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The Office, April 12 April 13, 2007

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What happened before in “The Negotiation”: Roy tries to attack Jim after learning of the kiss he and Pam had shared, but Dwight intercedes and sprays Roy with pepper spray. Roy is fired and the office is abuzz with stories of Dwight’s heroism.

Michael is unable to hold his ground in pay negotiations with Darryl, and is actually persuaded by Darryl to seek a raise for himself. He goes to meet with Jan and she feels so sorry for him that she gives him a pay increase.

Roy returns to the office to collect his check and apologizes to Jim. Jim gives Dwight a certificate of bravery to repay him for his actions. As the episode comes to a close, Jim sees Angela and Dwight making out, but he decides to keep their relationship a secret.

Last night in “Safety Training”: Andy returns from five weeks of anger management with a new attitude and a new name, Drew. Jim continues to call him Andy, and Dwight tells him that he is shunned for three years.

Michael decides it would be a good idea for the office staff to attend the warehouse safety training meeting that will be led by Darryl. Darryl explains the company must have a safety training day once a year or when an accident happens. In this case, Darryl was involved in an accident when Michael pulled a ladder out from under him and he fell and broke his ankle. Michael thinks it was a great joke because he could say, “How’s it hanging, Darryl?”

As Darryl attempts to explain the dangers of some of the machinery used in the warehouse, Michael interrupts him and basically doesn’t take the threats seriously. As he tries to explain the proper use of the baler, Michael refers to it as a “big, red trash compactor.” Darryl snaps that every year people get their arms cut off in baler accidents.

Kevin bets Jim $5 that the number is more than 50. Darryl announces 10 people a year lose their arms in baler accidents.

Toby begins the office portion of the safety training that the warehouse crew has decided to attend so they can mock it as Michael had done to them. Michael thinks Toby is being too boring with his presentation and begins leading the exercise himself.

Darryl and the other guys begin to leave, leading to a confrontation in which Darryl calls Michael soft, and that it is easy to live a “nerfy” life always sitting on his “biscuit.”

Michael and Dwight decide they need to have visual aids to give the pitfalls of office life more punch. They buy a trampoline that Michael is planning to land on after he feigns a suicide attempt from the roof. After a test run with a watermelon leaves Michael feeling uneasy about the stunt, Dwight unshuns Andy long enough to tell him to find an inflatable castle for Michael to land on.

When all is ready, Dwight runs in to gather the office staff outside for his and Michael’s rehearsed safety conversation. As it nears an end, Michael realizes the warehouse staff are not present to view his spectacle. Dwight gathers the warehouse personnel as well, and he and Michael begin their exchange once again.

Pam notices the inflatable castle and everyone runs to check it out. She then realizes what Michael is going to do, and tries to convince him to come down to get a present. When all attempts fail to convince Michael that he could seriously injure himself by jumping on the castle, Darryl takes the megaphone and tells Michael how brave he is. Michael, thinking Darryl truly respects him, climbs from the rooftop.

Grade: C

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, April 5 April 6, 2007

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Recap of “The Negotiation”: The episode opens with an angry Roy pacing in the parking lot of Dunder-Mifflin. He charges the building to attack Jim, but Dwight intercepts him and pepper sprays him.

Roy is fired after the incident, and Dwight basks in the glow of his heroism. Angela is enthralled by the stories of Dwight’s heroism, and becomes visibly excited as she listens to Oscar recount the episode.

Meanwhile, Michael shows up to work with a new look, as he unknowingly has bought a woman’s suit by the designer Miss Sterious. He prepares for his pay negotiation with Darryl by printing a list of tactics from the Internet. At one point, Darryl stops discussing his proposed raise to point out to a chagrined Michael that he is wearing a woman’s suit.

While Pam is taking a break, Jim enters the room. She apologizes to him for Roy’s actions, and tells him her relationship with Roy is completely over. Jim, obviously somewhat annoyed, tells her he is sure she will find some reason to get back together with Roy. Pam is somewhat taken back by Jim’s cold reaction, so she tells him again how sorry she is for the way things turned out.

