I had some really high hopes for this episode, knowing that all the crazy characters from Dwight’s life were going to be making an appearance. I really expected the mix of Rolf, Trevor, Mose, The Babysitter from The Dinner Party and even that little weasel that used to work with Ryan at Corporate, Troy, to really bring a large dose of ROLF – Rolling on the Laughing Floor. Even Sensei Ira from The Fight was there, even though he didn’t say anything at all. Well, that didn’t really happen. It was all just kind of strange and awkward. I suppose each of these characters can be funny on an individual basis, but too many weirdos at once just ruin it.
The Cold Opening was very interesting; it kind of built on the last scene from last week’s episode where Brian the boom guy comforts Pam after her fight with Jim over the phone. There’s a camera on the floor that has been left on inadvertently so we can only see the character’s feet. We see Pam’s pumps come up to Brian who is cleaning up equipment and apologizes for him getting into trouble over interacting with her. He says it wasn’t a big deal, it’s his first slip up in 9 years. He asks if everything with her and Jim are squared away and she replies that it is; kind of. Then we hear Erin’s voice off camera telling Pam she has a phone call so she walks off telling Brian to say hi to Alyssa for her. So is Brian taken by this Alyssa or is it his sister? Next we see Meredith’s skirt and her loafers trying to flirt with Brian. He tells her that they are cracking down on the crew for talking to the “subjects” and walks away from her. That is the first time I’ve ever heard the Dunder Mifflin employees being referred to as “subjects”; it was quite unsettling.
After the credits we see an exchange between Dwight and Clark in the break room about how Dwight will be conducting interviews for a new Junior Salesman. Clark thinks he should get the job because he helped Dwight land the Stone & Sons Suit Warehouse account and he went above and beyond with Jan to land the Scranton White Pages account (and under we might add). But Dwight isn’t concerned about experience or ability, he’s more interested in getting someone who can team up with him against Pam as payback for the Halpert alliance who have been playing pranks on him for years. He’s going to find a candidate that he knows will be great because he’s going to hire one of his friends. Why doesn’t Dwight think that Clark will fit that bill? Well, in his own words, “Clark may look like a Schrute, but he thinks like a Halpert and acts like a Beesley.”
At first it looked like the only contenders that Clark would be up against were Rolf and Trevor. Rolf’s interview flip flopped on Dwight and turned into Rolf asking Dwight for his credentials and telling him he’ll get back to Dwight and let him know. Trevor, who apparently loves to Jump on people, could not jump all over the questions and ended up asking Dwight to validate his bus transfer.
After impressing Jim, who was beginning to get nervous about who would be sitting next to his wife, especially since things between them have been a little tense lately, Clark goes in for his interview and Kobayashi Marued the whole thing. This impressed Dwight who agreed that Star Trek rules, but still refused to give Clark the job, stating that he has many more friends and they’re all better than the losers who work at Dunder Mifflin. I had no idea what Kobayashi Maru meant, so I looked it up and apparently it’s a kind of test in the fictional Star Trek universe. For those non-Trekkies who want to find out more, you can read about it.
Moving on, Dwight calls in a whole conference room full of weirdos to interview for the Junior Salesman position. The rest of the employees blame Jim because he’s the one going part time and putting Dwight, himself a weirdo, in a position to bring in more weirdos, one of whom is eating Stanley’s lunch. Oscar declares that you can’t blame a weirdo for bringing in other weirdos. You can blame a normal for creating a situation where a weirdo is allowed to bring in other weirdos. Pam states that she’s the one that has to sit next to the weirdo when Jim is away. It all becomes too much for her and she goes down to the warehouse to work on her mural. Jim is left with a thoughtful look on his face.
He decides to call David Wallace and ask to have input on the new hire. Dwight jumps in on the call and, of course, tries to talk David out of letting Jim have a say. Jim argues that the person will be sitting at his desk next to his wife, so he should have a say. David cuts Jim off to tell him that he’ll have to cut his pay back to only the days that Jim works. Jim agrees that this is fair, although I don’t really get that since salesman usually work on commission. Jim then tries to get David to invest in Athlead and David hangs up. Jim is left not knowing exactly where he stands.
Dwight gets back to interviewing. Next up is his cousin Mose. It was great to see Michael Schur as Mose once again. However, he lies on his resume by saying that he worked as a salesman for Dow Chemical for the past 15 years. When Dwight calls him out on this by saying that they live together and he’s never seen Mose go to work, ever, Mose high tails it out of there running all the way out of the parking lot. After that comes Dwight’s paintball buddy Wolf. When Dwight’s role playing idea goes out the window with Wolf trying to keep the paper he had asked Wolf to try and sell back to him, he begins to realize that his idea about hiring a friend or relative might not be such a great idea after all.
