THE OFFICE Recap: "Survivor Man" - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE OFFICE Recap: “Survivor Man”

November 9, 2007 by  

The Office

I found myself very sad watching last night’s episode of THE OFFICE. Of course it was funny and I was laughing out loud, but every time I laughed I was reminded that after next week, there is no telling when we will see a new episode of my favorite show.But let’s enjoy The Office while we still can.

Last night’s episode, “Survivor Man”, was written by Steve Carell and was directed by Paul Fieg. Much like “Casino Night”, the last episode written by Carell, the whole cast was utilized and the show was better for it. I personally think The Office is at it’s best when the whole ensemble is part of the storyline. There are so many talented people over there that when they are left in the background it seems like such a waste. And I mention the direction by Paul Fieg because I thought last night’s episode was particularly well directed. The episode as a whole was really tight and Fieg kept the reigns in on a script that with a lesser director could have really gotten out of control.

No need for an extensive recap because I doubt anyone reading this hasn’t seen the show. But in short, after being excluded from a corporate retreat in favor of Toby, Michael decides to find himself and show just how strong he is by surviving for a few days in the wilderness all by himself. The wilderness is the woods of Scranton, a few days is a few hours, and by himself means with Dwight unknowingly watching his every move.

Meanwhile, back in the office, Jim is in charge and decides to use his power to combine all this months birthday parties into one, robbing each of his co-worker’s of their own special day of recognition. The rest of the office isn’t taking kindly to his new ideas and continue to grumble behind his back. Jim retreats to Michael’s office where after being annoyed by Toby he decided to call a meeting in the conference room to discuss the birthday situation…whoa! After Phyllis accidentally calls him Michael (which ok, we get it, no need to hit us over the head with a show), Jim realizes that maybe he underestimated Michael and the role he plays in the office. Jim starts to see a little too much of Michael in himself and is a little scared of what they might mean. (Stay tuned for a post later today in which we can really get into what’s really going on with Jim Halpert this season.)

So now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about the best moments of tonight’s episode (in no particular order).

  • I’m not a big fan of over the top Michael and Dwight antics, but for some reason their zaniness amused me to no end last night. The best sight gag had to be Michael ripping his clothes apart to show how they can be used in various ways to aid his survival, only to have him use the duct tape to tape his clothes back together when he got cold.
  • Dwight attacking Michael after Michael ate the mushrooms – I was dying!!
  • The scene with Jim and Creed discussing the birthday cakes was classic and was rewound about 10 times on my TiVo
  • How come in Season 1 the party planning committee had to throw Meredith a surprise birthday party a month in advance because no one had another birthday around that time? Seems like there are a ton of birthdays at Dunder Mifflin in November. Tsk tsk writers. Never underestimate the savvy on an Office fan.
  • Did anyone else notice a slight glimpse of the cameraman’s hand when Dwight was walking in the woods? Was that another subtle attempt by Greg Daniels to remind us all that this is a documentary? The world’s longest documentary?
  • Jim’s whiny impression of Toby…ha! Maybe Toby does deserve a bit of Michael’s torment from time to time…just a little.
  • Dwight K. Schrute: The Overkill Killer – his stash of weapons around the office made me really question Dwight’s competency. Should we be afraid? Andy better tread lightly or he could end up with a dart in his eye. Ouch!
  • Andy got his Fudgey the Whale cake from Carvel…nice!
  • Pam helping Jim to realize that he was acting a bit like Michael (“conference room in 5 minutes”)
  • The montage of Michael surprising everyone on their birthday. Oscar hitting the ground and Phyllis breaking in her car was hysterical.
  • Dwight trying to beat Michael unconscious with his shoe!

But I have to say that I thought the best moment of last night’s episode was the end tag with Michael and Jim sharing a moment:

Michael: Ten years, you’ll figure it out.
Jim: Well, I don’t think I’ll be here in ten years.
Michael: That’s what I said (pause) That’s what she said.
Jim: That’s what who said?
Michael: I never know. I just say it. I say stuff like that, you know, to lighten the tension. When things sort of get hard.
Jim: That’s what she said.
Michael: Hey..nice. Really good. Bravo, my young ward.

What else…I know there were many more moments. What are your thoughts on ‘Survivor Man’?


27 Responses to “THE OFFICE Recap: “Survivor Man””

  1. THE OFFICE Recap: “Survivor Man” — All This Nonsense on November 9th, 2007 2:35 pm

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  2. Emily on November 9th, 2007 2:47 pm

    The birthday surprise montage was one of my favorite moments from the whole season actually. My friend Marty and I were laughing so hard I’m going to have to watch it again because I know I missed things. I mean how in the world does The Office get away with saying stuff like “blacks do crack”? Amazing.

  3. Kelsy on November 9th, 2007 2:57 pm

    I too loved the birthday montage. I wonder how much of that was scripted and how much of it was ad-libbed by Steve Carrel. It just seemed to me like they gave him a cake and said “Go scare so and so…” It was wonderful!!

    And the final scene was a favorite too!! The moment on Jim’s face when he realized he was/is a Dunder Mifflin lifer…. you almost feel sorry for him.

