THE OFFICE: Two Weeks - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


March 27, 2009 by  

It’s good to have friends…

A very special thanks to Erik who was kind enough to step in and handle the review of this week’s episode of THE OFFICE. You know it just about killed me to turn the weekly review of my favorite show over to someone else, but honestly, I’m fighting a miserable cold and just couldn’t do it.  So for this week, Erik is going to take care of my Dunder Mifflinites while I get better.

Hey, there’s a good chance you’re going to like Erik’s reviews more than mine. If so, don’t tell me.  I couldn’t take it.  Ha ha

Thanks Erik…over to you.


Over the past three weeks, Michael Scott’s career at Dunder Mifflin imploded through a series of heartbreaking and emasculating confrontations. True to their purpose, the Office team avoided the detour into melodrama that often hinders sitcoms that touch on real life tragedy or adversity. Lost in the barrage of hilarious moments was the emotional net that tethered Michael to his longtime staff, particularly a receptionist who dares to dream of bigger things. Fittingly, it was the lack of outrage or sadness over Michael’s imminent departure that made Pam’s defection such a powerful jolt to the senses. With rejections piling up left and right on his quest to staff his new paper company, Michael Scott discovered that, at least in one case, his leadership approach was as inspirational as he had imagined.

Unlike Jerry Maguire, Michael Scott never wavered in his belief in people over process, cordiality over technology. We will never uncover a twenty-five page mission statement about relationships from Michael, because he lacks the attention span necessary to read or write such a document. To anyone who would accuse the Office writers of lifting a page from Cameron Crowe’s playbook, I would argue that Michael Scott is a far more lovable hero than a sports agent who immediately questions the wisdom of sharing his deepest thoughts, and behaves like a four year old when the corporate world rejects his approach. Tom Cruise did not bring an optimist to the big screen. He brought a narcissist. Michael Scott is a deeply co-dependent man, and the leap of faith that Pam Beesly took in joining his fragile new venture brought him the type of confidence that Renee Zellweger could never have engendered.

Before I jump off the deep end and omit the comedy gold that brings us to Dunder Mifflin every Thursday, here are my favorite funny moments of “Two Weeks Notice.”

  • Cold Open: Michael’s inability to tell a story was the easy way to go, but I was on the floor listening to Oscar’s talking head. His struggle to form another syllable at the end of that rant? Fantastic, just fantastic…
  • Pam and Kevin’s exchange over the meaning of “soon”
  • “It’s Singular.”

  • Michael’s failure to elicit any positive feedback about the new paper company from Jim, Andy, Dwight, and Oscar. The collective “WTF” reaction is a sight to behold.
  • “My German is pre-industrial, and mostly religious”
  • Angela and Kelly’s competition for Charles’ affection, complete with Kelly’s assertion that Angela “is turning 50 this year”
  • “I had a great time at Prom, and no one said yes to that, either”
  • Mission Impossible 4: Michael Scott Returns to The Office, complete with subterfuge and heavy doses of crawling.
  • Toby’s comparison of Michael to an in-flight movie
  • Kevin: “And you didn’t want to start with us?”
    Michael: “Of course not”
  • Charles’ judgment in putting Kevin on the phones and Stanley in charge of efficiency. “I’ll take heavy, awkward breathing and crossword puzzles for $400, Alex”

Has anyone on our favorite show evolved more than Pam Beesly? I am fascinated by her journey, and the steady hints of growth that Jenna Fischer has injected into the character. I fell for The Office because of “The Dundies” during Season Two. My affection for Jim & Pam was due, in part, to the hope that Pam would see herself through Jim’s eyes, if only for a moment. Since we are light years removed from the time when Pam was relegated to being the future Mrs. Roy Anderson, shielded from the world around her by cardigan sweaters, tonight’s decision to leave Dunder Mifflin was unexpected, yet entirely true to the character. By trusting Michael with her professional future, extending an olive branch to the boss that came to her art show and said that he was proud of her, our favorite former receptionist truly became Fancy New Beesly. Beyond being ready to marry Jim or wear more contemporary fashion, this Pam is ready to take command of her career in a way that Dunder-Mifflin and Art School did not offer.

