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Young Ninja Group (ages 3-5)

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[S7E6] Office Politics

Masters is waiting in Cuddy's office, terrified that House is going to fire her. Cuddy tells her not to worry, but Masters thinks that Cuddy has merely told House not to fire her. Cuddy assures her that House respects her beliefs. However, Masters thinks the problem is with her - she's never been good working in groups. Cuddy wonders why she chose medicine, because it's a team activity. She figures that Masters wanted to stretch herself, but Masters said she just wanted to be a doctor. Cuddy tells her the most important thing about dealing with House - if she helps him solve cases, he will like her no matter what.

[S7E6] Office Politics

Cuddy calls House down to his office where he, Cuddy and Masters get into an argument about what Masters did. House tells Cuddy he's not going to work with Masters, but when Masters offers to quit, Cuddy will not let her. She thinks Masters has a bright future ahead of her and wants her at the hospital. House just wants her out of his department.

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Adam Grant joined Katy to talk about the methods scientists use to avoid certain pitfalls, such as confirmation bias, in the search for objective information. Rather than treat our beliefs or opinions as truths, Adam encourages us to treat them instead as hunches. Hunches can be tested, as scientists test their hypotheses. Taking this scientific approach to difficult problems often yields better results in business, politics, and life.

But this episode is just a weird one. Robert pins down Andy, swapping between privately urging him to keep his wife out of the office and publicly berating him for not treating Mrs. California with respect. Andy squirms. Robert slithers. It's all rather predictable but at least we get Phyllis serving up one of her piping hot tidbits about Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration).

A flasher strikes the Scranton Business Park and Michael, predictably, screws up his response. Misogyny ensues, as does a mall trip. In the end, Michael breaks up with Jan (with the assistance of the women of the office) because she's basically a nightmare whose worst impulses have been amplified by dating Michael. He actually learns nothing, though, and soon enough, Jan is back.

Best Quote: "I was intimidated by Andy's family before. And now I have to see the First Lady at holidays? She's gonna be like, 'What's your stance on politics?' Or, 'What is the best war to do?' And, I will just be like, 'Duh!'" - Erin

To open the seventh season we learn Michael hired his dumbass nephew. It's an ultimately wrongheaded attempt to get his family back (who we never really hear from in the show). We also learn Gabe is dating Erin for reasons that are never really explained. Michael's punishment for eventually spanking the hell out of his nephew is counseling with Toby, a fate worse than death. When Michael spanks his adult nephew he earns the office's affection for a moment, and it's a good laugh.

Best Quote: "Who's the one who didn't bring lice into the office? Meredith! Sure, I gave everybody pink eye once. And my ex keyed a few of their cars. And yeah I BM'd in the shredder on New Year's. But I didn't bring the lice in! That was all Pam." -Meredith

Otherwise, Michael's blind optimism is pushing the MSPC "Dream Team" (Pam and Ryan) to near madness in their tiny office in the bowels of the Scranton Business Park. Michael leading a team without corporate buffering his instincts is wildly funny to watch. He's flying blind and it rules.

Beyond that, I love the office's near revolt after Michael orders Pizza By Alfredo's instead of Alfredo's Pizza Cafe, the far superior pizza purveyor in Scranton. I feel like everyone has seen an office get upset about bad free food. Ryan's just ascending in his, erm, meteoric rise that ends in fraud and Andy is winning over Angela. Michael, ever overcompensating, is overcompensating for not being invited to the real website launch party in NYC planned by Ryan.

Andy's vanity is on full display: He throws an elaborate party planned in a misguided effort to impress both his biological father and his new father stand-in, Robert California. It goes awfully and his dad dresses him down in earshot of his office pals. Afterward, his coworkers toss him a beer at their makeshift afterparty. He's found kinship through a mix of annoying persistence and being pitiable. As Andy himself once said, "Every success I've ever had at my job or with the lady-folk has come from my ability to slowly and painfully wear someone down." There's something to be said for that.

