The Office: Branch Wars, 4.10

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The Office

Writer: Mindy Kaling, Director: Joss Whedon

Summary (NBC): When Karen tries to woo Stanley away from Scranton, Michael fights back, dragging her ex, Jim, into his war. The existence of a “Finer Things Club” disturbs Dunder Mifflin’s calm. Directed by Joss Whedon.

The Office Branch Wars extras

The Office Branch Wars rating


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The Office Branch Wars quotes

Michael: Most of the time, I will be with Ryan. Or Darryl.

Stanley: I don’t understand why sleeping at your desk is better than you not being here.

Michael: You completely misinterpreted my tone.

Michael: Clearly, Karen is trying to get back at us because Jim dumped her.

Michael: You cannot take the hilarious black guy from the office.

Michael: The smile. Those big, watery red eyes. I don’t know how George Bush did it when Colin Powell left.

Michael: Mo money, mo problems, Stanley. You of all people should know that.

Oscar: Besides having sex with men, I would say The Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.

Michael: Fillipellers, how they hangin’?

Michael: You may have Toby.

Michael: Toby is the worst. That was a bluff.

Michael: Do you like magic?

Michael: I’m going to grant you three wishes — to move to Scranton, to have a great job, and to be my best friend.

Ben Nugent: Aren’t you the guy that hit the woman with your car?

Michael: Scranton is not lame. Scranton is the cool, fun branch. We’re like Animal House.

Michael: We’re getting crapped on. Word is our branch sucks.

Michael: I have no words.

Dwight: I guess there’s no sales call today.

Jim: We’re going to Utica?

Jim: I’m not gonna go further piss off my ex-girlfriend.

Dwight: Yeah c’mon. It’ll be so badass.

Jim: So the deal was, Dwight doesn’t blow anything up, and I wear a costume. And a mustache.

Michael: So why did you and Karen break up? Was it the sex?

Jim: Why don’t we play that alphabet game that you were talking about?

Michael: Dwight, are you peeing?

Dwight: Hey! You’re making me spray!

Dwight: I think I cut my penis on the lid.

Andy: Pam, these finger sandwiches look finger-lickin’ delicious, Pam.

Andy: The Finer Things Club is the most exclusive club in this office. Naturally, it’s where I need to be. The Party Planning Committee is my backup, and Kevin’s band is my safety.

Andy: Why can’t I be in the club?

Michael: Afro wig? Do you want the Afro wig?

Jim: This is the dumbest thing we’ve ever done.

Phyllis: Someone needs to clean it. It smells like popcorn.

Andy: I’m gonna miss you, man. You’ve been like an uncle to me. Like a kind old Uncle Remus.

Jim: You really don’t need to be updating me as much as you’re updating me.

Dwight: Hello, we’re warehouse workers. Would you like more proof?

Dwight: The eyes are the groin of the head.

Michael: I’m losing control of my bladder!

Michael: Take her to a motel. Make love to her, Jim.

Michael: Just climb on top of her and think about Stanley.

Michael: Jim, if this is it for me, promise me something. Host the Dundies.

Karen: Seeing him climb out of a PT Cruiser in a lady’s warehouse uniform … felt pretty good.

Dwight: Then we will burn Utica to the ground.

Michael: Fly away, sweet little bird. Fly away and be free.

Michael: Pam, I’m going to need some help writing a want ad.

Michael: “Wanted. Middle-aged black man with sass. Big butt. Bigger heart.”

Stanley: How on earth did Michael call my bluff? Is he some sort of secret genius? Sometimes I say crazy things.

Jim: Angela’s Ashes. Top o’ the mornin’ to it. Frankie’s prose is finer than a pot of gold. Say I.

Icon courtesy of pessimistreader.


  1. “The eyes are the groin of the head.”
    -Dwight Schrute

    This is my favorite quote of this episode.

  2. I don’t know why, but i truly love this episode. I love jim’s anger- its so real and sad and different.

  3. I liked how Jim handled the situation with Karen…..and that Pam was very easy going about it all :) They are great together!

  4. OK I think this episode will mark the start of the “The Office Is Not As Good As It Used To Be” era, ’cause this was just lame lame lame.

  5. I thought this episode was really funny but really meaningful too. Pam finally showed the same kind of love Jim had showed for her- by inviting him to the Finer Things Club! (:
    The Jim and Karen scene was perfect.

  6. That episode got my first 10 rating. I love how each episode is getting better and better. Awesome episode

  7. I couldn’t get to a TV. Does anyone know exactly when they put the new episodes on

  8. those had the pictures of my brother’s new baby on it!!

    I like how they delved deeper into jim’s family and personal life.

  9. I love Pam in the head scarf mouthing, “Sorry…”, poor Jim, I feel so bloody bad for him!

  10. I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief that those mustaches didn’t destroy the episode. I liked this one. It wasn’t as good as last week’s, but I laughed a lot. The Finer Things Club was kind of silly (the shot of them in their berets felt really forced), but it was cute. John’s look of terror was incredible.

  11. Yes the humor was broad but I’ve never laughed as hard in an episode before.

    “Besides having sex with men, the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me”

    “The eyes are the groin of the head”

    “I think i cut my penis on the lid”

    Unreal… so funny, a perfect standalone episode

  12. It was great to see Jim get genuinely angry. Great acting on John’s part. I knew he wouldn’t purposely go along with that prank.

  13. “Branch Wars” will always hold a special place in my heart, because I watched its first act in Scranton, in a room filled with “Office” fans, as the show’s amazing writers watched from box seats just a few feet away from me. That said, it’s a great episode even if none of that had happened. It was good to see Dwight having a little fun, and I’m glad Jim and Karen didn’t resolve their break-up. If they had, it wouldn’t have felt as real. I also enjoyed the “Angela’s Ashes” mention. Their hats were so cute. A very funny episode. You gotta love Stanley the Manly.

  14. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this was one of, if not the first time, they showed Jim genuinely upset. Overall, fantastic, definitely one of the stronger episodes so far.

  15. The general feeling going in was, “Oooh! Mindy Kaling wrote this! She write some of the best Office episodes ever! “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”! “The Injury”! “Ben Franklin”! And if Mindy Kaling can’t bring The Office out of its season four slump, then no one can!”

    Well, sadly, it looks like no one can.

  16. NBC puts new episodes up at 5 a.m. Eastern the new day.

    Also, this episode was pretty solid. Not as great as last week, but still quality.

  17. Loved it!

    Favorite part? The Michael/Dwight conversation and seeing Jim’s reaction as he’s listening to the walkie talkie! OMGosh! I loved it! Laughed so hard!

  18. I really enjoyed this episode, but this is one of those episodes that should be few and far between because they’re so over the top. There wasn’t a whole lot that was believable in the Michael, Dwight, and Jim storyline, but it was funny. Again, I hope there aren’t too many episodes like this, but they’re nice every now and then.

  19. I hated seeing Jim be embarrassed and uncomfortable, but part of me thinks he really deserved that. He screwed with Karen’s emotions and feelings. She was really serious about him and he just used her as a shield against Pam. I love PB&J but I’m glad Jim had to face some of the consequences of his actions. You shouldn’t do that to women.

    Overall, I loved this episode though! It was hilarious. Can’t wait until tomorrow when I watch The Office while eating breakfast at 5:00 in the morning!

  20. The scene with Jim and Karen in her office was the best scene of the season so far. So awkward, real, and hysterical.

  21. Absolutely loved it. Everything in the PT Cruiser was dawesome–Jim hiding, the costumes, Dwight–great stuff.

  22. Wow! Jim’s getting beat up this season. Really looking forward to see where it all leads.

    “Jim, promise me you’ll host the Dundies!”

    Did anyone else think that Toby looked like Professor Plum with the bowtie? Too funny!

  23. Highlights:
    Tobey and Oscar grilling Jim in the Finer Things Club was the highlight to this episode.

    Andy treating the FTC like a frat.

    Mortified Jim in Utica… with a mustache.

  24. I love the finer things club, and am very happy that Toby is part of it! Dwight was very happy in the episode, wheres Angela? Creed? Score: 7/10

  25. Interesting episode… I thought it was very funny, but a bit strange at the same time.

    I loved that we finally got to see Jim show some real anger… we never see that side of him, and he had every right to be pissed off. Yay for some Jim exploring!

    The only problem I had was the end. Why didn’t he read the book? He so wanted to be in the club, he could’ve at least shown some real interest in it. I don’t know, that threw me off a bit.

  26. Wow, Karen totally smacked Jim around! That was great. She made him look like a total loser. I have to admit–he really did deserve it. I want Rashida back full time now! First Ryan and now Karen have been promoted past Jim while he’s doing nothing with his life.

    And did everyone catch the purpose of the Finer Things Club? It really had no point in the episode–other that to set us up for the fact that Jim and Pam really don’t have much in common with each other. You could tell that the club meant a lot to Pam and Jim couldn’t even bother to read the book, instead just cracking his usual jokes.

    All in all, Jim and Pam have become that popular, snarky couple in high school who thought they were too good for everyone, but really were losers who you couldn’t wait to see break up.

  27. For me, this was hands down the best episode of the season. As for comment 21, you were supposed to feel uncomfortable, that is the point of The Office. That is what I miss about the show…the awful awkwardness of the first and second seasons where you just want to cringe because of what is happening. I liked the final resolution to what happened to Karen, and Michael and Dwight’s craziness was much funnier over the walkie-talkie than it was in your face when they drove into the lake in “Dunder Mifflin Infinity.” great episode, I have faith for this season starting now.

  28. Some of the funniest quotes ever.
    Dwight: “I think I cut my penis on the lip.”
    “The eyes are the groin of the head.”
    Michael: “Jim, just climb on top of her and think of Stanley.”

  29. I am really enjoying how uncomfortable they’re making Jim this year. He’s almost as bad at being embarrassed as Michael.

  30. It lacked realism, and for the most part bordered on ridiculous.

    But wow, that episode made me laugh really hard, many, many times.

    Michael’s reaction to Toby entering the Finer Things Club with the bow tie and the tea cups had me rolling.

    It was silly, but the laughs made my night. 8/10

  31. that was really funny!

    “i think i cut my penis on the lid!” hahaha
    such realistic’s almost insane

    great great job!

  32. 28-skibum The episode should be on by the weekend.

    I loved it, even though it was such an embarrassing episode for Jim it was still so funny!

    Can’t wait until next week.

  33. Yeah JP! I noticed the teapot too!!! I thought it was utterly uncomfortable tonight with the Jim/Karen thing. But, that’s life, and what’d you expect when he left her in NYC. And, I loved the “Finer Things Club,” Michael’s response to Toby in the bow tie with the china in his hands–it was incredible!!!!

    I thought it was funny, but I’m not suprised by how many people didn’t like it, it’s definitely different, I am almost starting to miss the-dare I say-Season TWO era??

  34. Easily one of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen. Please put Jim, Dwight and Michael in a car more often. omigod

  35. Dude!
    My school is doing the play “A…My name will always be alice.”

    So when Michael said the thing about “A, my is Allen and my girlfriend’s name is Alice,”
    I nearly had a heart attack because that’s a scene from the opening

  36. This season has felt like a club for the faithful. I loved seeing Karen again–and a slight explanation for what happened. She’s so qualified–how did Ryan get the job?!! Anyway, I have a lot of sympathy for her character and it was just lovely to see her again.

    Surprisingly the most forced part of the show for me–and this is including the prank, was why “The Finer Things” club didn’t meet outside of the office. Of course, it would lose the humor. But meeting in the office just seemed really cruel, on some level. What do you think?

