To me, there is nothing truer than true love.
There are multiple kinds of love: Platonic love. Familialial love. Buddy Love— two of them, actually. But honest-to-God romantic love, that’s hard to come by. I mentioned before how there has to be an effortless connection between two people to form a friendship, and a relationship is the same, only effortlesser. You just… know, y’know? Like the moment you realize that connection is formed it can’t be stopped. It’s just *snap* and then you stand there like, “Well, what the hell am I supposed to do with all these feelings?”
And I saw that in Jim and Pam.
I’m not the sharpest tack in the shed, but I know people. And when I saw those two kids interact, I saw something there. That effortless connection I just described in full view, in front of the entire office. Moving Jim out of the annex was a smart move on my part, and not because of Toby… well yeah, it was because of Toby because fuck Toby, but inadvertently bringing these two together brought out the best in them. And not just socially, either. Jim became more motivated, on task, and has great numbers. Sure it may take him half the time it takes me to do something but at the very least it gets done. And Pamala, well, if her chest doesn’t make guests feel welcome, then her slightly sunnier disposition does. And now that they’re together? Imagine that added to 1000.
But there’s the whole prank thing, which I get. They’re not the most motivated individuals, and spending time pranking Dwight is not the best use of their time. As a counterpoint, Dwight is an idiot.
And Roy, well he just seems like a mess. Can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, being dumped like that. I know the feeling all too well. But seeing him and Pam together, I dunno, it-it made me uncomfortable. It made everyone uncomfortable. Even Dwight who, again, idiot. Why did Toby even sign their relationship form in the first place? God.
And the Monday they announced their relationship, I was posilutely ecstatic. I have never watched two people feel more like themselves. And, naturally, that made them better at their jobs. Will there be distractions? Sure. Will they make out in the stairwell? Hopefully. But, in the end, they have each other.
Part of me was relieved that Roy stayed in the warehouse yesterday. To recap — and this is all secondhand — Jim applied for the Stamford job as a last-ditch effort to get away from seeing Pam marry Roy. He tells her he loves her, rejection. Make out sesh that hopefully, the doc crew managed to get, rejection #2. And so he left and it wasn’t until a week later that she called him back and they worked out a plan to date long-distance without anyone else knowing except corporate.
God, and I thought my love triangle drama was something else.
The next day, it was around 7:52 when Jim walked into my office, “Can I see you for a second?”
“Ah, Jimothy! Yes, come in.”
“This’ll be quick, I promise.”
“Ah, you’re fine.”
He seemed oddly nervous as he closed the door behind him, “Do you uh, remember what you told me this past January? The booze cruise?”
“…Yes, I do.” What the hell did I say?
“And that was?”
“Um…” it suddenly came to me, “‘This office is, in fact, a ship, and as its leader, I am the captain.’”
“No. I-I mean, you probably did say that but,” he tried to expand on his point, “It was when your hands were tied.”
“Oh.” Still no clue.
“I’ll just—” he went ahead, “I told you I used to have a crush on Pam.” Did he? “And I’m pretty sure you knew better.” I did? “And after Roy set a date for their wedding, you told me that engaged ain’t married—”
“Yes! I remember that!”
“Yeah,” he said with a smile.
“Yeah!” A beat. “Did I say anything after that?”
“Okay,” he leaned in quieter, “You told me to ‘Never, ever, ever give up.’” Oh yeah, I did say that, didn’t I? “That phrase is what pushed me to move on from what I’ve done and…” he tried to find the words, “finally move forward with someone I wanted to be with for a long time.” The sincerity in his voice was practically piercing. “So I just wanted to uh, say thanks, for that.”
I’m taken back to right after he left. I get the email from Toby (insult to friggin’ injury) and my heart sank. I plagued myself with all of these questions, and to see Pam, his best friend, so distraught… my God, there was no way I couldn’t send her home. Move forward to that night in the hotel room. He told me the reason why he left Scranton, me thinking it was all just me being a lame boss or him being a bad friend, and yet the reason was just soul-crushing. And they were already together for like, what, four months? I mean, I guess he was nervous around me in particular because—
Because he didn’t take my advice at first.
