‘The Office’ Recap: Pam’s Replacement

S8:E7 My favorite episodes of The Office are always the ones that touch upon things that happen in real life. For instance, last week’s episode wasn’t my favorite because it’s extremely unlikely for someone to dislike his coworkers so much that he’d devise a way for them to all get fired (Doomsday wasn’t a terrible episode – it just wasn’t one of the better ones). But tonight’s episode was really stellar because it depicted a very real feeling pregnant women have about their husbands finding other women attractive.

“I’m training a temp to be my replacement for when I go on maternity leave.” – Pam

So Pam finds a very pretty girl named Kathy to replace her while she’s home with her new baby and since Pam’s due date is coming, Kathy is shadowing her in the office and learning what she’ll have to do in the coming months. Everyone is obsessed with Kathy and her good looks, and they even speculate about whether or not she has a boyfriend when they’re all eating lunch in the break room. Pam pretends to be fine with how much attention Kathy is getting, but she’s actually really uncomfortable and self-conscious about the weight she’s gained during her pregnancy. She is interested in whether or not Jim thinks Kathy is pretty too, and decides to ask him directly hoping she’ll get a straight answer. But when she does, Jim categorically denies even noticing Kathy (but confesses to the camera that yes, he thinks Kathy is quite the looker, but admitting it isn’t going to do anybody any good). Pam is not fooled by Jim’s lie and is determined to find out whether or not he thinks Kathy is gorgeous, and so she enlists Dwight’s help to coax the truth out of him.

“I play the harmonica. I think I have one in my car.” – Robert California

Andy, Kevin and Daryl are all musicians, and occasionally during the workday they go down to the warehouse and play music together. That day, Robert California stumbles upon their jam session and rather than be disappointed that the group isn’t working, he’s impressed with his employees’ talent. He admits that he plays the harmonica and after he gets it out of his car, the four of them have a nice moment of making music together. Andy is especially pleased because all he’s ever wanted is to be accepted by Robert, and so he’s just delighted for the chance to impress his boss. But the moment is soiled when Robert invites a few of his other musician friends to come join them, and Andy, Kevin and Daryl are forced to give up their instruments so Robert’s friends can play with him. They are disappointed, obviously, but are happy when they no longer have to play with Robert because the dynamic of their band (which is called “Kevin and The Zits”) changed when Robert got involved.

“We start with the crotch.” – Dwight

Dwight and Pam first ask Kelly (the relationship guru) about the best way they can get Jim to admit the temp is beautiful, and she recommends having him take the Matchmaker Test. The way it works is Pam asks Jim who he would set Kathy up to go out with and if he picks someone ugly, then he’s definitely not attracted to her. So Pam asks and Jim says he’d pair her with one of their mutual friends named Kevin, who isn’t very handsome – and so according to the Matchmaker Test, Jim is not attracted to Kathy (not surprisingly, Jim deliberately picked Kevin for Kathy because he suspected Pam was subjecting him to the Matchmaker Test). But Pam still doesn’t believe Jim isn’t interested in Kathy, and so Dwight suggests that while Jim is talking to Kathy, he feel his crotch to see if the blood flow down there has increased…because if it has, that would be sufficient evidence that Jim is into Kathy. So Dwight pretends to fall into Jim’s lap, and finds that the flow of blood to that area has not remained constant. Dwight’s next idea is to submit Jim to a pseudo lie detector test, and so they walk to the nearest drug store and Jim puts his arm in one of those blood pressure machines while Dwight asks him questions (including whether or not he thinks Pam’s replacement is pretty). Unfortunately for Jim, his blood pressure makes it look like he’s lying to every question – but Pam eventually figures out he’s truly not lying and that her husband, in fact, has high blood pressure, which concerns her enough to forget about Kathy completely. And so Pam leaves the drug store feeling comfortable in Jim’s love for her even though she’s gained weight, and Jim leaves knowing he successfully convinced Pam he only has eyes for her).

The storyline regarding Andy, Kevin and Daryl making music with Robert California was pretty weak, and so I’m not really going to address it. However, I thought the plot where Pam wanted Jim to admit that Kathy is pretty while Jim having to hide the fact that he thought Kathy is pretty was really enjoyable because all these years, Pam and Jim have been made out to be the perfect couple. They’ve practically molded into one person and even though I love them together so much and want to be as happy as they are one day, tonight’s episode gave us a glimpse of what it would be like if they weren’t so perfect.