Dwight is lying on the floor in Andy’s office trying to figure out how to let everyone down, when Melvina, his former babysitter (and former lover) comes in and asks if he needs to be changed. Dwight lets her know that he does that himself now. This show is getting weirder by the minute. Trevor, Wolf and Gabor (Mose’s brother) follower her in and tell Dwight that they understand how difficult this decision is for him, but no matter who he chooses they’ll still be his friend. When Dwight brings up the idea of not picking any of them, Wolf says that he doesn’t believe that Dwight would do that to them. Trevor agrees that would be contemptible. Dwight just replies that he wishes he could hire all of them. Poor Dwight, he really has gotten himself in a bind.
Dwight decides to give Jim what he wants, and get him to be the fall guy with his friends by letting them all down for him. In order to get Jim’s attention without being noticed by any of his friends, he calls to Jim from Andy’s office. When that doesn’t work, he crawls on his belly to Jim’s chair, grabs the post and pulls Jim’s chair with Jim on it, into Andy’s office. He tells Jim that since the new salesman would be sitting at Jim’s desk, next to Jim’s wife, then he feels Jim should be the one to choose the person. Jim immediately catches on but agrees to go along with Dwight’s plan. He goes into the conference room and tells the would be candidates that it was a tough decision, but they’ve decided not to hire any of them. Dwight gets livid and lays it on thick, but the gang storms out and blames him anyway.
They all decide to go and play paintball to kill time. Creed sneaks out along with them. Dwight dejectedly says that people eventually outgrow their friends; he just outgrew all of them in the past 3 hours.
Meanwhile, Jim is settling Clark in at his desk when Pam gets back. He tells Pam that this was the least of all the evils (kind of in Clark’s earshot, which was inconsiderate. Also inconsiderate, Dwight giving Jim’s home address to all his friends in case they want to toilet paper his house), and it took him all day to pull this off so she should be thrilled, considering. I think Jim was giving himself too much credit, all he really had to do was wait for Dwight to self-destruct and then swoop in and save the day like the X-Men, the fake school which Dwight attended as a child I failed to mention in my recap since it was so irrelevant to the story and such a dumb attempt at humor that it wasn’t even worth mentioning. I suppose that’s how Dwight came to know the guy in the black framed glasses, who I can only conclude from the name board is Zeke. If anyone else has any other theories, please let me know.
Dwight is back at his desk as Jim leaves to make a board meeting in Philly. He gets an e-mail with the subject, “Hey Jerk”. It’s a picture of all his friends in paintball gear captioned, “Glad You’re Not Here.” On closer inspection, Creed is not in the picture. Either he was the one taking the picture or just used the group of people storming out of the office to get away for the rest of the day. It was a pretty funny Creed moment either way.
Clark gets up to go to the kitchen and asks Pam if she wants anything. Pam says she’s good but Dwight holds out his mug and says, “I’d like some coffee.” Clark replies that he’s sorry and holds up his hand above his head and replies, “You have to be this cool for coffee,” and walks away. Pam can sense that this hasn’t been a good day for Dwight. She asks him if he wants to haze the new guy. Dwight jumps at the opportunity to team up with Pam against Clark. She gives him a role of saran wrap and tells him that the next time Clark gets up to go to the bathroom, she’ll distract him and he should… Dwight cuts her off, he tells her he knows exactly what to do. Pam smiles mischievously. Clark returns and the next thing you know, Dwight is behind his chair and has covered his face with saran wrap, suffocating him. Clark screams and Pam, looking horrified, yells, “Dwight, NO!” Obviously, he was supposed to spread the saran wrap across the toilet bowl and not Clark’s face.
Jim says in TH in the parking lot on his way back to Philly that it’s important who sits next Pam while he’s away because the people around you are the ones you end up sharing your life with. Because of where his desk was, he spent years looking at Pam and he found love. We cut back to the office where Brian the Boom Guy is holding his boom and looking at Pam longingly. Uh oh, this can NOT be good. Stay tuned for my recap of Vandalism, for the conclusion to this story.
All in all, Junior Salesman wasn’t all I expected it to be, but I suppose there were a few good moments. Let us know what you thought by sounding off in the comments or join us on the boards. I’ll be posting my Vandalism recap shortly.
~Suri (aka HDF)