And now he wants to reassure me that he did.
Realizing this just put a lot into perception, I didn’t say anything. I instead just walked up to him and happily embraced him. He’s slow on the uptake, but he hugged me back. We pulled apart, with bright smiles on our faces.
“I am really proud of you,” I said to him.
Judging by his face, that seemed to mean a lot to him, “Thanks.”
I couldn’t stop smiling, “Now get to work!” I fake-command.
“Aye aye, Captain.” With that, he turned and walked to his desk.
I couldn’t help but look from my window as he got comfortable in his seat and Pam got up from Reception, touched his shoulder, and they turned their heads to briefly kiss. Which was hot, but in that tasteful kinda way.
It boggles the mind how two people could be so right for each other. Yet there they are, happy as all get out, ready to take on the workday together. Will I ever have that with Carol? I hope so, someday. But for right now, I take pride in the fact that I helped make something this beautiful, that I’ve helped these two find happiness, even if it was a small role. Do I believe that I am a matchmaker? No, no. I would instead call myself a “romantic faciliator.”
Jim thought that he gave up, that he took my advice and did a big poopoo on it. But not a lot of people would stay in another state for just anyone. Six months those two worked their asses off for each other, together though apart.
That salesman and that receptionist are my kids. And one day, they just might marry each other.
And isn’t that every parent’s dream?
3.09 “The Convict”
At the beginning of the workday, Hannah brings in her baby as the other employees crowd around her.
Pam falls for the little one dressed in pink, “Ohh! She’s absolutely adorable!”
“He,” Hannah clarifies matter of factly.
“…Oh, sorry. He’s-he’s dressed all in pink.”
“That’s his favorite color.”
“…Oh. That’s… fun for him.”
“Fantastic,” Stanley’s done already.
And in walks Michael, “Ohhh, wow, look at that. How cute!”
“Thank you!” Hannah wears a proud smile.
He sighs happily, “May I?”
And under her desk, he goes, “Hey, look at me, I’m a baby! I’m one of those babies from Look Who’s Talking. What am I thinking?” he laughs, “Look at all those staplers! What’s a stapler? I don’t even know, I’m a baby! Hey, Mom, I’m thirsty! I’m thirsty, Mama! I want some milk. And you know where milk comes from! Breasts.”
By the time he says “I want some milk,” Hannah walks away with everyone else.
Pam happily walks to Jim by the copier, standing next to him, “Hey,” she beams.
“Hey,” he smiles back.
She pauses, “You almost done?”
“Just about… yup.”
The two of them keep smiling at each other as they chit-chat, the camera panning over to Karen, trying to get absorbed into her work. Then down to Dwight, who looks at the two inquisitively.
“Honestly? I don’t see it,” he admits to the doc crew, “I think they both can do better.”
“It’s not a surprise to me,” Angela says to them in her most judging tone, “Pam is the office mattress.”
“Jim Halpert’s off the market,” Andy brags to them, “Guess who just became the best-looking single guy in the office?”
Michael, Pam, and both accountants are in the conference room going over expenses, finding a rather interesting receipt. “Look, we have a rebate from… the Federal Work Opportunity Program and no one knows what that means,” Angela explains.
[“We get that money for hiring an ex-convict,”] Jan tells them.
Yup, one of Dunder Mifflin Scranton’s own is an ex-con. Michael suggests it’s Toby, a “convicted rapist” (much to Pam’s perplection) but Jan consults HR to find out.
Kevin guesses Martin, which grinds Michael’s gears, “Kuhhhh… you are such a racist.”
“Wait, why am I a racist?” Kevin asks.
“Because you think he’s black.”
“He is black… right? And—”
“Stop it. Stop it right— stop it right now.”
[“Okay, it’s someone named Martin Nash. …Michael?”]
“Why did the convict have to be a black guy?” Michael asks the crew in dismay, “It is such a stereotype. I just wish that Josh had made a more progressive choice. Like a white guy… who went to prison for… polluting a black guy’s lake.” Progressivism.
