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September 22, 2006

"GAY WITCH HUNT." Recap of "The Office" (first aired on NBC on 09.21.2006).

PEACHBOWL32S  IMAGE HOSTING BY FLICKR.   I bought a season pass to "The Office" Season 3 episodes through I-Tunes so I could replay the episodes I didn't recap and eventually add them to the site.  So far, though, I haven't had time.  I therefore didn't mind as much as I might have that Thursday night's episode was a replay of "GAY WITCH HUNT."

If you are REALLY an "Office" fanatic--and I admit that I am---I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the season pass.  As soon as the episode is over, you can download it into I-tunes so you can view it on your computer screen any time you like.  Obviously, it's way better than any recap if you missed the episode!  But if you want a review of what happened along with my highly insightful commentary...here you go.

This is therefore an ante-dated recap, written on October 28, but officially posted on September 21, the day the episode aired, so that the episodes appear in the correct order.

For the deleted scenes, click here.  Some good stuff didn't make it in.

Everything I said about my previous two recaps applies to this one

SCRANTON BRANCH:  “FALSE.  I DO NOT MISS JIM.”  The season opens with Dwight cutting his nails at his desk, blowing the cuttings in every direction.  So we start off the season with a collective groan of “Eeeeeew.”  Even if individually we’re not that squeamish about being in the vicinity of someone else’s nail fragments, collectively we know that we should be.

We go to Ryan, who tells us that Jim has left to join the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin, leaving the field open for Ryan to take Jim’s job.  Ryan, what about your business school ambitions?  But there he is.  At his reunions, he’ll no longer be a temp; he’ll be  “Ryan Howard …a junior salesman at a mid-range paper company.  That’ll show them.”  He says all this in his typical quiet, inward, dry tones, ending as always with that look of comical despair as he allows his own words to sink in.  Poor Ryan, he so shouldn't be in Jim's chair.  But it would be a poorer and thinner comedy in his absence.

Pam is looking at Ryan sitting in Jim’s desk.  He looks back at her, puzzled; she resumes typing.  Then—unusually for this “mockumentary”---there is a flashback to the famous season 2 “Casino Night” kiss.  It wasn’t a prelude to “happy ever after,” of course.   Afterward, Jim says to her huskily, “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that,” as one would.  Pam has wanted to do the same, as everyone knows, but “I think we’re just drunk,” she says.  Oh, for God’s sake.  Jim says he’s not drunk.  Is Pam drunk?

You be the judge.  “Are you really going to marry him?” he whispers.  She nods.  “Okay.”  We see his hands slide slowly out of hers..  Of course we do.  There would be no story otherwise, but there is also no excuse for this and it's Pam's fault.   Oh, Pam. End of flashback. 

Dwight.  He sobs, “Jim is gone…he’s go-oooo-ne… I miss him so much.  I cry myself to sleep….”  Then Rainn Wilson’s flexible face magically falls back into its usual impassive mask.  “False,” he says in his best robot-deputy-sheriff-of-the-future voice..  “I do not miss Jim.”

PEACH2L  IMAGE HOSTING BY FLICKR.   SCRANTON BRANCH:  BAD TASTE.  After the credits roll, we see Toby and Jan talking to a protesting and defensive Michael.  Oh, dear.  Apparently he called Oscar “faggy” after Oscar said he preferred Shakespeare in Love to action films.  But it wasn’t just any action film, it was Die Hard.  Michael argues that part of “the fun of this place” is that he calls everyone “faggy.”  Toby tells him what the rest of us have known since Season 2, when Oscar failed to turn up for cleaning day:  Oscar is gay.  Michael assents:  Oscar is gay. 

No, Toby tells him, what he means is that Oscar is really gay.  Michael tells Toby that this goes too far; it crosses the line.  But when Toby explains---for what, the third time?----that Oscar is an actual homosexual; he told Toby so “this morning.”  Michael actually falls silent a few seconds from the shock.  Toby tells a glassily aghast Michael that Oscar hopes that he can count on Michael’s discretion.  Do I even have to tell you what happens next?  Do we even really need to see it to know exactly how it’s going to go down?

