Tori’s Review: Dunder Mifflin Infinity

This week on The Office, new collided with old, and small business was knocked down by mockups, thumbnails, and splash frames. Oh, and Michael drove his car into a BLEEPing lake.

Dunder Mifflin is transforming into Dunder Mifflin Infinity and with it, came Ryan’s return to Scranton. Michael had high hopes for Ryan from the minute he walked through Dunder Mifflin’s doors. He dreamed of mentoring him, hanging out on the weekends, and if we are being totally honest here, kissing him full on the lips — just once.

But this week, as Kelly so perfectly named him, “Fancy New Whatever” moved those hopes and dreams to the recycle bin. Ryan came to town with a beard and a plan: to sleep with Pam and put this paper company on the Internet.

There are a couple of things wrong with Michael: 1) he is crazy, and 2) he doesn’t like change. In his mind, the Internet isn’t for business; it’s for WebMD and sending a video of a monkey peeing in its own face.

But once again this week, we also got a small glimpse as to why Michael is a terrible boss, but a great salesman. He knew details about former clients’ lives that a big business website would never know. Of course, he negated the positive by rubbing lake sludge onto their leather furniture, but that goes back to the crazy part.

Ryan never made a sale while he was in Scranton, but his broader business sense shows he has potential to be a good boss. He made it through an entire presentation without referencing Tom Hanks or insulting anyone in the room. Impressive. Now if he would stop trying to sleep with every woman in the office, we’d be in business.

While Michael and Ryan were fighting to mark their territory, Jim and Pam were busy being so freaking adorable I want to carry them around in my pocket. The kiss, the lunch, the high-five — everything. I know there’s concern now that they are together they will lose the tension and chemistry. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I could watch them all day — like puppies in a store window. Toby, however, has lost some of his charm.

Now that Jim and Pam can finally be cute, it looks like Angela and Dwight will be sacrificed — at least for now. When most boyfriends do something stupid like commit pet homicide, they give flowers; Dwight gave Angela a squirmy barn-cat named “Garbage.” I hope Dwight can turn this around and eventually melt his cold “Monkey.” It was sweet to see him so upset over their break-up — and her adequate accounting skills.

Michael seems less scared of Jan these days. I enjoyed that he confided in her — until she taught him a new word. Michael’s idea of fighting ageism is to insult the Dunder of Dunder Mifflin and then endanger his life. I’ll admit, it was still a better course of action than Creed turning into Fancy New Crazy-Old-Guy.

Michael’s disdain of computers and inability to change only resulted in seven rejections from former clients, pockets filled with lake algae, and probably a restraining order from Stone, Cooper & Grandy. Gift baskets are only good for Easter … and the Emmys.

I think after Michael goes home, takes a nice hot shower, and maybe has a heart-to-heart with Harvey, he’ll come around to realize that if he and Ryan can find a middle ground, they might finally get along after all.

I’m not holding my breath for that kiss.

Tori Weber is a Web Producer and writer for a television news station in Orlando, FL. Writing keeps her sane, and ice cream makes her happy. Dogs are good too. Visit her here.

44 comments

  1. The thing I love is that whole “Is the magic gone?” conversation between Jim and Pam…A clear tease of the fans from the writers, and an answer to all the fans’ conversations about whether having Jim and Pam together is too much of a good thing. (Which, by the way, it’s not.)

    :)

  2. The episode was no doubt complex. Greg Daniels consistently and expertly produced episodes that contain multiple plots, but can still be watched individually and enjoyed by people that have never seen an episode (as with several of my friends this week). That is genius!
    I felt that Michael was most endearing this week, I rooted for him and reveled in his small victories agianst the “Temp” (exp.-“this is still my office”). Michael is also undergoing a transformation, as much of as a kid as he is, many things in his life are beginning to ground him.

  3. Excellent Review!! Also did anyone notice that when Michael said that the printers were out of ink because Creed used it to dye his hair, I didn’t notice till the second time I watched it. It also seemed to me that Dwight and Michael did a background check on the man from Stone, Cooper & Grandy, but I could be wrong.