  37. I thought this was a funny episode. It was a little far fetched with the road trip to Utica, but there were some enjoyable antics. I loved Dwight, Jim and Michael in the car together once again. I haven’t squirmed that much since The Injury.
    My favorites are:
    Seeing the Jam teapot, (thanks for that callback).
    Jim’s remarks when Dwight threw his camera out the window.
    Dwight peeing in the container in the backseat.
    Jim dunking out of Karen’s sight in the car.
    Jim and Karen’s exchange in her office.
    Michael’s ad to replace Stanley

  38. Everyone misses the Season 2 Era. I liked the episode, I thought it was funny. Yeah, it was silly, but it’s fine to have one of those every so often. I think this was a great “standalone” episode. And it makes me think (again) how I miss the hour longs.

  39. how is the show in a slump?

    they’ve had their best ratings ever.
    it’s supposed to be awkward.
    they need to get out of the office more…you can only do so much in an office!

    i still think people are almost jealous, or either nervous that our show is getting bigger and bigger.

    Great job MINDY!

  40. Solid episode. Not my favorite so far.
    BUT I did enjoy the Finer Things Club and seeing Karen again.

  41. Jim = a big loser. His smirks and humor aren’t getting him by anymore.

    Pam = Fancy New B!+c#. Since when did Pam become uppity and snooty?

    Who ever dreamed in season 2 that Jim and Pam would be so completely unlikeable?!?

  42. Oooh, at the risk of being harassed, I’m going to throw this out there – I didn’t like it. I’ve probably mentioned this more than once but I feel like they’re trying to turn The Office into a sitcom, things are becoming more and more utterly ridiculous and borderline impossible rather than the tedious and menial tasks of working in an office, which is what made the earlier seasons so funny.

  43. I have to second that this episode will always have a place in my heart. I have a new understanding of Karen, after going to Scranton. I understand that she really liked Jim, and yes she was dumped by him. I still will always love PB&J though. Anyways, I thought it was an amazing episode. Glad to see Stanley get some airtime. Andy wanting to join the “FTC” GREAT!… overall top 10!

  44. If this epsiode doesn’t give John Krasinski some kind of award nomination, I don’t know what will…

    All in all, great episode. I want to start my own Finer Things Club!

  45. I know it was slightly over the top, but they eventually had to come up with a plot where Jim sees Karen again, right. It was very funny, also.
    Best parts:
    The eyes are the groin of the head.
    The whole walkie-talkie scene.
    Ben Nugent phone call.
    Middle-aged black man ad.

    Although it was pretty far-fetched, I thought it was funny. Let’s get back to realistic episodes and Jim/Pam having fun without tension next week.

  46. I loved this episode. The show made me cringed which is what i exactly loved. good job Mindy and Joss Wheldon! :)

  47. I loved TFC talking about A Room With a View. I imagine that Pam loves George Emerson as much as I do. :)

  48. I really liked the episode, especially when Michael said, “Jim, promise me you’ll host the dundies!” That was hilarious!

    Some people said that the Finer Things Club showed how much Jim and Pam don’t have things in common, but I think that Jim has certain hobbies and Pam does. They don’t need to like the same exact things.

    Overall, it was a hilarious episode, especially with Dwight and Michael’s dramatic scene over the walkie talkie. It was so funny! lol

  49. They turned Dwight into the worst side of Michael Scott. They’re making Jim and Pam unlikeable. Stop! I still want to like these people.

    Amazingly enough, I love Karen and Andy now. Karen!

  50. Best Episode this season! Too funny for words! I loved Jim’s reactions and Dwight peeing in the back of car. wow too funny

  51. Loved it!! People are taking this comedy show way, way too seriously. Jim is not a “loser”. He’s in the best relationship of his life, with a girl who perfectly complements him. Pam is not “uppity and snooty”, she is who she’s always been. And you’re not supposed to look for “realism” in a comedy.

  52. Well, I thought it was great! The cold open has to be one of the best ever. Loved Stanley thinking Michael had called his bluff!

  53. Instant classic; my favorite episode of the season so far. Jim, Dwight, and Michael with the fake mustaches did me in. Such a funny image. I wish I hadn’t known that Karen would return here. I think we saw some different sides of Jim–he wasn’t the picture-perfect guy we see so often in his interactions with Pam. Definitely a good thing to show. I also loved that Stanley was the center of the episode. We’ve seen almost everyone else play crucial roles in past episodes, but it’s not often that Stanley gets his chance. I’ve been pretty critical as of late and I can’t think of anything negative to say about this ep. Great job!

  54. I laughed so hard when Jim was trying to tell them it wasn’t a good idea and then all of a sudden you hear the copier and dwight and michael topple down the stairs. Hilarious.

    The Finer Things Club bit wasn’t that funny. I wish Pam’s character was funnier this season. I don’t know what it is, she’s just not as entertaining, for lack of a better word, this season.


    Other than that though, awesome episode!


  55. I thought everything between JIm and Karen was pure gold – awkward, funny and realistic.

    The PT Cruiser scene – Dwight peeing in a can – not up to par for the Office. That could be found in any sitcom you watch on TV.

    The finer things club – not loving it. I don’t like Pam being part of some smug, pseudo-intellectual group that excludes people right to their face. The realistic thing would have them meet outside of the office. I did not like them making Jim look like some idiot who doesn’t read. Just because he doesn’t want to read their literature doesn’t make him a bumbling, total goof-off. Are they trying to make us think after all this time that Jim and Pam are really so different? Sorry, not buying it.

    6/10 – The 6 for all the Jim/Karen scenes and Stanley.

  56. I loved how uncomfortable this episode was.
    Karen and Karen vs Jim were great.
    Michael’s “Stanley-isms” were great.
    Michael/Dwight/Jim were awesome!
    Personally, the Finer Things Club fell a little flat for me. I loved a lot of the awkward moments that came from it, but those did come from them having it in the office, and there was really no point to having it in the office. There were some funny moments and some awkward moments, but I don’t think what was shown was either developed that well or perhaps the best material.
    Oddly, this was Mindy’s episode and I found myself really missing Kelly.

  57. No matter the insane antics, no matter the awkwardness (or lack/surplus of), no matter what seems to be happening, we are all still watching the show. That, my friends, is the stamp of good television.

    As far as Jim and Pam go, they are learning more about each other, which happens in real relationships. They will eventually figure each other out (good television rewards us like that), but I, for one, am glad that we are getting to see them find their way.

    More of Toby in bow ties.

  58. Thought it was way too over the top. Beyond silly. Worst episode ever. And this comes from someone who bleeds the Office and wants to really like these past episodes. I just can’t do it. It’s too predictable now. The characters aren’t the same anymore. Michael doesn’t act like Michael. Dwight doesn’t act like Dwight. Andy’s holding strong. Does anyone else notice how the camera now predicts people’s reactions? It doesn’t pan or zoom in on character reactions when more believable (ok, borderline believable)situations occur. Do the writers just hate the fans now? And why did they change the type of film they use. It’s much weirder with this bright film.

  59. I don’t think Pam was being snooty at all. I actually think its kind of sad/sweet that Toby, Pam and Oscar have to make a club at the office to get any kind of culture in their lives.

    Although the show sometimes crosses the line as far as character believability, I think this episode showed different, but still real, sides of Jim and Pam.

  60. I thought this was a fantastic episode! The whole thing with Jim hiding in the car was sooo funny. I cracked up when it showed Jim, Dwight, and Michael in the car wearing those ridiculous mustaches. My favorite line was probably Andy’s talking head about how Kevin’s band was his backup. Loved it!

    As for the show getting unrealistic, c’mon. It was NEVER that realistic. I can understand if it was so over the top that it made you cringe, but this is the same guy who burned his foot on a Foreman Grill.

    This episode really made me dislike Karen even more though. She admonishes Jim like she’s his mother.

  61. Maybe it’s just the lingering after-effects of the infamous lake drive, but I at least found this episode way more believable than that.

    Michael, on a whim, thinking this ridiculous prank is the best way to handle another branch taking one of his employees – I’ll buy it.

    Dwight, right behind him every step of the way – I’ll buy that, too.

    Jim, going along with it mainly in hopes of preventing them from doing too much damage – seems about right.

    Overall, probably not my favorite one they’ve ever done, but plenty of funny parts. And “The eyes are the groin of the head” is one of the best lines this season.

  62. I love it when Michael says:
    “I’m losing control of my bladder.”
    over the walkie talkie.

  63. Tonight was hilarious. I laughed all throughout.

    So I’m just gonna go ahead and add Mindy Kaling to my list of heroes.

  64. I loved this episode! The Finer Things club isn’t snobby… I think its adorable. Especially the fact that Toby is in it. I mean Pam and Oscar… that is expected.. but Toby? Excellent.

    Jim will be understood in time. I think he is really starting to realize how much people love him. He has never really been personable, but I have faith he is going to change! Jim is going to find himself. Also.. it does help that he is the hottest man alive.

    Andrew Bernard… Just so excellent.

  65. I laughed a lot, but it seemed like I was laughing at a different show. The mustaches especially were way too sitcomy for me. It all seems to set up now to be as obviously, overtly funny as possible. I don’t mind over the top as long as it is funny–heck, I loved “The Injury”–but this just seemed silly and dull.

  66. Where was Angela, Creed, Kelly, and Darryl?

    I also agree that Dwight is acting very out of character.

  67. so how many cars has Michael been though now? The Seabring, the rental, the Porsche, and now the PT… holy cow!

  68. Okay, here is my two cents:
    1-Yes, it was unbelievable AT PARTS. That’s okay because it’s the Office. ‘Nuff said.

    2-I love the new side of Jim that we saw here. It’s not that Jim looked like a bumbling idiot, it’s that even though he has different tastes then Pam, they still make it work.

    3-Stanely, love him to death. I think that was the first time we’ve seen him laugh.

    4-Karen, this made me hate her but I love her more for it.

    5-Andy, he just wants to be in with the “cool crowd”. He is always amazing and funny.

    I personally thought this was an amazing episode and I don’t care what other people say. I especially loved the part at the end when Jim was a part of the Finer Things Club. I laughed for 5 minutes after the episode ended.

  69. Ouch. What’s happened? Where are the hit-you-in-the-gut moments? The *occasional* moments of sheer goofiness? The subtlety? The emphasis two years ago was on showing that Michael wasn’t an uncaring jerk–rather, that he was earnest but clueless. Now he’s like an out-of-control cariacature. I want to continue loving this show. It just feels to me like the same focus isn’t there.

  70. sorry- also people are saying it’s too sitcom-y. Don’t you think if Michael was a real person (*gasp he’s not!*) that’s where he would get the idea for that prank? And Dwight was acting weird because he was around Michael. That is what he does. Oh! And I loved Jim’s reactions in this. They were much more physical than facial…

  71. loved it.

    i have to go back and watch the walkie-talkie scene again cause i was laughing too hard to get all the lines when dwight and michael fell. amazing.

  72. Some folks are bummed that Dwight was different this week, but frankly I’m just happy he wasn’t moping. That was getting old. I was rather pleased that Angela was on the sidelines a bit this week. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her and that storyline this season, but the break was nice.

  73. For a couple that was only together for (a rocky) 6 months, Karen’s taking a lot of time to get over that relationship!

  74. I wish there was actually more Karen. Hopefully Rashida can continue as a recurring, I could watch 30 minutes of her just sitting at her desk!

  75. so some of my friends and i were discussing the fact that this seems like a completely different show.
    Season two has been by far the best as far as comedy goes.
    Season three was still amazing.
    But season four? I don’t know what this is anymore.
    Of course the episode was funny, but still. I felt like there was a laughtrack buried in the episode.

    However, i did love the jim and karen bit. I think that we finally got to see how annoying she truely is and how painful those “long talks” were for jim.

  76. After reading all the comments so far it seems like the biggest mixed feelings of an episode yet. This is probably my second or third favorite of the season. Better than Local Ad and Money, definitely.

    People have likened this to Phyllis’ Wedding, Which is going a little far if you ask me, because the wedding episode is the worst to date.

    Somebody also mentioned how this episode made them feel uncomfortable. If this episode makes anybody uncomfortable then they must have never seen Sexual Harassment. And after watching it a few times is a great episode.

    This is one of the better ones this season. Slightly over the top, but it contained a lot of real emotions. I give it an 8.