But the best moment comes from Kelly. The women of the office are grilling Jan on her dalliance with Michael, and Kelly strikes with surgical precision. They're talking about men using sports terms in the office. "What about second base, like if Michael said he got to second base with you?" Kelly says to Jan, knowingly. "Does that mean he like closed a deal? That's a baseball term, right?" Then she WINKS at the camera. She fucking winks. Kelly doesn't get enough credit. Her character is more self-aware than she lets on, and when you view her through that calculating lens, she's kind of scarily cunning. Why do you think every character in The Office is afraid to cross her?

Meanwhile, Dwight cannot believe Jan's luxe stroller costs as much as his bomb shelter ($1,200) and decides to run it through a gamut of durability tests, which is a funny bit. (Fun fact: With modern TVs you can definitely spot a wheel breaking when he slams into it with his car.) Meanwhile, Jan won't even let Michael hold Astrid without the car seat. Where there should be unimaginable joy, there's emptiness. As she leaves the office this episode, Jan bans Michael from dating Holly. Michael immediately asks Holly out. Good on him. It was a well-executed way of banishing the Michael-Jan relationship. Good riddance for all involved.

Everyone in the office bends over backwards to convince Michael he still has a shot with Jan because he's handing out performance reviews and taking out his frustrations on his workers. Jan breaks it off. Jim pranks Dwight by convincing him it's the wrong day. All in all, good episode.

It is, obviously, a Christmas episode. In my mind, it's the second-worst of a genre that The Office typically crushed. Andy gifts Erin like 30 birds for the 12 Days of Christmas. Dunder Mifflin has a buyer. Dwight kicks the tree. Michael rings up David Wallace's office, pretending to be his daughter, to get more info about the buyer. All the while, Michael is a mean shithead to everyone, especially Phyllis, who just wants to be Santa.

This is perhaps the closest Dunder Mifflin comes to truly shutting down. As a person in media well versed with layoffs and cataclysms, there's something truly sweet in Michael's instinct to distract the office from the looming end (that, of course, never comes). He sparks up a murder mystery game of Belles, Bourbon, and Bullets, which seems like a mashup of Clue and Dungeons & Dragons. Meanwhile Oscar steadily reports bad news for the company. Jim tries to stop the shenanigans but Michael rightly yells, "They need this game."

Michael quit, has just two weeks left, and is chuckin' back scotch and Splendas in the office. Realizing he has no plan, Michael births the idea for the Michael Scott Paper Company. Nobody follows at first. But then a broken Pam, who masters the complex controls of the new copier, realizes how empty it was to master the controls of the new copier.

This Season 2 episode leans on a theme that would define much of the series: Michael will do anything to procrastinate and the rest of the office will do anything to make 5 p.m. come quicker. Season 2 is really where the show found its groove and it shows.

Michael gets all worked up that Kevin's skin cancer scare is, gasp, more important to the office than a 40-something-year-old man's birthday. My notes just say "extremely Michael episode" and honestly that's why it's good.

But most importantly, it's so telling that everything falls apart when Michael brings the Benihana waitresses back to the office party. The office has their own small world and it's just so tough for anyone else to fit in. I love episodes that throw outside characters into the office.

Best Quote: "Security in this office park is a joke. Last year I came to work with my spud gun in a duffle bag. I sat at my desk all day with a rifle that shoots potatoes at 60 pounds per square inch. Can you imagine if I was deranged?" -Dwight

Just a hilarious, memorable episode. Michael tries to put all the interoffice conflicts out in the open and, well, that doesn't work for shit. The writers were cheating with the scene where Michael, Jim, and Dwight revisit all the best, offscreen pranks we never got to see. Just a brilliant idea.

The office is bursting with interpersonal bullshit and Michael, in his infinite wisdom, decides they need to stage an intervention for a drunken Meredith. It's a damn funny episode and it ends with Phyllis setting up the Dwight vs. Andy showdown over Angela's love.

Best Quote: "I'm the office administrator now, which means I'm basically being paid to be head of the Party Planning Committee. The first thing I did as head, I shut it down. At its worst it was a toxic political club used to make others feel miserable and left out... At its best, it planned parties." -Pam

But you know what? The guy did it. Michael willed that place into being a family. In a small way, Michael even sees that victory play out in this episode. He gets invited out to Poor Richard's with the gang after the office Christmas party. All the dude ever wanted was to be included like that. 041b061a72


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