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Television Recaps: The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

December 4, 2009

scottstotsThe Office: “Scott’s Tots”

Well, I wanted to see Michael squirm, and here you have it. In his never-ending quest for approval Michael’s promised a lot things to a lot of people, but none so generous nor undeliverable than offering to pay the college tuition of an entire third grade class—the titular “Scott’s Tots.” But now it’s 10 years later, the kids are expecting their money, and Michael’s got to fess up. So he and Erin visit the school where it becomes disturbingly clear how much everyone had riding on this whopper: A classroom’s been dedicated to Michael, teachers and Scranton leaders have come out to praise his generosity, and the Tots themselves perform a song and dance routine on how the prospect of a free college ride gave them the determination to succeed in school.

Back at the office, Dwight enacts a master plan to bring down Jim through the introduction of an employee of the month program. First covering his tracks by having Andy make the suggestion, Dwight works up a performance sheet that ensures anonymity, takes up an unauthorized collection for an employee-of-the-month cash prize, and wheels it so Jim will inadvertently choose himself, making his fellow Dunder-Mifflinites think the whole thing was a clever ruse by Jim.

Some odd character turns here—Michael, though he’s not left with any alternatives, in a rare show of honesty actually doesn’t try to weasel out of this one or defer the blame. Dwight, on the other hand, reveals a darker side, demonstrating how ruthless and eerily competent a schemer he can be.

And yet, while this episode seemed a good deal more serious in tone, there’s a lot of funny moments: Stanley taking ghoulish pleasure in Michael’s plight; Erin getting a bit too caught up in the school’s celebration of Scott’s Tots (especially since she knows what’s coming); and, of course, Dwight pretending to be his co-workers and calling Dunder-Mifflin CEO David Wallace to complain about Jim’s mishandling of the program (Toby was a personal favorite).

In all, a solid episode. “Murder” got a lot of laughs from letting each of the cast get a line; “Scott’s Tots” does something similar, but offers up a lot more character development as well—we all knew Dwight had a lot of evil in him but hoped it’d stay brewing beneath the surface; and Ryan’s alliance with Dwight to bring down Jim hopefully means we’ll get to see more of him in the future. But the standout is moving forward with Erin, who hasn’t had much to do this season other than to sit there and look unbearably adorable while the rest of the office sociopathically demeaned her. Not sure if the implied relationship between her and Andy is going to work out, but at least Michael’s starting to warm up to her, too. And wouldn’t it be fun to explore her darker side?


Also, “Scott’s Tots” wins it for best title of the season.

macanddenniswriteamovieIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “Mac and Charlie Write a Movie”

It may sound bad saying this, but I like how when the gang’s activities are confined within the group, Dee is always the victim. She may have the loosest morals of the five (Dennis is not far behind; Mac has no qualms going along with others’ horrific schemes; Frank is more self-destructive, so not quite as bad; and Charlie is actually pretty decent, save when he’s provoked), but as the token punching-bag, she takes what she deserves but always generates some sympathy. There’s also a tinge of sadness to her continually failed acting aspirations, half due to the gang’s interference, half to her obvious lack of talent.

And I like how even though she sets tonight’s story in motion, poor Dee isn’t even given her own episode title (though considering the episodes with “Dee” in the title—”Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person”; “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack”; and my personal favorite “Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire”—that may be a good thing). Sure, she’s a horrible person, but was she born horrible or was she made horrible? I think it’s the latter, so I admire her for at least attempting to better herself.

Anyway, this week Dee’s landed the dubious role of “featured corpse” in a scene for an M. Night Shyamalan film, which spurs Frank to take an indifferent Dennis under his wing and whore his adopted son out as an extra. In the meantime, Mac and Charlie view this is the perfect opportunity to pitch their script The Fifth Sense: Smell, a charming crime drama featuring Dolph Lundgren as a fish-net-shirt-wearing scientist who possesses the uncanny ability to sniff out crime. Frank and Dennis want in as producers, leading to Dennis’ observation that what this film—and all action films—desperately lack is hardcore sex.

I may be in the minority, but I’m not sure the world is ready to see Dolph’s aging hog. It’s probably not ready for an M. Night Shymalan film about Serbian genocide either—especially one featuring Frank as a corpse who munches on hot links from his breast pocket.

Some good moments, but a little off base. Mac and Dennis’ unique approach to screenwriting feels like the writers are taking a few jabs at every jerk who’s told them, “Yeah, I got an idea for a show,” but it’s also really funny. Frank, Dee, and Dennis have a few great moments (who doesn’t find a blood-drenched Dee arousing?), but their storylines never get off the ground. I was hoping for something much worse than simply them quitting the film and Frank filling their role.


Did someone make sure that the length of Frank’s sausages was consistent?

“Put some meat in the seats.”

“What’s the one thing missing from all action movies? Full penetration.”


2 Responses to “ Television Recaps: The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia ”

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