This season’s eleventh episode keeps the dual-storyline alive, one being rather flimsy and the other ending up too atrocious to watch. Jim tries to conduct one normal day at the office while Michael is out making an ass of himself somewhere. Yeah, the formula is becoming bland, but this doesn’t fit in my final verdict of the episode. It’s hard to say whether this week’s “Scott’s Tots” was commendably funny, or if it was as humorous as a child realizing that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
To Michael’s minimal credit, his latest inconceivable blunder wasn’t anything he’d done recently. It was an impossible promise he made 10 years ago to a class of third graders that he would pay for their college tuition if they graduated high school. Is he anywhere close to keeping this? Of course not. He made the promise with the foolish notion he would be a millionaire by then. As he mentions later on in the episode, he has less money now than he did when he was 30.
The thought is worth a chuckle at first, considering that Michael’s biggest bungle has been a decade in the making, his heart is much bigger than his wallet and now he’s called to face the music one episode after the angry shareholders convention. However, once he and Erin make a trip out to the school to see the smiles and cheers of his very own Scott’s Tots, the choreographed “Dream Come True” dance to the Cops theme song and the winded, teary-eyed thank you speeches, Michael’s empty promise resounds deafening and hollow gongs when he finally fesses up to his broken word. There’s just something so un-funny about destroying the dreams of hard-working high-schoolers.
Jim’s woes with the staff were less severe than Michael’s troubles. Dwight’s Employee of the Month scheme was elaborate, but the writers needed to make everyone in the office as sharp as Kevin in order to make it work. Dwight went around the office and collected a $1,000 cash prize for the winner, rigged Jim (and then Pam) to win the money and then covered his own tracks by making Andy believe the Employee of the Month program was his idea. The staff thinks Jim played them all for the money, and while the delivery of the “It Could Only Be You” congratulations cake certainly didn’t help his case, it seems Jim could have cleared it all up with a simple explanation— not the stupor of bumbling words that came from his mouth.
The episode closed with a warm exchange between Michael and Erin, who got him to look on the bright side of his blunder, and also began an alliance between Dwight and Ryan. They share an all too familiar goal to dethrone Jim, but the duo are menacing enough for some creative plots to come.