  4. Erica on November 9th, 2007 2:59 pm

    I LOVED Creed skipping around the circle when they were singing Happy Birthday! I don’t know why that struck me as so hysterical but I kept giggling to myself for the rest of the night!

  5. Meagan on November 9th, 2007 3:06 pm

    I’m glad someone else caught the thing about Merideth’s birthday. It seriously bothered me for most of the episode. I was kind of disappointed last night. I didn’t think it was The Office at its best.

  6. lishka on November 9th, 2007 3:21 pm

    I wasn’t crazy about the episode while watching it last night. But, in hindsight, I really love it. Perhaps it’s knowing that there’s only one more episode, or that fabulous tag between Michael and Jim, or maybe I just have unrealistic expectations of each episode? Who knows? I’m so sad that we won’t get to see how this episode flows into the rest of the season, especially in terms of Jim’s career-crisis arc. Sigh…I’ll just keep dreaming of Dwight whacking Michael on the head with his shoe…

  7. Sarah on November 9th, 2007 3:28 pm

    I would have liked the episode a lot more if there weren’t that glaring continuity error with Meredith’s birthday. The Alliance is one of my favorite episodes so it just bugged me the whole time I was watching. Other than that, it was a good ep. Loved Jim’s slow realization of what he could become!

  8. Mannie on November 9th, 2007 3:42 pm

    I’m SO glad you said there would be another post later in the day about what’s going on with Jim Halpert. Last night’s episode really annoyed me because of how Jim was written. I feel like they said “Let’s get Jim and Pam together and instead of causing drama for them, we’ll change Jim’s character completely”. Am I the only one who feels that way? Maybe after your other post, I’ll feel differently, but last night, I found myself angry at him.

  9. allison on November 9th, 2007 3:45 pm

    I actually didn’t love last night’s episode. I wasn’t really interested in Michael’s survivor man storyline (i thought that could have been a little funnier) and I found Jim’s desire to squeeze all the birthdays into one kinda mean. I mean of all the things to reform at Dunder Mifflin, he chose the birthdays in November? I did love the Birthday montage though.

  10. canby on November 9th, 2007 3:56 pm

    I’m probably wrong, but I’m pretty sure that since the office premiered in the spring that would put meredith’s birthday in april or may, which would actually make a slew of birthdays in november make perfect sense. Great review as always, I’d have to agree that watching these episodes are bittersweet.

  11. Dianne on November 9th, 2007 4:18 pm

    After watching last night’s show, our whole family agrees that we will never sing the HAPPY BIRTHDAY song the same way ever again. Someone will HAVE to sing the “Michael high notes”.
    That was HYSTERICAL.
    Was Jim really trying to streamline the parties, or was he just having fun yanking everyone’s chain? He’s not a mean guy, so I don’t know why he’d want to make it just one party.
    I think for Halloween next year, one of my son’s will need to be Michael with his clothes duct-taped back together.
    LOVED the closing Michael/Jim sequence. Gotta go watch that part again.

  12. Heather B on November 9th, 2007 4:28 pm

    I don’t think Jim was being mean or trying to yank everyone’s chain. I think he thought he was doing a good thing.

    Has anyone ever seen the movie ‘Office Space’? Remember when they were talking about all the birthdays and how they were kind of a pain? I think that was what Jim was thinking of. I think Jim is bored by the parties and figured everyone else was too. I think he figured one big party was more fun but his mistake was that he didn’t ask. Had he asked at the beginning and people said they preferred their own parties, I think he would just as well done that.

  13. Lisa on November 9th, 2007 4:32 pm

    Such a good episode…as usual! I totally want to go watch it again online, but I refuse. Support the writers! I seriously don’t know what I’m going to do without this show…

  14. Andrea on November 9th, 2007 4:57 pm

    This is probably my favorite of the 30 minute episodes this season. I like that everyone was utilized. I have only seen episodes from season 1 once but I remember the bit about Meredith’s birthday. Oh well..

    My office does the “only 1 party per month for everyone” kind of thing too. I remember when they changed it that people omplained…the same people who complained were the same people complaining about how lame it was to go to so many parties per month. You just can’t win!

    I *loved* Jim’s interaction with Toby and his impersonation too. LOL! Jim’s interaction with Michael at the end was also so well done. I like the direction the writers are going with Jim and I hope the strike ends soon so we can see it come to fruition.

  15. diana on November 9th, 2007 5:19 pm

    I loved this episode. Mainly because of the Jim storyline. Jim got his first taste of being the boss and he wasn’t that great at it. But as Michael said in ten years he’ll be better…which gave us one of the best last scenes ever. LOVE Michael and Jim scenes!

    I don’t think Jim was being mean by putting all the birthdays together, I think he thought everyone was annoyed by Michael’s birthday antics and thought why not limit them to one day. A rookie mistake as Michael pointed out.

  16. Zapple on November 9th, 2007 5:35 pm

    I loved the episode too, but I would have liked a little less Michael into the woods and a little more Jim at the office. I really liked the B story of that promotion 😉 better.

