The Office: Branch Wars

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

So this week, we find out Karen is running the Dunder Mifflin Utica branch, and that she has an assistant named Rolando ("Ro"). I'm not sure why the Utica branch was more important to keep open than the Stamford branch, but there you have it. She's in her office, asking the person on the other end of the phone how Scranton is, and then telling whomever it is that they would be welcome at her branch. Mmm, employee stealing: good times with ethics! She says she was approached by this particular salesman, not the other way around.

Dwight and Michael have rigged a Ferris Bueller-like dummy in Michael's office. It has nothing to do with anything, except it's during this that Stanley walks in and tells Michael that Utica's offered him more money and he's going.

Priceless Michael quote: "If Utica thinks that they are going to poach Stanley, they have another thing coming." It's so hilarious because it's one of those things that real people actually say, and if you have a brain, you look at them and wonder how they could possibly have gotten this far in life and still be so oblivious. Or maybe it's just me who looks at them and wonders that. Maybe everyone else isn't as judgmental at me. Well, look at you. Go polish your halo and leave me to my judging, won't you?

This week, we also find out that Pam, Oscar and Toby are founding members of the Finer Things Club, which meets once a month to discuss... the finer things in life. There is a tablecloth involved. And berets. It's pretty damn cute. Oscar says it's the gayest thing about him, besides the whole sex with men bit.

Michael calls Karen and tries to trade Stanley for Toby, and when that doesn't work, he threatens to steal Karen's best salesman. She is unafraid, that brave, brave girl. He calls the best salesman in Utica and tries to bribe him to Scranton with promises of friendship and firing. No, really. The guy slams the Scranton name around a bit, and I don't think I have to tell you that he doesn't bite on Michael's offer.

Michael is upset that the Scranton branch has such a lame, lame reputation, so he drags Dwight and Jim to Utica to prove some kind of point that only Michael can really decipher (Jim only goes because he's basically kidnapped under pretense of a sales call). My mad Google skillz enable me to deduce that they're headed to Utica, New York, not Utica, Pennsylvania, or Utica, Ohio. Or any of the 18 other Uticas in the U.S. of A. (including three in Wisconsin. No, I am not kidding). Utica, NY is less than three hours from Scranton and also has more than 211 people. Which Utica, PA does not. Several awful things occur on this trip, not the least of which is Dwight attempting to pee into an empty pop can. This does not end well, as I'm sure most things involving sharp aluminum and sensitive genital flesh do not.

Back in Scranton, Andy is trying to get into the Finer Things Club, because it's the most exclusive one in the office (next, the party planning committee, and as backup, Kevin's band). It's not going well for him. He's not wanted. The FTC, meanwhile, is having trouble discussing their FTs because everyone is making so much damn noise in the break room. (Phyllis, for instance, can't microwave popcorn in the lunch room instead because that microwave needs to be cleaned because it smells like popcorn.)

Over in Utica, our intrepid pranksters have bribed Jim into wearing a Dunder Mifflin warehouse costume and a fake mustache by promising not to make bombs. They have several inane pranks planned for the Utica branch, all of which are too dumb for words. They head into the branch and leave Jim with a walkie talkie in the car to keep an eye on things outside. Michael and Dwight are going in to steal Utica's industrial copier. This, also, does not end well, but does produce this priceless Dwightism: "The eyes are the groin of the head."

Karen returns from her lunch or coffee break or something and spots Jim trying to hide in the car. She hauls the guys in for interrogation, and Dwight gets a little intense. ("We will burn. Utica. To the ground.") Michael and Dwight leave, and Jim and Karen have an incredibly awkward conversation about whether or not they are each doing well, and suffice it to say, Karen is still pissed.

Michael returns to Scranton, admitting defeat, and tells Stanley he may go. He gets all teary, and calls Pam in to his office to write a want ad. What he wants is Stanley. And fortunately for him (and us all!), Stanley comes in to tell him he changed his mind and he's staying. He tells us he was never planning on leaving and just wanted a raise.

Pam has heard about Jim's utter humiliation in Utica from Ro. She feels so bad she invites him into the Finer Things Club. Andy? Not pleased. Don't worry, Andy, it'll be short lived. Which Jim proves to be true over the end credits as he totally fails to impress Oscar and Toby when he hasn't read this month's book, Angela's Ashes. Poor show, Jim. Your girlfriend went out on a limb for you and you embarrassed her, you fool.

In conclusion, are you watching Chuck yet? Start. This week's episode is going to be SO GOOD, and also, Zachary Levi is hot.

Tags: The Office

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