'The Office' recap: An affair to remember

the_office_lOfficers! It has been a long few months without our beloved Scrantonites, and a few things have changed: First, Ed Helms is now a superstar, thanks to The Hangover, and second, Ellie Kemper has been made a full-on cast member. Might there be a love connection in their characters’ futures? Stranger things have happened. Indeed, stranger things happen on the opening minutes of this episode. Let’s do this.

Parkour! Dwight, Michael, and Andy ran around the office shouting “parkour” and loosely imitating what Jim accurately described as “the Internet sensation of 2004.” (Recall this BBC commercial/viral hit.) As they shenaniganed around DMHQ, Dwight kicked open the door to the women’s bathroom to reveal Meredith spritzing herself with deodorant. I froze it to check that it was indeed deodorant, and it appeared to be.

Doo-doooo! Do-do-do-do-dooo, etc etc. Man, everyone looks so young in the credits.

A young woman brought Dwight some water, and two young dudes stood idly behind Pam. Turns out they’re the summer interns, the first in a while since Michael’s “Monica Lewinsky incident.” “He didn’t do anything sexual,” said Pam. “He just made far, far too many Monica Lewisnky jokes.” Cut to Meredith holding her entire body against the one with the glasses. Two Meredith moments and we’re not even three minutes in. Someone’s been reading my diary!

In the break room, chatter turns to interns Eric and Megan, who maybe have a love connection. “If they get married before I do, I’m going to kill myself,” Kelly announced, eerily convincingly. Michael felt left out of the office gossip mill, which is maybe the least surprising turn of events ever. That’s Michael’s entire M.O.

Jim and Pam told us that they haven’t told anyone about her “situation,” which Pam illustrated by pointing to her stomach and rolling her eyes. “I don’t want to walk down the aisle and have people whisper, ‘There goes the fancy whore,'” she said mock-seriously. “No, we want them to find out she’s a fancy whore when we’re good and ready,” Jim added. “Exactly.”*

Michael tried to comfort himself in his favorite way: by being better than Dwight. But it turned out Mr. Schrute had even more info about the budding intern romance — that they went on a “group date — perhaps thanks to his “low cheekbones.” Dwight then guessed that Phyllis weighs 247 pounds. You’d think someone with farm experience would be more accurate with things like that.

Michael confessionalized the…er, point I went for above: that he hates being left out. He’s terrified of being on the outside of an inside joke — we know from seasons’ past that even as a kid, he fantasized about having a family just so everyone would have to be his friend. “Being picked for a team and showing up and realizing the team doesn’t exist, or that the sport doesn’t exist. I shoulda know… poop ball?” Oh, lord. I half expected the sport to be jiggly ball.

Mori the other intern told Michael that they all ran into Stanley and his wife while on their intern-love outing. So of course, Michael seized on the shred of info and tried his hand at gossiping, only to be sternly told by Phyllis to “check [his] facts.” Not only was Stanley’s wife out of town, but “Stanley hates crowds, kids, and music.” Without meaning to, Michael had in fact stumbled on a juicy tidbit: Stanley was with someone, and they were making out. He surmised that Stanley was having an affair, and set off to tell everyone and his or her mom.

Michael tried to get Kevin to guess the gossip via the worst/best game of hangman in recent history.

Jim scolded Michael for his malicious gossip ways — “You might be ruining his life” — so Michael decided to confront Stanley by announcing that it was “time to stop being polite and start getting real.” Bwahahaha. To Michael’s — and my — enormous surprise, Stanley fessed up to philandering and begged Michael not to say anything. (The first time through, I completely and fully believed Stanley was lying right here: It seemed totally within character for him to just go along with Michael’s crazy idea, just to get the boss off his back. Ah, well. Fidelity can be a pickle.)

“How do you untell something?” Michael mused. He settled on just spreading as many fake rumors as possible. Once this scheme went into place, it was pretty clear where everything was headed — what’s that line? if there’s a secret pregnancy in act one, there’s going to be a reveal of that pregnancy in act three, and someone gets shot? I think that’s it. He tells Erin that Kelly is anorexic, Kelly that Erin is a bad employee and that Andy is gay, and Meredith that Pam is pregnant.

