TV Recap

Love at First Fight

On ''The Office,'' Dwight defends Jim from Roy's fists and gets rewarded by an excited Angela, while Michael cross-dresses and winds up with a long-overdue raise

ASSAULT AND PEPPER SPRAY Dwight saved the day (or at least Jim's nose)
ASSAULT AND PEPPER SPRAY Dwight saved the day (or at least Jim's nose)

''The Office'': Cross-dressing and combat

You know that friend you haven't seen in a while but you have all these great memories of? And then, when you do seem them again, you're like, ''Oh, yeah! You are sooo funny!'' Well, people, after weeks away, my friend came back last night, and it was a total lovefest.

Thankfully the show jumped right into the whole Roy's-gonna-kill-Jim story line, setting the tone with the opening shot of Roy stalking Jim from the parking lot. And even though the episode teasers hinted at the confrontation, nothing prepared me for Dwight's awesomely on-point response, shooting pepper spray into Roy's face (and somewhat splattering everyone around him) and thus preventing Jim's almost certain clobbering. I know Dwight is ever on the alert for an opportunity to defend, um, just about anyone, but I never thought he could be that effective. (Though he did later return to ineptitude, spraying Andy as he returned after weeks of anger-management training.)

And it looks like I'm not the only one who had the vapors after those heroics. Little Miss Angela's naughty fantasy side really started to show as she drifted from person to person, getting everyone's account of the incident. I'm surprised she waited until the end of the day to sidle up to Dwight and start making out. I love scenes with the two of them. Some of the best moments on screen are when those two let their freak flags fly.

As for the other couples in the office, Karen's reaction to learning that her boyfriend was in middle of a violent love triangle was really hard to read. Sure she snarked at Kevin, but we never saw her talking to Jim about it. I know that I've been a vocal fan of hers because she's a much straighter shooter than Pam, at least when it comes to her feelings for Jim. But tonight she seemed a little cavalier about it all. The most insightful thing she said was that Jim's need to repay Dwight for saving him (a need that Dwight kept him from fulfilling) was more about his guilt for all the pranks he's pulled on Dwight.

Meanwhile, Pam was willing to give closure to a contrite Roy (being arrested and fired probably brought him to his senses) by meeting him for coffee. It was a return to the cute, decent Roy we've seen for most of this season — you know, the one who does really care about Pam, and not just as his girlfriend. And how telling is it that even Roy had to ask her incredulously why she wouldn't even try to fight for Jim? Her apology to Jim was more of the same, with the something-is-unspoken-here look in her eyes. I'm proud of Jim for just shaking it off. Maybe he was a little too flip to be completely believable, but whatever.

All of this played out while Michael was in a high-stakes power struggle with Darryl, a.k.a. Mr. Rogers, over a requested raise. It was so high stakes that Michael called in Wikipedia for negotiation tactics. From the low talking to the abrupt room exit, Michael was prepared to bring Daryll to his knees. What he wasn't prepared for was finding out that the ''power suit'' he was wearing, which he'd picked from a giveaway bin, was actually a women's suit. He also wasn't prepared to find out that his salary was laughable, just a notch above Darryl's. So somehow Darryl talked Michael into asking Jan for a raise the same day, and then escorted him and Toby to New York so Michael could negotiate in person.

Poor Toby. Not only does he have to put up with Michael's contempt, but he's also subjected to the shrill yet passive-aggressive weirdness that is Ryan and Kelly on the other side of a partition. If you have worked in cubicles and had to pretend not to hear a coworker's personal call, you can only imagine the horror of listening to their daily fights and makeups. Toby has been reduced to a sad facsimile of the crazy Swingline-loving Milton from Office Space. He chose the option of going anywhere with Michael over sitting next to Ryan and Kelly for one more moment. (Anyone else almost pee in their pants at Kelly's proposed baby name Usher Jennifer Hudson Kapoor?) But at least Toby got his rocks off a bit at the thought of the lawsuit that would surely ensue from Michael's demand that Jan give him more money or else he'd withhold sex from her. As usual, Jan perfected that woman-on-the-verge persona, with that look that screams, ''I'm two steps away from a nervous breakdown.''

There was just so much packed into this episode. This is how you do a supersize show. BTW: Did anyone catch that Phyllis and Bob Vance are buying a house?

Creed Creep-O-Meter: 5. Because God only knows how he borrowed that $40 from Michael.

Refresh my memory, guys. Didn't Jim or Pam see Dwight and Angela making out underneath the pile of coats at that party at Jim's house a couple of seasons ago? And how much do you think Michael was actually earning? What was your favorite moment last night? Alrighty then, pippity-poppity y'all.

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Originally posted Apr 06, 2007
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