  77. Where was Angela, Creed, Kelly, and Darryl?


    And, the ending seemed out of character for Jim. Very out of character. Otherwise, I loved it.

  78. I didn’t care for this episode. The first episode of the season that I didn’t like.

    The Michael/Jim/Dwight plot made no sense, and it was not believable that Jim would go along with it once he found out. Pam being part of a Finer Things Club made even less sense, totally out of character. And why at work? During the day, and with the HR guy there too.

    I hate being negative though, after the love fest of the Convention. But this episode just didn’t do it for me.

  79. Ehh, didn’t really think it was that great. I give it 5/10. To me it seems much of the humor is forced. Michael and Dwight are almost becoming a parody of themselves.

    My favorite parts was Andy trying to get into the club…and the finer things club in general was a neat idea.

  80. This episode was disappointing. Mindy Kaling is usually a good writer for over the top plots, but this just didn’t work for me. Although there were great lines, there always are. The show itself seems to be parting with alot of the stylistic aspects that made it so funny. This season almost seems like an experiment: try hour-long episodes, try broader humor, try making it look less like a doumentary, etc. With this episode out of the way, now I can look forward to next week’s, which is written by Steve, who also did Casino Night.

  81. I hate to say it, but i didn’t like tonight’s episode. I hate this semi-bipolarity of Michael’s maturity. And this was probably the first time I’ve ever cringed during Jim’s scenes. Not that I’m taking this how “seriously,” but sometimes I’d like the show to be more grounded.

  82. I guess it’s a sign of success when people claim the episodes they don’t like are un-Office-like. But I like how the mood of the show isn’t the same week to week. This was a funny episode that was a little different, but not in a bad way.

  83. My one problem with this episode:

    It felt too short (TWSS)

    Oh and I agree with 84: Allison as it is

    But I love Jim’s reaction to their copier and then hearing it over the walkie talkie.

  84. This way by far my favorite episode so far this season. By FAR. I agree that some parts where not normal-office-standard, but still it was completely unique and wonderful.

    The fact that we only heard Dwight and Michael over the walkie-talkie and didn’t see at all what they were doing was the best thing I think I’ve ever seen. I was laughing constantly and I hardly ever laugh out loud.

    I like that they showed jim being kind of a jerk. I was very happy to see Karen, as short-lived as it was, but Jim not saying the right things to her was a good thing I think, to show that he’s human and not the perfect guy we all make him out to be (even though he is anyway).

    I heart the Finer-Things-Club. Toby, Pam and Oscar together are adorable.

  85. Loved this episode but I’ve been spoiled by the first four weeks. I want an hour every week.

    I didn’t mind the Finer Things Club. Pam was stuck with Roy for how many years? It’s nice that she can read good books and eat nice food, and the only “interference” is that her boyfriend wants to join her.

    And I’m perfectly okay with Jim and Pam not having everything in common. If the biggest problem in their relationship is that she likes E.M. Forrester and he likes David Foster Wallace — that’s okay too.

    And my favorite thing about Jim is how completely honest he is. My favorite line — “I didn’t want to see you.”

  86. How random and what a small world–I went to school with Karen’s assistant! What a surprise!

  87. #126- Now that I think about it, thats the most angry I’ve ever seen Jim. I loved it!

    Question…do you think Jim was lying about the baby pictures on his phone? Just a thought.

  88. Also, I’d like to add that I’ve never seen anyone cheer for Utica. Ever. I wouldn’t mind at all if Michael and Dwight burned it to the ground, honestly. Going to school here just makes me miss home (which is Scranton).

    I’m not sure if I believe the drive from Scranton to Utica – it’s a three hour drive both ways (so six total) so that’s almost the entire day wasted on driving alone. But, whatever, most people won’t know that, so not a big deal really.

  89. Ok so this was not my favorite episode, but to say that this is a different Office than we are used to is true and a moot point. Of course its different than season 2 or season 3. Its called creative growth. I think that this show gets better from season to season, and can’t wait to see where the brilliant writers continue to take us. Not every episode can be my favorite- that would be a very crowded top 10.

  90. I thought this episode was hilarious!! It had everything The Office should have..lots of cringeworthy and laugh out loud moments.

    Michael/Dwight/Jim in the car took me back to The Injury.
    I love angry Jim. It’s good to see that side of him every once in a while.
    The Finer Things Club. I just hope Toby is in it because of what the club stands for and not because of Pam. I love Toby but his crush on Pam is getting a little creepy.

    There were several more things but I won’t write a novel. Overall, I thought this was a great and hilarious episode.

  91. So that is the funniest episode so far to me. Jim trying to reign Michael and Dwight in, but not being able to just leave because they might actually kill somebody or poke their eye out. Hiding in the car. :)And at first I thought the Finer Things Club was weird but Pam is still broadening her horizons and I like that in order to make Jim feel better she let him in the club. LMAO when she apoligizes to Oscar because Jim did exactly what he thought he would.

  92. God. I feel so lucky that The Office exists. What would I do without it? I’ve been a fan since season 1 and I’ve loved every minute. Tonight’s episode was beyond amazing. I love the writers so much. Congrats Mindy for an amazing laugh fest. Nothing makes me happier than Awkward-Jim. B.J. gave us a taste with “Philly Jim” but this was completely unexpected. I love how parental he is. Love love love.

  93. A good, solid 30 minute episode. I didn’t really like the “Finer Things Club” sections…but it was still a solid episode.

  94. I think it is great that Jim is getting more time to be faced with different situations and react so we get to know him better. The only thing we know about him up to now is what he has done on the show and that he loves Pam. I LOVED seeing all the uncomfortableness and reactions that we don’t normally get to see, and John portrayed them so well.

  95. I don’t think every character has to be in every ep. They had a lot of screen time in the hour longs.

    Overall, I neither hated nor loved this ep. But I”m glad it’s in the series.

  96. Bitter!Karen is so, so much more awesome and fun to watch and compelling than Independent!Karen, InLove!Karen, or InsecureAboutPam!Karen (who was just annoying).

  97. You know, I liked it. Not my favorite (that award still goes to Drug Testing) but it made me laugh a lot. I enjoy watching the show and the characters grow. I thought the Finer Things Club was very believable. I’ve done that with friends at school and at work before… you spend most of your time in the office. Why not do it there if you can? I’m happy to see that Pam is continuing to develop her talents, hobbies, and interests.

    Oh, and “Other than having sex with men, the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.” was hilarious. I laughed for like a minute after that.

  98. I loved this episode. There were a couple slow moments, but overall, it was a solid and funny episode with some very awesome moments!

  99. 84 Allison, I totally agree. People are either saying it’s their favorite of this season or the worst episode of all time. I guess it shows the wide range of people who watch.

    I thought tonight’s show was so-so. Funniest for me so far this season was definitely “Launch Party” and my favorite overall so far this season was definitely “Money”.

  100. I loved tonight’s episode. I was laughing through all the commercials. I know I’m not the same person I was when the show first started; why wouldn’t that apply the the characters on the show? People grow. The show grows. I think it’s a miracle that the writers and actors consistently make me laugh each week while always giving me something totally unexpected to watch.

  101. Liked it, didn’t love it. I’m so happy that we’re getting to see new sides of Jim – angry Jim, new uncle Jim. He’s not just a snarky, lovesick boy anymore. I liked the idea of the Finer Things Club in theory (can I join?), but the idea that they would hold it in the breakroom during office hours and not at home was a little too much of a stretch for me.

    ps. I didn’t catch the teapot on my first watch – I’ll have to look for it the second time around :)

  102. Ok, this episode was hilarious to me. I was crying with the whole car scene. Michael and Jim’s faces were priceless. Also priceless, Toby in a bowtie and with a beret.

    About the Jim/Karen encounter. Jim was being honest with Karen. He is happy and he shouldn’t have to hide it.

  103. Oh man, after eagerly anticipating the return of my Karen, I was left…wanting much, much, much more Karen.

    I really miss having Rashida Jones on the show – not as Pam’s competition or anything crazy like that, I just was one of the seeming few who always really liked the character of Karen. I do feel like there’s something missing now that she’s gone.

  104. The tag at the end was my absolute favorite part. I love Jim trying to do an Irish Brogue.

    I think it’s only fair that Dwight got to throw Jim’s phone out the window seeing as how Jim made Dwight throw his off the roof.

  105. Just wanted to say that I really loved this episode. There was some really classic lines tonight. For me, nothing beats: “Jim, if this is it for me promise me something…host the Dundies.” I’m still laughing!!

  106. I loved this episode. I’ve already watched it twice, and it’s just as funny the second time. There’s something about a great show like “the office” that takes a bit of getting used to. I think the reason we all like some of the older episodes is because of time. I really think this one will be a standout for season 4. And Andy Bernard is getting better every week. Loved the braided bracelet. Perfect.

  107. I actually liked this episode, nothing had me laughing more than Stanley saying Michael was some kind of a weird genius. Michael is usually an effective manager when he’s not to be. Everything with the finer things club cracked me up.

  108. Quite a variety of opinions on this one! I liked it a lot myself, and I probably laughed harder than I have all season. I think Michael, Dwight, and Jim has always been the funniest combo of characters, and their scenes today were incredible.

    I loved season 2 as much as anybody, but the show has evolved, in some ways for better, in others for worse, but it’s still the best comedy on TV, and I look forward to it all week.

    Andy’s line about the Party Planning Committee being his second choice and Kevin’s band being his safe pick was classic!

  109. Really liked this one. So many great lines, especially from Oscar and Michael. It was great seeing Jim get really angry/nervous, and as much as i can’t stand Karen it was nice to see her give Jim a good talking to. He deserves it for leaving her in New York City crying by a fountain. I love me some PB & J, but that was kinda (ok reallly) messed up.

    And I completely disagree about wanting to see more of her. I’ve had my five minute fix and i’m good. Forever lol.

  110. More Rashida Jones! :)
    hopefully this isn’t her last episode.
    they only said a few so i’m guessing this one and the first episode even though she was barely in it.
    Rashida plays a great bitter ex girlfriend. :)

  111. So many LOL moments. I’m siding on favorite ep of the season. Especially after a hilarious COPS hour on Earl. Perfect amount of time, as I like the change of pace humor of Scrubs. And can we get some more Karen! Please and thank you!

  112. I really liked the episode, though I was worried about it from what I had seen and heard from spoilers. Stanley was awesome and in just the right amount. For the first time since Diwali, I really liked Karen and am almost sad to see that she’s (likely) gone for good. She’s bitter, but she also showed in this episode that there was so much more potential for her character if she hadn’t just been one of the obstacles between Jim and Pam. I had totally lost respect for her after The Return, but found myself totally liking her again tonight.

    As for the Finer Things Club, I found that totally believable and not snobby at all. The ones they pointedly excluded were with good reason. Andy didn’t show an actual interest in what they were doing. He just felt left out. Jim wouldn’t take it seriously, and I believe Oscar was right on with that. I also felt Pam’s silent “sorry” to Oscar and Toby was more about admitting they were right about Jim’s attitude toward the club rather than her being condescending toward Jim in any way.

  113. This episode is probably my favorite of the season so far. Honestly, I thought the hour-longs were kind of hard to get through and I had hoped that they had not lost their spark. There were very funny moments in them, but the plots began to drag on after a while. The last two episodes redeemed the show. Thank god they are back! Jim’s reaction to finding out what Michael and Dwight had pulled on him was great. Dwight peeing in the car; so funny! Good episode.

  114. Ugh, I was feeling bad for Karen until she decided that the reason Jim was there *must* be because he secretly wanted to see her. That’s quite an ego for someone who was unceremoneously dumped. So, at least in my house, the little “we’re really happy together” slap was verrryyyy satisfying.

    On the other hand, I was really glad that Jim and Pam were finally doing their own thing for the first time this season. Even though it’s been great to see them together, the whole “attached at the hip” thing was getting a little old. Nice that they’re together but also back to being somewhat independent (and in some separate, unrelated scenes) instead of just being used as halves of PBJ.