  4. Wonderful review! I think that Fancy-New-Crazy-Old-Guy, is by far the best description of Creed I have ever heard, however, for Ryan, but I am partial to Kevin’s: “Bearded-Little-Old-Man-Boy.”

    Is it wrong to admit that if Michael came to me, asking me to come back to Dunder Mifflin with a gift basket of Peanut Brittle, that I most definitely would?

  5. I just need one thing to be mentioned. When they went into the lake, Michael opened the door for the cameraman. How cool is that?
    Ok, one more thing, I love Pam and Jim and I am not worried at all about their chemistry. It has doubled, if anything.
    I’m still, however, unsure about Pam’s new appearance. I see a little more Jenna Fischer in her than I’d like.

  6. “There are a couple of things wrong with Michael: 1) he is crazy, and 2) he doesn’t like change. In his mind, the Internet isn’t for business; it’s for WebMD and sending a video of a monkey peeing in its own face.”

    This made me laugh hard. You managed to wrap Michael up in so few words. Awesome job.

    I am completely with you on the Jim and Pam front, Tori. I, too, could watch them all day. It is awesome to finally see them so happy together.

    Thanks for the re-cap, Tori. Great job, as always. :)

  7. Great review, Tori! I agree, I could watch Happy Jam all day long. Even the worst Office is better than most other television. I may be simple, but I like every episode and LOVE most of them.

  8. Great review for a great episode. My favorite part was when Ryan arrived in the office and everyone is calling him the fire guy, so Andy walks up joins in on the fun, only to be told by Kevin that he “wasn’t there.” Hilarious. Speaking of Kevin, does anyone else like that he is getting a lot more face time? Of course, it helps that episodes are an hour long these days.

  9. Once again, an excellent review from Tori. I think that this is going to be a great season. And I agree, I cannot get enough of Jim and Pam. They are so adorable!

  10. Yeah. Toby has kind of lost his charm to me too. He was so annoying and kind of creepy. I alwaya thought he was kind of like a sad little puppy, but now I’m just annoyed at him. I mean, come on! Where was the whole “Toby! Yeah”-thing? I miss it.

  11. After a heart-to-heart with Harvey! Ha ha ha! Tori, I love reading your reviews every week–thanks for writing these!

  12. I never really considered it before, but Michael’s salesmanship, combined with Ryan’s potential for good leadership…might just be the perfect beast.

    And that, my friends, is a horrifying thought.

  13. Great review, Tori! Love your contrast of Michael and Ryan, and your observation that there seems to only be a finite amount of happiness to go around in Office-land. I’m with you on Jim and Pam (too adorable!), but my heart broke for Dwight when he was channeling his grief over Angela during the gift basket mission. As with Matt (#3), I empathized with Michael in his struggles to resist change (surely most of us have felt the same way too, at some point?). I think the episode played this down a little, but I really felt bad for Pam when it seemed to turn out that Ryan was praising her graphic design skills just to get on a date with her; she was so excited about it, and Jim was so happy for her. Or did I read this wrong and Ryan really did want Pam to come up with a logo for DMI? Also noticed upon second viewing that Michael opened the door to let the cameraman out at the end of the driving-into-the-lake sequence; props to the show for its attention to detail! Again, wonderful review, and thanks for the hard work in putting it together!

  14. What a great review! I didn’t comment on the episode yet b/c we only just got to watch it late last night. We loved it ~ nary a complaint! Definitely heavily saturated w/ the standard painfully awkward Office moments.

  15. Excellent review Tori. Upon a second viewing, I’m positive Michael drove into the lake on purpose and not like a complete buffoon. He clearly said to Dwight, “It knows the way Dwight!” as in making sure Dwight understood what he was going to do. After he drove into the lake however, I believe he woke up from his rage and realized what he did. What made me laugh more was the fact that the cameraman started freaking out as you can clearly tell by the movements during that scene.

    And Jim made me laugh so much in this episode. I do believe Jim has finally “come back” in that he is feeling comfortable. It was nice for him to see what he could have become had he accepted the job… like Spiderman’s reaction to Venom and realizing what he would have become had he not gotten rid of the symbiote.