They all decide to just forget about it and just treat Martin normally. “Sure,” Angela argues, “Let’s protect the convicts. At the expense of the general feeling of safety in the workplace. As a 90-pound female that sits in an ill-lit, rarely-visited corner of the office, naturally I agree with that.”
And the matter is settled.
Jim answers what he assumes to be a sales call, but it’s something far more strenuous.
“I am so horny.” What the hell?
He looks back to see Andy and a camera. Ah, geez. “Okay, I can’t, help you, with that.”
“Oh I think you can, Big Tuna,” Andy says almost threateningly as he swivels towards him.
Pan over to Pam, who’s managing to catch some of this conversation, and gets an idea.
Meanwhile, Andy suggests Kelly (who’s with Ryan… for now) but then gestures to Angela and mouths her name. “Blondes are more fun. c’mon, trust me on that.”
“Yeah, trust me, that would be fun for n—”
“…for the both of you.”
After a smirk at the camera, he looks over to Pam, with a knowing smile on her face. Trust me.
He flashes back a half-smile. This better be good, Beesly. He turns back around and picks up the call he was expecting.
“Just… try to be cool,” Michael tells Dwight.
“I am cool.”
“Okay, are you cool, really?”
“I’m cool, I’m cool, I’m so cool. Tell me what is going on.”
“Um… Martin, from Stamford, was, at one time, in prison.” And that’s Michael’s cue to stop Dwight from confronting him right in front of everyone.
“I am greatly concerned about having a convict in the office,” Dwight stresses to the crew, “And I do not care if that convict is white, black, Asian, German, or some kind of halfsy. I do not like criminals.” Well, give Dwight this, he doesn’t discriminate. In this instance.
He later tests Martin by having a bunch of dollar bills sticking out of his pocket. To his surprise, nothing happens.
Meanwhile, Andy and Jim meet in the kitchen, the former preparing to woo the dower, uninterested Angela.
“Al…righty, let’s get started,” Andy begins, “What is she into?”
Cut to Pam, “When you’ve worked with someone a better part of a decade, you pretty much know everything about them,” she explains to the crew, “meaning I know all of Angela’s pet peeves, of which there are many. And one of the biggest ones is”
“Dogs,” Jim reveals Angela’s ‘favorite thing’ to Andy.
“Really?” Andy asks. Jim answers “She seems more into felines, rawr,” he claws with a smirk.
“Yeah she kinda likes cats, but dogs… the way to her heart.”
“Huh.” He notes it down.
“Are you kidding?”
“I started the main Frisbee Golf Club at Cornell. Where I went to college. I live to ‘frolf’!”
“Lead off with that,” Jim continues, “She loves hunting. She also loves those ads for Six Flags, with the old guy.” Andy starts humming the theme. “Got it. Also… do you speak Pig Latin?”
“As it turns out, she and I hate a lot of the same things,” Pam reveals to the crew.
In his infinite wisdom, Michael greets Martin kindly and then does immediately does this: “May I have your attention, please? I realize that a lot of you have already heard that Martin here has had some trouble with the law,” Martin feels he won’t like where this is going, “but I just want to declare publicly that I trust, him, completely, and that anybody who doesn’t is an ignorant, dumb… person. Okay?” Well said. “As a matter of fact, you show me a white man you trust and I will show you a black man that I trust even more,” he signals Pam, “Tell me a white person you trust.”
“Danny Glover.” Jim raises his hand. “Yeah.”
“Jonas Salk,” he offers.
“Oh…please, Colin Powell!”
“Hey, I got one,” Karen suggests.
Stanley patiently awaits his next break.
“Close your eyes,” Michael begins to the crew, “Picture a convict. What’s he wearing? Nothing special, baseball cap on backwards, baggy pants… he says something ordinary like… ‘yo, that’s— shizzle.’ Okay, now slowly open your eyes again. Who are you picturing? A black man? Wrong. That was a white woman. Surprised? Well, shame on you.” The crew has learned nothing from this exercise.
