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The Office – The Cover-Up

Oh, Michael Gary Scott.  You try so hard to find a normal woman to date, yet even when you're not self-sabotaging your relationships, it seems love is not in the cards.  In the episode "The Cover-Up," we witness not only one but two different things being covered up by people.  Unlike last week's episode, which featured Michael Scott acting so awkward that it was difficult to watch, this week showed Michael Scott's neurotic side as he attempted to discover whether or not his girlfriend Donna (Amy Pietz) was cheating on him.  There was plenty of quirky and hilarious lines, some that reminded me of the dry humor of the earlier seasons and others that were laugh-out-loud funny.  Rainn Wilson also proved why he should be winning the Best Supporting Actor Emmy this year instead of Jon Cryer.

Last week, with the episode "Body Language," we got to see Michael forging a relationship with a beautiful woman his age who appeared to contain none of the schizophrenic habits that Jan brought with her and also appeared to have more of a mean streak in her than Carol, yet another one of his former lovers, lacked.  All in all, it appeared that, besides Holly, Michael may have found his first great girlfriend.  However, just as Homer Simpson is doomed to a life of idiocy and Joey Tribbiani to a life of dumb jokes, Michael Scott seems to be destined for nothing but failure and half-hearted attempts at being funny.  We learn, via Kelly Kapoor, undoubtedly one of the least reliable sources on the face of the earth, that Donna maybe cheating on Michael with another man.  The reason?  Because she went on a date with him out of town. While this is a far from normal reason to assume one is being adulterous, Michael takes Kelly's advice to heart and has Dwight Schrute, official P.I., look into whether or not she may be seeing another man.  From here, a series of strange events occur, including Dwight trailing Donna to a gym and attempting to solicit sexual favors from her.  According to Dwight, this is the best way to discover if somebody is unfaithful: send somebody else to ask for sex, and if they say yes and go through with it, then it's proof.  Of course, Donna is not an idiot and immediately learns from Dwight what Michael is attempting to do.

Donna's appearance on the show has lead to some interesting developments so far.  Last week, even as Michael made a fool of himself, we saw that his foolishness lead to his gut feeling about Donna's body language to be true.  Tonight, even as Donna convinces Michael that she is not cheating on him, various events prove her to be a liar.  However, not a liar in the maniacal way that Jan was. Instead, there's a twist: Michael is the "mistress," or in other words, Donna is cheating on Michael with her husband.  Instead of the usual cliche moment where we realize that our favorite main characters are being cheated on, we learn that Michael is the third wheel in this interesting love triangle.

We also had an interesting side-plot, one that will likely have repercussions in the two remaining episodes of the season.  Andy gets a customer complaint about Sabre's printers, one of them began to spew smoke and ended up lighting the paper tray on fire. Daryll, who sees this as the perfect opportunity to get revenge on Andy for complaining about the warehouse a couple of years ago, makes up an elaborate lie involving Sabre attempting to kill Andy in order to shut him up about the faulty printers.  As Andy's anxiety rises, he and Daryll soon learn that there truly is an issue with the Sabre printers.  While this plot may have seemed slightly lackluster in any other episode, knowing that the show will continue to elaborate on this makes things much more interesting.  I will not spoil the final episode title or plot for anybody who hasn't seen it yet, but it seems as if we're going to see some focus on the shenanigans that Andy and Daryll got into in tonight's episode.

There have been many complaints about "The Office" this season.  Many say the show is nowhere near what it used to be, that the humor has become increasingly juvenile and that the characters have lost the charm that used to make them likable.  However, there are the occasional moments when the witty humor that symbolized earlier seasons shines through and makes episodes more tolerable.  There was a great reoccurring bit about how the word "amok" and the phrase "out of control" were the same thing and also had a classic Michael Scott mix-up as he proves once again to have no grasp on the English language ("Otherwise this thing is going to spiral out of amok!")  There was a hilarious Creed moment where Creed walks past Andy and gives the universal sign for "You're dead" (a finger across the throat).  When the camera crew asks Creed about it, this is his response:  

"So there I am, minding my own business and Darnell offers me three bucks. All I gotta do is walk by Andy and go like this. [draws finger across neck] Darnell's a chump. I would have done it for anything. I've done a lot more for a lot less."

I'm not sure what's funnier: Creed calling Daryll "Darnell" or the fact that he's done "a lot more for a lot less."  Creed is an incredible character with very little screen time.  Instead, the audience is forced to wait patiently for his patented one-line-per-episode.  Luckily, while we get less screen-time with Creed, we've had some great Daryll moments as of late, as well as some extremely dry yet laugh-worthy lines from Gabe.  Whether it was Gabe asking if the butter was "almond" or giving Andy the Dunkin Donuts gift card, Gabe is proving himself to be an interesting and funny character, even if he is a bit dull and one-note.

Overall, there was some great character moments and a number of hilarious lines, something that is sometimes lacking from newer episodes.  While everybody did a great job, Rainn Wilson absolutely stole the show. If there's one character on the show who has remained the same throughout every tumultuous event Dunder Mifflin has seen, it's Dwight Schrute.  It's unfortunate that Rainn has never won an Emmy for his performance, because despite the excellent job he's done this season, his best seasons were earlier in the show's existence.  Hopefully, the Emmy's will get it right soon and reward him for the great job he's done.  Without Dwight, many characters on television wouldn't exist.
With "The Cover-Up," "The Office" seems to have finally found an interesting story-line that they can be comfortable with, something that actually has us excited for the repercussions instead of groaning as we wait and see what ridiculous antics the writers will come up with next.  "The Office" will most likely never return to its roots, the dry, British-esque humor that it inherited from the British version, but the least we can do, as the audience, is accept what the show-runners are doing and laugh at what they're putting before us, because it has certainly been entertaining as of late.


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