Posted by Brian McCullough
This is our weekly wrap-up and discussion of NBC’s The Office. This is your spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, then stop right here.
If you’ve already seen the episode and want to add your two cents, then click right through and join us!
As you noticed if you watched any of the other NBC comedies last night, it was NBC’s Green Week. Yes, it was an absurd corporate synergy gimmick that the meta-30 Rock was able to skewer even while conforming (who knew Al Gore could act?).
So, like the other shows, the Office had to crowbar in some sort of story that conformed with the “green” theme. In our case, Ryan has a “getting to know you” camping weekend to which he invites several of the middle managers from across the Dunder Mifflin universe- including Toby. Michael… is not invited.
So, Michael decides to be Survivorman. Why? I dunno. Outfitted with nothing but a knife (supplied from a hidden office arsenal) and a roll of duct tape, Dwight blindfolds him and takes him out to the wilderness for some… survivaling. Of course, Dwight (the Overkill Killer) is a bit of a Survivorman himself, and so he sticks around to make sure Michael survives his ordeal. What we get are a few predictable riffs on Michael’s ineptitude/underestimation of his own nature skills. In the end, Dwight saves Michael from ingesting poisonous mushrooms and the adventure is over.
This subplot felt exactly like what it was: a tacked-on, unnecessary and illogical subplot. The real fun and the real action was back in the office where Jim was in charge. I don’t know about you, but didn’t you always get the sense that, as great a guy as Jim is, he’d likely be a miserable failure as a boss? Well, Jim proves this by making a “rookie” mistake when he decrees that instead of celebrating everyone’s birthday individually, birthdays will now be rolled into one communal bash.
The natives predictably rebel against this, and Jim finds that managing everyone’s petty jealousies and bickering is more than he bargained for. The office denizens, for their part, feel that the power has gone to Jim’s head. And Jim begins to display Michael-esque leadership tendencies. He even begins to dislike Toby.
In the end, Michael returns to save Jim who is shaken by the realization that there’s a little bit of Michael in all of us.
I think this was an uneven episode. The Survivorman subplot was so needless and ill-fitting… but it was paired with one of the more enjoyable subplots about the office’s delicate social order.
Quote of the week: “It’s better to be hurt by someone you know- accidentally- than by a stranger on purpose.”