“So… you all wanna know what I was in for?” Martin asked everyone in the breakroom.
“No,” Michael feels the need to interject, “That’s not cool. You don’t have to tell them.”
“Um, I really don’t mind.” He really doesn’t. “It was a stupid mistake. I was working in finance and, I… got involved in some insider trading. So, I spent a little time in ‘da clink’.” Kevin realizes that he might just be doing the same thing.
“That is awesome,” Michael laughs.
“What was prison like?” Pam asks.
“Not terrible. Boring. We do the same thing every day.” The cameras measure to capture her disappointment. Jim’s as well. “But… at least we got outdoors time.”
“You got outdoors time?”
“Two hours, every day. Sometimes we’d play pickup football game…”
“Michael, why don’t we get outdoors time?” Kevin asks Michael, annoyed.
“Yeah,” Pam adds, “some days I never go outside.”
“Well, we are running a business, so…” Michael points out.
“What was your cell like?” Meredith asks, anticipating the worst.
“Not good. Uh… a little bit bigger than Michael’s office.” Michael stirs in annoyance. “But, you know, I really only slept there. You know, during the day, there, our time’s our own. They had uh, classes, I took some… watercolor classes.”
“They have art classes?” Pam asks, now engaged in the conversation.
“They have business classes there?” Ryan asks, just as engaged.
“They did. Taught by some uh, Harvard business school guys, a lot of the guys also, that were in the class, the inmates, a lot of them have gone on to do extraordinary things in business.” Ryan’s now tempted to break the law. (He’ll get there eventually.)
And Pam says the one thing she’ll regret saying for the rest of the day, “Kinda sounds like prison’s… better than Dunder-Mifflin.”
“Okay, well, that’s not true,” Michael finally pipes up.
“I would so rather be in prison,” Kevin pipes up.
“Prison sounds great,” Ryan joins. (He’ll get there eventually.)
“No, you would not.” Michael feels the need to emphasize this to his coworkers.
“This place is not prison,” he stresses to the crew, “It’s… way better than prison.” He’s not talking to the crew, but rather himself.
Karen, holding Hannah’s baby, is approached by Creed trying to give him his paper clips.
She truly has seen it all.
“Angela Martiniii…” Andy says, getting her attention.
She sighs as she turns to him, “Yes, Andy?” she greets, trying to be polite.
“Listen, you’re cute. There is no gettin’ around it.” She’s oddly touched by that statement, much to Dwight’s chagrin. “So… I don’t know if you like jazz, but I was thinking maybe one of these days we could drive out to a field, crank up some tunes, smoke a few Macanudos… maybe even toss a disk around. Hat-way o-day ou-yay ink-thay, Ngela-ay?”
She simply looks at him, annoyed, “Andy, I don’t know wha—”
“Shh,” he stops her, “Think about it. I’ll hit you back.” She pushes down the urge to roll her eyes at him as she gets back to work. He gives Jim the okay symbol, who returns it with a confident nod.
Jim turns and notices Dwight, who gives Andy a killing stare… and Jim’s eyes widen. Oh, my God. Now that it all clicks, he then swivels his chair to Pam, who gives him that same knowing smile from before.
Told ya. Their smiles widen as her plan falls into place.
“Wow,” he tells the crew, still taking it in, “That was… wow!”
Somehow, he’s in love with her even more now. And not just for the prank.
Michael gets an idea, a sign of good times ahead.
“Okay! Listen up everybody!” he announces in the bullpen, “Um, you guys said that prison was better than this place, and I heard ya, loud and clear, so, I am instituting some changes to make this more like prison.” Jim’s look of fear says it all. “We are going to start with an hour of outdoor time. So let’s go!” The ‘December in Pennsylvania’ weather did not cross Michael’s mind.
He also puts the TV in the break room… which is smaller than the one in prison, according to Martin, which Kevin finds amusing.
“These people don’t realize how lucky they are,” Michael explains to the crew, “This office is the American Dream. And they would rather be in the hole.” Many of them would, yes.
Dwight’s quietly working when he notices Andy walking by Jim.
