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The Office: Scott's Tots - Review

Intro:
Andy's in trouble for using baby talk around the office, as Michael says it makes Andy sound like an idiot when he says stuff like:

"Andy have a boo boo tummy" - Michael reading an Andy quote

Then Andy says no one likes Michael's Elvis impersonation, so they go back and forth. If they could have made it a baby Elvis impersonation, I'd be sold.

Main:

A decade ago, Michael, with his Michael Scott Foundation, promised third graders he'd pay for their college tuition after they graduated. Well, it's time to pay the piper, but of course, Michael has no money.

I love that we get to see Stanley laughing about it, as he holds up the newspaper clipping. Perfect. Pam can't believe Michael's done this to those kids. Michael wants to back out of his promise and not tell the kids, but Pam won't let him.

"Scott's Tots" are all on hand to thank Michael for his generosity; I guarantee those blue Scott's Tots shirts become a hot Christmas item. The kids have put together some kind of "Sister Act 2" hip hop routine.

"Hey, Mr. Scott. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, make a dream come true?"

The inspirational speeches follow, turning Michael into a blithering fool. Michael squirms as he addresses the crowd, and admits he can't pay anyone's tuition. That goes over about as well as Santa skipping over your house Christmas Eve. It's vintage Michael Scott, always wanting to please people and always screwing it up.

"Some people have evil dreams, some people have selfish dreams, or wet dreams..." - Michael, as Erin does a "Um, what?" face.

As a mea culpa, Michael offers to give the kids all laptop ... batteries, but they go crazy.

One kid chases after Michael to chastise him, and convinces Michael to pay him $1,000 a year for books (what is he studying, nuclear physics?). They never say if the kid was for real; let's hope he is, because otherwise the story loses some of its warmth.

This tuition thing might be one of the worst things that Michael's ever done, but Erin points out those kids wouldn't have graduated if Michael hadn't made the promise. That makes Michael realize he's been too harsh on Erin (basically, because she's not Pam), and he tells Erin he's got a good feeling about her. That's vintage Michael, too. He's a really good boss when he isn't doing something stupid. That's what makes the show enjoyable to watch.

In the subplot:

Andy tells Jim to start an employee of the month program, although the idea is actually Dwight's as a subversive way to get Jim fired.

Dwight starts collecting $20 from everyone for the program, without Jim's permission. He's up to something.

It turns out Dwight rigged it so Jim would pick himself, and that it would look like he stole everyone's money. It's actually Dwight's best plan so far, and completely plausible. Jim is flabbergasted, which is a surprise, because he should have seen this coming. I mean, Jim, c'mon. Dwight set up the employee evaluation plan. He was even smart enough to make the next highest evaluation Pam's, making Jim even more culpable.

But then Dwight takes a step in a direction I don't like- he fakes a call to corporate's David Wallace, pretending to be employees complaining about Jim; that's an evil thing to do, even for Dwight. I do like his Stanley and Toby impression, though. I wish they had shown him do all the people, especially Angela. Missed opportunity.

Wallace reams Jim on the phone, but then realizes he's overreacting, much to Dwight's chagrin (remember Dwight planted that secret pen microphone to eavesdrop). But Dwight's got help coming. Ryan, who mercifully doesn't appear until the end of the episode, says he wants in on the diabolical plan. I guess that means more Ryan in the next episode.

Thoughts:
This won't be one of those episodes that makes everyone laugh the whole time, but it had nice moments. Michael got to again show he does have redeeming qualities, even when he's a jerk. Erin got to show she might not be Pam, but she's a good employee anyway. And Dwight got to show he's .. well, actually, Dwight's sole focus anymore is getting Jim fired, and it's getting a little boring. We get it, he's jealous. But why hasn't he just called Wallace and said, "You picked the wrong guy, I'm more qualified," or "Why not make me manager of another branch?" Why go through all the hoops?

The episode did stay true to the characters, at least, and the employee of the month idea is smart, considering so many offices deal with it. You could see the payoff on the employee evaluation joke a mile away- of course it was going to be Jim at the top. More could have been done with it, like showing Meredith try to flirt with Jim to get the award, or Kevin doing little errands for Jim.

I'd rank this as Dunder Middle.

Nice touches:

  • Michael getting "Nip Slip" e-mails

  • Andy saying the employee of the month program worked well at AIG and Enron

  • Dwight's impersonations

Best quotes:
"In an ideal world my left hand would have all ten fingers so my right hand could just be a fist for punching." - Dwight

"Guys, I'm starting to think Pam's not even pregnant." - Creed

What did you think? Leave a comment, and vote in the poll...And follow me on Twitter @officetvfodder


Posted by Andy Shaw on December 3, 2009 11:36 PM
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