The Office
The Dundies

Episode Report Card
admin: A | 1 USERS: A+
The Dundies

Outside, Jim and Pam, salesman and receptionist, are dreading the Dundies. Pam interviews a comparison to "a car wreck that you want to look away, but you have to stare at it...because your boss is making you." I'd rather be there with them than anywhere else. Well, maybe Kelly would be more fun, because I don't care about her feelings like at all. So of course Michael enters, booming out a Fat Albert voice -- Jim's last name is "Halpert" -- before realizing that nobody is laughing (Jim looks to us for empathy); Michael smoothes it out like it never happened. He takes us on a tour of the office, all the different people that have won awards in previous years of the Dundies. It is immediately apparent that every year, everybody wins. This fact, alone, lends itself to comparison to the Special Olympics.

"Jim, why don't you show off your Dundies to the camera?" Again sneaking a look at us, Jim tells a quick lie -- that he keeps his Dundies hidden to avoid getting "cocky" -- and Dwight, the Assistant to the Regional Manager, blurts that he keeps his in a display case over his bed. Which is creepy, but not the kind of creepy that Michael is allowed to note. So, of course, he does, making a protolinguistic sound of horror before pronouncing this to be "T.M.I." Which he then explains to us, in aggressively unnecessary detail, as though we are children. "I used to say ‘don't go there,' but that's lame." I would like for Michael to write down the rules of everything. Just so we'd know, once and for all.

Michael approaches the black employee in the Scranton office, Stanley, which is always a dicey proposition. "Here we have Stanley the Manly...why don't you show them some of your bling?" You can be excused for looking away. The most valuable property of Stanley, the irreplaceable thing that he contributes to office culture, beyond a violent kind of honesty, is his total lack of respect for Michael. And the fact that the rules of policy and cultural guilt exchange mean he's the only one who can speak. "I don't know where they are. I think I threw them out." Michael offers a half-hearted "no you di'int," which Stanley takes in stride. "Think I did," Stanley responds. Michael deflates. Utterly. (I always imagine Stanley singing the Wheat Thins song in his head: "Something like a cracker, but frankly? More like a snack.") Stanley distracts him with questions about the "apa-teezers*" for this year, since they ran out last year. I am so glad we weren't there last year. It's painful. Michael rebounds the shot and passes to Kevin, blaming him for devouring an entire "skillet of cheese*"; Kevin responds by looking guilty and only a little creepy, and putting down his soda pop can on the table. Stanley's honesty bestows one kind of power; Michael's appeal to the anti-fattie contingent is another. Neither of them are particularly fair. Neither of them are particularly unfair.

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The Office




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