The Office: ‘Lecture Circuit – Pt. 1’ Recap

theoffice514jimScranton’s continued success has given David Wallace the bone-headed idea to send Michael on a tour of all the branches (except Nashua) to give talks on how to increase productivity. Pam goes along as a lackey. Meanwhile Kelly is angry that the new party committee has forgotten her birthday and Andy sets his sites on a new attractive client.

The show begins with the office hard at work, but there’s something that’s not quite right. I think it’s the weird sound that is heard in the room, something almost inappropriate. Or disgusting, it’s hard to tell. We soon see that the sound is coming from the PA and it’s Michael breathing heavy into his phone. I expect him to say, ‘Luke! I am your father!’but he doesn’t. Jim explains that the telephone technician came by and happened to inform Michael about this PA function, and he’s been nightmarishly using it all day. For instance: ‘This is your Captain speaking. We will be flying at an altitude of two stories, and if you look out the left hand side you’ll see Vance Refrigeration.’Creed is seen looking out the window and seeming very confused. Later, Michael calls his doctor on his cell to discuss Sebaceous Cysts (and the popping of same) without realizing he’s still on the PA. The employees look nauseated. When he starts in on the announcement from the ‘Principal’about Toby wetting the bed, Jim takes matters into his own hands. He grabs a pair of scissors and knocks on Michael’s door. Feigning the search for an unnamed lost object, he ducks down by the desk and clips the phone wire. He beats a hasty retreat and Michael continues with his ‘announcements’none the wiser.


Now Michael is seen leaving a motel room with a couple of bags. He waves to the camera and knocks on the room next door. Pam emerges, also with a bag. Michael explains that he and Pam have eloped. Nah, just kidding! They are on the lam for robbing a bank. Gotcha! No, Michael is on a lecture circuit. That may also sound like a joke but that last one is true. Michael explains about how the Scranton branches excellent sales record that he is being sent out to try to help the other branches learn his secret recipe for success. Michael: ‘My 11 business herbs and spices… in a sales… batter.’Meanwhile, behind him poor Pam is trying to cram a gigantic heavy suitcase into the trunk of their car all by herself. He likes to pack heavy. Pam: ‘He packed a sled.’It’s a toboggan, Michael corrects her, and says you never know when you’re going to find a snowy hill. Pam is along because they are paying her time and a half for 72 hours. Michael compares Pam to both a hot magician’s assistant and a roadie, saying she’s his hot roadie. Then he starts hinting that she should really be dressing more sexy. Pam would make a lot more money if she stopped thinking ‘overtime’and started thinking ‘Sexual Harassment Lawsuit.’
Kelly storms into the office with a sour look on her face and a ‘screw you’for Jim and Dwight. They sit there stunned until Phyllis lets them know they forgot Kelly’s birthday the day before. In an interview with both Jim and Dwight we learn that after Phyllis blackmailed Angela and took over as Head of the Party Planning Committee, it resulted in too much ‘drama.’So Michael asked them both to step down and made Dwight and Jim co-heads of the PPC. Jim thinks this is literally the stupidest thing he’s ever done in his entire life. Dwight considers this humiliating. As the two men grapple over who gets the arm rest during the interview, Jim deadpans at the camera, ‘So this is fun.’Kelly, meanwhile, interviews that she got all dressed up the day before, and was really excited, but everyone forgot it was her birthday. Kelly: ‘I think sometimes people are mean to the hot, popular girl.’

Pam asks if she can turn on the radio while she drives. Michael: ‘No, I need silence or Sam Kinison to prepare.’She complains that then he falls asleep and she has nothing to do. He suggests she listen to her iPod. She says it’s dangerous. He suggests they talk. She decides she’ll just sing a song in her head after all. After a few precious moments of silence, Michael brings up the fact that they will be seeing Karen, Jim’s ex-girlfriend, at their next stop. Pam says she’s not nervous. Michael reminds her that Pam was the ‘other woman’in that relationship, and wonders if that’s why she’s wearing make up. She looks totally surprised that Michael was actually that intuitive. Pam: ‘I hate the idea that someone out there hates me. I even hate thinking that Al Quaeda hates me. I think if they got to know me they wouldn’t hate me. But Karen knows me and she still hates me.’

