TV RECAP: ‘The Office: Counseling’
Another fine opening! Now that Dwight owns the building, he’s looking for new sources of revenue, so he’s decided to open a day-care center, run by Cousin Moze and located in one of the creepiest rooms of the building, made creepier by the décor, which includes an Insane Clown Posse poster (where “Insane” and “Posse” are crossed out); a chest of plastic forks and knives (for imaginative fun); and buckets for number one, number two, and, uh, feed.
Back at the regular episode, Michael, following his spanking incident last week, has been ordered to undergo several hours of counseling with his arch-nemesis Toby (who, naturally, has a degree in social work). However, the sessions largely consist of Michael glaring at Toby and only opening his mouth to deliver the next insult. But at least he’s getting some sort of help, because, as Phyllis says, “He’s got a lot of issues and he’s stupid.”
Meanwhile, Dwight’s boycotting the Steamtown Mall and demands that the rest of the office join his crusade…whatever that is, because he says his reasons for the boycott are none of their business. To get everyone else on board, he plans on calling up all Mall-related clients and delivering an excoriating, profanity-laden tirade. So far, it’s worked at losing Andy’s clients. Jim quickly diffuses the situation, and Dwight reveals that his anger derives from an incident the day before, when the owners of one of the stores refused him service…sort of…based on his appearance. Kelly suggests that he doll himself up, go back to the shop, and “Pretty Woman their ass.” Creed suggests they start their own mall, which Erin spastically seconds. Jim goes with Kelly’s idea, and Andy invites himself along to give Dwight a makeover.
And Pam’s struggling with her sales, ultimately deciding that she’s not cut out for it (“The thing that’s unfair about sales is that it’s based on commissions, so if you suck at sales, you don’t make any money. Well, I guess that’s fair”). Opportunity knocks when a traveling salesman asks to see the office administrator, and Pam steps up to the post, which doesn’t actually exist, but hey, it beats waiting for a promotion.
Michael’s counseling sessions aren’t making much progress. Michael’s talking, but instead of hurling insults, now he’s describing to Toby how he ate his penis…er, peas for dinner and was probed by Alf. By now, they’re at the halfway point and actually backtracking on any real progress. Toby turns the tables by inviting Michael to wind down the next three hours by playing board games, subtly laced with some conversation disguised as counseling. All goes well until Michael catches on and rebuffs Toby, who gives up and hands Michael a session-sheet, which he abruptly fills out.
Dwight stumbles his way through describing the plot of Pretty Woman (which he’s never seen) for the camera while Andy primps his hair and has to restrain himself from correcting Dwight’s summation. The rest of the office chimes in with some helpful tips, i.e. “Say, ‘Good morning’” (though I like Dwight’s response: ‘I see you every day; why not say, ‘Good month’?”). And he has a flirtatious “Thank-you” session with Angela. In the end, his new attire has him looking like a 19th-Century British pimp. And as the trio heads back to the mall, there’s a delightful moment where Erin explains her odd take on the disposable camera.
Pam maintains her ruse by telling everyone that some no-name at corporate (who isn’t there anymore) uh, did some paperwork, and she now in her capacity as office adinistrator makes around $40,000 or $50,000 a year. More like $41,000. (Pam needs to work on her backstory a bit.) She meets with Gabe to explain her newfound “situation” (apparently there was a misfile in the corporate paperwork), who asks for every department head’s signature so he can back it up with corporate. So far so good, especially with Michael, who, fresh from the breakdown of his counseling session, mindlessly offers up his signature without even hearing Pam’s schtick. She returns the sheet to Gabe but he brings up the fact that, after going through all the paperwork for the past five years, there’s no record of her as office administrator—and yet, he’d rather maintain the ruse than call her a liar. So Pam has the job.
And Dwight’s triumphant return to the mall reveals that the reason for his ejection was his beet-juice-stained hands and rather threatening attire. Jim tries again to diffuse the situation as Dwight explodes, yelling to the manager that it was, indeed, beet juice on his hands and not blood. And on his way out, he buys a pewter wizard.
Lastly, Michael’s sheet marks him as homicidal, and he’s quick to accuse Toby of fudging the forms before the two finally bond by passing the blame on to Gabe.
There’s wasn’t much of a plot last week, but oy there was a lot this week. Dwight’s story didn’t do much for me, but I was glad to see him try playing a gentleman…who wants to purchase a pewter wizard. Pam…eh, take or leave. But the episode belongs to Toby and Michael—with some highlights of douchebaggery from Ryan.
All in all, a pleasure to watch.