that none of them will say anything about how they're going broke. By the time they hit the second floor, Michael's panicking that he's going to let it slip.

They enter the Dunder Mifflin office and announce themselves. There's a bit of a standoff, and Michael tries to be profound with this gem: "My, how the turntables..." He trails off.

They all meet in the conference room. David Wallace's first offer is $12,000. Michael is insulted. David says he doesn't know how their prices are so low, but he knows they're probably in trouble, and it's the best offer they'll get.

But Michael plays a stockholder meeting card. Turns out there's one of those coming up, and it won't make the CFO look good that the company's most profitable branch is bleeding. He says he can wait David out. Pam's totally proud.

David's second offer? $60,000. Michael can't speak. He clears the room, and Pam's like, "We are SO RICH."

As they're busy freaking out, Dwight is on the phone with "Gerry," who's come crawling back to Dunder Mifflin. Dwight listens in horrified delight for a few moments, then hangs up on Gerry and races to the lunchroom, with Jim hot on his heels, to tell Charles that MSPC is broke and begging for money from their clients. Jim distracts Dwight by teasing him about how poor of a detective he is, which totally works, because Dwight HAS SO cracked a case before, the Beet Bandit one! Beets being stolen, no footprints! Inside job! Mose in socks!

Charles just wants to know how long MSPC can last, and then tells the two of them to stay out of the conference room; they've embarrassed him enough today, the morons. Jim: "Got it." He heads back to his desk, thrilled to be rid of this mess. (Dwight doesn't get it.)

Back in the conference room, David Wallace asks Michael if they're good; can they put this behind them? Michael says no. Pam asks for another minute.

Ryan lights into Michael, all, "How could you do this to me! You just lost me $60,000!" Pam's like, "What makes you think you get all of it?!" But what they all realize is that they're better off asking for jobs and not just cash; jobs are safer and last longer. They call Charles and David back in.

Michael demands his old job, old parking spot, and a Sebring back (they don't make those anymore, Charles tells him), oh, and also, Charles gone. David Wallace says he's not firing Charles. Also, Michael wants Pam back, but in sales. AND he wants Ryan back. David is so not having this--Ryan has cost them so much money in the past. David tells Michael that giving three people jobs means he's talking a multi-million-dollar buyout here.

Michael: "These are our demands." David says there's no way his company is worth that, and Michael agrees that it's worth nothing (*facepalm*), but this is the difference between the two of them. Business isn't about money to Michael--he can just keep starting paper companies; he has no shortage of names. "Our balls are in your court," he says.

David just accepts the offer. All of it, I guess. They shake hands and Michael tells him to leave the room, please. We watch from out in the main office as he closes the blinds and the three of them celebrate. Jim smiles indulgently at the camera.

In the outro, Michael takes down his makeshift sign at the MSPC office, where Ryan and Pam are sharing some champagne in plastic cups. Meanwhile, the Korean lady sits in the van. Charles leaves, and tries to say something to the room on his way out, but Michael tells him he's done. So I guess... is he fired, for real? Michael rests his leg on Jim's desk, as he does, and looks around at his kingdom.

Tags: the office, recap, michael scott, dunder mifflin, steve carell

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Original Comments Posted (1)

swishy5 says...

Another great episode, I thought. My and my Office friends read The Office daily calendar...we are positive that "Our balls are in your court" will be in next year's. Such a classic Michael line.

Apr 25, 2009 2:15pm

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