Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Office - New Leads, or How My Parents Are Like Michael Scott

So, this episode has gotten some flack for the characters being unusually mean-spirited and nasty, which isn't believable. I, on the other hand, am happy that these poor, beleaguered souls are finally lashing out at their colossally inept boss. Honestly, why didn't this happen earlier?

The inciting incident for all this anger has to do with the new commission rates under Sabre, which have a much higher cap. The sales stuff has suddenly become motivated, and Michael doesn't know what to do with it. The non-sales employees are about to mutiny, due to being treated like second-class citizens. Everything comes to a head when Michael reveals that he's received new sales leads from Sabre, and instead of distributing them to sales, he hides them around the office, leaving clues, and also giving them to non-sales staff.

Let's pause for a moment and talk about hiding things and giving clues to where to find them. This is a time-honored tradition in my house, and pretty much defines the Easter tradition. My parents would set out one plastic egg for each child in an easily findable place, with a written clue to where to find the next egg. This continued for, oh, about 7-8 eggs, resulting in the discovery of your awesome Easter basket. Hence, I have some pretty strongly positive feelings about Michael's strategy here, and I just wanted to let you know that it's totally and completely based in personal bias.

ANYWAY, Jim immediately figures out Michael's thin logic and finds the leads. Others are not so lucky. After Kevin accidentally throw the leads in the garbage, which is then taken to the dump, Michael and Dwight go on an adventure to find them, during the course of which, they make some pretty deep discoveries about each other...and themselves.

Turns out Dwight resents Michael, Michael resents Dwight, they have a garbage fight (it's like a food fight, but with garbage. Yes, disgusting), then all their differences are worked out in the end.

Back at the office, Jim has to navigate a mutiny from the non-sales staff, who are refusing to work with the sales people. To be fair, they had it coming - they were being jerks. Jim proposes to the sales staff that they will give everyone in the office a 2% cut of all their commissions each month, to spread the wealth around. They buy pastries and spread them out in the conference room, ready to make the big announce. But, the non-sales folks are duped into believing that it's the pastries that are the gift, and sales doesn't even get into the 2% kickback. Oh, Jim and sales, you are a wily bunch.

So, I thought this whole thing was great. I was really glad that they were showing some human emotions and frustrations, rather than the sighing, silently contemptuous looks we're used to from this bunch. It makes sense that they would get pissed and have confrontations. Also, the bonus at the end of the episode was Andy and Erin looking for the leads in the dump and sharing their first kiss. A-rig-a-dig-doo, indeed, Andy.

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