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I have to say, I love what the writers are doing with Andy and Erin’s budding romance. Every time we see their story teetering into Jim-Pam rerun territory, they throw in a little twist to remind us that Andy and Erin aren’t Jim and Pam. Like last week’s garbage-dump first kiss, tonight’s episode also brought the couple together in a new way.
A credit to B.J. Novak for writing the episode, which celebrated some of the things we know and love about the characters. Take the opener, where Michael told the staff that anyone who could match his push-up record could go home early. A true Office fan would know that there’s no one more determined to skip out early for any reason than Stanley. His determination carried him through each and every one of those pushups. Oscar phrased Stanley’s effort perfectly by comparing him to one of those mothers lifting a car to save her baby. If work is the car, a glass of wine and his mystery-stories are his baby.
As the bulk of the episode took place at a Dave and Busters type establishment, where people eat wings, drink beer and play arcade games, everyone ditched work-mode and promptly got themselves caught up in their own respective romantic entanglements. While Ryan bickered with Kelly over how she was spending her tickets, Creed faded into the background, proving once again that we’ll never really know that old man, as he worked his masterful moves playing DDR.
Meanwhile, Andy and Erin spent a good part of the episode trying to keep their new relationship a secret in an effort to avoid drama. Of course, trying to play it cool in public only resulted in more drama as the pressure was just too much for Andy. In the end, after an argument in a photo booth, Andy announced the relationship over the restaurant’s loud speaker and the two were all smiles at the end.
Jim expected to get out of the happy hour work gathering but when he called Pam, hoping she’d express a similar lack of interest, she practically jumped through the phone in glee. Yeah, I’m sure they love the new baby but it’s likely that Pam’s going a bit stir-crazy at home all day. She was even excited to see Kevin, who attempted to get her to lactate through her shirt by making creepy baby crying noises. It didn’t work, but I’m sure it’ll help Pam appreciate maternity leave for a bit longer.
Pam invited her friend Isabelle to meet them for happy hour. For whatever the reason, Isabelle’s still hitting it off with Dwight. Despite his contractual agreement to have a baby with Angela, he seems to see the benefits in investing a future in Isabelle. She does have child-bearing hips and Dwight hopes to have big kids. Angela didn’t appreciate Dwight ditching her to engage in repartee, whack moles and discuss blood-types and the Scranton strangler with Isabelle. She retaliated by getting a summons to take Dwight to court when he tried to back out of their baby contract. Now, you would think Isabelle learning that Dwight had a contract like that with another woman would’ve turned her off but her response to Angela’s anger was to mole-whack her forehead. I gotta say, I didn’t think there could be a better match for Dwight than Angela but Isabelle’s looking like a pretty good candidate… Either that, or she’s crazy.
Michael’s story was fairly typical. He was visibly overwhelmed by being invited to go to an after-work function that wasn’t necessarily an “everyone’s invited” type of event like a birthday or good-bye party. Pam invited her friend Julie to come out with them to meet Michael. Michael was doing ok, spouting off his typical silly jokes and nonsensical comments that actually made Julie laugh. Pam did mention that Julie laughs at everything, which is probably why she got it into her head that she’d hit it off with Michael. Unfortunately, Jim mentioned to Michael that Pam hoped he’d hit it off with Julie and that turned Michael into Date-Mike: “Nice to meet me. How do you like your eggs in the morning?” – Awkward twitch-wink.
Date-Mike is Michael-squared (emphasis on the square). He went out of his way to impress Julie, spilling drinks and making even more of a fool of himself than usual, turning Julie from the girl who laughs at everything to the girl who has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. After the manager of the restaurant threatened to kick him out if he didn’t behave, Michael went to confront the woman. We all know he doesn’t like anyone who pulls rank on him and this restaurant manager was doing just that.
Strangely enough, the confrontation with the manager turned into a conversation about managerial techniques and books they both liked. The woman not only let Michael win the business-card drawing (throwing a wrench in Stanley’s attempt to stuff the fishbowl and win the free lunch for himself), but she also hinted that she’d like to be there when he showed up for the lunch. Then she offered to make Michael a drink. Michael’s drink? Grenadine. Why doesn’t that surprise me? Shirley Temple, please? Hold the 7-Up.
Finally, Oscar attempted to get closer to Matt, the warehouse guy he’s had his eye on. Matt’s kind of dim though and doesn’t seem to have anything in common with Oscar. Oscar realizes that but in the end, he still eagerly attempted to play the basketball game with him anyway. This probably isn’t going to go anywhere good but it’s nice to see a romantic storyline for Oscar now that Gil’s out of the picture.
And that’s about where the drama ends this week! No work got done but then again, how much really gets done even when they’re actually in the office? Dunder Mifflin’s like a Dave and Busters in itself, minus the drinks and games.