Back from the ads, as promised, Michael fake-fires Stanley in front of everyone. Stanley is not cowed, and in fact threatens to sue. Michael does the one smart thing he can do at this point, which is to try and call this off before Stanley can really get going. But it doesn't work, and Stanley goes off on a fresh rant. Michael boots everyone out, but Pam can't find her glasses so Jim has to literally lead her out by the hand. And that's the end of that subplot for tonight. I was really hoping for more of a payoff there. Or at least something along the lines of what Creed said earlier.
After everyone clears out, two cameras watch from behind the Venetian blinds in other rooms as Michael tearfully asks Stanley why he keeps picking on him and Stanley explains, fairly calmly, that he simply doesn't respect Michael. After a surprisingly minimal amount of whining, Michael accepts that. But he firmly and strongly -- even maturely -- says that as Stanley's boss, he can't allow Stanley to talk to him that way in the office. Which wins him the first bit of respect from Stanley he's ever had. "Fair enough," Stanley rumbles. And they shake on it.
But if Stanley could hear Michael's bad and interminable Rodney Dangerfield/Henny Youngman/Jeff Foxworthy/Borat/Seinfeld routine in his office afterward, he'd probably take that handshake back.
Tag: in another meeting, Michael floats the idea of singing Christmas carols to their best clients in the summer. "Has potential to be your best idea yet," Stanley says, not entirely wrongly. "That's the dumbest thing I ever heard," Phyllis cackles, also not entirely wrongly. Everyone out but Phyllis!