Leave it to The Office to turn a global economics discussion into a half hour of heartwarming comedy. This week, after some kid had the gall to take the magazine Michael Scott had his eye on in the dentist’s office (ten bucks says it was Highlights), our hero went for the next thing within reach and wound up learning a thing or two about China. The theme of the episode, however, turned out to be friendship.
Much of the action centered around Michael and Oscar — not exactly who you’d think of when the term “office buddies” comes up. After Michael proves Oscar wrong about about China, the rest of the office starts teasing Oscar about the fact that Michael is smarter than him. To save face, Oscar asks Michael to coffee so they can continue their discussion. Spotting a trap (and wanting to continue to lord over Oscar the know-it-all), the gang slips Michael a cheat sheet to help him win the debate.
It turns out, however, that he never really needed it. Even with his notes, he’s no match for Oscar’s logic, but just as the latter is about to smugly walk out the door, Michael whips out his secret weapon: pathos. He thanks Oscar for the chat and mentions that the fact that a boss and an employee can sit down and have an intelligent conversation makes this country great. In doing so, he essentially turns what was intended to be an embarrassing lecture into a stirring conversation between friends simply by enjoying it. Way to kill him with kindness!
Meanwhile, Dwight and Pam spent the week at war over Dwight’s building standards. After Dwight refuses to stop skimping on toilet paper and electricity (you know, non-essentials), Pam threatens to move Dunder Mifflin to a new office. Dwight discovers that Pam is bluffing, but after overhearing her crying to Jim in the stairwell about not wanting to fail, he allows her to win by having Nate bring a few laws he’s violating to her attention.
Pam and Dwight’s friendship can be traced back to her days as Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager. They may not hang out on the weekends, but they’ve always had each other’s backs, like when Dwight comforted a sobbing Pam in the stairwell during the Jim/Karen fiasco (“So you’re PMS-ing pretty bad, huh?”). Nowadays, she’s got Jim to comfort her when she’s down, but it’s nice to see Dwight’s still looking out.
Oddly, one of this week’s best scenes involved a pigeon eating ice cream. Darryl and Andy’s friendship has been blossoming this season, often to hilarious effect, and this episode didn’t let us down. Darryl tells Andy to stop texting him so often, but in the show’s final scene, he gets a text from Andy telling him to come to the parking lot. The two stand and watch the bird chowing down on some discarded ice cream and share a laugh. In its own weird way, The Office managed to illustrate true friendship. After all, don’t we all need someone to share the hilarity of animals eating human food with?
-Jim, after Dwight’s pedidexterity experiment: “Thank you, hands. Nothing in the universe can do what you do.”
-Andy, on China: “It’s where they make stuff.”
-Thank you Darryl for introducing us to a new abbreviation: “BTB: bring that booty.”
-Since when does Erin think everyone in the office is plotting to kill her?
-Michael, upon learning that the tallest man in the world is Chinese: “So much for keeping our secrets up high.”
-This week Creed reminded us how much more enjoyable life would be if all offices were well-versed in Pirate Code.