'The Office' recap: You're not the boss of me

A limo ride, a recycling mythical beast-turned-robot, a former senator, and a serious lack of line-management skills: “Shareholders Meeting” brought us back to the nitty gritty of actual corporate life, and it wasn’t pretty. The life I mean. The episode was…okay. Is it bad that I missed Jan for a little bit? Anyway, forget the town car and hop in.

We opened with Dwight resuming his “Recyclops” character, who encourages everyone to recycle, and Jim walked us through the evolution of said character, from mere bandana-and-t-shirt to full on robot costume complete with scrolling LED sign. It’s a funny bit, particularly the mythology about his rival beast “Polluticorn,” but I’m surprised to see the show claim there’s a years-long running gag that we don’t already know about. If Dwight’s done this every year, how come we’ve never seen it before? (Speaking of, how come we’ve never seen another Pretzel Day? Or another Dundies? Hell, I want refresher sexual harassment seminar.) We’ve been immersed in this office’s goings on for years now — I’m almost a little sad to think they have rituals and rites we’ve never seen. Last week’s martial arts demonstration seemed like less of a deal, I guess, than Dwight’s full-on costuming and rampage.

Michael, in a garishly shiny suit, practiced his crowd-approval gestures for an upcoming shareholders meeting where he believed he’d be greeted with elation. Dunder-Mifflin’s bigwigs sent a limo to pick Michael up — the kind, per Erin, that rich kids take to the prom on TV — and even though Oscar deemed the company’s management “boobs” for such an extravagance, there’s no way around the festiveness of a limo. Michael too was so taken that he invited everyone who wanted to join him, which somehow resulted in Andy, Dwight, and Oscar going along. Talk about thwarted (subverted?) expectations: I thought this was going to be a straight ride to Shenanigan-town, particularly given Andy and Oscar’s away-from-the-office past: Beer me dos Long Island iced teas, anyone? Dwight and Andy’s budding relationship didn’t get any special attention either. I’m hoping the deleted scenes from this episode dive into the unique dynamic and level of hell-raising these and only these three could create.

At the convention-size meeting, things go from bad (Dwight not being able to line up for a question)  to worse: Michael was  resoundingly booed as part of the leadership panel on the dais. We knew things were going to go terribly at this meeting, just given the level of enthusiasm and planning we saw from Michael,  but I was sure this was going to be like, nuclear-winter bad. I had braced myself for something so much worse than this; just booing, and Michael slowly realizing that the management side is widely reviled, didn’t seem so bad.

Back in Scranton, Jim couldn’t make Ryan, whose douchiness is now at Dane Cook levels, do simple tasks, and it turned out that no one (including Pam) thought he had any managerial power. Given what we know about managerial power from the shareholders meeting, it’s definitely be-careful-what-you-wish-for territory. But that’s sort of the tagline for Jim’s entire ascent: Is this really what you want? Because it’s thankless, sometimes humiliating, and a lot less fun and thrilling than it maybe sounded like it was going to be. Eventually, tired of Ryan’s bad attitude and constant Tetris-playing, Jim made him sit in the closet by the bathroom instead of a desk. It was a funny moment of triumph (sort of) for Jim, and a secluded space where you’re forced to do that which you despite just screamed “Harmony Hut” from Addams Family Values to me, so win/win.

The meeting continued to tank as the management folk fielded irate questions from a grumpy crowd, and in a moment of desperation, Michael suddenly emerged as a business hero, promising (with zero backup or reason, but still) to assemble a 45-day, 45-point plan to get Dunder-Mifflin back on track. It was exactly what the crowd wanted to hear, and of course, once fueled by the energy of people even briefly liking, accepting, or respecting him, Michael just couldn’t stop. When he then tried to get management actually to make a plan, even calling on Oscar to speak truth to this perceived power, no one went for it, and Michael was left only with the option to call them names and hightail it back to the comped limo.

Plotwise, I’m curious how the decline of Dunder-Mifflin affects the branch, but I don’t know that this episode brought out the best, funniest parts of any of our characters. Dwight admonishing the woman in line that “If onlys and justs were candies and nuts, then everyday would be Erntedankfest” was hilarious, but it paled for me compared to “Dwight’s Speech” from season two. Michael’s had a contentious relationship with David Wallace and his higher-ups in the past; did we really get something new from this interaction? I didn’t.

Other thoughts:
++ Dwight saying that he’s less into boobs and more into calves was so perfect

++ Erntedankfest is apparently German thanksgiving, which is lovely except that I heard “donkfest,” thought it had to do with donkeys, and was more than a little disappointed to find out otherwise.

++ Wait, Andy got into Cornell with only a 1220 on his SATs? I thought he’d have scored higher than that.

++ Oh, what I wouldn’t have given for more of that scene between Ryan and Creed

So, PopWatchers, what did you think of “The Shareholders Meeting”? Has it personally won 17 Dundies, or are you revoking its Internet access and making it sit in a closet?