“Oh, Andy,” Jim signals, “I thought of one last tact you can take with Angela.” Dwight starts to listen in, about to chew them both out.
“Yeah,” Andy responds.
“Quick question: do you play the guitar?”
“I play the banjo.”
“Hold on, let me think about that, yes, that’ll work.” Dwight’s eyebrow raises. “But can you sing in a sexy high falsetto voice?”
“You know I can, my ma-han,” Andy sings in his highest falsetto.
“Yup. That’s perfect.” It’s here that the dots start to connect for Dwight.
“I’m gonna go get my banjo out of my car,” Andy tells Jim.
Dwight gives the most subtle smirk, impressed by his prank, “Well played.”
“Hm?” Jim heard Dwight think out loud.
Dwight gets back to work, “Nothing. As you were,” he says as nonchalantly as he can.
“Okay,” Jim gets back to work himself but not without his own signature smirk to the camera.
Meanwhile, Karen greets Pam by reception, “Hey!”
“Oh, hi!” Pam greets.
“What is going on?” Karen asks, about to laugh.
Pam gestures her to lean in, “Jim and I messing with Andy. We’re sending him to all the women in the office with just the worst information on how to get them to go out with him.”
“I love it,” Karen’s immediately hyped, “I want in. Who’s the target?”
Wait, she can’t know about them. “Well, right now it’s Angela,”
“W-what do I do? Just give me an assignment.”
“Uh, you know what though? We were thinking of doing Kelly next if you want in.”
“Isn’t she dating Ryan?” Karen asks curiously.
“All right everyone, conference room, five minutes!” Michael shouted.
Karen nearly hurts her eyes from rolling them, “Do these things ever serve a purpose?” she asks Pam.
“They do, actually,” Pam confirms, “they keep us from doing our jobs.”
“God,” Karen whispers as turns and walks towards the conference room, Pam chuckling at that response as she gets up given how relatable it is. It’s been a week and she’s still not used to this place. This isn’t even because of Jim anymore, hell, he’s one of the three here that keep her sane. But at this point, she just wants out. That’s all she wants anymore.
Was this challenge even worth taking on?
Jim and Pam, the ‘Office Couple’ as they’ve been called, sit next to each other near the center, while Karen sits next to Jim, right in front of Ryan.
“All right everybody,” Michael begins, “there has been a lot of name-calling against our office today. Corporate maligning, slurring, much of it coming from one of you,” zoom in on Martin, “who claims that prison is better… than here.” Jim and Pam hide their concern about what comes next. “And none of us can say ‘Boo’ because none of us have ever been to prison. Well, there’s somebody I’d like you to meet. Somebody else who has been to prison, who can tell you what it is really like.”
And this, right here, is where a legend is born.
“I’m Prison Mike!”
Martin just takes this all in and anticipates the worst.
“You know why they call me Prison Mike?!”
“Do you really expect us to believe you’re somebody else?” Angela asks.
“Do you really expect me to not, push you up against the wall, be-otch?!”
Their coworkers chastise him for his response. “All right, hey, hey, hey, hey, that’s just the way we talk in ‘da clink’,” Prison Mike clarifies. Jim purses his lips. Is it, though? “Been a lot of fun talk about prison today,” Prison Mike continues, “but I am here to scare you straight.” He leans over to Phyllis, “I am here to SCARE YOU STRAIGHT!!” who has to keep from laughing at the display.
And this is where Prison Mike shares his shocking and grueling details about prison.
One: He learned that in prison, you are somebody’s bitch.
He calls Ryan ‘da belle of da ball,’ warning him to not drop the soap. Ryan is clearly uncomfortable, and Karen can’t help but sympathize.
Two: He learned all of this from the internet.
“So, not prison,” Jim clarifies.
“And prison. Eh, fifty-fifty… botht.”
Three: He stole, robbed, and kidnapped the President’s son and held him for ransom.
“And I nevuh got caught, neithuh.”
“Well, you’re, in, prison, but, mhm.” Jim is confused.
Four: He learned that the food in prison is it’s nothing but gruel. Sandwiches, omelets, it’s all gruel.