The writers and producers of The Office have joked that most of us have either known a Michael Scott or been a Michael Scott, the implication being that bosses like him are not so uncommon in the real world. For almost five full seasons, the easy conclusion to draw was that one should do everything in their power to avoid being put in that category. After the last three episodes, I strongly disagree. In fact, I will state it plainly. I hope to have the courage someday to become a Michael Scott. The world is still built on heart, and it is never a bad thing to have too much of that.

What were your favorite moments from this week? Do you think Pam made the right decision to join the MSPC? What will Dunder Mifflin become without Michael and Pam? What can Jim do to improve his standing with Charles? Were you expecting a fonder farewell from the team for their departing leader? Let’s get the discussion going!

How does Erik combat writer’s block? He indulges in Adam Carolla’s new daily podcast at and reads Bill Simmons’ columns on The GMMR House scribe is an active participant in the economic recession, and is working on a pamphlet outlining the etiquette of handling Facebook requests from old boyfriends/girlfriends.


20 Responses to “THE OFFICE: Two Weeks”

  1. Olivia on March 27th, 2009 9:00 pm

    I 100% agree with everything you said! I’ve never been so proud of a fictional character in my life. Pam was amazing. And Jim was amazing for supporting her.

  2. Erik on March 27th, 2009 9:25 pm

    Olivia: Thank you for mentioning Jim’s reaction to Pam’s decision. Thank goodness that Greg Daniels is wise enough to let this relationship move forward without the petty jealousies that are inherent in other romances. Between Jim’s simple aside about bringing Pam’s things home for her, and his refusal to take the bait by driving to NYC early in the season, we’re past the point of having to worry about the inevitability of the JAM wedding.

    I left it out of the recap, since I have a phobia about going on too long (TWSS) but what do you think of the new boss? Charles is such an interesting foil to Michael, and the talking head about “his effect on women” was really funny to me.

  3. Toast with JAM on March 28th, 2009 1:08 am

    Can’t wait ’til next week!

    Pam needed to get out of that receptionist position and it’s a great way to do it (I thought that maybe she’d move up to another job in Dunder Mifflin). For her to stay a receptionist would really go against her changes and outlook so it’s cool that they tied it into Michael’s character. It’s like Michael is Pam’s first child (or a practice child); she couldn’t let him go out into the big, bad world by himself.

    Pam was such a doormat in season one with Michael fake firing her and throwing away the faxes that she gave him. She morphed into more of a filter or a guard for Michael, helping him hide from Corporate when he needed to and transferring calls in her special way to keep him from humiliating himself (as much). She thinks he needs her and she’s probably right!

    Loved the sound effects from lol

  4. Ryan on March 28th, 2009 1:25 am

    This season has really hit it’s stride in a big way. I was laughing and enjoying from beginning to end. Its hard to believe Aaron Shure was capable of both this episode and Baby Shower–day and night difference.

    The favorite moment for me (hard to choose) is probably Toby’s talking head. It was the perfect analogy. Michael is far from a good boss, but he keeps the office semi interesting.

    Maybe my favorite episode of the season. It sucks we have to wait two weeks for another.

  5. Toast with JAM on March 28th, 2009 1:34 am

    I guess it’s two weeks isn’t it? ER extravaganza next week. Can’t wait for that, either.

  6. Angela on March 28th, 2009 12:07 pm

    Erik, great review! I especially loved what you wrote about Pam’s growth. While I am sure there are many people who will disagree, I am glad the writers made the decision to have Jim’s reaction be slightly confused/amused, but wholly supportive. Now if only we can see more of that growth with Jim! The last few weeks have been really solid episodes and I’m very excited for what will be coming up next.

    As for the Charles character, I really like the addition. Although Angela’s competition with Kelly is, of course, out of character for her, I can somewhat see Angela’s attraction: he’s authoritative and no-nonsense. Because of the decisions he made with Oscar and Kevin, I think his ability to manage effectively will start to be questioned. Maybe?

  7. Angela on March 28th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Erik, great review! I especially loved what you wrote about Pam’s growth. While I am sure there are many people who will disagree, I am glad the writers made the decision to have Jim’s reaction be slightly confused/amused, but wholly supportive. Now if only we can see more of that growth with Jim! The last few weeks have been really solid episodes and I’m very excited for what will be coming up next.

