The Office
The Dundies

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The Dundies

As Stanley plays with a toy car, Dwight arrives, fresh from the Ladies', full of vinegar. "Excuse me everyone, could I have your attention please? I just wanted to say that the women in this office are terrible. Especially the ones who wrote that stuff about Michael on the bathroom wall. Having a bathroom is a privilege!" Pam emerges from the conference room -- and I'd note that she has no reason to do so, except to push this further. "It is called a Ladies' Room for a reason," Dwight continues. "And if you cannot behave like ladies, well ... then you are not going to have a bathroom." Pam scoffs. "You're taking away our bathroom?" He announces that there will now be two Men's rooms.

Phyllis asks the inevitable, and Dwight (as Michael appears from his office, sick with corporate's withdrawal of interest, still trying to play both sides, as always) tells them they'll have to hold it all day. Pam informs Michael of Dwight's new decree, and that disgust and anger that only comes up when Dwight's involved crosses Michael's face. Dwight is the part of Michael that trips him up; the part he's not allowed to see and go on surviving. Dwight is the part of Michael that he's convinced himself doesn't exist, and that makes Dwight an accusation, and the more embarrassing and awkward Dwight behaves, the more painful it is for Michael to look at him.

(Michael Scott, a long time ago, but not really that long ago: "I want to be married, and have a hundred kids, so I can have a hundred friends, and no one can say no to being my friend.")

Michael stumbles out some variation on how Dwight needs to shut up. "Just...don't. I don't have time for this right now." Dwight whines, about repercussions and the like, talking over him, until Michael loses all control and screams another nonverbal, something like "STAPP IT YAPP IT!" It's intense. It's easy to enjoy Michael's Hooters crush on Jim, or his total gay love crush on Ryan; it's a lot uglier to see the way he puts his social anxieties off on Dwight; his laziness on Kevin; his desperation on Meredith. (Or most especially, in these two episodes: his ambivalence about being middle management -- stuck between employees and higher-ups -- that gets expressed in his pretty scary, constant hatred of Toby.) Same energy, different direction. Same man.

Michael scratches his forehead, addresses the camera as he does in these moments. "Okay look, I know there have been a lot of rumors flying around about the Dundies this year. [There have not been.] How there is no money [Nobody knew that.], and how there is no food [Ditto.], and how the jokes are really bad [...], but what the hell, everybody? I mean...God!"

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