Stanley is escorting in a young, attractive female client. Andy asks Phyllis who she is, and she replies that the woman is out of his league. He haughtily informs her that he’s been with plenty of beautiful women. Phyllis: ‘Sexually?’Andy: ‘This conversation is over.’Andy interviews that he is single now, and is currently engaged in the ultimate smackdown between ‘The Nard-dog'(his nickname for himself) and ‘crippling despair, loneliness and depression.’He does intend to win, but I’m not placing any bets, yaknowhatimean?

Jim and Dwight are pleading with Kelly to tell them how they can make this up to her. Kelly: ‘My only wish is that nothing so terrible would ever happen to anyone else ever again.’Luckily this horrible thing happened to her since she’s strong enough to take it, you understand. Dwight interrupts: ‘What kind of cake do you want, imbecile?’Kelly: ‘Ice cream.’

Michael and Pam have arrived at the Utica branch. Michael introduces Pam to Rolando, and suggests they can go on a little ‘friend’date sometime. I wonder if there be juice boxes and play-doh? There is no one in the office because they are all waiting for Michael in the conference room, and Karen will be out to take them there in just a minute. Michael tries to give Pam a lat minute pep-talk. ‘Just picture her naked!’Karen comes up to them and she is clearly really ginormously pregnant. Luckily Michael is skilled at being tactful. ‘Oh my God, is that Jim’s?!?’She say’s of course not. Then Michael keeps going on about how huge she is, and wonders when was the last time she and Jim had sex. I don’t even want to think about how he would know that. Meanwhile Karen looks totally self-conscious and Pam looks like she wants to crawl away from Michael. You know, more than usual.
Back in the office Jim enters the conference room to check on Dwight’s progress. He has about two dozen brown and grey balloons (‘They match the carpet’) that are only blown up about one and a half breaths, and he is hanging them on streamers from the ceiling. There is a plain banner that reads, ‘IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY.’Jim: ‘Not even an exclamation point?’Jim can’t believe how bad this looks. Dwight looks hurt and asks if Jim is trying to hurt his feelings, and if so he is succeeding. Dwight: ‘Luckily my feeling regenerate at twice the speed of a normal man’s.’Dwight asks if Jim has raised any money, and Jim says he has six dollars. This is the sum total of what Jim and Dwight contributed. This party is not going well.


Andy is out in the parking lot peering into the new clients car, to try to get an idea of what kind of music she listens too. ‘It’s good to know the deets on the girl you’re wooing.’He spots a Feist CD.

In Utica, the employees look incredibly bored as they wait for Michael, until he is heard outside saying, ‘No! That’s awful, that is the worst news.’He comes in the room on his cell phone and tells the group that his father has died. Many of them look concerned and sympathetic but for only a second. ‘No he didn’t!’Michael explains cheerfully, and points out that he wasn’t even talking on a phone, it was a calculator. But they bought it, he rubs in their face. Karen raises her hand. Michael asks her if she needs to go pump. She ignores him (somehow) and asks what he’s talking about. He explains that they have to sell an experience, like he just sold them on the idea that his father had died. Karen: ‘But now we think you’re a liar.’Michael: ‘Would a liar bring mini-Mounds bars?’Pam then throws handfuls of mini-Mounds bars at the crowd. Every one cringes away from them. Michael explains in an interview that he has always been theatrical, and that he thought as a kid he would become an actor because he has memorization tricks. For instance he memorized the Pledge of Allegiance by setting it to the tune of ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm.’He sings it, and yes, his version of the Pledge of Allegiance has a woof woof here and a woof woof there. Back in the Utica office he’s telling everyone about his mnemonic device with which he has now memorized everyone’s names. People such as ‘Lazy Eye, Black Woman and Sugar Boobs.’Another example. ‘Baldy: your head is hairless. It is shiny, it is reflective, like a mirror, M, you’re name is Mark.’He’s right, but Karen points out that’s very insulting. Michael adds, ‘But it works.’Karen dismisses the employees and drags Michael and Pam to her office.

In Scranton, the new client, Julia, is sitting with Stanley when Andy brings them two cups of coffee. He tries to sing about how many Splendas he put in Stanley coffee to the tune of that Feist song from the iPod commercials, ‘One, two, three, four Splendas in your coffee…’It’s not getting much response. Stanley pulls him outside and asks if he’s out of his damn mind. Andy asks how Stanley can bring in that angel into the office and not set them up. Stanley thinks about and agrees to introduce them if Andy gives him two of his clients.

