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‘The Office’ Review: “Junior Salesman”

The Office "Junior Salesman"
NBC

Last week’s  episode of ‘The Office,’ “Customer Loyalty,” was the first episode to ever show the documentary crew who are making the film about the lives of the Dunder-Mifflin employees. This week, the show delivers two episodes that are likely to play with our new character Brian the boom guy as ‘The Office’ crosses the halfway mark of its last season. First up: “Junior Salesman.”

The episodes opens with Pam talking to Brian the boom guy. Brian got in trouble for breaking the documentary’s boundaries, and Pam admits that she and Jim are still having problems, while Meredith asks the boom guy when he’s going to “boom” her. Dwight is bringing in old friends to interview for a junior sales associate, a job which Clark wants. First comes Dwight’s friend Rolf, who – no surprise – is a freak. Jim is supposed to ask David Wallace about helping his new company, which he doesn’t think is going to go over well, and his relationship with Pam is obviously showing strain. Next up for an interview is Dwight’s friend Trevor, who can’t answer a question at all. When Jim tries to make sure Clark won’t piss off his wife, it makes Dwight angry, because he senses Clark’s more like Jim than himself. So he asks Clark all the tough questions, which Clark aces. But there are a ton more of Dwight’s friends lined up to be interviewed.

Next up is Mose, who runs out of the interview (and down the street) when he’s caught lying. This was obviously meant to be the start of ‘The Farm,’ as not only is Mose there, so is Dwight’s relative Zeke (‘Breaking Bad‘s Matt Jones). Amongst the interviewees it’s revealed that Dwight went to X-Men school (which was made up by a con-man copying the comic book) where he went to school with Eric Wareheim’s character, who still thinks he has super powers. Everyone in the office blames Jim for the possible terrible hire.

Jim gets David Wallace on the phone to see if he can have some say on the interview process, but Dwight interrupts and shuts Jim down, and gets Jim paid only for the days he’s working. Dwight then presses Jim to ask his follow up question about getting Wallace to invest, which David shuts him down immediately, and Dwight rubs it in Jim’s face. The office try to talk to Dwight about how freaky his friends are, but Dwight won’t listen. His friend Wolf also completely fails his interview, which leads Dwight to realize none of his friends can do the job, but when they come into his office, they point out how terrible it would be if he hired none of them.

Dwight pulls Jim into his office, literally, and Dwight then wants Jim to tell his friends they aren’t hired. Jim does it, but his friend see through it, and go off for paintball. Clark gets the job, and pops a little attitude, so Pam tries to bond with Dwight by planning some hazing, but Dwight — of course – ruins it. As Jim talks about how sitting across from her is how he fell in love with Pam, we see a shot of Pam and then a pan up to Brian the boom guy.

It sucks to address the rules of the show, but if last week was the first time that the filmmakers “accidentally” got Brian on camera, and there was some interaction between the filmmakers and the characters, that last shot of the episode is about as subtle as a mallet. So at this point there’s no getting around it, the last couple episodes are going to be about the tensions in Jim and Pam’s marriage and a possible new beau.

Dramatically, this isn’t bad, but at this point it feels a little forced. As for the episode, this was Dwight-heavy, and seemed to be setting up ‘The Farm’ (the abandoned ‘Office’ spin-off) and going by this episode, it’s easy to see why ‘The Farm’ never made it past pilot. Dwight is great as part of the overall meal, but him being a straight man would grow wearying quickly. There were some solid laughs here, though it seems every episode now features missing cast members. Tonight Ed Helms, Elle Kemper, Phyllis Smith and Jake Lacy were all MIA. We’re hoping they pull this last minute love triangle off, but right now this final season is looking like a swing and a miss.

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