  16. Great review! There was only one thing missing though, the fact that the camera guy did a fantastic job of filming while being stuck in the back seat of a sinking car. For me that was the most impressive part of the episode! Go and re-watch the episode if you didn’t catch that whole sequence the first time. It’s genius.

  17. I agree, that was a really great review. I always look for episode reviews after they air (TV Guide, EW, etc…) but it’s always the coolest to read reviews by someone who’s really into the show and gets all the intricacies and subtle references. This one was spot on as far as I’m concerned! I think once people with intitally ambivalent reactions to this episode may lighten up a bit towards it after repeat viewings. I thought there was so much greatness to it, and a little absurdity at the end shouldn’t subtract from that fact. Bottom line is- it was freakin’ funny.

  18. Harvey! Of course, he’d just be talking to himself… he’ll love it. ;)

    I think some tension is brewing between Jim and Ryan (not because of Pam, though I did I love the “not any girl” line).

  19. Technically, Michael was only rejected by six former customers, but he was rejected a grand total of seven times.
    Also… Did anyone else think Phyllis was a bit harsh with telling Pam she couldn’t assign new customers based on who she was sleeping with “that week”? It seemed a bit out of character for Phyllis. I thought Phyllis liked Jim & Pam together (like way back at Jim’s BBQ).
    Overall, I liked the episode. And I loved Tori’s review of the Creed “Fancy New Crazy Old Guy” haha

  20. Great Review! It’s nice to read something that doesn’t make fun of the lake part. I thought it fit well…Michael is incredibly stressed at this point in the episode; he’s proven in the past that he’s not really aware of what’s going on around him even when he’s on terra firma.
    I think one of the most interesting things about Ryan in this episode is him asking Pam out. He’s alluded to the fact that he’s not really into white girls, so his interest in her would seem to be entirely due to his desire to throw his weight around. That, and this is now the second girl he’s asked out that has turned him down because she’s with Jim.

  21. The ‘baskets’ half of the episode was seriously uninspired, but the first half was great. Kelly, Creed, Dwight… (‘I want us to be friends. With a little extra. Also, I love you.’) The move back to a half-hour slot should help a lot.

  22. @ #7…I would agree that Pam’s new look is definitely more Jenna than the character. However, she’s fresh into the best relationship of her life. I think most other girls would agree that they start acting and looking a little more extroverted at the beginning of an awesome courtship. Even Angela glammed up a little when she started dating Dwight. I also think it’s interesting that the summer promo mentioned that this was something Jim verbally recommended. Remember in The Secret, Jim’s response to Pam with her hair down kind of caused all the trouble.
    One only slightly related note is that I personally have always though Jenna Fischer looks prettier as the old Pam. Whenever I see her at award shows I think “Oh, I wish her hair was kinda frizzy and pulled back.” I realize immediately that that’s pretty ridiculous, but maybe it’s worth mentioning. She’s of the “cute” variety, and I think it she’s at her best when that’s played up.

  23. 16 | krentistthedentist
    About Jim finally coming back- last season all I wanted was for him to roll up his sleeves, but they stayed firmly buttoned. For me, that was the sign he was back, even before he phrased it that way. And almost right away in Fun Run, bam- there’s my boy!
    And in this epsiode he went to get a jelly bean!

  24. To #27:
    I completely agree with you that it is within people’s nature to “glam it up” when they are the happiest they have ever been.
    But I guess the point is what you have said: Pam is cute and Jenna is attractive. And I have always liked the distinction between the two.

    Also, very important note: Toby was absolutely HILARIOUS! The best part of the episode (other than driving into the lake, during which I have never laughed so hard) was Toby’s change from ecstatic to not so much (“Hey Paam!…Oh, you two”) hehehehehehe

  25. Oddly enough, I wanted to slap Michael silly in this episode and was rooting for Ryan. Get with the times, man! But that’s just my lack of tolerance for immaturity talking, I suppose. Overall, just an OK episode.

  26. Tori, I laughed out loud at your comment on the value Michael places on the internet (WebMD and monkey pee). You are a fantastic and hilarious writer! Thanks for a great review.

