Nice rebound from last week’s wedding aisle dance spectacular with an episode that revolved around an absurd situation that had just enough credibility to hook us and the dolt triumvirate, aka Michael-Dwight-Andy aka the best thing about the show at this point. I’m thankful the writers didn’t worry about advancing story arcs and just focused on developing a hilarious setup.
And thank the soon-to-be-ousted Zucker that Jim and Pam were relegated to mere voices on the phone (they were honeymooning in Puerto Rico).
Is it a surprise to anyone that the show worked just fine without Mr. and Mrs. Happy Happy Jimjams?
But for me, the “gabagool” moment (the Tony Soprano pronunciation of capicolla, the deli meat) was an instant Office perennial. (And let me make clear that I come from an Italian family but never heard capicolla pronounced that way. Granted, the only time it ever came up at all was during an order at Togo’s sandwich shop, but still, park your stereotypes at the door, peoples.)
If the entire episode had taken place at the lunch table and revolved around Michael ordering the “gabagool” I would have been happy. This was nicely escalated by Michael’s goodfellas…
Andy (wiseguy accent): “You know, the gabagoo?”
Dwight (yelling): “Bring him the gabagool!”
Then Michael puts the topper on it: “I’ll have the spaghetti. With a side salad. If the salad is on top, I send it back.”
Andy is summoned outside to fix a woman’s car (because he’s wearing a mechanic’s outfit so he can bring a tire iron into the restaurant as a weapon in case it gets ugly, why else?) and he explodes her engine, telling her “that’s totaled, you’re gonna want to get a refund.” Great moment.
Kevin’s disastrous stint in Jim’s office was a nice b story, although too much of Kevin talking in that voice (i.e., Kevin talking) can get tedious. But it kept Jim and Pam on that phone; again, only a good thing.
And they nicely reined in Dwight. He was silly and hardcore in the signature Schrute way without going bat-poopy insane on us. Case in point: his reaction to Andy saying that Michael will wake up with a horse’s head in his bed. Dwight reacted instantly with a quick rebuttal and an exasperated, knowing look that can only come from a beet farmer who pioneered a more efficient method to make hamburgers out of horses. We thankfully didn’t get the cut to an interview where he talks about how your average American has no concept of how to decapitate a horse. No need, the short line and the look got the job done. Kudos on the restraint, creative team.
Another element that I loved was the repetition of the word “mafia.” Who says mafia any more? And they just kept repeating it, especially Andy…
Of course, once Michael finds out that they tricked him into thinking the salesman was not in the mob, while he most definitely was, he’s initially scared…but then he realizes he was just a complete bad-ass so he tells his war story to the entire office, adding that he told the guy “If any of your friends come around here, they’re dead. I said something like that.” Prompting Oscar to comment “Let’s be clear he backed down an insurance salesman from Mutual of Harrisburg.”
But Michael will not be put in a corner. So he makes it clear who wears the pants with his coffee order to Erin…
Solid episode. And props to actor Mike Starr, a go-to tough guy actor who never overdoes the “New York Italian Guy” bit like too many of his peers and will always be remembered as Frenchy in Goodfellas (“I’m the night watchman, I’m the Commandant.”) and as Eddie the Sinatra-wannabe in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam.
When I first met my wife, she turned me on to the darkly comedic elements of Summer of Sam and we watched it more than once on her crappy vcr and tiny TV. And now, we’ve graduated to an outdated dvd player and bigger, but still analog and crappy, TV. But at least we’re not getting shaken down by Grotti, who definitely changed his name from Gotti.
See ya’s next week, fuggedaboutit.
(button man in Grotti crew)
photo credits: nbc.com
p.s. For anyone who wants more of Erin the receptionist (played by Ellie Kemper), here’s a decent deleted scene featuring her on nbc.com…
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