Comments (141 total) Add your comment
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  • Elizabeth

    I wondering how much longer Ryan will be able to hang onto his job – if they’ll have to make personnel cuts or if they’ll offer early retirement, that kind of stuff. I mean, he’s lower on the food chain, which means he probably makes less than say Dwight or Phyllis or Stanley. I’m wondering if they’ll explore that side of today’s corporate America.

    I do have to say it used to make me feel better to watch the office because the shenanigans distracted me from my current situation, but last night was almost true-to-life of my company. Except we don’t have a Michael who actually wants to try and fix the problem.

    • JLyman

      Elizabeth – I agree 100% with what you said about the parts dealing with bad management because it also made me laugh in a sad, sort of resigned, way as it relates so aptly to my employer. Such sweet satire, whether intended or not.

      • WayBeyondSoccerMom

        I found myself stopping the DVR recording of the stockholders meeting, several times, to give my son my own real life examples of corporate mismanagement. The episode would have been funnier if it didn’t ring so true. Instead, the humor burned. Even Ryan playing Tetris while his boss stood there, I’ve also witnessed. Yay for the closet! Just once, I’d like my own management to handle a situation like that. For once Michael and Jim were people I wished I worked with.

  • Barney

    It was good. Not great, but good.

    As soon as Michael said he wouldn’t do “the twirl”, I knew he would, and was not disappointed!

    • Tookie

      I agree, not great but good. Loved Ryan getting sent to the closet!

      • Rebecca

        I actually squealed with glee when Jim sent Ryan in the closet. I’ve never liked Ryan at all and it was great to see Jim put him in his place.

    • Alan

      Loved the twirl! And I loved huge lineups forming at both microphones just as Dwight was about to go up to it!

  • Meg

    Sometimes with Michael less is more. Less Michael, more Andy please.

  • Chris

    Could we see the eventually return of the Michael Scott Paper company, rising from the ashes of DMI? Also, note that Andy’s probably old enough that his 1220 was before they dumbed the SAT down and added a few hundred points to it.

    • Diggity

      yeah, back in the day it was only out of 1600. 1220 is pretty good.

    • John

      The only SAT scores out of 2400 would be folks who are around 23 and younger.

      • Katie

        No, they dumbed them down to the 2400 scale the year after I took them and I’m 22.

      • John

        Which, um, is younger than 23.

      • Erin

        No wonder the economy sucks. Reading comprehension is apparently old school.

    • 24yanks

      Plus, Andy was waitlisted at first.

      • Micah

        Your level of knowledge regarding this character frightens me, quite frankly. Love it!

    • griff

      Andy had mentioned in last season I believe that his parents donated a large sum of money to Cornell which I think probably tipped the scales in his favor. I was actually shocked that he even scored that high, though he is hilarious

    • Anon

      1220 is good, but not even close to Cornell good. People from my hs got rejected with 1400s.

      • Looshush

        Maybe the people from your HS are douches.

      • B

        Owned.

      • JLyman

        Wow. I don’t like to condone that sort of retort, but it came so out of the blue that I literally did a (small, but real) spit-take when I read it. Funny. Mean, but funny.

      • Patty

        Get over yourself.

    • KRG

      I was thinking the same thing about Andy’s 1220 test score. Those of us on the up side of 34 had a more difficult SAT test and not wall to wall instruction on how to get the best score. Plus if he got a high Math or Verbal score, (700 Math, 520 Verbal or vice versa) with AP courses, in that time period all those factors were taken into consideration.

    • AAR

      Average for Cornell, in 2000, was 1350. I only remember this because this was my score and I was admitted. 1220 isn’t great, but, like others have said, it’s only part of his application, which included high school and legacy. Also, the college he applied to might have also figured into it.
      I laugh each time Andy makes a Cornell reference, but my all-time favorite was his first confessional, when he claims to have been in Here Comes Treble. This, of course. does not exist, but is probably a play on actual a cappella group Nothing But Treble- which is all women.

      • AAR

        Sorry, meant 1220 wasn’t high for Cornell. Still a really good score on the old test.

      • marina

        He would have entered sometime late 80s early 90s.

      • EL

        I’m embarrassed for everybody here talking about SAT scores. Seriously, WTF?

      • Kat

        I got a 1280 on the old SATs and was a freshman at Cornell in the fall of ’94. I think Andy is supposed to be about my age.

    • MojoMom

      I think the point was that Andy got everyone else in his high school to skip that SATs. Since he was the only one to take it, 1220 was good that year!

      • WayBeyondSoccerMom

        Agreed.

  • April

    I thought this episode was hilarious! And Margaret Lyons, who cares if they haven’t shown Recyclops before this? If the show kept going back to the same things we’ve seen before, viewers might get bored. I found it hysterical that they all know the history of Recyclops and I about died laughing when Stanley made the comment about Polluticorn. Great episode, IMO.

    • Emily

      I loved the review of Recyclops as well. I especially loved that they traced the evolution of the reception desk with Ryan and Ronnie (the humorless temp). Fun!

