TV Recap

Elimination Scheme

On ''The Office,'' Andy's scheming leads Dwight to resign; meanwhile, the team goes out of sales calls

Rainn Wilson, The Office | A SLIGHT AGAINST DWIGHT Dunder Mifflin's top dork got bested by Andy
A SLIGHT AGAINST DWIGHT Dunder Mifflin's top dork got bested by Andy

''The Office'': Dwight's enemy makes his move

All you Andy haters out there must be going mad: his Willy Wonka-inspired scheming actually ousted (for now, at least) our favorite nincompoop, Dwight. But was Andy really to blame... or was Angela? Rather than let Dwight clear Michael's suspicions of him and admit to the rest of the office that they are a couple, Angela made him quit the job that he dreamed of growing old and dying at. Now that's cold.

They may never actually speak face-to-face in the office, but I can't understand why Angela was so opposed to revealing their ''true love.'' She really ran the gamut of emotions in that one day, going from fear over not getting the office's tax papers to the NYC headquarters, to giddiness after Dwight drove the papers in for her (best line of the night, courtesy Pam: ''You seem so happy. I bet you wish you were like this all the time?''), back to fear, and finally to loathing (that terrifying look she threw at Andy at the end).

Let's go back to the early stages of Andy's coup. He was all business after realizing that he and Karen were the last remaining transfers from Stamford and deciding that he had to get rid of Dwight. The buddy-system sales calls were a good chance for him to work at undermining Dwight with Michael, thanks to the Amazing Race-esque oddball pairings of Phyllis and Karen (mother/daughter team), Stanley and Ryan (retired marines), Dwight and Jim (gay couple), and Michael and Andy (firefighter heroes).

The trip out of the office was also a great reminder of what these Dunder Mifflin-ers actually do and how good most of them are. Isn't it interesting that as much as they normally clash, Dwight and Jim make a very effective sales team, while the seeming bond that Michael and Andy share did nothing to keep Andy from punting their pitch? When Dwight started using the client's phone, Jim didn't skip a beat. They'd either used the ploy (of dialing the competition's customer service number and showing how long the wait time was) before, or Jim is comfortable going with Dwight's flow, at least in that kind of setting. They essentially played good cop/bad cop... or good cop/weird cop.

Meanwhile, Andy just kept stepping all over Michael's pitch and then fumbled again with his attempt to coin the term ''Schrute it.'' But using the tollbooth receipt from Dwight's car to plant a seed of doubt with Michael and play on the history of Dwight's attempted coup was a master stroke made all the more effective by Angela's refusal to let Dwight fess up about why he was at DM headquarters. He looked so sad clutching his bobblehead. There's no way Rainn Wilson is off the show, but it was a bold move to let him appear to be bested by the (slightly) more Machiavellian Andy. I can't wait to see how they play out this storyline.

Before the shocker of Dwight's resignation, Phyllis' expert psychological move was my favorite subplot of the evening. Phyllis baffled Karen (and me) with her gift of a big-haired, makeup-heavy makeover. But then the picture of the client's wife sporting the same 'do proved that Phyllis is also a very skilled salesperson. (For an extra treat, play Jim's reaction to Karen's makeover in slow motion. I would swear his eyes were screaming.)

Much like Michael's whole demeanor this week, the big reveal about Jim's ''thing'' for Pam was definitely underplayed. There was no big blowup. There wasn't a particularly excruciating amount of awkwardness. Karen's straightforward approach to finding out about it was a very mature, normal thing to do, though not a very good Office or TV thing to do. And how hard would it have been to take her seriously sitting there in that getup?

Guilty pleasure of the night: I'm all for any chance to see Stanley flashing that big old grin, and having it come from watching Ryan (whose smugness has irked me all season) twist in the wind in front of the quartet of tall black gentlemen made Stanley's joy even sweeter to me.

No Creed last night.

Will Oscar's return next week be a smooth one? Will Andy bear the full brunt of Jim and Pam's pranking? Can he handle it? How will Karen's newfound information affect her budding friendship with Pam?

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Originally posted Jan 12, 2007
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