For the second week in a row, The Office split its time between the Scranton branch and an off-site location. This time, though, Michael’s sojourn away from the branch was more meaningufl, as he was giving a deposition in Jan’s suit against Dunder Mifflin.
Yeah, it didn’t sound like a good idea to me either.
(I keep the spoilers under my own side of the mattress.)
As Jan notes on the way to New York for Michael’s deposition, the two of them have gone over Michael’s testimony in detail, because "we wouldn’t want to leave anything up to chance or Michael’s judgment." And, oh yeah, there’s the rub.
Thanks to Jan’s coaching and his own mnemonic devices ("My friend Diz Ray has new specs"), Michael performs well at first — until Jan’s lawyer asks him if he was directly under her for the entire six-plus years she was his boss. Of course, he said "That’s what she said."
"She told you she was your direct superior?" the confused attorney asked. Michael, equally confused: "Why would she say that?" The stenographer reads back a lengthy exchange — all of it brilliant in a Who’s on First sort of way — and all Michael can say is that she’s ruining the delivery.
And yeah, things come crashing down. Michael sees a bad evaluation from Jan, after they were seeing each other, and hears another deposition from Wallace about how he wasn’t seriously considered for Jan’s job. But Jan brought his diary into the proceeding — and dear lord, I darn near peed a little when the attorney read the "More tomorrow, XOXO Michael" closer — and, well, that was beyond the pale for him. He couldn’t bring himself to say the company mistreats its employees.
I don’t know whether to laugh or turn away in shame from that final scene, though, as they bicker about what to eat while they’re driving home. It was like watching two friends fight — fascinating and incredibly uncomfortable at the same time.
I’m also sad because it’ll apparently be a while before we see the next episode, where Jan and Michael invite Jim and Pam to dinner not long after the deposition. Yes, folks, this was the last original Office finished before the writers went on strike, so we’re in rerun territory for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately, the show left us with the indelible image of Kelly adapting Avril Lavigne lyrics to talk smack — not trash, which is totally hypothetical, but smack, which is happening right now — over Jim’s lack of ping-pong prowess. I was figuring Pam would find a chance to talk some smack of her own at some point, which would send Kelly off crying into a corner, but that’s not the way the show chose to go. Instead, Pam challenged Kelly to their own game of table tennis, which is probably still going on. If I were Jim or Darryl I would have gone upstairs to play too.
Other notable moments from Thursday’s episode:
- Honestly, I don’t know why Toby even tries anymore with Michael. Here he was trying to empathize with Michael, telling a painful story about his parents’ divorce, and Michael just shoves his tray of food off the table. That’s got to be among the dickiest things he’s ever done; I really would like to hear a real explanation of the really deep, dark animosity Michael feels toward Toby. It can’t just be because Toby thwarts his "cool" ideas.
- So yeah, Toby laughing at Michael’s diary stuff about Ryan? Completely justified.
- Jan’s lawyer: "How long have you known the plaintiff?" Michael: "I haven’t seen it, but I have seen The Firm and The Pelican Brief. I plan on renting it."
- Every bit of Dwight’s table-tennis awesomeness, from his trip to the hall of fame (there really is one) to the poster he used to have on his wall to his complete nonchalance as he was smoking Jim on the conference-room table.
- Michael: "How’d you even find [my diary]?" Jan: "You keep it under my side of the mattress." Michael: "I don’t like the lump."
Your turn: Favorite moments from this week’s Office? How messed up and co-dependent are Jan and Michael?