Back at the negotiation, Michael tells Darryl he can’t give him a 10 percent raise because that would be a higher salary than he himself is making. Darryl then suggests Michael call Jan and ask for a raise himself. He finally works up the nerve, and Jan requests he come see her in person along with Toby.

Michael decides Darryl should come along as well, and they set out for Jan’s office. While in the waiting room, Michael notices the woman he is sitting next to has on the same suit he does. Finally, Jan’s assistant calls Michael and Toby in to her office.

Back at Scranton, Roy arrives to get his last paycheck. He apologizes to Jim and asks Pam to join him for coffee so he can apologize to her and explain his actions. At coffee, Roy all but tells Pam that she should date Jim, but she says that won’t happen because Jim already has a girlfriend.

Jim is equally perplexed by Dwight’s bravery and how he should repay him for stopping Roy. He prints a certificate of bravery and leaves it on Dwight’s desk. When Dwight discovers the certificate he thinks it was given to him by the Scranton police. However, while reading it he realizes that it is the same merit award that is presented to children, so he throws it away.

Michael finally convinces Jan to talk to him alone about his pay situation. He is very vulnerable and insecure about his pay, so Jan agrees to a 12 percent pay hike. Michael, feeling he has somehow won the battle, tells her he wants it recorded that he asked for 15 percent.

Jim finishes off a shocking day by stumbling upon Angela and Dwight making out in the office. Jim decides to keep their relationship a secret as his reward for Dwight helping him out.

Grade: A. The reruns are finally over.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, March 29 March 30, 2007

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All right, so what did we get last night for our patience? Instead of another repeat, we got five repeats. Oh joy! And better yet, they were from all different seasons.

Now, I know that you’re all out there thinking, why didn’t NBC just do a run of the last five episodes of Season 3 to lead into next week’s new episode? Well, that would mean someone, somewhere was thinking rationally, and I think that’s just a little too much to ask for at this point.

OK, for what it’s worth, we got two episodes from Season 1: ”Diversity Day” and “Health Care.” It was actually a little interesting to see just how far the show has come since the initial episodes, but they were still repeats. If you haven’t seen Season 1, I would say pick up a copy on DVD on the cheap on ebay.

Next, we had an offering from Season 2, “Sexual Harassment.” I seemed to know the exact direction this episode was taking, which watching it somewhat anticlimactic. I knew this, of course, because I had SEEN IT BEFORE.

Next, NBC decided to drop the new Andy Dick show in to break up “The Office” marathon. I mean, why would you want a marathon of repeats to actually be continuous, right? Drop in a little Andy Dick to make you laugh, and then you’re ready to absorb some more repetition.

The last time I checked, when one runs a marathon, there isn’t a break in the middle for a half-hour pony ride. One of the things that makes it a marathon is you have to do it all together without breaks.

Sorry — I digress. It’s just a matter of semantics, I suppose.

Whoops — just realized another goof I made. It’s the new Andy Richter show, not Andy Dick. How did I come to this glorious realization? Simple — a show with Andy Dick in it would be FUNNY. How does a wanna-be Ed McMahon, who couldn’t even be Ed McMahon, get his own show anyway?

OK, there were two more Season 3 repeats after that. I think. I had long since turned my attention to other pursuits at that point. Namely, beer and video games, which is much better than watching repeats on television.

Another good point — you can play driving games while drinking and never get a D.U.I.

FINALLY, next week, we get some fresh fodder for the old ShowStalker forum. “The Office” is back on at 8 p.m. for a super-sized return episode. It’s finally Roy versus Jim, mano y mano. I give the repeat episodes an F just on basic principle and I give the preview trailer an A+.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office March 23, 2007

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“The Office” was off this week to make room for an hour of “My Name Is Earl.”

Next week: “The Office” returns with a three-episode block: “Diversity Day” and “Health Care” from Season 1 and “Sexual Harassment” from Season 2.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, March 15 March 16, 2007

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What happened before: Recap of “The Merger” — Michael’s attempts to integrate the Stamford staff fail miserably. Dwight gets a nemesis when Andy arrives. Jim and Pam’s relationship is put into question.

This week: NBC graced us with back-to-back repeat episodes, which promised “never before seen scenes.”

