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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Michael, refusing to let his old clients go, tries to woo them back with gift baskets. Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell by Ron Tom/NBC
Episode Recap: Dunder Mifflin Infinity

My favorite thing about this episode was the sly parallel that connects the three love stories (well, two of them are technically deeply dysfunctional break-up stories, but you get what I mean) and Michael�s obsession with sticking to his old methods rather than learning to change and embrace technology: in both cases, everyone in the office would rather go crawling back to whatever or whoever makes them feel comfortable, rather than move on after it�s over. This episode really reminds me how The Office works not only as a comedy, but also as a drama as well. I mean, it�s not exactly Tony Soprano strangling a guy in the witness protection program while he�s touring colleges with his daughter, but this show isn�t afraid to add plenty of moral ambiguity until we�re not sure how much we like some of these characters.

Case in point: Ryan, who�s let his new sense of power go way to his head. He�s clearly embarrassed by his time as a temp and wants to throw his weight around to show how far he�s come. Not that Kelly is acting any more mature about his arrival. I almost did a spit-take when she told Ryan she was pregnant, and then the camera cut to an interview of her just shaking her head to let us know it was all a scam (although I admit I was pretty sure her pregnancy claim was fake when they revealed it in the episode�s preview � that�s way too big a plot twist to spoil beforehand). Can you blame Ryan for being angry? But then just when it looks like the show might cast him in a sympathetic light, he tries to get Kelly fired and hits on Pam in the cruelest, sleaziest possible way: by making her think she has a shot at designing a new corporate logo. He needs to find a good razor and take his ego down a notch or two immediately.

And while we probably all saw it coming, Dwight and Angela�s relationship bites the dust. If Dwight had any real social skills whatsoever, he would have realized they were doomed when Angela demanded that they eat at a crowded restaurant. Dude � that�s code for �I want people to be around us so you can�t make a big scene.� Nor did his attempts to win her back with the loveable replacement pet Garbage help. Hint: next time pick a cat that isn�t named after its habit for eating the trash. But as crazy as Dwight is, I felt sorry for him the moment they broke up. Something tells me it�s going to be a long, hard search to find another woman willing to tolerate him.

Thankfully, Jim and Pam are still going strong, even after being outed as a couple by Toby in front of the entire office. But I wonder how much Jim thinks about the fact that he sacrificed his professional career in order to be with Pam. He could have had Ryan�s job � though hopefully not his new personality � if he had wanted. The scene in the break room where Andy and Kevin suck up to Ryan while Jim sits in a corner and pretends not to notice is based on a painful truth: for most people, how much money you make and what you do for a living are the only standards by which someone should be judged. Jim might be the only guy in the office still in a happy relationship, but it�s come at the high price of giving up the corporate job while Ryan is treated as the coolest guy ever for taking it instead.

All this — and Michael drives the company car right into a lake because the navigational system told him to! And how does Michael not get fired for insulting a former client and stealing back a thank-you gift basket? Sometimes it�s a little hard to believe that he can get away with such obnoxious behavior without any ramifications. The scene where he and Dwight march into the building to demand it back reminded me of the scene from last year when he kept interrupting Phyllis�s wedding: I was cringing almost as much as I was laughing.

Once again, I present to you this episode�s Dundies:

Best Facial Expression by Jim: His faux-smug look as he gestures towards Dunder Mifflin�s impressive former website, which brags that it will be operational by Christmas� of 2002.

Best Disconnected-from-Reality Dwight Moment: His terrible sales pitch for Garbage the cat (and subsequently abandoning the poor feline in someone�s office).

Best Insensitive Michael Moment: Shoving the founder of Dunder Mifflin out the door after he starts to ramble, and then refusing to call him a taxi.

Best Andy-is-a-Sycophantic-Creep Moment: Saying that Ryan �smells like I think Pierce Brosnan must smell.�

Best Creed-is-a-Creepy-Old-Man Moment: Dying his hair an unconvincing jet black and telling Ryan how much he loves Red Bull in order to look young and hip.

Best Overall Moment: Dwight and Michael abandoning the flooded car as the navigational system tells them to �make a U-turn if possible.�

So another great episode with a ton of perfect character moments. Until next week, let me know what you thought and suggest your own nominations for future Dundie categories I should add.

Check out our video guide to catch up on The Office and find clips and episodes from all your favorite shows.

Posted by Jack Rodgers
Oct 4, 2007 11:07 PM
It's funny - I really enjoyed the scene with Michael and Dwight going back to reclaim the gift basket. I'm not normally one to enjoy over-the-top Michael scenes, but this one was hilarious: WHERE ARE THE TURTLES?! He looked absolutely insane. I'm assuming since the guy was a FORMER client there would be no trouble. Then again, Michael has always been Teflon, so...
Posted by araiday
Oct 5, 2007 12:22 AM
Best Michael as a child moment: His "brother" from the former Yugoslavia who stole all his pants. Yet more information on why Michael is the way that he is.
Posted by araiday
Oct 5, 2007 12:28 AM
My vote for best moment of the night: After Ryan creepily hits on Pam and she tells him that she and Jim are dating the cut to Jim a beat or two later when he says "I guess he can't get any girl he wants" and then the big smile on his face were just fantastic. The perfect combination of genuinely being happy to be with Pam and "take that you slime ball Ryan". Loved it!

I, too, cracked up when the navigational system was urging the driver to make a u-turn out of the lake.

One small oddity to me...did anyone else find Phyllis' comments about not giving sales calls to the person you are sleeping with that week a little out of character for her? And especially because I thought she was championing a Jim and Pam relationship.

A much more seamless hour episode than the first one, I loved them both, though.

