The Office: Episode 57 – Branch Wars


  • The Writer – Mindy Kaling
  • Director – Joss Whedon
  • A brief synopsis – Stanley makes like he’s going to Nashua to work for Karen, so Michael declares war on the branch, taking Dwight and Jim with him to play a prank on them.  Pam and Oscar, then Toby, form The Finer Things club, where they discuss books and art once a month, while Andy sits in the periphery, wanting to join.
  • The best line – Pam: I think it’s interesting how Forster uses Italy to represent sexuality and passion. [Kevin dumping change in the snack machine] And that also brought up themes of, uh, you know, fate and coincidence. And Lucy’s torn between these two things. She’s torn between passion and convention.
    Kevin: Damn it!
    Pam: It just- [Kevin banging and shaking the snack machine] To be making a case for passion in Edwardian times, I thought was, uh…
    Oscar: Yes.
    Kevin: Damn it! [banging machine]
    Pam: Maybe sort of ahead of his time as a writer.
    Oscar: Very brave. [Phyllis beeping microwave in the background]
    Pam: Very brave choice also, I thought.
    Oscar: And George, his- his youthfulness. His, um, freedom. [Phyllis still beeping the microwave] Evokes, um, um, feeling, um, to the, um… What are you microwaving!?
    Phyllis: Popcorn.
    Pam: Why don’t you use the microwave in the kitchen, Phyllis?
    Phyllis: Someone needs to clean it. It smells like popcorn.
  • The best moment – Michael’s face when he sees Toby carrying tea cups and wearing a bow tie for the finer things club.
  • The best storyline – The finer things and it’s exclusivity to Andy.
  • Notable guest appearance – Karen’s back, and she’s doing well.
  • Would Michael have been reprimanded? – Fired is more like it.  The whole “panty raid on Utica” thing was ill-advised.
  • Grade – C+

They start to explore Jim here as a sort of goofball who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Jim as an off-kilter loser is a hard sell, even for Mindy Kaling.  Again, the more outlandish Michael gets, the worse for the episode.  If it weren’t for The Finer Things, this episode would be a complete dud.

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