Is it me, or is The Office getting better and better this season?
I was smiling the entire time during this week's episode, "Cafe Disco." Considering I've got $1 to my name, my company is doling out unpaid furloughs and there's swine flu all around, I'd say anything that can make me smile is doing something right.
Michael Scott is also hoping to lift people's spirits. Concerned that Charles Miner made everyone too work-focused, Michael offers to take people to lunch. No one bites (ah, the puns).
What Michael really wants is for people to join him in the now vacated Michael Scott Paper Company office, which he has turned into a break room. He has the expresso machine set up (remember how he used it to pick up Purse Girl?), and music bumping. Surely, he thinks, people will love this. But, like so many of his ideas, it's a failure.
At least, at first, it is. Erin, the new receptionist who happens to be extremely cute, stops down and ends up dancing with Michael and enjoying some expresso. But when Michael invites others to join them, they turn him down. It might have something to do with Michael calling himself "Daddy."
Oscar: "Please don't refer to yourself as our daddy."
Michael: "I am your Big Daddy, and I'm going to kiss the boo-boo."
Erin tells Dwight she found a map printed out with directions to Youngstown, Ohio. Dwight concludes the culprit must be headed to a U.S. Superior Court, probably to claim an inheritance or obtain a learner's permit.
Dwight, speaking as a western Pennsylvanian native, I've been to Youngstown... and there's NO reason to go there. (Send hate mail to: Andy Shaw, care of Officefodder.com)
But the real reason for the directions? Pam and Jim are planning a secret trip...that will end in a secret wedding! They decided a traditional wedding-- even a small one-- would be too much work and too expensive. That morning, Jim had asked Pam to marry him later that day, and she said yes. They decided to get married in Ohio, where there's no waiting period for a marriage license.
Michael succeeds in getting Kevin to join him, but Angela breaks it up and demands Kevin come back upstairs. That leads to a nice back-and-forth, with Michael and Angela each ordering Kevin to come to them. Michael pretends he has a cookie, and, like a little doggie, Kevin comes toward Michael. Angela tells Kevin there's no cookie, grabs him by the arm and takes him back.
So Michael starts blasting "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," a C+C Music Factory early 90s classic, through the vents. It gets toes tapping upstairs. Phyllis can't resist the urge to dance, and she goes downstairs. Initially, she tries to get Bob Vance, her husband, to join her, but instead his plump, rosy-cheeked secretary says Bob's busy. Phyllis is a little leery of the lookalike, but goes to dance with Michael anyway.
They are having a blast until Phyllis throws out her back ("Motherf----R!," she yells). Dwight and Michael get Phyllis upstairs. Michael tries to distract the staff, while Dwight and Phyllis are shouting in the conference room. Dwight emerges in his undershirt, asking for "two able-bodied men."
He doesn't get help, but it turns out Dwight knows exactly how to help Phyllis. He spends time kneading her back (and cutting her shirt open), explaining in a side interview he learned the techniques from his grandfather when they rehabbed a horse, Diamond Dancer, who then won a race and ultimately became horse jerky.
Dwight: "A majestic beast. So fast... so tender."
That leads to Dwight feeding Phyllis carrots in a hilarious scene that I half-expected to end with Dwight bringing in a bit for Phyllis to bite down on.
Michael, now convinced his cafe disco is a bust, tells Erin to clean up. Erin goes down with Kelly, and they get the party started again, catching the eyes of some Vance Refrigeration workers, and eventually, most of the Dunder Mifflin Office.
Soon, Michael discovers his cafe disco is a success. Andy and Kelly are in a dance-off, Kevin's making out with his girlfriend in the corner, and Michael is dancing away.
Eventually, Angela, always the party pooper, comes down and demands Michael sign some forms. He gets her to stick around against her will ("Music is not my thing"), and, though you can see her toe tapping a bit, she won't even dance to the "YMCA."
Phyllis and Dwight come down, and Bob Vance shows up to the party. Earlier, Phyllis told Dwight she was worried Bob was going to cheat on her with the secretary, but then she realized how silly that sounded.
Jim and Pam, who had gotten dressed for their wedding, figure they'll make an appearance before leaving. But when they see how much fun everyone's having (Truly, it looks like a wedding reception), they decide they do want a traditional, cheesy wedding after all.
Andy ends the episode in the bathroom, with Kelly piercing his ear.
Andy: "Are you sure that's not the gay ear?"
Kelly: "Gay ear? Are you 12-years-old"
Thoughts: When the entire ensemble gets a chance to shine, you know it's a good Office episode. Steve Carell had some great one-liners ("Now I know what Phillip Morris feels like"), and Phyllis Smith and Rainn Wilson are so funny together because usually, Phyllis is the one person who won't take Dwight's crap. Having her get a back massage from him, then, added to an already funny situation.
I'm glad Ellie Kemper (Erin) is getting more screen time, and not just because she's Office eye candy. She adds some freshness to the cast, as she's the only person at Dunder Mifflin right now who doesn't really know anything about all the drama and backstory, so she just takes Michael and everyone else for face value.
And I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before Andy and Kelly hook up. I just can't believe Michael hasn't made a play for Erin.
Quick note: Ryan is back to being a temp, after losing out on the sales position to Pam.
Favorite moment: Watching the cast dance to "Everybody Dance Now."