'The Office' recap: Cheap foreign printers attacking innocent Americans

Office-Whistleblower-RainnImage Credit: Trae Patton/NBCHere’s Michael Scott describing his year, as viewed through footage taken on his new video camera: “There are only like 12 minutes that I felt was worth taping. And most of that was just birds in my condo complex. And I miss Holly.” This was an interesting way for The Office to end its sixth, and least cohesive, season: an admission that not a whole lot happened, followed by a callback to a plotline from last season. Still, there was some real heft to this closing episode — enough to give me some hope.

The opening scene of “Whistleblower” saw Michael beaming with pride. He gave a statement to the press denying the existence of exploding printers. It was on TV, then the newspaper, then the internet, then the radio. It was number two video on the local news site. Who was number one? “That teacher who was wrongfully accused of being a pedophile. We cannot led the pedophile win!” Michael insisted that his employees watch his video 11 times to drum up his numbers. (You laugh, but every Friday morning, I bribe a horde of train-hobos to visit my Office recap from hundreds of different computers in public libraries all across the tri-city area. Gotta get those page views up!)

Kathy Bates was back as CEO Jo, and she was angry. She strolled into the office and took control instantly. “Turns out our printers are famous,” she proclaimed, and you had to love the relish Bates took in slowly cutting out the Sabre story from the newspaper and taping it to Pam’s picture. (How’s that for some freakin’ continuity!) Jo wanted to know who the whistleblower was. Michael said there was no whistleblower. “I know these people. I know when their birthdays are. I know what their favorite kind of cake is. I know what color balloons they like.” Jo: “All that’s just birthday information, Michael.”

I get that, in her earlier appearances, Kathy Bates was purposefully hiding her considerable personal magnetism underneath a blanket of southern gentility. But it was a thrill to see her cut loose on our gang. Bringing in everyone for an individual interrogation, she verbally tortured them from left field: by asking them what they thought should happen to the guilty party. If they advised capital punishment, she knew they didn’t do it; if they advised leniency, she grew suspicious.

Now, this was a funny setup. And what made it funnier was that pretty much everyone in the office knew that Andy was the likeliest suspect. Phyllis to Andy: “Put your hand up, Norma Rae.” But twist! Darryl admitted to Michael that he was the whistleblower: he talked to a girl at the bar, who turned out to be a copy editor. But double twist! Pam admitted to Jim that she was behind the leak: she was talking to a reporter wife at Day Care. But triple twist! Kelly tweeted it!

I kind of liked the idea that everyone in the office might be the whistleblower, and I’m tempted to say that the episode would have probably been better if it had kept more closely to the Whistleblower plotline. Certainly, when Jo saw that Michael clearly knew more than he was telling, it felt like we were being primed for some sort of epic showdown.

But that’s when things wandered a little bit, and I’m still not sure if that wandering was good or bad. Jo drove Michael to her private jet. Michael was anxious: “I have an early dinner. With the chief of police.” But Jo just kind of wanted to talk. They had some drinks. She admitted that her lifelong dream was to become so successful at business that someone would make a Barbie out of her. Michael engaged in his “this has been a crappy year” heart-to-heart. It was cute, but it felt a bit… off. Especially considering that Jo comes off like such a rags-to-riches hardass (in case you didn’t notice, she’s played by KATHY FREAKING BATES).

Like, let’s consider. Michael has screwed up many things in his professional career at Dundler Mifflin, and usually, The Powers That Be have reprimanded him for this. But Jo, for all her bluster, has essentially rubber stamped Michael’s managerial style. By the end of the episode, he was making Sabre’s exploding-printer mea culpa. This is no tiny thing. Maybe Sabre just sells cheap printers, but his willingness to be the public face of his company during a crisis clearly indicates that his star is rising.

What I’m saying is: Michael appears to be on the road to becoming Jo’s heir apparent. The Iger to her Eisner. The Langston to her Grissom. Compare this to the old regime, when Michael was purposefully kept away from Corporate in Scranton HQ. It’s an interesting shift, for sure. But it also gives Michael’s doofery a slightly weightless quality. In the old days, Jan or David Wallace or somebody would have gotten angry at him. Who is around to get angry at him now? (The utter lack of concrete circumstances in the Officeverse seemed all the more glaring and bizarro-world if you watched the preceding episode of Parks and Recreation, in which Amy Poehler nearly lost her job as the whole town of Pawnee went bankrupt.)

By comparison, let’s notice that back at the office, the few minutes devoted to Gabe’s continued search for the culprit were hilarious. (Gabe: “Stanley, it’s your turn.” Stanley: “I didn’t do it.” Gabe: “What a rich timber your voice has.”) Gabe decided that Andy must have done it. Andy asked what made him think he was the whistleblower. Gabe; “Just the evidence.” Very quietly, Gabe has become a hilarious presence on the show, and I think it’s because he’s pretty much the only remaining sense of authority left. Without him, the Scranton branch is basically benevolent anarchy, where everyone just does their jobs out of boredom.

