'The Office': Michael did a bad, bad thing

stevecarell_theoffice_s6_290.jpgThis week's "Office" recap is going to be a short one, because between one of the worst things Michael has ever done and Jim's apparent brainectomy, there was precious little that was good.

Over the course of the show's six seasons, there have been some episodes that I liked a lot less than others, but in pretty much every one, there was at least some scene or subplot or running joke that I enjoyed. Tonight? Not so much. Stanley's cackling at the mention of "Scott's Tots" was good before we knew the context, Andy's baby-talking was all right, and Erin had a couple of nice moments with Michael. But both of the main stories were such downers that they far outweigh what little good there was.

Michael wasn't really kidding when he told Jim that he'd done something worse than murder: Dashing the dreams of 15 high school kids whom he'd foolishly, stupidly promised a college education 10 years before is just low. I guess it was good of him to be straight with the students -- though a year or five years or nine years earlier would've been a hell of a lot better -- and Steve Carell played Michael's shame and sadness pretty well. But Michael's attempt to console the kids with laptop batteries just did not work as comedy.

Erin's attempts to buck Michael up on the ride home weren't especially funny either, but they were at least some good, honest character beats. Ellie Kemper is starting to add a lot to the show, and Erin's impossibly good nature is a nice counterpoint to all the cynics and clock-punchers at the branch.

Back at the Dunder Mifflin office, meanwhile, Jim apparently can't figure out that Dwight is out to sabotage him. I'm not sure a pre-management Jim would have just accepted an anonymous, supposedly objective spreadsheet detailing objective criteria for employee of the month, but co-manager Jim somehow doesn't catch on that the game is rigged. I kept waiting for him to say, "Well, Dwight, you handed me this chart that was already all filled in -- why don't you explain it?," but that moment never came.

Back when Dwight's recorder pen was introduced, I said that it could be fun to watch Dwight's ongoing frustration at how little material he gets from it. The pen factored in again tonight, and he was indeed frustrated, but Jim's blindness to what's going on is bordering on the inexplicable. Ryan wants in on Jim's takedown now too -- which has a couple possibilities of its own, given his and Dwight's past -- but mostly I really just want Jim to rediscover his intellect.

(Side note: Didn't the Scranton branch already have an employee of the month program? There used to be a plaque on the wall outside Michael's office that I thought was for employee of the month recognition.)

So ... yeah. No bullets tonight, because the sooner we all put this one out of our minds the better. I'm not off the "Office" bandwagon, not by a long shot. But "Scott's Tots" was just a big letdown.

What did you think of "The Office" this week?


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Photo credit: NBC
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