Kevin laughed at Andy making tea and asked if he liked it “as much as he like[d] guys’ butts,” which was especially hilarious because of Brian Baumgartner’s giggly delivery. Kevin’s a weirdly clutch player in a lot of Office goings on; he’s rarely the focus of the main narrative, but he’s frequently instructive about the trajectory of the episode. (See: Holly believing that he’s developmentally disabled, or him spilling the chili on the floor.) Andy was livid that Kevin questioned his sexuality, particularly because this is a rumor that followed Andy most of his life. In fact, it’s so persistent a rumor Andy questioned it himself and sought Oscar’s begrudging advice via a “scenario” about making out with Brad Pitt.

Off to the intern send-off party. Dwight gave a sexist and weird pep talk, and Andy congratulated Jim on the impending “baby Tuna.” The rest of the rumors surfaced: that Creed has asthma, Oscar is the voice of the Taco Bell dog, and Kevin has another person inside of him, working him with controls, which has to be the coolest rumor ever spread about him. The Dunder-Mifflinites may be slow on the uptake, but they put this one together, and confronted Michael with his bad behavior, at which point he revealed that only one of the rumors was true. One of these days, Jenna Fischer is going to get the Emmy recognition she deserves, because her sudden knowing glance here told more story than 10 minutes worth of narrative could. (Also, Pam and Jim have awesome brainphone.) Jim took the bullet for Stanley and admitted that he and Pam are going to be parents. “I knew it,” Kevin swore, “because Pam’s breasts seemed a tiny bit bigger.” They presented a sonogram for proof.

On the run-out, Michael tried to guilt trip Jim and Pam for not telling him sooner, Jim and Pam save Michael from telling Stanley’s wife about the affair, but she found out anyway, and Stanley destroyed Michael’s car.

Best lines of the night
Michael: “It’s like the end of Spartacus. I have seen that movie half a dozen times, and I still don’t know who the real Spartacus is. And that is what makes that movie a classic whodunnit.”
Erin: I’m so glad you’re eating. Kelly: Me too!
Creed: Who’s the OB/GYN?
Ryan: She’s gonna stretch.

“Gossip” had some terrific moments, but I don’t know that I’d put it on my all-time great episodes list. What did you think, PopWatchers?

Photo credit: Chris Haston/NBC

*Update So, it turns out the version that NBC aired was slightly different than the version sent out to press. I’m guessing the scenes/stray lines that made it into the screener episode will wind up on the DVDs, so I’m going to leave the recap as-is (you know, for posterity). As far as I can tell, there weren’t major differences, and I really liked that “fancy whore” line and am glad I got to share it with all of you.

Comments (79 total) Add your comment
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  • Stephanie

    I really loved this episode. It had everything I want in my Office. The events all took place in the office, every character (I believe) was involved, and Creed was just the right amount of creepy. I hope this means that this season will be better than the last.

    • johnny

      everyone exceot for daryl! and i dont remember much of angela either

      • Martha

        At the height of the gossip, Angela told Pam that even if she got married, “the baby is still a bastard.” Classic Angela.

      • johnny

        oh yeah thats right. haha definetly classic angela

  • Joe

    I miss the multiple pages of Office recaps (or any recaps for that matter). EW.com is slacking.

    • Alan

      I disagree. Recaps of 22 minute sitcoms don’t need to be long. We all saw the episode, what lengthy discussions does the Recapper really need to embark on?

    • crispy

      What? No way… multiple pages is always bad web form.

  • econruth

    Who else thought that Stanley confessing to Michael was completely out of character for Stanley? At first I thought maybe he was just glad to be able to tell someone and get it off his chest. But Stanley is never personal and then to tell Michael! Yikes!

    • Flyer

      I chalked this up to Stanley already feeling guilty about the affair and then being shocked senseless at the idea that MICHAEL, of all people, would somehow know about it. If Stanley had been thinking straight, he would have just denied the accusation and dared Michael to “make a fool of himself” by saying something about Stanley that no one in the office would believe.

  • jk

    I liked:

    “Don’t get it vaccinated.”
    “Who’s the father?”

    That succession of lines, right after the pregnancy announcement, was the only time i laughed out loud.

  • reese

    Creed’s “Who’s the OB/GYN” was hysterical!

  • Steffany

    In the Cafe Disco episode, Stanley was surprised that Erin invited a friend (a girl) to come to the party. Since then, I have been convinced she’s a lesbian, so I don’t see her and Andy ‘getting together.’ Although if she’s bisexual, it would be interesting to see Andy’s reaction to that :)

  • Fran v

    Oh, I would definitely out this on my list of best episodes. My co-worker and I have been laughing all morning.

