The Office: Local Ad

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Well, here we are. Or here I am. With you, and The Office. I am very, very glad that this is only a half-hour episode. Now, I love The Office as much as the next person... No, probably more than the next person... But the hour-long episodes were becoming tedious. Was it really necessary to start the season with four of them? I think not.

We open this week with an exuberant Michael leading a "brainstorming" "session" in the conference room. Apparently, there is to be a Dunder Mifflin commercial. Andy wants to include a jingle, like the Kit-Kat song, which he starts singing before he has a meltdown when he can't remember the words "Kit-Kat bar." Jim eggs him on, as he does.

It is this next minute or two that my DVR crapped out on, so I'm going by memory, and I think there are only two important things to note: 1) Pam offers to do animation for the commercial, and 2) some corporate-approved marketing/video guys arrive to work with Michael on the ad, and he attempts to convince them of his creativity and vision.

Michael is introducing the office crew to the video guys, insulting every single one of them inadvertently.

Jim interviews that a commercial will be great, because no one knows what Dunder Mifflin is. When he mentions the name, people automatically go to mufflers (like me when I first heard it!) or muffins or... mittens. Which are all better than paper, he claims. I don't know; maybe it's my job, but I have a bit of an affinity for paper companies, especially small ones. Especially ones with cute sales reps. Ahem.

When we return after credits, Dwight is putting on a headset at his computer and Jim asks him if he's "playing that game again." Dwight tells him that "Second Life" is not a game, but a "multi-user virtual environment," because it doesn't have points or scores or winners or losers. Jim assures him it has losers.

Dwight interviews that when he signed up for the game – sorry, multi-user virtual environment – a year ago, it was because his life was going so great he wanted a second one. Dwight's "Asst to Regional Mgr" virtual character is named Dwight Shelford. And he can fly. Of course.

Michael is busy pitching his commercial idea to the video guys in his office, and let's just say it's a wee bit overly complicated. And also nonsensical, as only Michael can be. The video guys are unimpressed, and one tactfully interjects by saying that he knows Michael's time is valuable. Michael interrupts him to say that he doesn't get paid by the hour anymore. Michael, when he said "your," what he meant was "my." The guys show Michael what they did with the "national branch" commercial. It features a dude wandering helplessly and hopelessly around a large paper store (called Big Box Paper), unable to find someone to lend him a hand, until the spinny-camera movement takes us to a Dunder Mifflin office. The last shot is of the staff waving doofily to the camera.

Michael says it sucks, and the guys are like, "Dude. We did that. Don't be hatin'." They tell him that really it's only the last five seconds of the commercial where he has leeway. The guy tries to make it sound awesome, pulling out that old managerial chestnut, "This is where you really get to be creative."

Meanwhile, Andy is detailing his and Angela's sordid tryst with Dwight. Basically, they've been necking, but not kissing. You know, it's so very wrong that I'm just going to leave you to your own devices to determine what exactly that means. I can't bear to repeat it. Andy wants advice from Dwight, the man with answers, on how to "fast-track" this thing to first base. Lordy. They discuss code names for future discussion of the matter. Dwight suggests leaving Angela's name the same but changing "Andy" to "Dwight." Andy vetoes, and Dwight tries "Dwike." Andy squints.

Over in NYC, Ryan's assistant tells him he has a call from Eddie Murphy. Somehow, he does not seem to immediately clue in to the fact that it's Michael, who opens by sort of quoting Shrek. Michael's calling to complain about the ad guys. Ryan tells him to let the creative people do their jobs and Michael should stick to his own. I swear I was in a meeting just today, a large portion of which was spent discussing this very thing. Somehow in the midst of this, Michael tells Ryan that he plans to open his own restaurant called "Mike's Cereal Shack." I'm sure you can imagine what that entails. Ryan, shockingly, doesn't care. He toots his own horn for a bit, and then Michael interviews... something about a unicorn that is so inane I can't even be bothered to tell you about it.

Michael fires the video guys, and shortly receives a call from big gun David Wallace, who's heard about the firing and is displeased. Michael blames it on Ryan's being "a little bitch," and then we hear Ryan over speakerphone tell him that he's on the call. Michael's like, "What's up, ma brotha!" He tells David that he'll have his version of the ad to him by the following morning and they can look at it and then go from there. David is all, "This is weird," but agrees to the plan after Michael says he's willing to stake his entire reputation on it, though I'm skeptical as to whether that particular comment was what actually swayed David.

Planning session for the ad, conference room again. Michael's encouraging his staff by telling them that they're all so much more creative than the morons they work with. Jim's as befuddled as I am by this. I mean, seriously, don't think about that too hard. It hurts your brain.

Kevin interviews that his nickname in high school was Kool-Aid Man, and then shows us a... well, a Kool-Aid Man face. It's awesomely creepy. Creepily awesome?

Michael assigns various ad-related jobs, and in this week's Extra Lame Subplot, Phyllis is on celebrity-hunting duty. We cut to her excitedly telling everyone that some author (Sue Grafton. I'm not into detective novels. Sue me.) is in town for a book signing. Andy wants to know whether she's hot, like Angela, whom he suggests should sub for Sue Grafton; no one would know, because no one knows what Sue Grafton looks like anyway. I'm saying. Angela interviews that she's disgusted by detective novels because she hates being titillated. I... can't say my reasons are much different.