  27. I thought the episode was great!

    I agree that the Phyllis scene in the breakroom was a bit odd for her. I also didn’t really get when she said “I couldn’t see your hands.” I was like, HUH???

    I think Jim and Pam are fantastic. It makes me smile to see them finally that happy. I LOVED the part after they both discovered they each knew about Dwangela, when Jim says, “You didn’t say anything?” then Pam said, “You didn’t say anything to meeee!!” Her look was absolutely adorable.

    Andy wins for quote of the show though with, “You should change the name to Dunder Mifflinfinity….push the words together…”

    Great episode. I love these hour-long shows. Can’t wait to see the next big one.

    ……that’s what she said.

  28. Does anyone know what the story was with Ryan saying that Karen tried asking him out ‘six months ago’ but he turned her down. Is he referencing his email asking her out (reversing the names), or was it like he said?

  29. Actually, my personal favorite Andy line of the episode has to be, “Then… you need awesome lessons.”

    Not that I odn’t love a sqee at the Jim-Pam dynamic of this season, it is definently something new, but going over the old episodes, I miss so much and would love to see in this season some of the same old stuff they used to do (i.e. the jinx).

  30. First of all, excellent review. I completely agree with your PB&J remarks. I watch them over and over. Pam’s kiss on the cheek was even more adorable than a full on lip-lock, I thought.
    Also, I’m worried about Ryan. He’s going to get a jealousy complex over Jim. First Karen, now Pam…Jim’s stealing all the girls he wants.

    Angela and Dwight! Ah, I want to cry. “Also I love you.” Awww, poor Dwight. Can’t blame Angela though. I love Angela these days. Except her jibe at Pam. “She /is/ the office mattress.”
    !!

    Also, Kelly is insane.

  31. I had a great time watching the episode. I particularly liked when Jim and Pam were pretending that “the magic was gone” in that sweet little exchange between the two. Also, Creed was a riot, and it was great to see him try to protect his own neck in light of Ryan’s “younger” direction. “Sometimes you gotta ride The Bull!”

  32. Great review!

    I have been loving season 4 so far, not only because of Jim and Pam, but also because it seems like the writers (and us) really “know” these characters now and they’re just letting their freak flags fly. Ha!

    I thought that Phyllis’ comment was dead on and completely in character. She’s a saucy broad and probably didn’t even realize it was an insult to tell Pam she can’t just assign clients to whoever she’s sleeping with this week…Remember this is the same woman that told Pam to order the most expensive thing on the menu and had a one-night-stand with someone else in the office!

    Also, she seems like she’s a little jealous…Jim’s on her “list”! And Bob knows about it. hahahaha

  33. Another great review, Tori! I love how you capture the balance between crazy and not so crazy in Michael. You are always so observant in the things that make Michael the walking contradiction we know and love. Nice job!

  34. Sweet Pretzel, I could not agree more. Phyllis has a very passive aggressive way of reacting to events. She is the one who most unexpectedly told Karen about Jim’s crush for Pam. She also copied every aspect of Pam’s wedding plans. She may be quiet, but she should not be underestimated.

  35. I think the directing and writing for the first two episodes seemed completely uninspired. I only laughed at the interactions between Ryan and Kelly. Everything else had an unfocused quality to it.

    Also, I hate the cat subplot. Killing someone’s pet is never funny.

    After the second episode I popped in my BBC Office DVDs and still laughed the whole way through.

  36. Phyllis used to be the sweet lady in the office, but now she comes off as a socially awkward, oblivious, and equally not self aware as Michael.

    1. She copied Pam’s ideas for her wedding.

    2. She tries to manage Angela when she’s planning for the party, cause she’s the “difficult person,” but the audience in their right mind wouldn’t think Angela is difficult, just annoyed, because

    a. Phyllis couldn’t spell “launch”
    b. Phyllis didn’t know “assorted cutlery” meant “more than just spoons”

  37. There are some shows when the writers make the main characters drift in and out of relationships to keep the show interesting and get more people to watch. I would watch it more if Jim and Pam stay together. Forever.

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