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The Office Recap: Lost and Found

Ryan and Kelly — they’re not on this show nearly enough, which is probably why they’re among the only characters to succeed in every scene. Kelly opened the episode by announcing their divorce. What? Yeah, they got married a week ago but a weepy weekend in the Poconos resulted in a split, which Kelly waffled over while Ryan not-so-suavely tried to stick with it using the “not until everybody can marry!” excuse. A typically sleazeball move that Oscar immediately called him on — oh, Oscar conferred with his gay friends, and it’s totally fine. Yesterday, it came to light that Mindy Kaling’s contract is up after this season and, frankly, she would be a much greater loss than Steve Carell, so let’s hope her reassuring tweets can be trusted and that she’s not going anywhere. Unless she proceeds to radically overturn the pathetic state of the rom-com, in which case she has our blessing.

Last week we noted that the goofy rapport between Michael and Holly gets pretty stale sometimes, and this week saw a little improvement regarding the depiction of their courtship. In a scheme that manages to once again free John Krasinski from appearing on the show for more than a minute, Michael got lost and only Holly could find him. To backtrack: While out on a sales call, Michael stopped to use a bathroom and a Cece emergency meant Jim had to abandon him there, taking Michael’s wallet and cell phone with him. The fact that Michael was literally lost without his cell phone wasn’t so far-fetched — whose number can you dial by memory these days? And just try asking a stranger for money (or, in this case, free food). But there was a strange chink in the documentary-style format for what is surely the umpteenth time — though it felt particularly noticeable — when Michael gestured to the cameras to scram. Obviously, they would know where Jim went. Also, Michael would probably remember the office number by now. It’s been mentioned here and in the comments that Michael is better as a character when he believably grapples with being a boss as opposed to playing the fool.

Holly volunteered to go look for Michael, but Erin insisted on accompanying her because she fantastically dislikes Holly, who is only a 16 out of 40 according to a bizarre rubric wherein even ears are rated on their individual merit. And Dwight can’t trust either “space orphan” or “princess nincompoop,” so he tagged along as well. This dream team illuminated who among them really knew Michael best in a hunt. It wasn’t Erin (“He answers to Michael, Michael G. Scott, Michael J. Fox, Mr. Fox, the Incredible Mr. Fox”) or Dwight (“Facial type: Marsupial”) but Holly, who, like a made-for-television detective, was guided by gut alone (“Oh really? You don’t think he went by that bakery just for the smell of it?”). During all this, there was a sweet little bit between Dwight and Pam, who called to persist with a request for sundae fixins, to which a distracted Dwight responded, “Pam, I’m obviously going to get that stuff for you so just shut up.” It’s nice to know that his harsh camaraderie remains ever since he let her win the battle over the office space.

Michael’s detour to a Chinese restaurant led to some unfunny interaction that might have been more offensive to Scrantonites than Asians, as it implied that the former are incapable of avoiding obnoxious stereotypes. But, at the pet shop, he gave snakes their appropriate comeuppance (“You are disgusting. You’ll never find love”). Meanwhile, Dwight, Erin, and Pam were getting warmer on Michael as Holly signed up for a new cell-phone service under the name “Fanny Smellmore.” The last person to sign up? “Orville Tootenbacher” — Michael’s name for his millionaire character who farts popcorn. Holly next suggested going to the top of the building where they could maybe spot Michael below and, sure enough, he was already up there. Their tearful confession and kiss mean it’s now a near certainty that Michael will get the send-off he deserves — not that our appreciation for this show ever hinges on concern for his romantic happiness, but it isn’t unwelcome. And it was refreshing to see Michael and Holly’s soul-mate status reveal itself in a way that didn’t involve them yukking it up.

Still, the better subplot unfolded, as it always does, back at the office. When Jim posted Pam’s doodle of an anthropomorphic printer on the bulletin board, an unofficial caption contest got under way as Oscar and Andy wrote snide comments about Sabre’s faulty quality. Pam threw down a formal challenge with a drawing of two dogs next to a palm tree. Every minor contribution here was pretty worthy. Darryl triumphed for two reasons. One, his brag about his caption skills when faking them to his daughter while reading Family Circus (“That crazy family is hilarious to her for one reason: me!”). And two, for shutting down Gabe as he lamely objected to the contest by establishing rules (we suspect the rule about not referencing pop culture was engineered to protect his own interests). Oscar also upheld his pretentious reputation when protesting the stipulation that prohibited poking fun of Sabre with a defense of irony. Gabe was even overrun in his efforts to get the staff to use Sabre’s “Sticky Quips,” a.k.a. gussied-up Post-its. The payoff didn’t come until the end credits, with Gabe complaining that some entries didn’t take the dogs into account, though what was perhaps the best one did. “Is that a palm tree or did Gabe get skinnier? Either way, let’s pee on it.” This was courtesy of Angela — Angela! We almost forgot about you. (“It was easier once I decided I wanted the dog to piss on Gabe.” Spoken like a true cat person.) There’s nothing to rave about here, but the dynamic between the characters felt right and the staff, like the show, has the most fun when they’re collaborating to waste time.

Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC