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The Office: Heavy Competition

Jim-Andy.jpgYou know what they say about naivety: You don't know you don't know that you should know. No, they don't say that. Don't be so gullible. But naivety was the united theme of the latest Office episode, "Heavy Competition."

Business at the Michael Scott Paper Company is slow. So slow, in fact, that Pam, Ryan and Michael have perfected their cheese curdle-tossing skills. Michael decides he needs to spur up business by stealing some of Dunder-Mifflin's clients, so he enlists his loyal follower, Dwight, to give him inside information.

That works great until Charles figures out what's going on. He butters up Dwight by telling him he's doing a great job, so Dwight now feels he should shift his loyalty to the cool new guy ("Will Smith-esque," he says) and rat Michael out. Michael can't believe Dwight is throwing him under the bus, but I'm not sure why-- Dwight did this before with Jan, when he went for Michael's position.

Meanwhile, Andy is bummed Jim and Pam don't want to hire Here Comes Treble for their wedding (for a mere $9,000. Andy, it's a recession). Still jaded about the whole Angela break-up, he tells Jim that Pam's being a little bossy lately, kinda like the ol' ex, and that maybe Jim should break things off. Jim decides this is a perfect opportunity to pull a prank on Andy, and spends the day showing Andy how emotionally broken he is and how much he needs a shoulder to cry on.

This includes a hilarious scene with Jim embracing Andy, his head nuzzled in Andy's neck, as Kelly walks off the elevator, past them, and doesn't even flinch. Jim does make it up in the end, telling Andy he'll find a great woman of his own some day. I'm guessing she'll also love a capella.

Back at the Michael Scott Paper Company, Michael and Dwight are "at war" over customers, fiercely calling people to try to get their loyalty. I can't imagine anyone outside of this show ever talks to their paper supply company as much as they do here.

Dwight pulls a classic Dwight move. He calls for a meeting with Michael, who is skeptical that Dwight's up to no good again.

Michael: "I hope you're not recording this."
Dwight: (strips off all his clothes to prove he's not)
Michael: "Good."

But Dwight is up to no good. He tells Michael he'll take the Michael Scott Paper Company out for lunch, except Dwight never shows up (telling Michael he "hit a bear" on the way over.) Dwight uses this time to steal Michael's client Rolodex... and plant a fish above the ceiling tiles for good measure.

The Rolodex should work great, except Dwight has no people skills. Instead of using the personalized cues on the client cards to help him (daughter, age 6, ponytail), Dwight just reads it off like a list.

Dwight: "Say hello to Sherry, who is your... black wife."

Michael gets his revenge, letting Dwight listen on his phone while Michael goes after a top client, Mr. Scofield. Dwight races out to stop him, and bursts into the meeting. The client, who has much more tolerance for shenanigans from a paper company than anyone could imagine, has had enough and just tells Dwight and Michael to submit their offers.

Michael leaves as Dwight tries to go in for the kill, using the Rolodex info.

Dwight: "Tell me... how's your gay son?"
Mr. Scofield: "Excuse me?"

Michael notes that the "gay son" was actually something to NOT talk about. So, with Dwight screwing himself over, Michael lands the deal. Chalk one up for the Michael Scott Paper Company.

I don't know who's more naive after watching this:
Michael, for not realizing Charles would get to Dwight and flip him, and for not realizing Dwight was setting him up by calling for a truce;
Dwight, for not realizing Michael would go after Dunder-Mifflin's top clients, and then for believing he could outsmart Michael at impressing clients, when that's Michael's forte;
Andy, for believing Jim was a emotional wreck who needed comfort, despite showing no signs before;
or me, for believing David Copperfield really did make the Statue of Liberty disappear.
It was a little hard to believe all of these characters would really be so dumb to what's going on, even for them. It did make for some hilarious moments with Dwight and Michael, but I think they are running out of things for Jim to do with Pam gone. Can we get someone else to leave Dunder Mifflin for Michael Scott Paper Company, like Kevin? I think that would be magical.

Favorite line:
Michael (to Dwight): "I am going to come at you. And I am going to come at you hard."
(Which immediately made me think, "That's what she said.")

What do you think of the new paper company, and how it's competing with Dunder-Mifflin, both for business and for screen time?

Posted by Andy Shaw on April 17, 2009 12:24 AM
Permalink |

One of my favorite things about "The Office" is Michael's Jedi-like sales abilities. This new Dunder vs. Scott battle plays into his strengths, so it's fun to watch Michael do something well for a change.

-- Posted by: Mac at April 17, 2009 11:11 AM

This show has to be the dumbest thing to be concieved by a group assholes.The Office along with My Name is Earl,30 Rock, Park and Recreation are why I view NBC's Thursdays as "Nothing to See TV" and with a few exceptions this network is basicly become "Nothong But Crap" or NBC for short.

-- Posted by: Greenham Common at April 22, 2009 1:48 PM

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