Well, here’s a novel idea: How about episodes that are comprised of nothing but “never before seen scenes?” They would be called — get this — NEW EPISODES.

Recap of “Traveling Salesman”

Dwight saves Angela by driving important tax documents directly to corporate headquarters and arrives at work late for a sales meeting. In the meeting, Michael decides to send everyone out as two-person sales teams. Andy chooses Michael, Phyllis chooses Karen, Stanley chooses Ryan, which leaves Dwight and Jim as the last pair.

Pam and Angela have coffee together. After the sales calls, Ed sabotages Dwight by showing Michael a toll receipt from New York City. Michael thinks Dwight is going behind his back again and confronts him in front of the entire office. Dwight wants to reveal the truth, but Angela doesn’t feel comfortable with the rest of the building knowing of their relationship. So, instead of telling the truth, Dwight simply quits. Ed is ecstatic about having been the one to push Dwight out of the office.

Grade: A-

I have to admit it still got me a couple of times.

Recap of “The Return”

Oscar returns from an extended vacation. To welcome him back and to celebrate his “Mexicanity,” Michael has everyone organize a Mexican-themed party.

Ed continues to stalk Michael and begins to really wear on everyone in the office. Meanwhile, Dwight finally lands a job as a floor salesperson at a Staples store.

Jim asks Karen to help him prank Ed, but she says she is too busy. He goes to Pam, who agrees to help him trick Ed. Karen becomes suspicious as Jim and Pam leave the main office together to hide Ed’s phone. As the rest of the office prepares for Oscar’s party, Jim and Pam continue to call Ed’s cell (which he can hear but can’t find) until it pushes him over the edge and he punches a hole in the wall. Karen asks Jim if he still has feelings for Pam, and he tells her he does.

Michael finds Dwight at Staples and tells him he needs to return to Dunder-Mifflin. When they arrive, Michael lets Dwight think the party is really for him instead of Oscar. The episode ends with Ed reporting to anger management.

Grade: B

–Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, March 8 March 9, 2007

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What happened before (rerun): In “Branch Closing,” Jan informed Michael the Scranton branch would be absorbed by the Stamford branch. However, the plans changed and the Scranton branch ended up absorbing the now-closing Stamford branch.

Recap of “The Merger” (oh yeah, it was another rerun): Michael is excited to have the new Stamford employees joining his staff, so he prepares an “integration celebration” to make the new arrivals feel welcome. Pam is eager to welcome Jim back to the office.

The new arrivals are given goody bags filled with pencils and coupons, which don’t really go over well. Dwight recognizes that Andy intends to take his position as No. 1 suck-up to Michael and they clash. Ryan tells Jim he won’t be giving him back his chair, and the relationship Pam expected to occur with Jim doesn’t happen. This leaves the office in a very tense state.

Michael has breakfast in the conference room for everyone, and begins his meeting. He presents a video called “Lazy Scranton,” in which he and Dwight are rapping about the area. Michael is very pleased with his presentation, but the new employees are unmoved.

As the last part of his plan Michael has the new employees sit on chairs on top of a table in order to show that his old staff are not above the new arrivals. One of the new employees, Anthony, is unable to climb on the table because of his large size. When Michael and Dwight physically try to help him onto the table, Anthony gets mad and quits. Michael becomes angry and fires him instead.

As a last-ditch effort, Michael lets the air out of everyone’s tires and blames it on Bob Vance Refrigeration. When Martin points out that Michael’s tires aren’t flat, Michael presents a note allegedly from Bob Vance making fun of them for not being a cohesive team.

Everyone returns to work as the new employees grumble about Michael. At the end of the day, Jim is leaving to meet Karen for drinks when he sees Pam leaving the building. He approaches her and apologizes for the situation between them being awkward. He then tells her he is “kind of seeing someone.” Pam says not to worry about it, that everything is good, and that they are and always will be friends.

Grade: C — C’mon enough with the repeats already.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, March 1 (rerun) March 2, 2007

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What happened before: Michael and Jan attended a cocktail party publicly as a couple for the first time, and have their first argument. Pam tries to become more assertive and honest, and uncovers the true Roy.

