‘The Office’ Recap: The Seminar

‘That’s what she said.’ – David Brent

S07E14 Let’s just take a moment to bask in the glory of last night’s cold opening on The Office. How awesome was it to see Ricky Gervais and Steve Carell do their thing together? It was as awesome as seeing Lebron and Jordan-in-his-prime on the same court. It was as awesome as seeing Jesus and Buddha playing poker together. It was as awesome as, well, the two giants of The Office sharing a ‘that’s what she said’ moment, hugging, and then continuing on their merry way.

And of course David Brent would ask about jobs. It was perfect. Well, the only way it could’ve been more perfect was if they hadn’t told us about it in the first place, but that’s a small complaint. A week’s notice wasn’t too bad. It didn’t last very long and wasn’t too over the top but easily became one of the greatest moments in The Office history. Michael meeting his new friend joins the ranks of classic moments like Michael kissing Oscar, Jim’s confession and the wedding. I’m still in shock over how good it was.

‘Two eyes, two ears, a chin. A mouth, ten fingers, two nipples, a butt, two knee caps, a penis. I’ve just described to you the Loch Ness Monster.”

But I believe this episode is most telling of what post-Michael Scott Dunder-Mifflin will look like. While we still had a Scott story line, it was the least emotional and funny of the entire episode. All the heart and laughs were saved for everyone else. With the giant hole that Carell’s departure will leave in The Office, it’s up to the players who were once relegated to the side to step up and deliver the laughs. And you know what that means? Kevin running around the conference room, eating a sandwich and coming close to passing out. Creed describing the Loch Ness monster. To be honest, I’m actually excited about that prospect. We’ve known these characters for seven years now; it’ll be great to see more of them.

‘I haven’t been making many sales lately. Or ever.’

The heart of this story was Andy. Turns out Andy isn’t that good of a salesman, but he has a last ditch effort planned out in the form of a seminar. Things don’t go as planned, of course, but it strangely turns out to have a decent result. Though Jim bailed at the last minute, costing the seminar its charm, Kelly took over and actually delivered ten secrets of business. Of course it was due to the knowledge of a professor she was sleeping with, but still, she brought the goods.

Once things get to close, Andy gets cold feet. He hasn’t ever made a sale, so how is he going to land all these at once? Michael steps up and does one of the sweetest things he has ever done, giving Andy the confidence to land the sale and BOOM, he does. Was it wrong of me to get a little proud watching Andy awkwardly landing the sales? Because I did and I don’t even care.

‘You promised us whales, these are worms.’

The other big storyline was Erin playing an epic Scrabble game with Gabe to pick out their movie of the night. My only problem with Erin is that I know she’s dumb, and I think it’s funny, but the writers and producers need to ground her or redeem her in some way for her to still be believable. Granted Scrabble is hard, but surely she could think of words that don’t appear in nursery rhymes. It was like when we first met Michael: he was loud and obnoxious but then we learned he is actually a really good salesman and that’s how he didn’t lose his job. I’m not saying Erin has to be a genius or anything, but she should at least show some competence at something, you know?

But that doesn’t really matter when you have Andy swooping in at the end coming to the rescue with Shrek 2. Gabe had been forcing Erin to watch horror movies while she wanted to watch a cartoon but then he gets one-upped by Andy. If it weren’t for David Brent showing up in the beginning this would’ve been the sweetest moment of the episode.

‘I guess when you looked in me you didn’t see my balls. They’re on the outside.’

The other minor storylines focused on the former main characters of the story. Michael created a stereotype of a Greek man that was the plant in the seminar. Holly is lured into aiding him, eventually giving in and helping him have fun. Michael takes it a step too far, but it was still a positive step forward for him. Jim runs away from one of the seminar viewers but he won’t say why. Turns out he had insulted the guy as a kid and never really talked about it. Eventually the guy runs into Jim and confronts him about it. Awkward would be an understatement, but I must admit my gleeful joy at watching Jim in awkward situations like that. I knew that handsome devil had to have a weakness.

This was definitely one of the best episodes of the year. Ricky Gervais picked the perfect one for a guest spot. While I might have to revise my official prediction for the Michael Scott ending now that we have a seminal “that’s what she said” moment, I’m actually quite pleased with what they did. If anyone deserves a special TWSS it’s David Brent and Michael Scott.