The Office's 10 Best Episodes: Pretzel Day, A Night Out, A Wedding And More
By Kelly West, Jesse Carp, Jessica Rawden, Mack Rawden, Katey Rich 2013-05-14 09:08:06 comments
"Initiation" (Season 3, Ep. 5)
It's Pretzel Day at Dunder Mifflin, and amazing things can happen on Pretzel Day. The episode opens with Dwight drilling Ryan with brain teasers, all of which Ryan has heard. The cold open sets the stage for Ryan and Dwight's day off-site as Dwight takes the Dunder Mifflin padawan on a sales call, by way of his beet farm, where he subjects Ryan to a series of ridiculous lessons before finally getting around to the sales call ("The sales call!") Ryan doesn't make the sale. It's the first of likely many sales Ryan doesn't make, but the day isn't a total waste. Dwight and Ryan chuck eggs at the building and run away. Meanwhile, at Dunder Mifflin, Michael spends part of the day waiting on line downstairs to get a pretzel. Loaded up on carbs and sugar, he mades an enormous sale, attempts to increase office efficiency, and then spends the rest of the day passed out at his desk. And in Stamford, an annoying, squeaky chair is passed off between Jim, Karen and Andy.
On the surface, "Initiation" isn't a monumental episode, nor a game-changer for the series, but it does beautifully showcase the spirit of the series, with demonstrations of how Dunder Mifflin employees get through an otherwise mundane day. Stanley and Michael salivate for pretzels. Dwight goes overboard trying to be a mentor to Ryan. And Jim manages to revive The Cardigans "Lovefool" set to the tune of a squeaky chair. All in a day's work at The Office. "
"I wake up every morning in a bed thatís too small, drive my daughter to a school thatís too expensive and then I go to work to a job for which I get paid too little. But on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel DayÖ" - Stanley.
"The Return" (Season 3, Ep. 14)
Looking back on The Office, it's crazy how fast events unfolded. By the middle of Season 3, Jim had already split Scranton for Stamford and returned with Karen, a new love interest, Andy and others who wouldn't last long after the branches merged. Meanwhile, Oscar's been on paid vacation since the "Gay Witch Hunt" and Dwight, at Angela's behest, made a move on Michael's job, which ended up eventually costing him his own. And all these threads came to a head in the hilarious and sweet installment aptly titled "The Return."
Directed by series creator Greg Daniels and written by Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky & Michael Schur, the episode opens with Dwight working at Staples (with Shirley from Community) while the rest of the office plans a Mexican (not Gay) themed party to celebrate Oscar coming back to work. Jim and Karen's relationship continues to crumble since she learned about his history with Pam and then sees the two play a prank on Andy, who's probably the most annoying he's ever been. Which says a lot. Andy ends up punching the wall and getting sent off to anger management as Michael realizes just how much Dwight really means to the place, rehires him after an emotional exchange in Staples and then pretty much makes Oscar's party all about the returning Assistant to the Regional Manager.
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