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The Office

The Office is a comedy set in a paper sales company Dunder Mifflin. Shot in a mockumentary style the show follows the exploits of regional manager Michael Scott whose excruciating behaviour can make life difficult for his fellow employees. NBC 2005-???


Episode 20 - Dream Team

27 March 2012

Synopsis: Michael freaks out and Pam has to encourage him to keep going as they begin their new company. They recruit Vikram and Ryan and head off to pitch their company to Michael’s grandmother’s investment club. When that fails and Vikram leaves Pam freaks out. But now Michael encourages her and rents a tiny office space back at the Scranton Business Park. Back at the office Andy sucks up to Charles by pretending to like soccer. Jim gets insecure and claims he can play. Dwight sets up a match to expose Jim and Phyllis ends up getting struck in the face.

The Good: Michael and Pam’s story is really well told. Their journey is book ended by them both freaking out and leaning on the other to get them through it. Both come across as sympathetic and likeable in obviously different ways. By hiring a small room next door to Dunder Mifflin, Michael proves he can offer Pam some form of legitimate working environment as well as providing a logical enough plot device to get them working next door to the office. Speaking of plot devices, Michael’s new company allows Ryan to return to the show which could lead to interesting confrontations with his former co-workers.

Along the way there are some nice jokes and moments. Bringing Vikram back is a nice acknowledgement of the show’s past (404). Trying to borrow money from his grandmother is a really nice logical idea for Michael to pursue. We also got a classic Michael misunderstanding when he claims “I feel weak today, I felt much stronger yesterday, like Benjamin Button in reverse.” Ryan remains a liar, claiming he makes sixty thousand dollars a year at a bowling alley and then stealing shoes.

We also get a reminder of the bad side of Michael when he tells his grandmother that he doesn’t have to sell paper. It looks like he is just lying to try and convince her to give him the money. The same way he lied to Pam and recruited Ryan anyway.

Meanwhile back at the office and everyone is adapting to their new boss. Kevin struggles with answering the phones and Stanley has to put down his puzzle book. Although reassuringly, Creed is creepily certain that Charles does use the bathroom. Interestingly it is Andy who is cunning enough to successfully suck up using soccer. It’s consistent with how we saw Andy try to bond with Michael (308). The funniest part of this story is seeing Dwight finally turn the tables on Jim (see Comic Highlight). Suddenly the new working environment is rewarding Dwight’s fastidiousness and punishing Jim and of course Dwight picks up on this with delight. You get the sense that maybe this change will force Jim to work harder. It’s nice that he acknowledges that he does mediocre work and perhaps Charles’ unjust treatment of him will lead to positive change in his approach.

The Bad: The episode is light on strong jokes but my only complaint are on a couple of production logic issues.

First is the opening joke where Kevin amusingly fails to transfer a call properly. We cut to Andy saying his maid had died while in the background everyone was still celebrating Kevin’s success. But for Andy to have taken the call, received the news, absorbed it and taken the time to go into the conference room and setup a talking head moment would all have taken a few minutes. So there’s no way the celebration of Kevin’s success would have gone on that long.

Unfortunately the same problem occurs when Charles kicks the soccer ball hard at Jim and he ducks. The ball smashes Phyllis in the face and Charles rounds angrily on Jim for ducking. I know it’s not easy to choreograph something like this in a parking lot but it looks ridiculous. Jim is only a few feet from Charles and it’s not clear if he is passing it to Jim or expecting Jim to block the shot. But the ball flies hard at Jim’s face and is sailing over where a goal would be, so it only makes sense for Jim to duck. Particularly in a friendly kick around, Jim is hardly likely to head a ball fired directly at him like that. Charles aggression towards him seems unjust as a result even though the viewers can see the intention of the scene.

Comic Highlight: Jim gets told off in front of the whole office and Dwight is delighted. We cut to his talking head saying: “Oh no, the new boss does not find Jim adorable, ohhh.” He then lets out a huge grin.

That’s what I said: A strong episode for the story, a little light on humour. But the way we get the Michal Scott Paper Company setup next door to Dunder Mifflin is logical and fun.



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