    Funny ep–one of my favorites so far for S4.

  115. The eyes are the groin of the face… PEEEEED myself… Great episode… The Andy deleted scene should have been kept… He’s such a hilarious character and I hope we see a LOT more of him!!!

  116. How can I love this show so much one week and hate it the next? Local Ad hit on all cylinders, this one needs a tune-up.

    Snooty Pam tells Andy “This is a closed club”? Where-oh-where has our terrace dreams Pammy gone? This is growth? She can jump in a lake with Michael’s car, as far as I’m concerned.

    The entire Utica raid seemed sit-commy and unbelievable. Maybe they’re attracting a larger audience but they’re losing me.

    I hope the evil-twin Office goes away and the good-twin Office comes back next week.

  117. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at an office episode since like… The Injury. Jim’s expressions were so honest it looked like he was on Punk’d. Ahhh man. Loved it.

    Also loved The Finer Things Club. Although I don’t want Toby and Pam to get too friendly…

  118. I don’t think that Pam was being snooty. She had expressed interest in letting other people join. But Toby and Oscar said that they wanted it to only be them. She was just telling how the majority of the group felt.

    C’mon. We all know that Pam is not a snob.

  119. Solid episode.

    Not as funny as Local Ad, but plenty of great moments:

    – Oscar’s TH about the FTC being the gayest thing he does, outside of having sex with men. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that.

    – Michael’s reaction to Toby in a bow tie.

    – The SchruteStache. Why oh WHY couldn’t this episode have aired before Halloween? I would have had an instant costume.

    – Karen returns! I hope she shows up in more episodes.

    So many other great moments. As far as talk of there being a slump this season, I don’t see that at all. It’s getting better with every episode.

  120. This was flat out hilarious. LOVED this episode from start to finish. My only qualm was that I didn’t buy Stanley opting to stay. I would have liked a more realistic reason for him to remain in Scranton.

    Otherwise, a hilarious, suspenseful (!) episode of cringe-worthy moments.

    I sort of wish Jim & Karen had a more tender moment, as I’d expect him to feel a little remorse about breaking her heart, but her bitterness was palpable and honest.

    Loved the fact that Michael & Dwight went back for Jim’s phone. They do have hearts, despite the lack of brains.

    Awesome Episode!!!

  121. Another great one. Hopefully we get a couple more episodes before the SAG strike catches up with us.

  122. GREAT episode. John Krasinski was brilliant. I’m so glad they are showing more sides to his character now because his acting and reaction shots are amazing.

    I loved “You completely misinterpreted my tone!”…Michael incapable of complimenting Toby…his reaction to Toby’s bowtie…the entire scene in the car (and on the roadside) with Jim, Dwight, and Michael…the walkie-talkie conversations…gasoline in the trunk…Dwight’s excitement about the “bad-ass” pranks…”stop using my name”…Jim’s interactions with the cameraman while hiding in the car…”host the Dundees”…Pam consoling Jim…

    Really great episode.

    And did anyone notice that the teapot Jim gave to Pam was on the table during the “Finer Things Club” meeting? :-)

  123. I enjoyed this episode because it was light-hearted in typical Office style. I’m glad Karen got to make Jim squirm and I’m glad Pam soothed Jim’s spirit by inviting him to The Club — such a silly scene — loved it!!

  124. I thought this episode was very funny. Some awesome one-liners. And the scene in Karen’s office with Jim and Karen was classic. Jim just kept digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole. Great stuff. Can’t wait to watch it again tomorrow!

  125. Solid, but not the best episode of the young season for me. I thought the angry/awkward-nervous Jim reactions to the raid/Karen situations were realistic and well done.
    The TFTC was a little silly but amusing with Andy’s attempts to break in and Jim’s look of horror as Toby and Oscar grilled him over Angela’s Ashes… should’ve gotten the Cliff notes! I loved seeing the PB & J xmas teapot again! I am wondering if they might use that to show some incompatability with Jim and common interest with Toby to create some tension. I hope not, I wouldn’t want to see that drama surface. Besides it’s totally fine for Jim and Pam to have completely separate interests, it’s part of their unique indiviualities.

  126. Best episode of the series, and another awesome example of why this is the best sitcom on TV!
    FINALLY, something to replace Friends!!!

  127. I liked the episode but it was uncomfortable seeing Jim not all laid back and joking. Most of all, at the end when Jim was admitted to the Finer Things Club, but didn’t take it seriously. Ouch. I’m sure that Toby loves being in the FTC with Pam, and loved showing up Jim. This is the perfect way to have Pam get to know Toby better if the writers decide to go that route. Perhaps over the course of the season Jim learns to start taking certain things more seriously. Hope things didn’t peak for Jim when he kissed Pam a couple of eps ago!
    Also on a side note I loved when Michael told Jim to host the Dundies! I hoped they would reference them because they are an annual event. Perhaps we could see a flyer on Stanley’s desk next year for the annual Free Pretzel Day? Maybe that’s the real reason that he stayed in Scranton…

  128. I thought it was hilarious. I think I was just in the mood for The Office after a stressful week. ‘Filipellers.’ ‘Get out.’ ‘That’s why people are leaving.’ ‘Look at his face! Look at his face!’ Jim with Dwight and Michael in the car was amazing. His expressions when Dwight throws out the phone and says “or real bombs”– amazing. Loved him in this, and usually I am not a Jim fan. I think maybe it’s because he’s without his typical better-than-you attitude. I like a suffering Jim.

    I thought The Finer Things Club was cute/silly.

  129. Also ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘Rolando told me everything’– genius! This episode was maybe a bit sitcom-y, but the best lines were subtle, and there were a lot of them!

  130. I like the jokes in season 4, but I don’t like the documentary feel of it (or lack thereof). The camera shots feel eerily similar to Laguna Beach/The Hills, where the cameras are a little TOO perfectly positioned. I liked season 2’s more “fly on the wall” perspective. To me, season 4’s perspective feels no different than in 30 Rock.

    Without that perspective, that documentary point of view is lost. Seems there are fewer “spy” moments where we see those tiny body language things SNL made fun of. Without those, I think we lose a lot of the story and emotions of the characters.

    Still, Dwight’s groin joke makes up for it all.

  131. I liked this episode! Enjoyed the diversity, depth, and range of Jim’s emotions, as well as the interaction between Jim, Dwight, and Michael. There was some resolution to the Jim-Karen relationship, too. The Finer Things Club was kind of funny, but not the funniest part of the episode. Overall, I think it was an extremely solid showing, and an episode I’ll watch repeatedly. (That’s always the sign of a good episode.)

  132. Well, the former best show on television continues it’s long, slow slide into mediocrity.

    There were some funny lines in this episode, but overall, more of the same Season 3/4 formula – too over-the-top, too silly, too much obvious, forced comedy, too much traveling outside the office.

    Sigh…we’ll always have the first two seasons, I guess.

  133. John Krasinski’s reaction to the world around him was phenomenal in this episode. I agree that it felt a bit too much like a TV show and less like it was “real” (aka the mockucumentary style) but then again, Michael is not a normal person by any means.

    I missed Angela and Jan in this episode, but the Karen comeback was so painful, I loved it.

    Not their best, but a solid effort on all sides. I thought I was going to die during the car scene with John, Rainn and Steve. Classic.

  134. # 172 I totally agree. what is going on? i thought the return to the 30 minute format would redeem the not-that-great hour longs.

    on the other hand…jim halpert was perfect and added a touch of reality to that ridiculous “panty raid”…and we found out he’s an uncle…other than that…i’m pretty disappointed.

  135. Rashida Jones is kind of my hero as a person (awesome resume and she seems really cool) but as far as the acting thing, I’m ok not seeing her. I feel like I can always tell she’s acting when she interacts with Jim and Michael…she never quite makes it into the full character. I’m ok with her not being on anymore, she doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic.

  136. As someone opposed to sitcom-y sitcoms, and in light of the apparently sitcom-y Raid On Utica, I must admit I really, really liked this episode. I thought the Utica debacle was done very well, ESPECIALLY involving Karen. I agree with OfficeLady (165) –seeing Jim squirm with Karen, and his angst and frustration in being shanghaied to Utica were performed wonderfully.

    Jim’s exclusion, then inclusion, and probable expulsion from the Finer Things Club was a great idea. This exploration into Jim’s character as his relationship with Pam develops is perfect. While I miss our Sweet, Vulnerable Pammy, I think her evolution into a more confident person is well-paced and believable. To see Jim struggle between an ex-girlfriend (guess you just can’t simply run away), Pam, the office buffoons, his unknown (to him) competition with Toby, and his dreams (Philly Jim) is the kind of drama I love to see.

    And more Toby, please. I love his character. And more jilted Karen. In a position of power, no less. Love it.

  137. I laughed hysterically at 2 parts of the show

    When Dwight wanted to poke someone in the eye with the stick of chalk “The eyes are the groin of the head”

    and when Michael saw Toby come in with the bow tie and teacups and says “Oh My God” “This is why everyone is leaving”


  138. The most hilarious aspect of the episode was seeing that Michael, after all these years, still can’t see Stanley for who he really is; Michael only knows how to treat Stanley as the office’s stereotypical token black guy, so that’s how he forces himself to view him. In Michael’s world, Stanley truly is the “hilarious black guy” with “sass” and a “smile”.

    I loved the FTC, and I really hope it doesn’t magically disappear for the rest of the season. Also, as much as I scrutinize, I couldn’t detect anything that makes it seem like Toby’s just in it for Pam. There were plenty of chances for something subtle to be said/done to hint that Toby just wanted and excuse to get closer to Pam, but there was nothing. I like the idea that the three of them really do just want to drink tea and discuss books.

    Jim’s “Say I” was hilarious, and I really liked Pam’s mouthing “Sorry”.

    A solid ep, right in line with the quality of Kaling’s others.

  139. This was very much like a British “Office” episode, where the humor is derived from awkward situations. I wasn’t thrilled with the episode at first, but the more I think about certain scene, the more I like it. I like that Toby is in the Finer Things Club, perhaps in a last-ditch effort to win Pam’s heart? The Jim-Karen reunion was a bit of a let-down as I watched it, but handled very much like the British version would have tackled it.

    I like that Jim and Pam aren’t lovey-dovey all the time, and got a kick out of her whispering “sorry” to Oscar when Jim failed to impress the club. They seem like a realistic couple.

  140. This episode was fantastic! I loved the Finer Things club- they aren’t snooty,they are so cute! Oscar’s quote about being gay was the highlight for me..I was not happy ot see Karen but she still acts like a psychopath, so it doesn’t threaten the PB&J situation.Well done, Mindy!!!! The only problem with this episode was not enough Kelly Kapoor or Kevin- but the Jim faces made up for it.

  141. The first 5 minutes of this episode were great! Love ‘The Finer Things’ club! Also ‘sleeping’ Michael. But then the road trip started…it all seemed a little extreme…even for Michael. And even though I love Stanley, it would have seemed more realistic if he did end up in Utica. The ending was a little ‘Full House’.

  142. Say no more, Shark Eyes! (190) It’s the little, sort of throw away lines that elevate the show to greatness.

    When I sit down to watch I am expecting one thing and that is to be amused and Branch Wars did not fail to deliver—it was funny throughout. Watched it a second time before going to bed and laughed again and at the more subtle bits I missed on first viewing. That is a swell aspect of the show, it seems to get funnier with add’l viewings.

    I loved how Pam initally dismissed Jim from joining the Finer Things Club by saying he wanted in just to make jokes, and then when she let him join, he sat there and just made a joke of it. Hilarious.

  143. I also really loved the bits with Jim pushing the camera down repeatedly in the car and even looking DIRECTLY at the cameraman telling him to get down. They’ve done more fore the ‘documentary’ feel of the show this season than ever before.