Recap of “Branch Closing”: Jan informs Michael that the Scranton branch will be closing, with some employees being transferred to Stamford and some being terminated. Michael is devastated to learn he will be given a severance package. In classic Michael fashion, he delivers the news by saying, “Listen up everybody, I have some news. We are screwed. Dunder-Mifflin Scranton is being shut down.” Unable to deal with the situation, Michael and Dwight have to visit the CFO and talk him out of closing the branch.

Meanwhile, in Stamford, Josh tells Jan he has accepted a senior position with Staples and cannot accept the job he is being offered. Jan returns to the board, and the decision is made to shut down the Stamford branch and transfer its staff to Scranton. Jan offers Jim the No. 2 job, but he says that he needs to think about it.

Back at Scranton, everyone is individually thrilled that the branch is closing. Stanley looks forward to retirement and spending time with his family, and Ryan takes the opportunity to break up with Kelly. Jan returns to Scranton with the news and receives mixed results. Stanley is bummed, Ryan is horrified as Kelly attacks him since they can stay together, but Pam says that it might be for the best to stay open for her convenience. Of course, we know that the thought of Jim’s return is what has elated Pam.

Back at Stamford, Jim decides to take the job, and tells Karen if she is offered a position she should take it as well. We then learn that Karen is “into” Jim.

Night is falling in front of CFO David Wallace’s house, and Michael is becoming emotional again about failing. Dwight checks the messages on his phone and learns the good news. They jump around hugging each other, screaming, “We did it! We did it!” until Michael finally asks, “How did we do it?”

Grade: B.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, Feb. 22 February 23, 2007

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Previously on “The Office”: Recap of “Business School” — Michael has a disastrous speech at Ryan’s business school. Dwight struggles to capture a bat that has infiltrated the office. Pam has a less-than-successful debut of her artwork.

Recap of this week’s episode, “Cocktails”: Michael is excited about attending a cocktail party thrown by the CFO of Dunder-Mifflin because he and Jan will be attending it as a public couple for the first time. Jan is apprehensive about making the move, but Michael insists it is an important step for the relationship.

Jan presents Michael with a contract to absolve Dunder-Mifflin of any blame if anything negative happens because of the relationship. Michael calls it a “love contract” and says he will frame his.

As Jan and Michael meet the CFO and his wife, Michael blurts out “Jan and I are lovers.” His inappropriate comments continue until a frustrated Jan pushes Michael into the bathroom to have sex with him. A confused Michael refuses and Jan leaves angry. They fight on the way home, but with Michael on the verge of tears, Jan apologizes for being mean to him.

The true highlight of this episode was Dwight’s behavior at the cocktail party. Besides just general inappropriateness, he requests to inspect the Colonial Manor in which the CFO and his wife reside. From hanging from the banisters and waking up their son by rocking in a chair while he sleeps to climbing the roof to kick and check the chimney, it is truly hilarious — disturbing but funny. His summation of the evening: “The chimney was in pretty good shape — not great. I found some termite damage in a crawlspace, and a few flaws in the foundation. So, overall, that makes this a pretty fun cocktail party.”

Meanwhile, Pam and the rest of the office decide to meet for drinks at Poor Richard’s Pub. Pam decides to be more honest and assertive about her life. This appears to be quite successful initially, as she convinces Roy to meet her by telling him that if “he’s going to be her boyfriend, then he has to do boyfriend things.”

Also, once at the bar, instead of accepting a wrong beer order, she returns it for the right order. However, things go awry when she decides to tell Roy about kissing Jim at Casino Night. Roy begins yelling and throws his drink into the mirror behind the bar. Pam says everything is over and walks away. This only fuels Roy’s rage as his brother Kenny joins in for more mayhem in the bar.

The episode closes with Roy proclaiming, “I’m going to kill Jim Halpert.”

Grade: B

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, Feb. 15 February 16, 2007

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Previously on “The Office”: “Phyllis’ Wedding” episode — Michael is thrown out of the wedding party, and Roy and Pam seem to reunite and leave the party together.