But first, we get to hear Michael explaining---with all sincerity---that he is really, really sorry.  Because the hell of Michael is that he is sorry;  he did not mean to give offense to Oscar and that he really doesn’t understand that this label is generically, across-the-board offensive, not only offensive in specific circumstances to specific people.  The fact that to call someone else “faggy” might be equally offensive to them (and for reasons different than those that Michael would consider obvious) never crosses his mind. 

By way of analogy, he points out that it is in “bad taste” to call retarded people “retards.”  “You call your friends “retards” when they are acting retarded,” he tells us.  He would never, he declares, have called Oscar “faggy” if he knew Oscar was literally that way.  He isn't capable of realizing all the ways that what he just said is just plain wrong. As the current catchphrase goes:  wrong on so many levels.

Cut to Michael “whispering” to Oscar in his chronically outdoor voice, while Kevin and Angela in the background do nothing at all to make themselves appear not to be listening in.  Oscar is shaking his head at Michael, in a vain attempt to shut him down.  Michael, apologizing, tells Oscar that the problem was that he, Michael, “is so far the opposite that he can’t even imagine…” and everyone in the viewing audience immediately remember Ryan receiving the "hottest in the office" (you sexay thang!) award in "The Dundies."  Yeah, Michael, you just keep telling yourself that.

While Oscar tries to reassure him in order to get him to shut up, Michael explains that he has been calling people “faggy” his whole life.  He didn't mean anything in particular about Oscar.  Oscar just keeps nodding away, trying his utmost to do all that body language and facial expression can do to convey "got it; now can we please not do this here."   He ends by suggesting that the two of them go out for a beer sometime so “you can tell me how you can do that to another dude.”  This last statement is particularly telling, since we know---even if Michael doesn’t---that at some level he really does want to know how a dude can do it. 

Oscar, nervously, angrily, lip-bitingly, says in an artificially bright voice that this is a great, a wonderful idea.  “Let’s do that.”  He knows, and we know, that the cat's out of the bag.

But note:  the sad part of this episode is that Michael tries to come to terms with the unexpected gayness of the very handsome and dignified Oscar and---being deeply bicurious himself without being able to allow himself to own it----in fact does come to terms with it.  Once he gets past the initial shock (which you know in the real world would stir up a hell of a lot of anxiety in a guy in denial as deep as Michael’s) he is not only totally accepting, but he also requires everyone else to be totally accepting.   It’s his denial of his own inner gay man that has prevented him from understanding anything at all about what it means to be a gay man, and particularly a gay accountant called Oscar whose boss has just outed him to his not especially sensitive co-workers.   

So:  first we get Kevin’s high-pitched giggling. Kevin giggles and snorts, giggles and snort. Being gay is hilarious, especially when it’s Oscar!  What else do you expect from a giant teddy bear who giggles over the number 69? 

Then Angela says that this---the newly revealed gayness of Oscar---explains so much.

Since the viewer has known that Oscar is gay since the episode where Dwight’s “investigation” of Oscar’s mysterious absence from “cleaning day” brought us face to face with Oscar and his lover, Gil, the viewer (meaning me) was somewhat taken aback to find that neither Angela nor Kevin appears to have known or suspected that Oscar is gay.  But their reaction at least explains why Oscar didn’t want them to know. 

Next, Oscar, talking to the camera.  No, he says, he is not gay. He starts out to say that he doesn’t understand how anyone can think he is gay and then loses heart before he even finishes the sentence.  “I’m gay,” says Oscar.  Yes, Oscar dear, we know.  We know.

More of Kevin’s helplessly giggling head.  He's trying to stop laughing, though.  You can tell by the way he's wheezing and sputtering through his nose. 