  144. The Office is losing me. I know it was never a true mockumentary, but I’m starting to have trouble distinguishing it from any other workplace-based sitcom. Michael and Dwight have become nothing more than zany caricatures of themselves, and Andy should have been written out of the story a long time ago.

    The writers really need to stop the out-of-office stuff. Everytime they leave the building, the show stops being funny. See Utica trip, beet farm, fun run, gift baskets, etc.

  145. I didn’t get the Rolando reference by Pam at the end (but I also missed the first couple of minutes — maybe related?) Can somebody fill me in? Thanks!

  146. I was a little put off by the product placement in this ep. Two mentions of the PT Cruiser with all of the Chrysler ads at the end were a little much for me. I also felt that they were shooting inside the car just so they could show the cute car. AND in the interviews with Kristen on E! they are all leaning up against the car for the 4 interviews. Staples was fine, but this was a bit much.

  147. This was the funniest episode of the season so far. Maybe even one of the funniest to date. Dwight peeing in the cup (“I think I cut my penis”), Michael not being able to say nice things about Toby in order to get rid of him, Jim’s Irish accent at the end, the whole thing was great from start to finish. Well done Mindy.

  148. Not the best, not the worst. I really liked the Finer Things Club. Pam was making fun of Jim when he got back (“how humiliating”), but she may just be a little annoyed that he saw Karen at all. It is the ex-girlfriend, no matter how they see each other, Pam’s not going to be thrilled. Loved John in the car. I’m not quite sure why they made Karen such a b**** though. She’s smarter than the typical dumped-girl-sarcastic-tirade. Was it just to remind us that we shouldn’t like Karen? I am glad that it was rapped up, but she didn’t come out looking classy at all really. Best line of the series: “Besides having sex with men, the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.” Send Mindy an Emmy for that line!

  149. It’s a show. Silly, goofy, NOT REAL, funny. If it makes me laugh, or have any emotion, it’s a good show. Some are better than others. There may be a writers strike and then the shows are gone… enjoy it while we can!

  150. Did Michael say “I hurt my head bone” when the copier crashed? That was hilarious. Great episode. Laughed out loud more than once.

  151. Two more things –

    When are they going to “air” this documentary? It’s in its fourth year – you would think a piece of it would be aired by now. Could make for an interesting episode.

    So – did Jim tell Pam that he saw Karen? Or will Pam find out second-hand? Even though Jim was innocent, will the insecure Pam of the past return and feel hurt? Or are we assuming Jim told her, and it is all hunky-dory?

  152. I loved this episode! I thought it was hilarious! I don’t think Pam was too snooty at all. TFTC is something that her, Toby and Oscar enjoy doing. Can you imagine how annoying it would end up being if Andy was in it? I think one of my favorite parts was Phyllis pressing a million buttons on the microwave, and Oscar- “WHAT are you microwaving?!”

  153. Well now we know one (actually two) more thing(s) about the life of Jim Halpert – he has a brother and a baby niece ! (:

  154. I enjoyed it. But then I didn’t sit there thinking “how does this stack up against last week” or “how does this stack up against season 2.” I just watched it and enjoyed it. With wine and cheese popcorn. It was a good night.

    P.S. I thought there were a lot of Arrested Development fans on this site, but I must be wrong because nothing The Office has ever done comes close to the silliness of that show. When Toby’s arm is bitten off by a seal, then we will have crossed the silly threshold.

  155. Just before Karen walks to the window of the car you can hear Michael saying to Jim over the walkie talkie something like…

    “If I don’t make it.. Host the Dundies” Ha Ha Ha

    Foreshadowing, Maybe?

  156. one more thing….

    #92 that was the exact same thing my husband (who is coincidentally also named jason) and i said on the couch last night when the episode was over. the camera shots and reactions do seem way too contrived. not as “organic” as it used to seem. i’m glad some one else has noticed those differences.

    EVERY ONE GO BACK AND READ COMMENT #92! I need to know that i’m not crazy and noticing things that aren’t there.

  157. I pulled some back muscles yesterday so I was feeling pretty crummy. “Branch Wars” made me forget that pain for 30 minutes. Mindy does another great writing job with a completely absurd & funny episode. Dwight peeing into a Coke can & commenting about his ‘injury’ from it made ME need to pee into a Coke can! Also seeing Dwight, Michael & Jim sitting in the PT Cruiser with the DM Warehouse uniforms & big, cheesy mustaches was golden. Finally we do get to see some emotion from Stanley. Next to his explosion on Ryan for spending time with his daughter, one of the few times we see any Stanley emotions. The Andy character continues to take hold as my favorite. His reaction when Jim is allowed into the Finer Things Club was just dawsome. Great episode & less than seven days until the next one.

  158. This was John K.’s episode all the way. Jim was put on the spot a number of times by Michael and Dwight, Karen, and the Finer Things Club and it was interesting to see how he reacted to each of the situations. I especially liked seeing him in Madge’s uniform squirming in Karen’s office! I love Jim but you can’t blame Karen for taking advantage of an opportunity to give him some grief.

  159. I haven’t read all the comments yet (but it’s Friday and I’m working, so I will) but I have to say I was not a fan. I laughed, but it wasn’t the same show I usually love.

    If I were Rashida Jones, I would have hated what they did to Karen. I understand that Jim hurt her, but she was way too strong and independent a woman to let that change her into the b**** she was last night. I thought Dwight and Michael were absurd, and as much as I love John Krasinski (I accepted my immature crush only yesterday), I thought his reactions were completely unbelievable. I like what Mindy was attempting with the character, but he didn’t pull it off. The scene with Karen was awkward and not in a good way.

    I did love the Finer Things Club and everything about it, although my boyfriend and I were both confused that they were holding it during what seemed to be the middle of the workday! And they used Oscar, Toby, and Stanley (probably the three most underused) sooo well!

    Now I have to go look for that teapot… I missed it!

  160. Best episode of season 4 so far, hands down! John Krasinski was amazing as were Steve and Rainn. Loved the scene between Jim and Karen. Pure brilliance. I liked the finer things club the least though. It seemed…off. Other than that I don’t even remember laughing this loud while watching an episode of The Office.

  161. I enjoyed the show. A little slap stick, but it still made sense within the realm of the characters participating. Michael’s pranks are often that way, Dwight is always 100% behind him and Jim just can’t resist, no matter how lame it is. As soon as Michael said prank, Jim was done for. I liked how he told Karen he was “trying to quit”

    Speaking of Karen, I knew when she saw Jim sneaking into Utica, she’d think it were about him wanting to see her. I almost felt a little bad for her when Jim soundly said he did NOT want to see her, but their whle conversation was so realistically awfully uncomfortably awkward that my sympathies couldn’t help but lie with Jim. Yes, Jim who dumped her ass by a fountain and Jim who was wearing a porno mustache and Jim who for some reason mentioned how great he and Pam were doing to a still bitter Karen.

    John Krasinski? Is just that good.

  162. I think Karen was acting like a psycho ex!

    Someone please tell me, who is Rolanda/Rolando??

  163. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

    The writers seem to have two ways of depicting broad, slapstick scenes—we, as the audience, either experience it first hand or through another character(s). I always laugh harder when I hear about the antics as opposed to actually seeing it all unfold. Michael grilling his foot was hysterical because I had my own interpretation of the absurdity and it meshed with what the other characters were feeling as they heard the tale. The viewer becomes one of the characters. When Michael drove into the lake, it was a one-note scene. He and Dwight hit the water, I became irritated and was left to experience that alone. The walkie-talkie exchange in this episode had me belly laughing because I learned what was going on as Jim did and was then reacting to what he was reacting to. What began as a one-person, non-action scene then became this multi-character, full-out absurd escapade—and we saw nothing! Wow. Really smart and smart is funny.

  164. ho-ly wow. can this show get any better?

    Moment Of Amazement #1: The 3 Super Marios in the car to Utica.

    Moment Of Amazement #2: The fact that they are LAYERING Jim’s character. We all love Jim, but sometimes we need to be reminded that uh, there are other people that had their feelings hurt by him too. And sometimes, he can be a bit of a jerk..


    Let’s all bow and pray for one. I love The Office.

  165. Am I the only one who thought of Earl when Michael/Dwight/Jim showed up with the fake moustache?

  166. i love seeing more sides to jim, and also the pam and jim relationship. i felt SO BAD for jim. when he and karen were talking alone…that was so awkward, and the way jim reacted was so believable.

    other than that, i thought it was a good episode. not as amazing as local ad, but the reactions to michael/jim’s situations made this episode shine.

  167. Did anybody else notice that the finer things club was using the tea pot that Jim gave Pam for Christmas in season 2. Very cool touch.

  168. I still hate Karen. She’s nasty and I think she has some reason to be, but mostly, she brought it on herself. Who stays with a guy after he’s admitted he has feelings for someone else? That’s not exactly a rough patch you “push through”.

  169. Someone please explain to me the “Rolando told me everything.” It went over my head and left me confused.

  170. Also the line, “Everybody says Scranton is worse than Camden” cracked me up! I live in Camden (the only good part, actually) and I loved a shout-out to my city. It’s entire conceivable that a branch here would be pretty bad.

    This was totally a make fun of Jim episode. I’m sure it was a little deserved though, seeing as how he is the prankster of the office and needs a come-uppance every now and then.

  171. 212 Unshun – Rolando was the receptionist at the Utica branch. At the beginning of the ep when Karen took the call from Stanley, he answered the phone, “Dunder Mifflin, this is Rolando.”

    It kind of makes sense that Pam would know the receptionsits/Admin. Assistants at the other DM branches since they are really like her peers.

  172. #212
    Rolando is Karen’s receptionist. Apparently Pam is in on a D-M receptionist gossip line!

  173. Karen still has a prettier face.

    I still like Karen a lot and think she has a right to be mad. I think a lot of women here are being hypocritical in saying they would just dump Jim if they were in that situation considering they all have crushes on him!

  174. I thought it was a solid episode. Definitely had a broader feel to it, but I’m ok with that once in a while.

    I thought there was a bit of discontinuity with the camera work in the car scenes. On the ride up to Utica, it was obvious that Jim, Michael, & Dwight were the only ones in the car, that Dwight was the only person sitting in the back seat and they had utilized the car-mounted cameras to film. But, when they were parked in the Utica parking lot and Jim was being filmed in the car, there was a camera man sitting in the back seat filming him from behind. The cameras that were inside the car could’ve continued filming. I guess they needed the cameraman there to blow Jim’s cover?

  175. Has anybody mentioned that Michael now drives a PT Cruiser? Could that be any more of a “Michael” car? Haha.

    I love that Michael’s ever-changing vehicles is now a recurring joke.

  176. This was totally Jim’s episode. I loved watching him get humiliated because his reaction shots are just so funny. I think you have to watch this episode more than once to get all the jokes. I loved it.

  177. I really loved last night’s episode. Mindy Kaling always wrights the cutest episodes of each season. I didn’t see that she had written it until today and it made so much sense.

    It was nice to see Karen again; not as Jim’s girlfriend. Karen has always been very respectable and composed. So it was kind of fun to see her unleash a bit of mild hostility on Jim. It was also fun to watch Jim squirm a bit in that boyish way.

    So much fun to be had. I loved the “Finer Things Club.”

  178. I do think Karen is entitled to be hurt and let Jim know it. He treated her poorly and I’m glad he was finally honest with her about his feelings, even though he could have been more gentle. I think it was pretty accurate to the uncomfortableness of the situation. I would hope Karen would let her anger go now–I mean, it has been awhile since the unfortunate dumping in NYC. Give her a nice Utica fling. Or maybe she and Toby should get together?

    JK was brilliant tonight–maybe even better than Drug Testing! I loved the whole plot with Michael, Dwight and Jim. Hilarious! I hope we really do get another Dundies.

  179. Re 242: On shows like the Real World, they usually have cameramen following in a car behind the one the subjects are riding in. So, they were probably following the Scranton boys while they were in the PT Cruiser with the mounted camera. Then, when they arrived in Utica, the cameramen got out to film. Same thing as on the side of the highway.