Recap of last night’s episode, titled “Business School”: In an episode directed by Joss Whedon of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame, Michael is invited to speak at Ryan’s business school. Pam invites Kelly and other co-workers to her art show. Dwight discovers bat guano on the floor, and releases a bat from the drop ceiling. After the bat creates havoc in the office, it finally becomes trapped in the break room while a frightened Meredith is trapped in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, Ryan’s introduction of Michael focuses on the fact that, in an increasingly digital world, Dunder-Mifflin’s days of usefulness are behind them. Michael, still excited about his speech, bounds into the room tossing candy bars to the students.

Shortly after he begins his speech, Ryan suggests that Michael switch to a question-and-answer format. The students then begin to ask Michael about the declining need for paper products. As Michael stammers to explain why everyone needs paper, the camera slowly pans around the room to reveal all of the students taking notes on their laptops, with no notebooks in sight.

As he becomes increasingly agitated, Michael finally snaps and storms out of the room with a final “Suck on that!” comment which was laugh-out-loud funny. On the trip back to the office, an angry Michael banishes Ryan to the annex, where he is forced to share space with Kelly — so, basically, his greatest nightmare.

Back at the office, Jim pretends to have been bitten by the bat. Later, Jim picks up garlic bread and pretends that touching it has burned his skin. Dwight thinks Jim is becoming a vampire, and remembers a time when he killed a werewolf, but by the time he got closer to it, it had turned back into his neighbor’s dog.

As everyone leaves the office, including the newly vampiric Jim, Dwight decides to capture the bat on his own. He storms into the room with a trash bag as a hysterical Meredith tries to escape. The bat flutters around her head, however, and Dwight grabs her entire head along with the bat in the trash bag. He wrestles with it for several minutes and finally succeeds in capturing the creature. This scene was hilarious, ending with Dwight saying “you’re welcome!” to a frayed Meredith.

Meanwhile, Roy brings his brother to attend Pam’s art exhibit. Even though he continues to act interested, it becomes clear Roy is a cad, and really cares very little about Pam’s true feelings. Pam is further shaken when Oscar’s partner calls her work “motel art” and suggests she needs “courage and honesty.” Oscar replies these are not Pam’s strong suits.

Just as a dejected Pam is beginning to take down her art, Michael arrives. He becomes enamored by her picture of the Dunder-Mifflin building, and asks to buy it to hang in the office. An overwhelmed Pam thanks Michael and hugs him. For all of his failures, it was Michael that saved the day for Pam.

Grade: A.

One of the funniest episodes yet.

— Stalked by Cort Kirkland

The Office, Feb. 8 February 9, 2007

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What has happened before:

The exploits of a politically incorrect simpleton boss and his staff at a paper company.

In the last episode, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) asked Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) to find a male stripper for Phyllis’ (Phyllis Smith) office bachelorette party, but instead, Jim hired a Benjamin Franklin impersonator. Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) found a female stripper for the downstairs office bachelor party, and everything went well until Michael became uncomfortable during her dance and had to retreat to his office to call Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) to admit his infidelity.

Recap of “Phyllis’ Wedding”

Jim uses the Pavlov theory to train Dwight to want an Altoid every time he reboots his computer. Phyllis puts Michael in her wedding in order to get six weeks off for her honeymoon. Pam notes Phyllis uses all of her canceled wedding ideas for herself. Jim convinces Dwight wedding crashers are everywhere, and of course Dwight seeks them out, starting with Phyllis’ uncle, who is suffering from dementia and cannot explain who he is. Michael,after a failed toast to the new bride and groom, is thrown out by Bob Vance (Robert R. Shaffer) of Vance Refrigeration, and Dwight prevents him from coming back into the party.

Kevin plays drums in the wedding band, which covers nothing but Police songs. As the party continues inside, Michael sits alone outside. Jim, of course, refutes his feelings for Pam to the camera for the thousandth time.

Ryan (B.J. Novak) blocks Kelly (Mindy Kaling) from catching Phyllis’ bouquet. Roy (David Denman) begins to reminisce with a depressed Pam about the past and they leave together, much to Jim’s chagrin.

Grade: A-. A solid episode overall, with a couple of real highlights.

–Stalked by Cort Kirkland