    As for the Charles character, I really like the addition and the delivery of his line about women’s attraction to him was one of the funniest of the episode. Although Angela’s competition with Kelly is, of course, out of character for her, I can somewhat see Angela’s attraction: he’s authoritative and no-nonsense. Because of the decisions he made with Stanley and Kevin, I think his ability to manage effectively will start to be questioned. Maybe?

  8. Angela on March 28th, 2009 12:10 pm

    Yikes. Sorry that posted twice!!!! The page didn’t finish loading the first time!

  9. Erik on March 28th, 2009 4:47 pm

    Toast with JAM: Looking back at the Lecture Circuit episodes, there were certainly seeds that opened Pam’s eyes to new opportunities. Were it not for Michael’s decision to bring her along for those branch visits, Pam may have never gained the confidence to take a step forward within the paper business.

    For example, Karen Filippelli was more than simply a rival for Jim’s immediate attention. She was a legitimate rising star within Dunder Mifflin, and was considered a strong candidate for Jan’s job at the end of Season Three. Despite the battleground they weathered for Mount Tuna, I think Pam respected Karen’s talents and achievements. During Lecture Circuit (Part 1), the fact that Karen’s group in Utica was as lethargic and dysfunctional as the Scranton team may have given Pam a surge of momentum towards a more challenging position.

  10. Erik on March 28th, 2009 5:02 pm

    Ryan: I completely agree that Season Five has been defined in clear terms. This is the season of Michael Scott, at work and in love. Unlike previous seasons, where Jim & Pam or Dwight & Angela became the “show within a show” for many viewers, Steve Carell has been given the material and focus to nail down more of what shapes Michael’s world view.

    Two or three years ago, I remember reading an interview with Greg Daniels, where he openly worried that Carell had been taken for granted in the wake of the JAM phenomenon and the growth of Dwight Schrute. Daniels wasn’t complaining about the fan reaction, just noting that it was rare to find a talent who drives the “A” plot of each episode and also gives so much room for the other actors to develop meaningful relationships with their audience.
    It makes a lot of sense, and is the reason why each of the supporting players mean so much to us, because this version of The Office has never been all about Michael Scott.

  11. The Other Whitney on March 28th, 2009 5:43 pm

    Erik, thank you so much for writing a review that includes your observations as well as speculation as to the characters and their stories. Reviews like this are why I started visiting this site years ago. I don’t need a straight recap of a show I just watched, I want insight. So, again, thank you.

    This is the only episode I have kept on my tivo for additional viewings all season. I have felt let down by the writing more and more in the past few seasons. It just isn’t the caliber it was in season two. Two Weeks Notice still wasn’t season two spectacular, but it was the strongest episode of the past two seasons.

    I agree that Pam was the stand out of this episode. Jenna’s work with creating and portraying an intelligent woman who is finding out how to be the woman she always wanted to be, even years later than she would have predicted as a kid, is amazing. I am eager to see where the writers take her story, especially in relation to Mike. Michael’s support of Pam is touching. And I hope as an audience we get to see her acknowledge how much his support has helped her grow.

    The taking heads were my favorite parts of the episode. They were concise, insightful, and provided the understated humor The Office used to be known for.

  12. Erik on March 28th, 2009 10:29 pm

    Angela: Thanks for your feedback. I think Jim Halpert is the last piece of the puzzle for this phase of the story to make sense. After a season of falling a bit short of the limitless potential we all assumed he had, it would make sense for Jim to play a significant role in helping move the Dunder Mifflin operation forward. Michael may not have been actively “grooming” Jim, but perhaps we will see Jim use some of the positive habits that he learned from his old boss, rather than the embarrassing and/or inefficient characteristics that have been Jim’s albatross in Season Five.

    My aversion to spoilers is as concrete as Greg Daniels’ hope that they never leak, so I have no idea what is in store for the team. However, your theory about Charles being perceived as losing control of Scranton in his first week may provide an interesting end game if/when Michael returns home to Dunder Mifflin.

  13. Teresa on March 29th, 2009 7:14 pm

    The episode was pretty funny especially Michael crawling around on the ground. But I just can’t picture what Dunder Mifflin will be like without Pam and Michael. I hope they end up back there somehow.

  14. Mary on March 29th, 2009 7:17 pm

    Great review, Erik! Your perspective is spot on.
    I’ve whole heartedly enjoyed this season and love the recent turn of events–can’t wait to see what happens!

