The Office, NBC, Airs Thursdays 9/8c

Episode: “Lecture Circuit: Part 1″ (Season 5, Episode 14)

Synopsis: Michael (Steve Carell) gets sent around to the other branches to explain how the Scranton branch has become so successful. Meanwhile, the new heads of the party planning committee, Jim (John Krasinski) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson), forget a birthday and get hell for it. And Andy (Ed Helms) finds a new crush.

Review: The only thing scarier than Michael Scott being chosen to lead a lecture on sales is the fact that his mnemonic devices to remember the names of people are eerily reminiscent of the way our former President addressed reporters. Holy hell, I actually lived in a country where that happened. Sorry, where were we? Oh yes, Michael making an ass out of himself by calling a woman Sugar Boobs. The best part of that whole disaster came in the aftermath, when Karen (Rashida Jones) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) were forced to address the whole Jim thing. It was to the point, which is something shows like The Office and Family Guy sometimes forget to do, and offered some closure for both Pam and viewers who loved season 3. I wonder how Pam would have felt if Karen ended up a basket case because of the break-up. Alas, that ship has sailed.

Part one of Lecture Circuit brought viewers the promise of something more in the future. It was a bit light on the funny, unlike the previous Stress Relief entry, and certain parts felt a bit disorganized. That seems to happen when half-hour comedies try to fit three plot-lines into one episode. But it’s not necessary for the show to always pack a joke a minute. What matters is whether or not the jokes delivered are worth the wait, and for the most part they were. Jim and Dwight’s new found partnership on the Party Planning Committee can only spell outrageous behavior down the line. Sadly, it was a short-lived reign for Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) as leader of arguably the most pointless/laughable group on television. But it did bring us a birthday banner that Hallmark should get the rights to immediately.

And can we PLEASE get a web-isode explaining more of Creed’s (Creed Bratton) love affair with Squeaky Fromme? Is that not the greatest name ever? (Let’s try to ignore the fact that with that name came a member of the Manson family, for the sake of keeping good spirits.) This is the reason I love the supporting characters of The Office. They need no background explanation. Let’s be honest, we have NO idea of Creed’s background. We honestly don’t care. All that matters is he pops in with one-liners that make us ask, “what the hell did he just say?”

Seeing the softer side of Andy was equal parts creepy and sad. We’ve all had to deal with the adjustment period after a breakup, the question is whether or not we are foolish enough to offer our crushes the Dog-nard. You can pretty much sum up Andy’s character by just saying that word. He’s out of touch, desperate and you can’t take him seriously. And yet I guarantee you that we all know someone like him.

We’re getting to see more spontaneity out of Pam, which used to only happen when she got drunk at Chili’s in season 2, and I like it. Maybe the happiness she is finding in her relationship with Jim is allowing her to take more chances, even if they are in an attempt to play matchmaker for the world’s worst bachelor. But everyone deserves a shot at love, right? And if it means we get to see more of the brilliant Amy Ryan in the role of Holly, sign us up.

Up Next Week: Michael and Pam continue their tour of the branches with Michael taking a lesson from their visit to Utica.

Read More: Office Recaps

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