  180. Best episode so far this season, 10/10. Though when I voted, I got “Thanks for rating!” but also “Vote previously recorded. Vote not counted. Enable Cookies.” So I’m not sure if I’ll show up in the tally.

    The finer things club was great to show Pam’s interests, Andy’s compulsion to be in the cool crowd, reinforce Jim as a lovable slacker, and develop Oscar and Toby a bit more.

    The trip to Utica I bought completely. It was like a road trip to prank a fraternity at another school. Which similarly, can happen on a whim when you have a ringleader (Michael) an enthusiastic suck up to the ringleader (Dwight) and then you dupe someone else into coming, who ultimately stays on even after he finds out the real plan, just to mitigate damages(Jim).

    Harebrained schemes are in character for Michael. Going along with them in such a way that they are even more over the top is normal Dwight behavior.

    The walkie talkie chatter was priceless, as was Karen’s line about Jim, getting out of a PT Cruiser, in a ladies warehouse uniform!

  181. #242,

    You’re right, that was a huge continuity problem. Another huge problem was the fact that they taped Karen’s end of the initial phone conversation with Stanley. Are we supposed to believe that the documentary crew sent a cameraman up to Utica on the off chance that someone from Scranton might happen to call someone at Utica that day?

    These sort of continuity/camera problems have been snowballing over the past two seasons. If you care more about getting the right camera angles than about maintaining the show’s unique and original premise, then just forget the whole documentary thing completely and call it a sitcom.

    I think this is also related to the unbelievability of the writing lately too. It seems like they’ve given up on the show’s unique and original type of comedy too.

    Is it harder to make shots work with limited camera options? Yes. Is it harder to write tight, subtle comedy? Yes. But I don’t want this show taking the easy road. It seems like it is though.

  182. I really really enjoyed it. If someone had read the premise to me I think I would’ve been extremely turned off but somehow it worked great for me.

    I loved seeing Jim getting legitimately angry as it would’ve been totally out of the realm of plausibility if he simply went, “Oh, there goes my phone.” and smirks at the camera.

    I loved that all the Utica hijinx went unseen. What could’ve been broad humor at its most broady became a situation where you feel like you’re in the car with Jim wondering how you got into this mess. And Jim’s “Come on, man!” to the unseen doc crew was priceless.

    Little moment of the night: Andy’s looking at his fingernails whilst stewing over not being allowed in the FTC to focus his anger.

    Line of the night: “Host the Dundies.” Brilliant.

    PS – Could anybody make out the name on Dwight’s warehouse shirt? Jim had Madge and Michael had Kent (for Zbornak?) but I couldn’t make out Dwight’s.

    Oh, and quote of the thread: “I know I’m not the same person I was when the show first started; why wouldn’t that apply to the characters on the show?” A-bloody-men.

  183. This was my favorite episode so far.
    I always felt like Jim was a bad breaker-upper after the way he dumped Katie on the booze cruise & later dumping Karen & leaving her by a fountain in New York. So I thought Jim really had it coming from Karen even though it was humiliating.
    It’s obvious that Karen’s too mature for Jim, and Pam’s trying to be mature with her Finer Things Club, but it comes off kinda snooty or as Oscar calls it “the gayest thing…” I loved how Andy’s so desperate to get in the club & how Jim didn’t read Angela’s Ashes, but said it was hilarious.

  184. This was a great episode, though there was more potential with it than was shown. Top O’ the mornin’ to it.

    They are really fleshing out the characters this season. We are finding out more about the little stuff with Pam and Jim. Pam likes “finer things” and Jim has dreams of being a guitar playing sportswriter.

    This episode was great at deepening Jim, because we usually see Jim as the quick-witted, smartass (don’t misinterpret that statement because I love Jim), but we see him get tricked by the “secret genius” Michael, his inability to handle running into Karen, and his jokes not always going over well with people (Oscar and Toby). We also discover he has a brother to go along with the sister we knew he had, I would like to see some of his family members in an episode (same for Pam, where has her Mom been?).

    Lastly, when I saw Dwight find that Wegman’s soda can I knew exactly what he was going to do, but nothing prepared me for his line, “I think I cut my penis on the lid!” That is now my Office-line for the week.

  185. Bring back Karen now! Pam has been boring and totally useless this season. I want excitement back to the Office!

  186. I actually thought this was a pretty funny episode, though the FTC seemed rather out of place. As for Karen, I never really liked her character last season once she got to Scranton, but I thought she was great last night. Realistically, if it has only been a few months since Jim broke up with her, and she has not seen him, I don’t think it is surprising that she would want to chew him out when she does (especially when he was part of the reason that her copier was broken). And if she thought he wanted to see her, whether it was to talk or to say “sorry” the fact that he doesn’t and that he talks about Pam probably really makes her mad.

    And this from a huge JAM fan!

  187. Greatest episode yet this season.
    Karen is waaay superior to Pam. Love it.
    She sure was in this episode. I never liked Karen, but I felt so bad for her last night. Jim is the idiot who showed up there. He should have expected what he got after the way he dumped her in NYC. He really rubbed salt in the wounds with his “Pam and I are so happy” crap and then left acting like Karen is a psycho when HE is the one showing up at HER office wearing a disguise! I HATED the Finer Things Club. If they don’t want everyone to join, they should hold their meetings outside of work. I thought it was rude and mean spirited. Not liking Pam this season. Writers – it IS possible for a woman to be self-assured without being a snob.

  188. I also really loved this episode. I loved Michael trying to give Toby to the Utica branch and talking him up to Karen. Then he couldn’t stomach it, “He’s the worst,” one of my favorite Michael lines!

    On the Jim/Karen issue, I’m glad Jim told her that he was happy with Pam. I loved seeing Karen get mad at the fact that Jim said so! Way to go Jim!

  189. Hooray! First outright, laugh out loud episode of the season! Some of that edginess of the first season was present that had been missing for quite a while, IMO. I know this one was low brow humor, but I almost lost it when Dwight said, “I think I cut my p***s on the lid,” and then they cut to commercial. I gave it a 9/10!

  190. Wow – this episode is pretty polarizing, so I’ve got to weigh in. I LOVED it. It was a little slapsticky and I’m so not a fan of that, but I thought it was handled well. I thought Jim throughout was incredible – his reactions were amazing! Also, as far as his bluntness with Karen, I think there were a lot of things going on. I think it’s a basic character flaw that he’s not good with breaking up, so nice way to stay on track with that characterization. Also, I think he kind of resented the fact that Karen always treated his inherent lack of ambition and jokester ways as something that had to be changed. He realizes that he needs to “grow-up” a little, but Karen coming down on him about it (instead of calling him on the break-up) on top of the stress of the day (being kidnapped and forced to participate in the Utica panty-raid against his will) caused him to maybe be a little insensitive to Karen. I loved how Pam was immediately sympathetic, not insecure and weird about him seeing Karen.

  191. Very, very funny!!! It was interesting to see Jim on the awkward side of things, too. That doesn’t happen very often. And Stanley cracked me up!!

  192. Oh, and I think this should be a favorite quote…

    Michael: OK, if you are going to steal one of our salesmen I’m going to steal one of yours. Can you transfer me to your best salesman?

  193. Loved Michael trying to give Toby away. Hilarious. And Dwight peeing in the bottle; when he said he sprayed I just burst out laughing. And Jim’s expressions first when he realized he was stuck with Michael and Dwight on their fake sales call, then when Karen was letting him have it. Excellent acting without saying a single word.

    Great script, great acting. Great job everyone!

  194. Not the season’s best episode (that would be “Money”) but definitely the funniest so far. I think I’m finally seeing the upside of Michael driving his car into the lake back in “D-M Infinity” — that was so over-the-top ridiculous, it makes every other silly situation TAME by comparison (i.e. the Mario Bros. road trip to Utica). Sure, it was out-of-character, but at least Michael kept his Cruiser (convertible!) on the road. And the dialog in the car more than made up for the silliness. Another awesome script, Mindy!

  195. What about Andela?
    They didn’t say anything about Andy, and Angela’s realationship.
    I guess it’s not really a big thing though. Besides that this episode was ok I thought.

  196. WHERE’S ANGELA??????

    I wonder what her reaction to the FTC was. It seems like her kind of club.

  197. best moments for me were: 1. Michael dictating the want ad from the floor of his office, and 2. Stanley’s SMILING talking head.

  198. Wow. This is a comedy, people! Not a documentary! It’s a comedy filmed as a pseudo-documentary. Remember, the show’s Emmy nominations were all in the comedy category. But to each their own — I’m supposed to comment on the show!

    Speaking of which, this was a different episode for me. I have learned to *not read* a bunch of comments here before the show airs as it did spoil some of the key moments for me. I’m still undecided on the Finer Things Club, but it was priceless when Toby came in wearing a natty bow tie and carrying china. And Dwight . . . Dwight! Love him! Of course he was the only one still wearing the fake mustache while in Karen’s office. An 8/10 for me (which I blame, in part, on my non-Office related cranky mood at the time).

  199. Wow. funniest episode this season by far. “Didn’t you fire everyone” “yes, and now you’re next” haha. Also, Karen is so much hotter and successful then Pam. Jim’s kind of a jerk for saying how happy he is with Pam now too. That’s pretty rude and insensitive. I wanna see more of Karen this season. Honestly, Jim and Pam are not very likeable this season so far.

  200. Kudos to John for his acting in this episode!! I literally felt his reactions to finding out they were going to Utica, having his phone thrown out the window, and the whole Karen situation (which – as much as I love JAM – was kind of deserved) etc.

    I agree #253 – nice to see the deepening of Jim’s character, outside of work and his love for Pam. I really think Jim’s going to be doing the same sort of growing Pam did last season (with Pam’s encouragement, of course :) !)

    Side note – anyone else think that Toby might be posing to get closer to Pam?

  201. Popcahrn? PHYLLIS! You have the St. Louis accent! I’ve never noticed before…

    There’s a small percentage of people from the greater St. Louis area that pronounce the “or” sound like “ar”, as in Highway Fahrty-Fahr. I wonder if she says “Mizzurah” and “warsh.”

    264 | Check out the deleted scene for Angela’s reaction to the FTC.

  202. It’s awesome how so many different opinions can be developed over one episode of a sitcom. I thought this episode embodied everything The Office is known for. It had it’s share of little moments. It was a little broad at times but The Office has always been a little broad. It developed a main character a little more. But my favorite scene by far was Michael laying on the floor asking Pam to write up a wanted ad in the paper. Overall 10 out of 10. Fantastic job.

  203. My only problem here is that Jim’s behavior was totally unbelievable. He’s not stupid, what exactly did he think he’d accomplish going to Utica with Tweedledee and Tweedledum? He should have just taken the cab, called Karen, and told her to get the cops and have the two arrested when they showed up. Yeah, comedic effect and all, but I feel no pity for a character when they do something stupid and get burned by it.

  204. I loved that Pam was not jealous or suspicious but genuinely sympathetic with the situation that Jim found himself in at the Utica office. It just shows what a genuine and loving couple they are. I don’t see how people can see Pam and Jim as the “snarky, popular” couple when they were so kind to Dwight during his breakup. They would never kick someone when they are truly down. They only mock what should be mocked. They are the straightmen in an office full of eccentrics. They are only saying what the rest of us are thinking.

  205. 274 – the reason Jim agreed to continue to Utica was to make sure that Dwight and Michael didn’t do anything TOO stupid. They pretty much made that crystal clear in the episode.

  206. 274 – Jim calling Karen and having them arrested? Really? Would that have made any sense? It totally fits that Jim would go along with those guys because he does care about them and wants to make sure they don’t end up doing something stupid. That’s why he was constantly vetoing all of their ridiculous ideas.