  15. Give Me My Remote on March 29th, 2009 7:44 pm

    I just got around to watching THE OFFICE. It was the second time but the first time not fueled by an insane amount of cold medicine.

    Fantastic episode. Much like last week, quite awkward. I wasn’t a big fan of the scene with Michael crawling around on the floor, but I do like that he was trying to recruit everyone…well eventually everyone.

    Pam’s leaving didn’t surprise me, but I didn’t love it as much as others. I understand and support why she left, but I also think it’s not something you do spontaneously when you are living your life with someone. There’s a wedding, a mortgage, etc. And if she got up and left for another (existing) job it would be one thing, but it’s Michael and he can’t be counted on.

    Really intrigued to see how they bring Michael and Pam back to Dunder Mifflin. Will she come back as the receptionist or will she be a salesman when she returns?

    And who is going to be next to leave the Scranton office? So far we have Jim, Pam (twice), Michael, and Dwight.

  16. Erik on March 30th, 2009 2:01 am

    Whitney: Like you, I became a GMMR reader because of the opinions that Kath always offers in her recaps, specifically about The Office. Thanks for your feedback to my little piece of the pie, and please come back to contribute to the discussion each week. The give and take in these discussions is the highlight of being part of the GMMR community.

    Season Two was a magical year, and many of us will always romanticize the role those episodes played in bringing The Office into our iPods, TiVo season passes, and weekly routines. The show felt like a secret that we could let other people in on, somehow lost in the flow of saturation advertising and big name guest stars on other programs. With a Super Bowl episode behind us and a firm grip on NBC’s promotional machine, those days have passed. Thankfully, episodes like Two Weeks can trigger those happy memories.

  17. Erik on March 30th, 2009 2:06 am

    Teresa & Mary: With so many twists and turns over the past 90-something episodes, I am confident that Greg Daniels & his team will take the Michael Scott Paper Company story into new and unexpected territory. Stay tuned!

  18. marcie on March 31st, 2009 6:29 pm

    I loved this review. It’s probably the only time I’ve seen a reviewer who really appreciates the depth of Michael Scott’s character instead of concentrating on the obvious. Get past the buffoonery, stunning insensitivity and immaturity, and you have a man who genuinely enjoys making others happy, and, when he’s not self-obsessed, has very genuine moments of empathy and heart. I’d adore Michael as a boss. Sure, I’d want to slap him in the head and tell him to knock it off, but I’d probably be extremely loyal. I understand Pam’s affection. She gets him.

    These two most recent episodes were utterly brilliant. I was riveted, surprised, and left wanting more. I predict they will become iconic with time. They were that good—superbly acted, excellent writing and they adeptly explored every human emotion of theirs….and ours, too.

  19. Erik on April 9th, 2009 2:50 am

    Kath (GMMR): I was very interested in your take on Pam’s departure. Though it does seem logical that the future Mrs. Halpert could have taken a few moments to consider the ramifications of her decision, I think that Pam’s decision had to be made that quickly, so that the Unfancy Old Beesly’s tendency to settle for something less than she deserved would not intervene.

    Did Pam have a compelling reason to make her exit at that specific moment? Not really. Instead, the choice to leave Dunder Mifflin was the opportunity to rectify all the times that Pam should have quit before (for instance, after she had to ask Michael & Dwight, “Please don’t throw garbage at me.”). Just as it took a heightened set of circumstances for Ms. Beesly to finally discard Roy Anderson once and for all, this was the professional equivalent of branching out and living her own life.

    Besides, I think Jim still owes the first year of mortgage payments as penance for the clown painting…

  20. Erik on April 9th, 2009 3:03 am

    marcie: Please forgive the delay in responding to your post. I was truly touched by your gracious words, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    In my old life, I spent seven years as a Branch Manager in the banking industry. (Don’t worry, I didn’t have anything to do with the bailout thing. Those decisions were made by people far above my pay grade) I was relatively young for someone in that role, and I did feel a certain affinity for my employees and their well-being. Without a family to go home to at the end of the day, I found it natural to feel a strong connection with the folks who helped me succeed each day. Though I never engaged in the outrageous behavior that Steve Carell gets to inject into Michael’s daily routine, I was unconventional, at least by my old bosses’ standards.

    I want Michael Scott to win, because his optimism gives me hope that I can succeed by treating people with the respect and care they deserve.