One idea for future Dundie category---Best Reuse of Visual Aids. As Jim and Pam point out, not only was the "Big" picture reused, but so was Ben Kingsley (?). They talked about how he used it when he "cooked his foot" that's funny stuff!
Posted by kellyn
Oct 5, 2007 12:28 AM
While I enjoyed most of this episode, I can only be asked to suspend belief for so long. The character of Michael is given a long leash as far as his antics go, but I just CANNOT believe Michael would ACTUALLY drive his car into the lake. Completely ruined the last ten minutes for me.
Posted by Ernster
Oct 5, 2007 1:14 AM
The episode was good. I was surprised though that Michael and Dwight didn't win any clients back. Michael always seems to pull through at the last moment and remind us why he is still around.

I will say I love this show because of how they bring back things from past episodes. Gives something to us loyal watchers to look out for.
Posted by kandice31
Oct 5, 2007 1:36 AM
I would like to suggest an alternate Best Jim Facial Expression. Near the end after Ryan was trying to ask out Pam, when Jim had his talking head and said "I guess he can't get any girl he wants." and just grinned. That was great.
Posted by ashleyeh
Oct 5, 2007 1:40 AM
Oops. Look like I didn't read Kellyn's comment. I'm glad I'm not the only one who really enjoyed that moment.
Posted by ashleyeh
Oct 5, 2007 1:43 AM
My LOL Line Dundie was Dwight's sharing of an "old salesman's trick" with Angela in response to her no longer being able to look him in the eyes.
Posted by BIGGIN
Oct 5, 2007 5:03 AM
Poor Toby! The scene where he refuses to let Jim and Pam sign a relationship disclosure, wanting to just "see how it goes," was so sad and funny. And, he still gets a "Shut up, Toby," from Michael when he agrees with Michael that ageism is illegal.

I loved most of this episode, but I really hate scenes with just Michael and Dwight, with no normal people to temper the broad comedy.

Fave scenes: Jan and Ryan's interchange and Kevin and Andy being the wannabe cool kids ("You're so money and you don't even know it but you do.")
Posted by katewf98
Oct 5, 2007 6:28 AM
First, I loved Toby's disbelief in seeing Pam date Jim. "Let's just see how it goes." Toby is my favourite.

Second, I loved when Michael complained the printer had run out of ink and they cut to Creed with his ink-black hair. Perfect!
Posted by ScottyT
Oct 5, 2007 7:33 AM
Glad to see others enjoyed Jim's "I guess he can't get *any* girl he wants." That was great.

You're right. Ryan is a slimeball now. Definitely forgotten from where he's come.

I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned Creed's black hair. He cracks me up. I never know what he's going to do next. When Creed came in and all you saw was the back of his head, my husband said, "Who's that?" We couldn't figure it out until the CC revealed it. ROFL!

Of course, husband also realized for the first time that Toby has a thing for Pam. Then again, who in the office doesn't... Jim, Toby, Ryan. C'mon, there's plenty of girls in the office to drool over. Kelly and Angela... oh, well, never mind.

Finally, for Pennsylvanians, especially those with a connection to Scranton, I loved the local references like the University of Scranton flag - go alma mater! - and Route 307 and Lake Scranton. I wish they could have shown more of the restaurant Dwight and Angela were in. Scranton has some great watering holes.
Oct 5, 2007 9:05 AM
Kellyn - The part you mentioned concerning Phyllis did not bother me that much. Her character is mostly timid, but I have definitely seen her assert herself on occasion.

I agree with kandice31 and was also surprised they did not win back any clients. Michael can be such a dufus, but they have shown him coming through in a pinch when needed. Heck, that is what got Jan into him in the first place. That and a few margaritas.

The scene of him driving into the lake had me laughing out loud. That, the u-turn instruction, and them subsequently getting out of the car and lake were hysterical.

I liked it better when Ryan still had his "I am better than this" attitude, but had to suffer the humiliations of being a temp for Michael.
Posted by Jayhawk
Oct 5, 2007 9:12 AM

Believe it or not, I was originally going to name Jim's smirk when Pam blows Ryan off (and his comment that "he can't get any girl he wants") as the runner-up in the category of Best Jim Facial Expression. There's almost too much material in these supersized episodes to cover everything in one recap.

Also, I'm ashamed to admit I didn't realize that Creed dyed his hair by stealing all of the ink out of the printer. I was wondering why Michael had mentioned it - I thought it was just supposed to show how clueless he was at technology. Nice catch, Scott.
Posted by Jack Rodgers
Oct 5, 2007 9:16 AM
OMG Scott Thrower I didn't even pick that up. Thanks!

I knew I had missed a few funnies. I'll watch it on tivo again this weekend.

Jack I love your weekly Dundies. Means you're the best blogger at TV Guide dude. Or does it mean that you're so money that you don't even know it?

Kevin's I knew it! when poor Toby outted PB&J was funny.

Poor Dwight. How come he was the only one who didn't realize he was going to get broken up with? Garbage made my side hurt I was laughing so hard.

Once again Pam looked hot and yes Jim's I guess he can't any girl he wants was the priceless moment of the night.

As usual I loved the quick glimpse of psycho Kelly but wished I could get more of her pining for Ryan. It was total deja vu when the camera cut to Toby as Kelly and Ryan fought. I wish the pregnancy lie could've been stretched out longer, I just love seeing her torture him. Her surprise that they were never going to get back together was my laugh out loud moment for the two of them.

I missed Meredith but Creed calling Ryan Bro kinda made up for it.

Kandice I was surprised that Michael and Dwight couldn't woo anybody back too.

I think I laughed the loudest when the poor old dude got pushed out the door and had to stand there because Michael refused to call him a cab. Did anyone else recognize him from Big Love?

Not as funny as last week, but on it's worse day it's still my favorite show so I'm a happy girl!
Posted by KAD
Oct 5, 2007 9:21 AM
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