Back in Utica, Michael is showing Karen more of his props from the lecture, like the chainsaw for the skit, ‘Utica Chain Store Massacre.’Karen: ‘That’s incredibly dangerous.’Michael: ‘Don’t worry the chain is off.’Pam: ‘No, its not.’Karen decides to distill the information and send it in an email to the staff, despite Michael’s objections that emails aren’t scary enough. Pam changes the subject by asking when Karen is due. She’s about a month away. Michael awkwardly asks if there’s a guy, or a person or a sperm machine that did this too her. Karen says it was her husband Dan, a tall, lanky, dorky guy. Hmmm. She asks how Scranton is, and about Jim. Pam tells her they’re engaged, and Karen seem really happy for her. She gives her a hug.

Back in the Scranton break room, Stanley comes up with an excuse to pass Julia off to Andy and excuses himself. Andy awkwardly begins by asking if he should send bills to her, or her boyfriend’s address. She tells him to send them to her business. So he tries again by asking how her boyfriend handles her ‘awesome success’. She admits she doesn’t have a boyfriend. He runs out of the break room into the office area saying he is going to ask this girl out and he’s panicking. Oscar flees to his desk. Andy turns to Creed and tells him that he and Julia have a lot in common (they like all the same music) and whenever he enters a room she totally ‘looks up.’Creed tells him how he got Squeaky Fromme: No small talk. Show her who’s boss. Just kiss her. Then he asks, ‘Have I ever steered you wrong, Jim?’
In Utica, Michael and Pam are walking out the car and Michael is thinking the lecture gets a B, and that Karen is kind of mean. Pam likes her and is glad she came. She’ll never wonder ever again if she did something wrong. It feels good to her to know Karen is happy. She has closure. Michael looks contemplative. It’s a nice look for him.

Julia is leaving DM Scranton, and Andy is walking her to her car. He tells her as one of his new clients, she will always be taken care of, and that’s the ‘Nard-dog Guarantee.’She asks, ‘What’s a Nard-dog?’He says, ‘This is’and leans in to kiss her. She stops him cold, of course, with a ‘What the hell?’He stammers an apology, explaining that he thought they had this energy, and that he’s a mess and he just got his heart broken. She is very nice about it, and says she just got out of a relationship and she knows it’s hard. Andy thinks this makes them practically soul mates, and asks if she wants to go a mall and get coffee and talk about it. She does not. He promises her to call her in three months about the order and the mall trip. Andy interviews, short and sweet: ‘We lost the account.’

Dwight is in the conference room partially blowing up balloons when the phone rings. Jim is at the supermarket and they only have number candles, so he needs to know how old Kelly is. Dwight: ’24. 37.’Jim: ‘Do you think I’m calling you for your best approximation?’Dwight hangs up and grabs her personnel file. He then interviews that according to this file, she spent about a year and a half in Burke’s County Youth Center, a.k.a ‘juvie.’He reads, ‘According to her past employers this in no way affects her job perfor… blah blah blah.’
Pam looks cautiously in the rear view mirror and asks quietly if Michael is asleep. He is not. He is thinking about closure. Specifically closure and Holly. He asks Pam if she remembers Holly. Pam clearly does but pretends she doesn’t. Michael: ‘Blond hair, nice boobs. Not too big, not too small.’Pam: ‘Perfect boobs. Of course I remember Holly.’Michael calls her the love of his life.What she and Jim have a hundred times over. Pam doesn’t point out they don’t have the cool celebrity style name. Jim and Pam = Jam. What would Michael and Holly be? Molly? Hochael? See? They have nothing on Jim and Pam. Anyway, Michael is lamenting they never had closure, and he feels like he needs to go to Nashua to get closure. Pam says they should go. Michael mentions the lecture in Rochester. Pam: ‘Screw ‘˜em, let’s do this.’Michael: ‘Ok.’

To Be Continued.

Oh wait, one last scene: Jim is asking Creed for a contribution for Kelly’s party. Creed gladly reaches in his wallet and pulls out a $3 bill. The president in the middle? George W. Bush. Of course it is.


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