  207. I knew that people would think that Pam is a snob. I liked this episode because we saw these other sides of Pam and Jim and we know they are not perfect. Jim is lazy and can be awkward when it comes to people’s feelings, Pam is a snob. Sort of. I put myself in her shoes and I didn’t feel like I could judge. If I had her job in that office I think I would try to find ways to stimulate my brain too. Finding people who share your tastes and interests and trying to establish a space in your work place where you can come together and enjoy yourselves is pretty understandable. And last week we were all waiting for the caring gesture from Pam to match Jim’s bringing her breakfast- the invitation to join the club. There it is.

  208. 209 – Tobykilledthisbird

    This episode was not product placement for the PT Cruiser Convertible. If anything it was negative advertising for Chrysler, as the Sebring was not treated in a kind light on the show and I’m sure the PT Cruiser won’t be treated much better. Also, on Thursday Chrysler announced they were discontinuing the PT Cruiser Convertible so product placement wouldn’t do much for the model now anyways.

    Two questions I have though:

    -Why the dislike by The Office of Chrysler convertible models?

    -Where did Michael get this car? I thought he somehow traded in his Sebring with Jan’s car to get the Porsche Boxter?

  209. I thought this episode was good, but not memorable.
    You know, i think I’ve become so used to having all the cast be part of the story, I kinda missed them. It was too centered on the main characters. Anybody else agree?

  210. I’ve watched it twice and it was funnier the second time around. I caught several things I didn’t see the first time: Pam snickers/giggles when Ben Nugent said to Michael “didn’t you hit that lady with your car” and Michael says to Pam, “Get out”.

    I loved the Jim/Dwight/Michael car scene, even if it was over the top a little bit. I laughed out loud just looking at those dumb mustaches and warehouse uniforms on them. Also Dwight peeing in the soda can and saying “I think I cut my penis!”—-we were rolling on the floor with that one!

    Also, I agree with several people that it is good to see more into Jim’s life/background. I also liked how he squirmed when Karen confronted him. Just an overall really well acted episode for John K. (Loved that Irish brogue thing at the end too–hilarious scene with the 4 of them)

    It was a good episode although I did like “Local Ad” a little bit better. I love this show!

  211. PS- hasn’t anyone ever had a club or organization that they wanted to start and then a bunch of people joined and didn’t take it seriously? I felt like Finer Things Club HAD an open invite, but people were ruining it by not being serious, so they made it exclusive. I don’t see what’s wrong with that at ALL.

    Also, I love people saying Karen is more successful than Pam. At what? Being a manager at a paper company? Pam has her man, is pursuing her art and is happy. Boom – success.

  212. I think I may need to watch this episode again just based on the comments I’ve read. I thought it was an OK episode, and I’ve really enjoyed this season. Yet, part of me was pining for an hour episode for this one. It just felt like I needed something a bit more. Andy’s great, but I needed an update on where he stood with Dwangela! 7.5 out of 10

  213. Karen is STILLLLLLL a dysfunctional idiot. I can’t believe people are saying that she makes a good regional manager. Have you forgotten that as soon as Jim broke up with her she up and quit her job in scranton? How do you know that she won’t do that again in her current position. She’s not professional and you could tell that when she held Jim back in her office to make him squirm. Jim still had the upper hand and she is just an immature, heart-broken woman who gets no respect. Her branch will be on a downward spiral soon.

  214. 281 – Julia

    I agree and the three best reactions were:

    -Dwight saying, “I sprayed!” (Watch how Dwight says it, it had me rolling on the floor when I rewatched that scene. The way he says the ‘Sp-‘ part is brilliant)

    -Jim’s reaction to the camera guy when he saw Karen had seen the guy in the car. (His face was like “Come on guy!”)

    -Karen, upon hearing Jim say how he’s happy with Pam (Not Jim’s smoothest line ever, although he seemed to have been thrown for a loop this whole episode, as evidenced by his reaction in the ending when he said he had read the book and hadn’t).

  215. “those had the pictures of my brother’s new baby on it!!

    I like how they delved deeper into jim’s family and personal life. ”

    I would hardly call that delving, we are aware Jim has a family.

    I think if anything this episode showed Jim and Pam = better apart than together

  216. Jared (274) – Do you really think having Jim call Karen to warn her about Michael & Dwight would be at all believable? He was doing everything to prevent a confrontation. It makes perfect sense that Jim would go to Utica– he didn’t want any shenanigans, didn’t want contact with the Utica branch, wanted to avoid Karen and keep Dwight & Michael out of trouble.

  217. Hm. So I seem to be the only one who didn’t like JK’s performance. Even people who hated the ep loved him…

    I think John and I are at that point in our relationship where I know it will never work between so I have to find things wrong with him so it hurts less when it’s truly over.

    …And just yesterday my love was all adolescent and pure. [sigh]

    One thing I forgot to mention: even a bad Office ep, which I would say this is, is still approximately 300% better than the best episode of anything else currently on TV. No copier-breaking, porn-mustache-wearing, PT Cruising episode will make me stop watching (and obsessing over) this show. :-)

  218. Yes, Jim was utterly apalled at what the other two had planned, to the point that he was willing to actually tag along in the hopes of mitigating it. But apart from that, he didn’t actually _do_ anything to stop them or slow them down, and in the end let them go off and screw things up willy-nilly.

    Worried about confrontation? Any non-crazy person can put aside personal issues long enough to warn an ex that they are about to be receiving flaming molotov cocktails from a pair of lunatics.

    And then, in the end, he babbles on about him and Pam instead of coming clean with Karen about why he was there at all. Remember, Karen at this point hates all three of them, and if she were so inclined it would be trivial to get them all fired. Why then did he do _nothing_ to distance himself from his boss? Heck, he even _confirmed_ that he went along for the prank.

  219. Looking through the comments, there are so many different reactions to this episode! Some people thought it was the best one so far, others the worst. I personally thought that it was hilarious, as soon as I watched it, I rewound my tivo and watched it again. And I think that Michael and Dwight going on a mission to Utica is not over the top and is in character – remember their mission to David Wallace’s house?

    And, my new favorite office quote: “The eyes are the groin of the head.”

    John’s acting was awesome in this episode too – he needs to get an emmy nomination this year!

  220. I really liked this episode, but the camera work annoyed me. It was too unrealistic. You can’t have a camera facing back into a car and then a camera that swivels to see Jim from the drivers seat and then Michael from the passenger’s seat. Then suddenly you have a camera looking at Karen from inside the car and Jim from outside of the car. It really makes me wonder how many camera crews they are trying to show are filming this thing. I know it’s a mockumentary and shouldn’t bother me, but after how awesome and realistic they made the Michael drive in to the lake scene, this camera work just got to me.

  221. Re: Pam and the FLC

    I’m artsy-fartsy too — I’m a proofreader for book publishing companies and love love love book clubs and gourmet food, etc.

    My hubby is a sports fanatic who owns his sports memorabilia company. His favorite food is hot wings.

    Nuff said.

  222. I thought this episode was awesome.

    My favorite lines were:

    Dwight: “I have to do something to his EYES.”

    Michael: “Do it for Stanley. C’mon Jim, just climb on top of her and think about Stanley. Jim…if this is it for me promise me one thing… The Dundies.”

    Hahahahahaha!! I thought The Finer Things club was cute and we know that Pam has been like this her whole life. Even Roy said she was all “artsy fartsy” in high school. Didn’t think she was snooty at all.

  223. I miss the awkward silences, awkward moments, jim’s look to the camera, michael’s flop sweat as everyone looks at him not knowing what to do or say. This show is still good but it’s not the same show it was two years ago. What happened to this show? It’s not even the same. :-(

    Karen is a dysfunctional broken-hearted unprofessional woman who brings her emotional baggage into the office and will up and quit any signs of being heart broken. She is NOT management material. She’s what gives women managers a bad name. She just up and quit scranton when jim dumped her. Who knows if she’ll do that again in utica. She’s psycho and very unprofessional.

  224. Wanted: Middle-Aged black man with sass. Big butt; Bigger heart.

    That had to be my favorite line of the whole episode. I’m not quite sure why though.

    I thought this episode was a good way to get the Jim/Karen tension out.

    I give it an 8/10 =]

  225. 294,

    Jim has consistently stood up for or been a friend to Michael in the past – The Convention, Benihana Christmas, and Jim’s “but he wouldn’t do that” talking head Branch Closing come to mind.

    I think that is why his explanation to Karen was written as it was. Jim won’t throw Michael under the train by explaining Michael’s leadership role in the prank. That, and he’s pretty flustered to have to talk to Karen in the first place. He’s attempting to walk the line between not angering Karen and not saying anything that will sound bad if it gets back to Pam.

    I think the Sebring and now PT Cruiser are used because it’s funny that Michael thinks they are the hottest thing going, when they aren’t really considered that cool, especially for a man to drive. Dwight’s Trans Am is also played for humor (and even as a Camaro owner, I can laugh at that).

  226. Good episode for the most part, but the last two minutes felt a little “Cheers”-y to me. That final scene with the Finer Things Club resembled the “Diane is humiliated when Sam shows his lack of sophistication and inability to take culture seriously” formula that Cheers perfected in its early seasons. Cheers was an excellent show, but I hope that The Office isn’t going to try and replicate that dynamic between Jim and Pam.

  227. A few (more) things:

    -Andy says Stanley is a regular Uncle Remus. Wikipedia it…

    -Right before Michael exclaims, “Buckle up, Jim!” he reaches over and unbuckles him.

    -Michael’s gift of a box for Stanley to take his “memories” in is cleverly turned to the camera to read “Property of US Postal Service.”

    -Stanley peers into said box as if to say he doesn’t have nearly enough Dunder Mifflin memories to necessitate such a large container.

    * * * * *

    Re: cameras in Utica

    Watching it a third time I made note of Karen’s purple shirt which she wears the entire episode. This means the single camera in Utica was present the entire day (cold open, conversation with Michael, crazy antics). Two cameras followed the Scranton trio in a second car as evidenced in the roadside altercation and the in-car and back-of-car shots of Jim on the walkie. The reverse shot is either the outside camera swiveled around or the Utica camera getting word on what’s going on and investigating.

  228. I loved this episode. Mindy Kaling lampooned pretentious, exclusive little clubs so perfectly. Having been a member of a book club in college where we took ourselves way too seriously (wince), and now working in a big office where some people monopolize the lunchrooms with events that just leave other people’s mouths hanging open (emotional scripture groups, tense chess tournaments, elaborate potlucks that only a select few may participate in, etc.), I found this to be a spot-on parody.

    I was sure that Jim and Karen would say a few words and sort of patch things up in a friendly way. Wrong! My shoulders still sort of ache from cringing through their embarrassing, awful reunion. And I think it was awesome! One of the things that I love so much about the original Office and this Office is the lack of closure and symmetry in certain situations, and the humor found in human clumsiness and awkwardness. I loved the over the top humor in the episode (“Just lay on top of her and think of Stanley!”), but I really delight in the cringy moments that catch me off guard.

  229. Excellent Episode! It reminds me of the earlier seasons of The Office. Take it as it is and enjoy! The Office has evolved, but has been and will always be a satire ridiculing different aspects of corporate America.

  230. After rewatching Branch Wars, it appears that Karen and Stanley were finally talking after playing phone tag for a while. Karen also said that Stanley initiated the whole thing, so I can easily see the camera crew getting wind of this at Scranton and sending a cameraman up to Utica to capture Karen’s side of it. Some of the camera angles do bother me at times but this is such an awesome show I can overlook it.

  231. Nate (304)-I totally get what you are saying but Pam is not a Diane. She is not snobby and she can appreciate Jim’s many good qualities. She said “Sorry” to Oscar because what he said was going to happen (Jim cracking jokes and not taking the club seriously)happened. I think Pam and Jim will have a heart to heart after TFC to talk about whether he really wants to be involved but I think she’ll respect him no matter what his choice.

  232. Did anyone notice that Toby was wearing a bow tie when they were in the break room and Michael sees him but later when Andy tries to gain entry into TFC, Toby is wearing a regular tie.

