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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Office: "The Banker"

Illustration for article titled The Office: "The Banker"
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Oh, hi there, mockumentary lovers. Nathan Rabin is out campaigning for Team Carson Daly, leaving me to take on the first episode back since the holiday break (TRANSLATION FOR GLENN BECK SUPPORTERS: Christmas break). So hey. Sup?

I guess Nathan picked a good week to miss, because "The Banker" was hardly an episode at all, but rather a clip show. Why does The Office need a clip show now? Are ratings really that low? Perhaps after six seasons and amidst the most rock-solid Thursday comedy line-up in years, people have simply forgotten what's been happening in Scranton and needed a refresher. Whatever. I'll take an Office clip show over almost anything on CBS any day, even though I still think it's a cop-out. (See what I did there?)

What little story we did get was decently silly/disturbingly prophetic. As Pam points out, with the mass firings that happened in New York, Michael Scott is now the highest rated employee at Dunder Mifflin. And apparently, this head honcho is terrified of the bank, and decides to screw with the poor sap coming to evaluate the company from said bank. He wheels in a Corvette and parks it in his spot ("Employee of the month"); he has Dwight pretend to be Computron, the smarmy, annoying supercomputer to dispense random facts about pro sports; he greets the banker on a segway and introduces him to Fake Stanley; he promises to take the man out for a grand lobster feast that night, to a place where they make "the best Maine lobster in the world." He thinks he's helping, and as usual, he is not. Then the rest is old clips under the guise of Toby trying so hard to tell the banker what he wants to know without lying, but without really telling the truth either.

Michael's obliviousness schtick is feeling really tired lately. The writers can really only go one of two ways with it: They can make him do even wilder things while in the office, as he did tonight and with Santa in December; or he can do his usual thing in a situation with grander stakes, as evidenced by his empty promises at the shareholders' meeting last year. Those latter episodes work really well and are a lot less frequent, but man, I sure hope this corporate shake-up changes something about the office dynamic, because things are pretty predictable right now. Michael does something crazy; Dwight joins in; Phyllis tries not to make eye contact. Turn Jim into a dick or something, which is where I thought this whole thing was headed anyways. That'd be badass. Wait, where is Jim?

Stray observations (clip show edition):

  • It's odd to see clips from the show's first season, especially the one with Michael getting in Kelly's face. The other characters were so one-dimensional back then. So uncomfortable.
  • It was nice to focus one of the segments on Creed. I'm dying for more Creed Thoughts, here.
  • People really got around in the office. Got around, if you know what I mean (sex).
  • I'm still a sucker for Jim/Pam though. The clip of Jim walking in on Pam's testimonial and asking her out—leaving Pam a quiet teary-eyed mess—struck a chord.