      P.S. Bring back Pretzel Day!

      • Sarah

        Agreed, i like how they showed Pam “back in the day” behind the desk, to Ryan, to Pam’s temp replacement while she was in NY, to Erin.

      • JLyman

        Completely agree – that was a very nice touch that did not go unnoticed.

      • Vanessa

        I loved it too- I keep wondering if they filmed it in previous years and never showed it- or if they put wigs on Jim and Pam to make them resemble their previous styles.

      • smosh

        I thought it was funny that when they showed an older temp, Creed was hanging out at the desk.

    • Alan

      That’s what made it funny, Margaret! They showed previous years Recylcops and they even brought back that woman who replaced Pam for a few episodes! What – a show can’t have a flashback scene because it should show something we hadn’t seen before?

  • SiR

    I liked this episode, I watch this in between parks and modern family on my computer so as long as it brings the laughs I rarely nitpick about what they should or shouldn’t do.(followed by community and the middle)

  • JenR

    I usually like Pam, but I thought she was being patronizing to Jim and just pretending to support him at work. It seemed mean.

    • GinaBallerina

      I thought the same, too. She seemed awful snotty this episode…

  • dctoronto

    I loved how (as well as showing Ryan at reception) they brought back the secretary who took Pam’s place when she went to NYC during the Recyclops recap. These little attentions to detail are what make this show great.

  • John

    Anybody else think the opening “Recyclops” thing played a lot like a “How I Met Your Mother” scene? I love that show, but it seemed like the “let’s flash back and introduce a new thing over several years” bit is a signature of that show and not really this one. Still fun to see everyone in “retro” looks, though!

    • stacy

      ha i thought the same thing

  • AS

    I would have enjoyed it more if they actually did come up with a 45 day plan and Michael inadvertently saved DMI.

    • Lauren

      That is exactly the scenario like I was hoping for. I feel like it would have been a great way to move the plot forward. Michael could have been promoted and Jim would become the new Michael. Interesting. AND it would have shined some light on how we’re always told what a great asset Micheal is, we just never really see it.

    • redeye

      That’s really where I saw this going. Another change for Michael’s idiocy to be channeled for good. It was obvious that they had no other plan, and he had the audience on his side. I really expected them to let him run with it and for him to hack out some hairbrain scheme.

    • SS

      I feel like they are setting this up. Notice how Michael said something to like, “I made the people happy” and the response of the corporate folks were not so receptive. I think they are setting us up for Michael to move to corporate with a friendlier approach and Jim to stay and run the Scranton branch. I could be wrong, but that’s where I think this is going.

      • rob

        i feel like this episode could have benefited from being “super-sized”. However, SS, i think you are right, this is probably the beginning of a story arc in which Michael saves the day!

    • me

      It could turn out that way in a later episode… maybe DMI execs will go with his idea after much debate. Fingers crossed.

    • Chris

      I figured that Michael would be the frontman, Oscar would be the brains and together they’d save the company. I was disappointed that Oscar wussed out when he had his moment to give the execs a piece of his mind.

      • Nicole

        Me too! I totally thought Oscar was going to have a moment to shine and say something really bright and totally impress the DM management. I really felt all Oscar’s frustration with the company’s poor management was building to something better than that kind of sad scene.

  • BLM

    I didn’t really like this episode. I only laughed once (at Dwight’s calf comment). I like when the whole gang is in the office. I also don’t like Jim as a manager.

  • kjs

    Is it just me not knowing a terrible deal about the stock market etc., but would a mid sized paper distribution company with only 4-5 offices (remaining) be 1) Wall Street Journal news worthy and 2) Have that many stockholders?

    • Skinny

      No, but who cares. Believability is not what they’re going for.

    • Stephanie

      I thought the exact same thing!
      All the security, completely full conference room, the stock dropping on the NYC screen, etc… seemed a bit much

    • Andrew

      The amount of shareholders is very believable, if not understated. As for the WSJ, that is a stretch, if you believe that DM is only the branches that we have seen; they have mentioned of business ventures which DM is involved in (such as some type of paper recycling plant), so that may not be much of a stretch either.

  • Bill

    Funny episode, especilly Jim’s handling of Ryan. As for Andy, there have been a lot of hints that he comes from a rich family, so SAT’s may not have been the deciding factor for Cornell. Maybe he’s a legacy. Is there a Bernard chair at Cornell?

  • Colin

    This episode wasn’t the best, but when you’ve watched this show for so long you tend to find even the not funny episodes really funny just because of how much you love the characters already.

  • Chris

    One of the worst episodes ever. Enough of Jim the bumbling boss and Pam the smug wife who doesn’t even seem to like much less love him.

    • Joy

      OUCH. I thought it showed Jim taking a (warranted and toe-the-line) stand against gross Ryan, and Pam being mildly amused but still supportive. Did you forget she’s having a baby in <3 months? Give her a break, people!

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