Darryl's been assigned to write the jingle, and he's come up with a snappy little piano number with four-part harmony. Creed, Andy, Kevin and Kelly are singing backup, and it's so super cute with all the snapping and bopping. Here, for you, I have transcribed the lyrics to Darryl's masterpiece: Out of paper / out of stock / there's friendly faces around the block / break loose from the chains / that are causing your pain / Call Michael and Stanley / Jim, Dwight, Creed / Call Andy and Kelly / for your business paper needs / Dunder Mifflin / the people person's paper people / Dunder Mifflin / the people person's paper people – and that's all I can get, because Michael rudely interrupts and says he assigned Darryl the songwriting because he thought he'd do rap. Darryl asks what rap is. Michael says maybe he should make Darryl a mix. My love for Darryl grows.

There's a useless but cute scene where Jim is showing Pam Dwight's non-game, which he has joined for the purposes of keeping tabs on Dwight's virtual life, and Pam is amazed by Jim's avatar, who is a sports writer in Philadelphia and walks around with a guitar slung on his back.

Darryl and crew are trying a mellowed out R&B version of his jingle. It's still awesome. Michael does not concur because it's not "his music." Michael really hates it. Also he doesn't like it at all and thinks it's terrible. Darryl's taking his Casio and going to the garden to eat worms. Or pout in the warehouse.

Outside, the office crew is setting up for the apparent video shoot. Andy's still trying to remember "Kit-Kat bar." Michael yells at them. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say he's feeling a little stressed out. Also stressed out is Phyllis, who's arriving back from her celebrity hunting mission, empty-handed and crying because she got kicked out of the store. Kevin hands Phyllis a piece of oversized masking tape to use as a tissue. And why not?

It's the end of the work day, and Jim tells Pam not to work too hard on animation for a video that will probably not ever be seen by anyone, but Pam says it's not good enough for her yet. Jim easily gives in and offers to stay late with her if she wants. She declines, and he interviews outside in the dark that she was his ride, sooooo... Meredith interrupts from the background of the shot to ask if he's coming with her and if so, he should piss or get off the pot. It looks like Jim plans on staying on the pot.

The next morning, Pam's asleep at her desk when the phone rings. It's Jim, calling from his desk, to tell her good morning and alert her to the lovely Sausage 'n Egg McMuffin (sans hash browns) and orange juice sitting on the reception counter. She's touched, and he tells her that Creed stole the hash browns. Pam, disheveled, interviews that she worked late and then had to choose between staying there with Michael (editing his video) and Dwight (allegedly watching Michael edit his video but really sleeping on the floor under couch cushions), or drive home only to "fall asleep at the wheel and die in a fiery car wreck," and that she passed out on her keyboard deciding.

Andy and Dwight are talking about Angela in the break room and it's so disturbing I'm struggling to go on here. Andy confides that while he and Angela were making out, she kept moaning, "Oh, D." Andy thinks that's "Oh, -dy," like Andy, but Dwight knows better. And then they say "Oh, D" ten times too many.

Michael's emailing the video to corporate and is very nervous. He expects an immediate response, so he pages Pam and asks her to clear all his lines. She hilariously beeps and boops until his "lines" are "cleared," and this is the one part of this episode that really made me giggle. He can't stand the suspense and picks up the phone to call them.

"Ten days later," Michael is entering Poor Richard's (the only bar in Scranton) for the "World Premiere of Corporate Crapfest." You may have deduced that his commercial was rejected. We see the generic commercial again, and then the doofy ones at the end are our crew.

Jim sneaks a DVD of the "Michael Scott director's cut" to the barkeep and introduces it to the room. Dudes, it's good. I know, I know. I'm as shocked as you are. But it's sort of clever, and it's well edited and surprisingly well acted. It's hard to describe what's going on, but basically it's one piece of paper that's sort of circling the world through different hands (including Kelly, dressed in a sari and possibly superimposed over a picture of the Taj Mahal). There are various poignant messages conveyed through the paper as it makes its rounds. I'm doing a really bad job of explaining it. At any rate, the whole thing is set to "Chariots of Fire," which is both awful and perfect in every way. The commercial ends with Michael pulling the crumpled piece of paper from the trash and uncrumpling it to reveal "World's Most Creative Boss." He hangs it on the wall as his voiceover proclaims, "Dunder Mifflin: limitless paper in a paperless world." Maybe I'm slow, but that makes less than no sense to me. It makes negative sense. The last frame is Pam's animation of a whole bunch of sheets of paper coming together to form the Dunder Mifflin logo. It's pretty slick.

Everyone in the bar applauds, and Jim tells Sir Barkeep that the animation was all Pam. He's suitably impressed and randomly asks if she's ever ridden a motorcycle. Jim is like, "Unh-uh," and puts his arm around her.

The tail end is Andy STILL trying to figure out "Kit-Kat bar." He tries "hair for men" and "Nutrasweet," among others, before deducing that it's got to rhyme with "piece" and arriving at "Fancy Feast. Cat food. Nailed it."

I'm sorry this was so long. Tell your friends! Uh, not about the length; about the site.

Tags: The Office

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Original Comments Posted (4)

RaptorB says...

This review although factually impeccable, and entertaining in itself, is much too long as the author alludes too in the last two sentences of the review. However, a great review I look forward to future reviews with the hopes of a condensed version. Go Dunder Mifflin Muffins!

Oct 26, 2007 4:30pm

Ariana says...

I appreciate the comment, but really, "too long" by what standards? Too long for you isn't too long for everyone. I like detail. We'll see how the next one goes... There's just so much I can't leave out, you know?

Oct 26, 2007 8:36pm

CubeMate says...

Thanks Ari.. I missed the show last night.. now I feel like I saw it. RaptorB obviously does not know your longer than life self!

Oct 26, 2007 11:48pm

Ariana says...

Haha, I think you might though!

Oct 27, 2007 12:33am

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