David Wallace sends Michael on a fact-finding mission to help Dunder Mifflin swallow up a little mom-and-pop paper company. Michael and Dwight get the goods (despite themselves, naturally), but Mom and Pop -- and Son, and Granddaughter, for that matter -- are so darn nice that Michael refuses to do anything that would destroy their business. Except Dwight makes him.
The whole rest of the episode -- and the rest of the cast -- is fully occupied by a silly, tedious debate over whether Hilary Swank is hot or not. You probably won't be surprised to hear that the staff is evenly divided. Until Michael casually and obliviously casts the deciding vote: hot. Well, now she can sleep tonight.
Dwight discovers a mysterious red wire leading from the back of his monitor. Jim, of course, knows nothing of it. Or so he claims. But Dwight, in increasing panic, follows the wire all around the bullpen, out the door, down the hall, across the parking lot...
Jim THs about how he got a great deal on 500 feet of red wire at the flea market. The camera zooms in over his shoulder, where Dwight can be seen out the window, climbing the telephone pole. "Oh, he'll be fine," Jim assures us. "I made it up there." And Jim probably wasn't even as motivated."Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Wallace?" Michael says to his boss over the phone. How long have they been sitting on that? Wallace explains that with the Regional Supervisor position still not filled, he needs Michael to do some field work for him. Specifically, there's an area of Pennsylvania where DM hasn't been able to do any business, because some privately-owned paper company seems to have a stranglehold on it. Wallace dispatches Michael to look into it. So he can't really want to know that badly.
Out in the bullpen, some kind of debate has broken out over whether Hilary Swank is hot. Jim would like everyone to just move on and get back to work, so he calls a vote so they can be done with it. Oh, silly Jim. Of course, with Angela abstaining because she's above it all -- still, somehow -- it's a 5-5 tie. "What do we do now?" wonders a distressed Kevin.
Michael is bringing Dwight along on his fact-finding mission, and they're spending the car ride arguing over which one of them gets to seduce the owner's hypothetical beautiful daughter to get their secrets. "You'll fall in love with her," Dwight predicts scornfully. Fortunately, they have a real plan that does not involve hypothetical beautiful daughters: Michael will pose as a potential client of Prince Family Paper, and he'll go by the name -- what else -- Michael Scarn. Dwight, on the other hand, will pose as a jobhunting paper salesman. Between the two of them, they'll get the goods on the company. And then they fall to arguing over whether they'll meet afterward at Denny's or IHOP. Dwight's being rather openly disrespectful of Michael this week. I guess dumping the engaged woman you've been secretly having sex with can do that for a guy.
They stake out the business, which is set up in a strip mall storefront, from the parking lot. Dwight makes a few astute observations that indicate Prince is not expanding, and kind of mocks Michael for trying to join in. There he goes again. They'll go in ten minutes apart, act like complete strangers, and agree on a signal to abort: licking their lips. Dwight makes Michael practice, and they sit there in the front seat licking their lips at each other for about a minute, like they're French-kissing with their faces a foot apart. It's quite disturbing. "Here come the sharks," Michael says as they begin humming the Jaws theme. And of course they have to hum it twice.