  233. In Karen’s defense (coming from someone who would have never supported Team Karen) what Jim said was pretty tacky. He and Pam are “still dating” and it’s “really going well.” He basically lied to Karen during their entire relationship and the first time he sees her after dumping her, he tells he how great his new relationship is going. So I say Karen had every right to be pissed off.

    I still love the sight of Andy looking at the mail when Michael empties the Post Office box for Stanley. Andy is always fun to look at. Ed Helms cracks me up every week.

  234. I feel very bad for jim. I mean, Karen, too, obviously, but Jim was completely tricked, and then he had too go and make sure they didn’t get killed or worse, lose their jobs. So all of his humiliation is because he was presented with an awkward situation and didn’t have the right things to say. He’s human.

    p.s. did anyone notice our beloved tea pot from The Christmas Party, season 2??

  235. “You can’t have a camera facing back into a car and then a camera that swivels to see Jim from the drivers seat and then Michael from the passenger’s seat. Then suddenly you have a camera looking at Karen from inside the car and Jim from outside of the car.”

    But you can. I mean, the show is shot with cameras so clearly you can. Because you do.

  236. I felt bad for Karen in the scene until I realized that she had condescended to Jim “Are you still doing these kinds of things?” and making the comment about “being an adult and just calling her” if he wanted to see her. She deserved the unintentionally hurtful comments being thrown her way. She practically asked for them. Bitter, bitter woman.

  237. I thought that this show was the one of the funniest of the new season so far! I was laughing my arse off when Dwight cut his… I can’t even say it. YUCK! :)

  238. #307: Nicely said. I enjoyed every moment, from Jim’s reaction to her asking him what he’s doing in Utica (what? good!), to that all-too-realistic confrontation they had in her office. I especially loved TFC. While their little “themed” get-ups (berets, newsboy hats, etc) were kind of gimmicky, I can’t tell you how many little “clubs” my office has spawned that have just annoyed the crap out of others.

  239. I haven’t noticed a mention of the Dunder Mifflin commercial tacked on the the end of the show, looking for new employees. Was I dreaming it?

  240. This episode has to be the funniest of the season.
    Who else thought Jim looked great in that womens warehouse uniform? Niiice.

  241. I really enjoyed this episode…I loved seeing a different range of emotions from Jim, and I could absolutely see Michael and Dwight driving to Utica to make a point…I find that much more believable then knowingly driving into a lake. I was uncomfortable for so much of the episode, but in a good, “Officey” way.

    I thought the weakest part was the Finer Things Club, but loved seeing more of Toby. It wasn’t until last night that I realized how much I’ve missed him from the rest of the season so far.

  242. The Onion AV club gives good reviews of The Office every week.

    I like the photo of Dwight and the stray observations at the end.

  243. I realize this comment is a little late but after reading some others, I had to put my two cents in. Best episode of the season so far. Jim, Dwight, and Michael in a car together will ALWAYS be hilarious, it’s that simple. Now, I’m a little biased because I have a huge crush on John Krasinski, but his acting in this episode was amazing. This is his Emmy tape, right here. Didn’t enjoy the Finer Things Club too much, but I love Toby and it made me happy to see him. I was bummed there wasn’t any Angela and not much Kevin. They are becoming two of my favorite characters. Over all, good episode, I feel like the writers are getting back into the groove.

  244. Wait-if Stanley was just bluffing about transferring to Utica, then who was Karen talking to on the phone about transferring?

  245. I’m torn.

    This episode really, really did have its enjoyable moments. Seeing Toby in a bow tie/beret, the walkie-talkie conversation, Karen chewing Jim out…all good stuff.

    That being said, it left me uncomfortable. It seems instead of having the characters grow they are devolving and the humor is getting kind of dumb. I miss seeing significant things happen in the office itself and not elsewhere. By far the most sitcom-like episode yet.

    As far as future episodes, Survivor Man seems like it has HUGE potential for being corny, so I hope Steve Carell comes through for us. I love the show too much to stop watching but this season has me worried about the future of The Office.

  246. Episode was good and it was great to see Karen again. Who is infinitely better looking than Pam.

  247. #318 – “I felt bad for Karen in the scene until I realized that she had condescended to Jim “Are you still doing these kinds of things?” and making the comment about “being an adult and just calling her” if he wanted to see her. She deserved the unintentionally hurtful comments being thrown her way.”

    Agreed! Although the poor handling of their break-up might have earned Jim some sharp comments, her complete smugness and monstrous ego in thinking that he came there for her totally negates any sympathy I might have had for her. That kind of gall takes a sledgehammer to dent, or in this case, Jim saying outright that things are going well with Pam. Didn’t have a problem with that at all in the face of her arrogance. Maybe now Karen will get over herself. I have to say, JK did a magnificent job in this episode.

  248. What a great episode. The feel was different, but nothing was too crazy and John did a great job in the episode as it was a heavy Jim ep.

    Michael was the perfect amount of dumb, and Toby and Oscar were perfect; they had some depth instead of being caricatures.

  249. My favorite part – Finer Things Club scene when Oscar is trying to convey his thoughts and Phyllis is trying to microwave her popcorn. “What are you microwaving?!” I didn’t even notice that she said popcorn, and that she couldn’t use the other microwave because it smelled like popcorn. That was hilarious.

  250. #335

    I don’t think he was ever going to do it, he just saw it as a good opportunity to get a raise.

  251. This episode does show how loyal Michael and Dwight are to their co workers, albeit in a weird, insane,and immature way.

  252. this ep. was hilarious as always, but it felt kinda somber to me. the fact that Jim was angry most of the ep. made it less hilarious. I mean, he was stuck in a situation that was both embarrassing and awkward. I gotta tell you guys, that scene between him and Karen was one of the most awkward scenes i’ve ever watched. i totally felt jim’s pain (props to John K. for that). also, no one including Pam couldn’t help Jim with his situation. he was stuck, and I as a viewer even wanted him to quit DM. it seems like Jim is getting nowhere. I mean, even Pam was too preoccupied with her club to help him out or make him feel better. and the last scene w/ Jim in the club was just another scene where Jim was uncomfortable and left-out. I sorta felt sad. Oh yeah, but does anyone else find “mad Jim” exceedingly cute? haha. loved the ep. just felt sorry for Jim.

  253. I was sort of in agreement with some posters regarding the tone of this episode. But I watched it again and I enjoy how The Office can be more than one kind of comedy. This was a rather silly episode but it still made me laugh out loud the second time through. When Dwight still has the moustache on when they’re in Karen’s office I lose it every time. I thought Rashida was great, very solid episode.

  254. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Jammer and I loved this episode. But to me, it seemed Jim centered, and slightly Pam centered (the finer things club), but it wasn’t Jam centered. I’m totally loving them being together, but it’s nice to have a break from that, there are other characters that are awsome too, like Stanely, Michael, Dwight, Andy, Toby, Oscar, and Karen. I’m glad she’s “back” and rearing her jealous head.

  255. Sorry if this is a repeat, but it is really hard for me to accept the character changes in Pam. Where did this “Finer Things” Pam come from? What about Pam from the bird funeral? Sure, she has had a time of self awareness and progression, but I guess I never caught any character clues that she was longing for more refinement. Although, Angela’s Ashes isn’t exactly refinement, the whole premise just seemed a little out of character. I guess we just don’t know who Pam is anymore. I feel like I’ve lost a friend.

  256. Jim wearing Madge’s uniform? Have you seen Madge? He’d be floating in her uniform.

    When did Andy get his rejection letter from the FTC? Was it after or before Pam invited Jim to join.

  257. What does Pam say at the very end of the show? She is saying something inaudible to Oscar when Jim gets called out by Toby and Oscar.

  258. Put Jim, Michael, and Dwight in a car together and I just start to laugh immediately! Dwight and Oscar had some of the funniest one-liners ever in Office history.
    For those of you who didn’t like this episode, watch it again. For me, The Office gets better and better on repeat viewings. And the deleted scenes are very funny and telling!

  259. I actually read all 326 posts, whew! To reply to some of them…I think the FTC was at lunch (and therefore believably held at the office). Wearing the “costumes” for the “panty raid” is so Michael. He IS over the top…all the time, that’s his personality.

    I laughed a lot at this episode. At first I couldn’t get into the FTC, but the more it was featured throughout the episode, the more believable it felt. I loved Jim’s confrontation with Karen and the fact that she said, “You’re still doing this kind of thing?” about the prank. She didn’t want to participate in Jim’s pranks in Scranton and that drew him closer to Pam.

    I agree with a lot of comments that they need to do some episodes IN the office. Every episode this year has some sort of off-location stuff in it. It would be great to have something happening in the office with all the characters present (think The Alliance from Season 1…hilarious).

  260. 318–

    I think that seeing Jim so down is very telling. People have mentioned this in their comments, but Pam has grown a lot. Now it might be Jim’s turn. I just hope he never quits DM, although that feels like what I would do in his situation. He doesn’t like selling paper, and he’s not interested in a promotion. However, he’s really good at what he does, it just comes naturally for him. Maybe he’ll catch on to that and actually care…about paper?

  261. #322: I completely agree. Although I get that Pam has grown as a person, people don’t usually become intellectual all of a sudden. I find it harder to believe that the Pam who analyzes literature and knows that Forster made “brave” choices would still be working as a receptionist after all these years…

  262. Pam is and has always been intelligent. The difference is that she has newfound confidence and is no longer afraid of speaking her mind on a variety of subjects, including (but not limited to) her relationships, office politics, art and literature. In any case, although many people seem to think that Pam takes FTC seriously, she’s really too smart for that. I think she sees it as a fun outlet, but she knows that being part of an office club is pretty goofy. Note how she says “it’s very exclusive.” Pam isn’t a genius, but she’s a critical thinker and a sane mind in an office full of insanity.

    As far as being just a receptionist, I’m sure many of us have met people that are far too intelligent for their current paychecks or positions in life.

  263. I actually don’t think Pam finds the club goofy at all…which makes her much more difficult to relate to than she used to be. I guess her confidence has done a lot for her. If you compare her ability to discuss artwork in “Business School” with the insight displayed in “Branch Wars” it’s a pretty pronounced difference.

  264. Did anyone happen to pick up on which tea pot Pam was using to serve tea during the Finer Things Club scenes???

  265. Thanks for pointing that out,Greg!
    Those subtle little things are what make this show great.

  266. For those wondering how Toby happened to be in the FTC, I assume it’s because he gets to hang out with Pam sans Jim. Hope springs eternal.

    I wasn’t feeling the A and B stories, but I loved every word that came out of Stanley’s mouth, right up to the uncharacteristic chuckle when he considered whether Michael was a secret “genius.”

  267. I’m surprised folks think Pam isn’t really into the Finer Things Club. I think she is, very much so. Pam has been the “arty” type since high school, according to Booze Cruise.

  268. #330 I agree, just because Pam is only a receptionist does not mean she does not have a lot of knowledge on different subjects.

    A lot of people are over-qualified for their jobs. I once worked with a woman who could be a historian because of so much information she knew. But she was a telephone operator.

  269. I’ve been reading everyone’s comments on this episode, and I’d like to know where is all the love for Pam and Jam???? Jam fans have wanted these 2 together forever. Now that they are, it seems that it’s not good enough. I think Jim and Pam are perfect together this season.

  270. “Jim, if this is it for me, promise me something. Host the Dundies.”

    LMAO! My favorite quote from this episode.

    I wish they would do another Dundies episode. I want to see drunk Pam again.

  271. The teapot callback was GREAT!

    It was extra funny for me to see the teapot being used; all I can think about is Dwight shoving it up his nose.

    “…beat the traffic, uhhm…”

  272. This wasn’t Karen’s last appearance, right?
    I hope not. I love bitter, immature, can’t control herself, cry for weeks, Karen.
    Was that too hard?
    That’s what she said!!!

  273. My favorite part of this episode was when Michael called Karen, Filapellers, and then asked her how they were hanging. I almost fell out of my chair.

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