    One thing I always love is when they show us that, even though Michael always treats him like an idiot, Dwight is actually better than him with a lot of stuff, like with his survival skills, with Ryan’s business questions in The fire or with the condo in the Client.

    Of course, the highlight was the tag for me too, I just love those Michael-Jim moments and Jim’s TWSS was pure gold. It is so sad that we are going to miss out on Jim’s story arc because of the strike and I agree that watching the show while knowing we only have one left made me really sad.

  17. Ryan on November 9th, 2007 6:24 pm

    Steve Carell wrote another winner.

    I’m not going to cover anymore of the episode because you all pretty much covered it all. I’m just going to say I hope the office writers don’t become a slave to the real calender if this strike is lengthy. Give us a Christmas episode in May or whatever conflicts that this strike might create, we don’t care. Just continue on the plan and story arcs you had before the season started Mr Daniels. I see this season building into something really special and I would hate to see that changed because the stupid real world.

  18. BrokenBrain on November 9th, 2007 7:22 pm

    I loved the episode, of course, and its magnificent story telling, but I have to admit I like Jim too much to see him get punished 2 episodes in a row. But Jim making fun of Toby was genius, especially after Toby made fun of Jim at the FTC last week. And Steve Carrel writes a better Michael than most of the writers, I think. Not too overboard.

  19. CFO (not my initials) on November 9th, 2007 7:34 pm

    In season one Pam tells Michael that there are no birthdays in the given month, but Meredith’s is the NEXT birthday and it is not until “next month”. It is entirely possible that there are a lot of birthdays in the same month as Meredith’s but hers just happens to be the first of that month. And that there are not birthdays in the month prior to hers.
    I don’t see how there was any problem with consistency. Technically, except for the true holiday episodes and the fact that things happen basically in sequence, there is no actual statement made about what month it is supposed to be, it is all just suggested and inferred by us fans.
    The season one episode with Meredith’s birthday could have happened at any time throughout the year, maybe the documentary was filmed and shown very edited originally so that it could gain an audience and then the following seasons would follow a more chronological pattern or would be aired more in sequence with the actual calendar.
    Wow, I think about this WAY too much.

  20. Give Me My Remote on November 9th, 2007 7:38 pm

    Creed’s birthday is before Meredith’s so why didn’t they celebrate Creed’s birthday?

    I personally didn’t mind the error at all. Didn’t affect my view of the episode one little bit.

  21. Rick on November 9th, 2007 7:42 pm

    I hate when a show isn’t consistent. It ruined the episode for me. That and Dwight attacking Michael.

  22. Kevin on November 9th, 2007 7:51 pm

    Dwight didn’t attack Michael. Michael did a dumb thing by putting wild mushrooms in his mouth. He protected him.

  23. Karen on November 9th, 2007 10:07 pm

    okay, who else LOVED seeing Jim take charge? He and Pam are together now, and I know Jim’s dream isn’t to be selling paper and Pam’s sure isn’t answering phones…now that they’re both happy in their personal lives, maybe they can encourage each other to take risks in their personal lives. that would mean….them leaving dunder mifflin? leaving scranton? ah!

    ***and I was watching “Money” today and did anybody else notice that in the montage toward the end (jim and pam’s review of schrute farms is played over it) the shot of pam and jim in their bedroom, the door goes open just enough to see that they pushed the twin beds together. I just thought that was cute. 🙂

  24. janet on November 9th, 2007 10:16 pm

    I don’t know if it just me, but when Micheal is over the top I tend to skip over thoses scences. I did rewatch it today and found the car ride out to the woods pretty funny. “The OverKill Killer” was hilarous. But other then that….eh.

  25. TheOfficeMattress on November 9th, 2007 11:47 pm

    I really thought this episode was funny, dwight hitting michael over the head with the shoe, michael singing “happy birthday” in the woods by himself, the birthday montage, jim doing a toby impression, and creed dancing around the room….comic gold. And noone else has mentioned it but I loved Steve Carells shoutout to the real show Survivorman, Les Stroud would be proud! 🙂

  26. Jessica on November 10th, 2007 12:28 am

    I think he was combining all of the birthdays of the whole year or something because there were a lot of birthdays. It was good, I liked last weeks episode better.. no review????

  27. Jake on November 10th, 2007 5:37 am

    First off:

    “the shot of pam and jim in their bedroom, the door goes open just enough to see that they pushed the twin beds together”

    Yes! I saw that too and was certain that that entire shot was just to highlight that Jim and Pam are lovers…not just casually dating.

    About this episode, I’ll just point out how I love that Pam gleefully pokes Jim in the ribs about the silly things he gets involved in. Interjecting “conference room, 5 minutes” with a smile on her face, coming over to Jim and saying, “you’re really going for it,” then giving the camera a knowing glance, and, last week, the deleted scene where she grills him about how much he loves his girlfriend, Karen. Great stuff!

    Lastly, nothing makes me laugh more than the “Michael sings only the high harmony” gag. Remember “Beach Day” on the bus? And when he walked in singing I lost it.