Michael Scott summed up season six pretty well: “It has not been a blockbuster year for me, financially. My Blockbuster stock is down.” Still, who didn’t get a tingle from the end of the episode, with the promise of the return of Michael’s lady love?

In conclusion, the greatest scene of the episode, and perhaps the season, was Ryan demonstrating “Woof,” his new start-up which ties together all of your communication portals. “I just sent myself a woof,” he said. Behind him, his computer’s email buzzed, and his fax machine printed, and Erin called him: “Ryan, you have a Woof on Line 1.” Hilarious.

What did you think of the finale, viewers? Were you surprised to find out that David Wallace revenge-whistled the secret of the exploding printers? Should we start discussing whether Gabe should become the boss if/when Michael moves up to Sabre Corporate/Steve Carell leaves to pursue a movie career? And after this admirable but uneven season, should we start asking ourselves just how much longer The Office has in it?

Comments (105 total) Add your comment
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  • SowhatNow

    Funny ep. Liked the mention of Holly. Loved the whole woofing bit. It has plenty of staying power IMHO. Oh, FIRST!!

    • Ceballos

      I loved the mention of Holly, but it also makes me think that her return would signal the end of the show. Or at the very least, the end of Michael Scott’s time on the show, since those two HAVE to end up together, right?

      And since I don’t really love the idea of the show going on without Michael, I feel like the end of next season would be a good time to end it. (Despite the fact that it’s still hilarious and one of my favorite shows on TV.)

      • llevinso

        I agree. End next season when Michael goes…with Holly by his side. Perfect.

      • Bob

        Holly coming back next year won’t be the end of the show. IF she comes back, she’ll probably still be dating or engaged to A.J. and will resent Michael for being forced to move away from him. This has a whole season of goodness wrapped up in it.

      • Brian

        I agree–Holly might not be happy to be dragged away from her life in Nashua.

  • LOL

    WOOF!

  • LOL

    David Wallace cameo = fantastic!

    • dulce vita

      Suck it!

    • redeye

      YES!!! Love me some David Wallace!!!

    • DF

      I want to buy a Suck It sweatshirt

    • Ajay C.

      David Wallace w/ his dog admitting he was the one who informed the press was the BEST PART!

      I see where this is going – great story arc for next season. Something will happen to Jo, and she will no longer be able to run the company. Michael takes over, but realizes that he cannot do the job. He then reaches out the the still unemployed David Wallace to step in an take over. This would constitute a temporary, yet major, shake up at the office.

      • Sarah

        Love it.

      • guy

        not going to happen

      • Jez

        This is just wrong – never happen, not eve right

    • isembard

      With you there.

  • Chappel

    I loved it and thought it was filled with plenty of the little one-liners and sideways looks that are easy to miss because they don’t telegraph them. I loved Jo manipulating Michael into, not only volunteering to be the public face of the exploding printer debacle, but into being grateful for the opportunity to do so.

    For me, this show continues to be the fastest 30 minutes on television.

    • DF

      There will be no questions. Are there any questions?

      • BeaAnn

        ROTFL!!

    • NicWin

      See, I saw it as Jo manipulating Michael into being the fall guy. She didn’t want to have to take the blame, because it would have made her look bad….she saw that Michael could be easily manipulated, and he was. He volunteered to take her place just as he thought she would.
      Also, I wouldn’t compare Parks and Recreation to The Office. I watched 2 or 3 episodes last season and it sucked. I’ve heard this season is much better. So I’ve tried to watch it a few times, and I just can’t. I think it’s still awful.
      I think David Wallace was the high point for me.

      • test

        I felt the same way about Jo manipulating Michael. He was such an easy target, and it was a win-win for her.

      • susans

        Totally agree. Michael now is the face of printers tha catch on fire. How is that him being an up and comer?

  • Liz

    suck it… Gabe

    lol

  • Hannah

    Darren, I haven’t seen Parks and Rec yet, spoiler alert

    • Ambient Lite

      Uh, you clicked on the recap and expected it to be empty??

    • Ambient Lite

      Oh, sorry. My bad. I thought you meant The Office.

    • Mike

      But Parks had AIRED… how long do you think spoiler alerts should be used?

      I was watching the series finale of MASH and —-SPOILER ALERT —- it wasn’t a chicken! It was a BABYYYYYYY!

      Or has it been long enough that I don’t need the alert? Sorry, if something has aired, it’s your responsibilty to avoid places where spoilers would be. Like a recap of The Office, when the style of Parks is the same, and they are clearly “sister” shows.

      I don’t get mad at ESPN for posting the scores to games I have recorded. I just don’t go there!

  • Jill

    “You mean like a lair?”

    • Ceballos

      Yeah, I’m surprised there was no mention in the recap of Dwight’s apparent impending purchase of the building…and his plans to turn Hank the security guard into a Buckingham Palace guard.