STAMFORD BRANCH.  “BIG TUNA.”  Jim’s on the phone in Stamford, telling a customer that while he can’t really say that Dunder Mifflin’s paper is less flammable than a competitor’s, it is certainly not more flammable.  To the camera he says:  “Why did I transfer to Stamford?  I think that’s pretty obvious.”  Pause.  “I got promoted.”  Yes, it is so very obvious why.

One of his co-workers, a guy called Andy, turns his chair around and addresses Jim in a low voice.  He calls Jim “Big Tuna.”  Has Big Tuna noticed a certain blond co-worker?  It’s pretty clear that Jim hasn’t, but he looks at the girl Andy has pointed out.  “Pretty hot, huh?”  Andy asks.  Jim allows that she is.  “She’s completely crazy,” Andy says.  “Steer clear, Big Tuna.  Head for open waters.”  After a beat or so, Jim says, “Okay." I suppose the implication is that Andy wants the hot, crazy blond for himself. 

Jim tells the camera that on his first day of work he ate a tuna sandwich, so Andy started to call him “Big Tuna.”  He’s been “Big Tuna” ever since.   He doesn’t think anyone there knows his real name. 

Yeah.  Next we get an Andy talking to the camera.  “Big Tuna,” he says, “ is a super ambitious guy.”  But Andy’s not threatened by him!  He's not threatened at all.  He went to Cornell---we might have heard of Cornell?---and he graduated in four years even though he was drunk all the time.  Then there was something about him singing in the acapella group (“Here Comes Treble”).  Andy sings treble?  In the words of Angela, this explains so much.

There's a nice bit in the deleted scenes where Andy wheels his chair back to Jim's desk and asks him if Jim has ever thought about what might happen if you google Google?  "Let's try," says Jim instantly.  He googles Google.  He doesn't notice Andy making protesting faces. 

Yep:  lots of results.  Andy stares at him incredulously.  Jim wasn't supposed to do it; he was supposed to ponder it. "You removed...the fun," he says. The fun of pondering what happens if you Google google. "Thanks a lot, Big Tuna."  He wheels his chair away.  Jim's frightened saucer-eyed stare meets ours over the edge of his computer screen.  Has he never met this guy before?  He's the guy who can't get over the way a folding mirror reflects back the reflection of the reflection.  He's an undeveloped philosopher, the unfulfilled musician, who is going to take his frustration out on everyone by being the biggest jackass he can.  After all, he did go to Cornell.  Which yes, Andy, we've all heard of. 

The staff of the Stamford Branch are assembled in their conference room.  In contrast to the Scranton conference room, it’s quite plush.  Josh is telling them with commendable restraint that due to “problems at the Scranton branch,” they all have to have more diversity training.  Jim looks at the camera with a semi-shrug. 

Josh says that somebody from their branch needs to cold-call business start-ups.  Jim volunteers.  The others all look at him, all visibly thinking, “Suck Up!”

We get our first sustained look at Jim’s co-worker Karen.  She doesn’t come across that well in her first interview.  Her hair is too flat and her narrow eyes look somewhat squinty.  You can see she's pretty, but not how pretty.  She says that Jim’s nice enough but she doesn’t know whether he’s fitting in. “He’s always looking at the camera like that,” she says, raising her brows plaintively and smiling/frowning in Jim’s trademark manner.  It's a pretty good impression.  “What is that?” she asks.

SCRANTON BRANCH.  “GAYDAR ONLINE.” Dwight and Michael are peering into the outer office through Michael’s blinds.  They are discussing the gayness of Oscar.  Dwight says that Oscar is “absolutely not” gay.  How is Dwight so sure?  “He’s not dressed in women’s clothes.”

Michael says---and this, again, is the tragedy of Michael---that he doesn’t want to offend anyone.  He doesn't know how to behave now that he knows that anyone might be gay without his realizing it.  Dwight makes a shockingly rational suggestion.  “You could assume that everyone is gay and not say anything offensive.”   