  • Laura

    Great recap, Margaret! I think it was a pretty good episode, though I too would not put it on my best list. The Spartacus line was my favorite. I also liked Creed’s random rant about scuba diving (any random Creed rants are gold in my book), and Dwight telling the interns that two of them will succeed and one of them will be a mother. Also, I’m pretty sure Stanley’s wife figured out about the affair because Michael kept calling her Cynthia – hence Stanley destroyed Michael’s car at the end.

    • Luddite

      I loved the SCUBA thing as well. At first I thought I misheard him, then I remembered that it was Creed. Of course he was worried about SCUBA.

    • JackJack

      THE SCUBA LINE WAS HILARIOUS. Creed is just so so so so absurd, but it’s always so freaking hilarious.
      “If I can scuba, what have I been working for? What is this all about?” HILARIOUS.

  • Michael Scott Paper Co.

    “Jim and Pam save Michael from telling Stanley’s wife about the affair.”

    What epsiode were you watching? As I saw it, Teri knew that Stanley had cheated on her with Cynthia previously, but she had to again confront him after receiving Michael’s bizarre call. If that’s not what happened, why was Stanley smashing Michael’s car?

    • Chris

      They *tried* to save Michael from spilling the beans. They were initially successful in the conference room, but ultimately, you can’t keep Michael from ruining something – its destiny.

      • Dylan

        Haha, true. But in all seriousness, Stanley ruined his marriage all on his own by having the affair in the first place. He deserved to have it come to light (again). It just did so hilariously.

  • Cassie

    Am I the only one who didn’t see the same exact episode as the recapper? In my episode Pam never pointed to her stomach or talked about being called a “fancy whore.” Also Dwight never guessed Phyllis’ weight. Does the west coast get a slightly different episode? I live in western NY and wonder if the east and central time zones are different. I liked the episode but don’t want to see a slightly different version than others. Can someone help me figure this out.

    • jk

      I actually thought the same thing. I watched the episode on NBC.com, and I thought maybe I just missed those parts because the internet connection wasn’t great and it was skipping a little. Maybe the critics get the episode before it is edited for time and those parts didn’t make the final cut.

      • wendy

        same here I had the part abot it being a shotgun wedding. Nothing about Fancy Whore.

      • Recapgate

        Yeah they obviously watched a different version of the episode. I also posted about this below. Weird.

      • treee

        i saw shotgun wedding too!

    • Suza

      Okay, so maybe I’m not crazy? I didn’t remember any of those things either. I thought maybe it happened while my dogs were barking… (I’m in the Eastern time zone, too.)

      • griff

        Same with me. I got the shotgun wedding comment, which I thought was pretty funny in and of itself

    • Gina Marie

      I’m so glad that someone else posted about this, I was so confused when she quoted a few lines and I was positive they weren’t in the ep that I watched last night, I knew I was hanging on every word! Also, this recap sucks.

    • Jim

      Yes, me too. Those exact same scenes too. Dwight guessing Phillis’s weight and the fancy whore.

      Instead I got a scene about a shotgun wedding.. “no shotgun?”

    • Mark

      In Canada, we got the “shotgun wedding” episode too.

    • RK

      So, you get the episode early, and this recap is this late?

    • Mac

      Did y’all not read the full recap. She said that the episode they sent out to the media was slightly different, but because she liked “fancy whore” she was going to keep the recap as is. Look for the deleted scenes in the DVD.

      • wendy

        it’s called an update. that wasn’t on there when we all posted first but thanks for the “Update”

  • wendy

    loved the Oscar Taco bell thing. Hilarious.

  • Flyer

    The Spartacus line was one of my favorites from the entire series! It was BRILLIANT!

  • Recapgate

    Yep, I just went back to the episode on DVR, and the “fancy whore” thing is not in there. They talk about Pam’s father forcing Jim down the aisle with a shotgun instead. No pointing to Pam’s stomach. The recapper obviously watched a different version of the episode. What’s up, EW?

  • Frannellen

    Hangman was hilarious! Loved that all the characters were involved again. LOVED Michael is so undisciplined he couldn’t “not” say Terri instead of Cynthia. Gotta love him.

  • Gina Marie

    Also: I think that the Fancy Whore line is funnier than the exchange about the shotgun.

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