      • Sarah

        i know i feel this way because i work in real estate/property management, but just because you OWN a building does not mean you MANAGE it. Assuming Dwight both owns and manages the building, it should be an interesting storyline.

      • yes

        Dwight would assume he manages it and everyone in the building too. He easily gets drunk with power.

  • Elizabeth

    I think its hard to measure up to Jim & Pam’s wedding, and then CeeCee’s birth. I think this was a season focused not-so-much on the corporate stuff as it was on the personal stuff. Yeah, they were taken over by Sabre, yeah Jim took the demotion to sales, but there really wasn’t a whole lot of ‘work’ going on this season.
    I’m not ready to poo-poo an entire season because it wasn’t like the other ones and look forward to its demise, but thats just me.

    • Elizabeth

      BTW: Does Ryan look like a young Orville Reddenbacher in that picture or what?

      • JenR

        Whenever he isn’t going to be in many scenes, he wears something silly so he stands out.

      • Mark

        Mine was even more disturbing: during his “Woof” interview, I thought he looked like Woody Allen from the mid-sixties!

      • Ceballos

        JenR

        You’re right, but then that’d be every single episode, since he hasn’t really been a featured player in any storyline for a long time…by the way, I’m loving it because just catching a glimpse of his hipster outfits cracks me up.

      • Brian

        Why is he a hipster now? It started in the clip show this season, where Michael had everyone dressed up as “ideal” office workers (and fake Stanley!), but since then Ryan’s been a hipster.

  • Allison M

    Remember when we used to care what happened in season finales? Sigh.

  • Ben

    I don’t think this season is nearly as bad as you are putting it out to be. I went back and started rewatching the episodes I see less wandering in the season than I thought, I feel this season had a lot of necessary plotlines, especially with Dwight, which I am surprised you didn’t mention the other funniest parts of the episode, the fact that Dwight may be owning the building soon and when Nick the IT guy was talking to the office, there reactions were priceless, especially when Jim forgot his name in a matter of five seconds.

    But I feel this was a very mature sesason for the Office. I know nothing will be as good as season 3, one of TV’s best seasons period, but I am not at all disappointed with how this season played out.

    • JenR

      The scene with Nick the IT guy was great. Someone viewing their silliness from the outside is always funny. (Sometimes I wonder what the documentary film crew is thinking.)

    • Jenn

      The IT guy was great.

      • Ceballos

        You’re right…I was very impressed by, um, Sport.

      • kelsey

        Agreed. My favorite part of the episode. ‘You’re on Facebook Daryl! Why do you tell people you’re not? People want to be your friends!’

      • llevinso

        Yeah, I loved the IT guy scene.

      • J.

        I’m disappointed that the scene with, um, Champ wasn’t recapped. Sport was hilarious! The look of guilt on Darryl’s face when he got Facebook outed was classic!

    • Ronnie

      Is it just me? Or doesn’t Nick look a bit like Jim? Wish he wasn’t going to teach inner-city kids computer skills…they’ll only use them for porn and games…or was it drugs?

  • zomg

    timbre

    • cranky

      THANK YOU! His voice is not made of wood.

    • isembard

      Second that thanks. Found that an irritating mistake.

    • Kat

      And it’s pronounced “tam-ber”, Gabe & Office crew. (Although technically I think you CAN spell it as “timber” and say it as “tim-ber”…but it’s a French word so I personally like sticking to the primary spelling/pronunciation. But it doesn’t really matter.)

      • Brian

        That’s not how it’s most commonly bronounced here. Typically, it’s viewed as pretentious to pronounce every foreign language word absorbed by English as it would be pronounced in it’s original language. Going around saying “tahm-bruh” would only win you eye rolls.

      • Brian

        *its original language.

  • kim in kentucky

    sooo many good lines — “spermed lover” — “write your own novel” — “my mind’s going a mile an hour” — “Woof” — “it has a basement office – you mean, like a lair?” — gooooood show — hmm Holly come back but then Michael has to deal with her being with another man (maybe even married??)

  • Shannon

    Actually, my favorite moment in the whole show was when NICK, the poor IT guy basically told off everyone in the office. And outed Andy. Beautiful.

    • Dave

      “Sure I remember your name….sport.”

    • DF

      I agree, best part of the ep. What was Meredith’s line when they couldnt figure out his name? It’s something dark like shadow or garth…

      • Chappel

        That cracked me up because the IT guy in the original (British) The Office was played by Matthew Holness who may be best known for playing Garth Marenghi in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

    • ty

      Good call Shannon, Nick was great, flipping everyone off as he exits!

  • Dave

    Was it the best of Office episodes? Probably not, but it still had its moments.

    Do agree that P&R can be woefully underappreciated. Its finale was simply outstanding!

  • cranky

    I can see them bringing back Holly for the last season w/Carell, and giving them a nice sendoff into the sunset. Remember how David Brent met his perfect match in the finale?

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