“Plus, you eat your own hair.”
After Andy feels the need to add his two cents, Dwight asks Prison Mike about the very worst thing about prison; Angela doesn’t want him encouraging him.
Five: The worst thing about prison was the Dementors that flew all over the place and sucked the souls from the bodies of the inmates.
“Deme-Dementors like in Harry Potter?” Karen asks through a small chuckle.
“No, not Harry Potter,” Prison Mike clarifies, “There are no movies in prison.”
As Prison Mike talks about how good the office really has it, Pam and Jim chuckle to themselves, while Karen and Ryan look as frustrated as ever.
“I hope that this scared you,” Prison Mike concludes, “And from me, Prison Mike, to you, I just wanna thank you for listening to me. Letting me be a part of your life today. ’Cause you got a good life! You got a good life,” he whispers, “A good life.” Dwight nods in agreement.
And just like that, Prison Mike leaves the same way he arrived: a legend.
“So,” Michael asks, “What do you think? It doesn’t sound so great, does it?”
“Wow, thank you,” Pam offers her gratitude, “Um, that must have been hard for you to relive that,” she looks to Martin, “Both of you.”
“Yeah, that… wasn’t really… at all my experience. There were certain elements of what you performed, I’ve seen on television. But it didn’t remind me of my time in prison.”
They completely lost the point… when there wasn’t one, to begin with. So Michael decides to do something drastic: lock them in the conference room.
“They are such, babies!” he complains to the crew, “I am going to leave them in there until they can appreciate what it’s like, to have freedom. And if this doesn’t bother them, then I am out of ideas.” Sounds about right.
As Kevin knocks on the door, signaling Hannah to help get them out (prompting her to shush at him as she rocks her baby), Toby receives a call from Pam.
“Michael, why’s everyone locked in the conference room?” he asks Michael, dreading the answer.
“They were very disrespectful to me, and to the office. And Martin has had a bad influence, to think that I gave him the benefit of the doubt.” He looks at the camera to prove his point… when there wasn’t one, to begin with.
“Well, you’re going to have to let ’em out, or… or I will.”
“Okay. You know what Toby? I am teaching them a lesson, so.”
“You know they’re teasing you,” Toby clarifies, “I mean… obviously, this is… a much nicer place than an actual prison. We get paid to be here. We go home afterwards and have social lives. We have— we have parties here. They’re teasing you. To be funny.”
For once, Michael sees that Toby finally has a point: if he should be funny, why shouldn’t they? Why can’t he take what they dish out? This prompts him to unlock the door and let all of his employees go, much to their relief, with a smile.
The office now wants to murder him. Prison would be worth it.
“Martin went from being a new guy from Stamford… to a convict, to… my friend,” Michael wraps up to the crew, “Back to a convict. Then to… a kind of a nuisance, actually, to be completely honest. And finally, to… a quitter. And I will not miss him. And that is not because he is black.” At least he’s not racist.
Yup, two of five Stamford employees quit within two weeks. Who else will drop this job like flies? Stay tuned!
“So we’ve been told, and some choose to believe it / I know they’re wrong, wait and seeee,” As Andy continues to perform for Angela, she just sits there and tolerates it, “’cause one day we’ll find it, the ainbow-ray onnection-cay,” she attempts to be polite but is noticeably unamused, “the lovers, the dreamers, and me…
Dwight just shakes his head at the absolute ridiculousness of the display,
as Jim and Pam try their hardest not to burst out into fits of laughter for the fifth time that day.
The two of them are bored, but at least they’re bored together.
Meanwhile, Karen and Ryan meet at the elevator.
“I honestly take prison over this nuthouse after today,” Karen jokes.
“At least it’d give us an excuse to kill Michael,” Ryan jokes.
Karen can’t help but laugh at that, “Oh and uh, sorry about you and Kelly. You guys seemed great together.”
“Yeah,” Ryan appears to be broken up about it, “we’re just on two different paths.”
“I get that.” Karen still questions her own path as she walks in the elevator with him.