Oh, Dunder Mifflin Scranton, I feel your pain. Anyone who’s worked at a company that got bought out or “merged” with a bigger corporation knows it’s not always a picnic having to adjust to the changes that come with your job. Tonight’s episode of The Office introduced the new parent company to Dunder Mifflin: Sabre.
For those of you unfamiliar with the word, Sabre is pronounced Say-ber. Not Sah-bray as Michael pronounced it, resulting in Andy and Erin’s “Party in the USA” parody not rhyming when they attempted to insert the correctly pronounced company name into the song. Still, it was adorable seeing the two sing together. Unfortunately, the rhythm of their flirtation is just as awkward (and equally charming) as the rhythm of the song they attempted to perform for the Sabre rep who showed up to introduce the company to the Dunder Mifflin employees.
I’ve been through a merger before. You work for a company for a few years, get comfortable with how things work, what the policies are and how much time you can get away with slacking off on the internet only to have some big corporation show up, try to convince you that everything’s going to be awesome, give you some branded stuff to put on your desk and then block you from your favorite time-sucking websites. Yay, Sabre! The Dunder Mifflinites did get a brief video-appearance by Christian Slater, playing himself as he talked vaguely about why Sabre’s such a great company. I love Christian Slater as much as the next female who grew up watching movies like Pump up the Volume and Heathers but I think the guest appearance would’ve been funnier if they’d gone with someone like Dolph Lundgren or Crispin Glover. Don’t ask me why. I’m just throwing it out there. Office writers, if you’re reading this. Make it happen!
Michael’s resistance to the “drastic” changes being made to DM, like calling the paper salesmen “Printer salesmen who also sell paper,” website blocking and a switchover from paper cups to big aluminum water bottles, resulted in a video call with the Sabre CEO, played by Kathy Bates. Unlike former CFO David Wallace, who usually tried to accommodate Michael’s tantrums by finding a happy medium, Bates’ character Jo Benett has a sort of stern, non-specific threatening approach that, with the help of her southern accent, is kind of scary in a “she might smash my legs with a hammer if I don’t see things her way” kind of way.
Speaking of Wallace, Michael went to visit him to get some advice on how to deal with things only to find the unemployed Wallace thoroughly unraveled. Oh, it was subtle and maybe if we didn’t know Wallace as the suited-up, quiet and polite business-type his shaggy appearance and indifference toward just about anything wouldn’t have stood out so much. Only someone like Michael would be oblivious to it and even he knew there was something wrong by the time he left Wallace’s house. I suppose a dip in the hot tub and a discussion about the “Suck It” prototype was what pushed it over the edge. Please tell me this isn’t the end for Wallace’s character. He deserves better than this!
And on the Jim and Pam front, the Halperts went to the nearby daycare center in the hopes of getting unborn-baby-Halpert a spot at the prestigious facility. The interview turned awkward when Jim walked in on the guy who runs the place while he was going to the bathroom on the kiddy toilet. Word still appears to be out on the daycare center situation but I think they’ll figure out a way to smooth the situation over. Otherwise, maybe Jim can set a crib up in his office.
The Office is back. After weeks and weeks of reruns followed by a clip-episode, it was nice to get some new Office and this certainly wasn’t a throw-away episode. Things are changing at DM. It’s a little reminiscent of the branch merger of season three. Hopefully the staff will get through this without losing so many of its own this time around.