But Michael feels that it would be wrong to treat everyone as if they’re gay by refraining from saying offensive things.  That, he feels, would be offensive:  to treat everyone like they're gay. 

But he wonders who else in the office might be secretly gay.  Angela walks past.  Michael says that she is “hard and severe.”   Maybe Angela is gay.  Dwight thinks not and as wel all know, Dwight knows.  But Michael can imagine the "hard and severe" (and therefore probably lesbian) Angela with another woman.  Thinking of this, Dwight—who as we all know is very well aware that Angela is not gay---gives an excited little v-shaped smirk.  Eeewww.  Rainn Wilson in real life couldn't be more attractive and Angela couldn't be any cuter, but Dwight with anyone:  eeeeeew.

Michael needs to know if there is any way to tell whether someone is gay.  He wants Dwight to research this.  Dwight remembers Jim saying that you can buy "gaydar" online.  Dwight will make it his personal mission to get hold of some of this "gaydar." 

STAMFORD BRANCH.  “SOLD OUT.”  Jim is talking to Dwight on the telephone.  At first he doesn't know what Dwight is talking about, but with laudable speed he remembers.  Ah yes, "gaydar."  He says he thinks that Gaydar may be available through Sharper Image.   Ah, Sharper Image.  Where else would one find something so potentially useful, yet so designed for the specialty market?  He offers to check their website.  But oops, Sharper Imagine is all sold out of gaydar!   

Dwight, who knows his online shopping resources, says he’ll try Brookstone.  Good one, Jim!

Jim to the camera:  “I miss that.”  He smiles his heart-melting smile.  My heart duly melts. 

I don’t like Jim being in Stamford.  Also, Pam is an idiot.  I'm sorry, Pam, you're adorable and everything, but you are.

SCRANTON BRANCH.   “I UNDERESTIMATED YOU!” .....Not that I don't like Roy (or at least the Season 2 version of him).   He's not awful.

So now Roy trundles up to the reception desk, looking bearded and just that little bit haggard.  It suits him.  He has brought a sandwich for Pam.   It's not immediately clear whether this was by prearrangement, but you're left with the impression that it wasn't.  Chicken or fish?  Chicken, she thinks.  Is she having a good day?  She is having an excellent day.  Roy is "glad".  What’s this?  This is not the demeanor of a newly married couple….

No, because Pam got cold feet a few days before.  She can’t explain it, but she just had to get out of that relationship. 

But she’s doing really well now!  She’s taking art classes; she has her own apartment!  She doesn't say a word about Jim. 

Roy to the camera:  He didn’t take it well when she ended the relationship.  He had a drunk driving arrest and “hit bottom.”  We see a bloated and unflattering mug shot of Roy.  He sadly says that he’s been working out and “I’m not going to take her for granted anymore."  Poor Roy. "---I have to win her back.”  Awww.   Roy, I’m so sorry. 

And, awww, Stanley, I’m sorry for you too.  Stanley bought a toaster for their wedding present.  He now has two toasters.  He tried to return it, but they said it was too late. 

In the meantime, Kelly is telling Oscar that it’s so cool that he’s gay!  “I underestimated you!”

Oscar morosely tells the camera that he is indeed supercool: a supercool gay accountant at a failing paper company.

Meanwhile, Angela is weighing in on the gay issue.  Though she's no bigger than a minute, her judgments weigh more than a battleship.  And Angela is not down with the gayness of Oscar. She knows about gayness because she sometimes watches Will and Grace.  But even though she watches it, it makes her want to throw up. Though she admits she likes it when Harry Connick, Jr. is on.  “He’s so talented.”  Angela is so cute when she blushes and looks down and that little lock of hair falls over her face. 

And as we know, she’s not nearly as strait-laced as she tells herself she is.  After all, what price Dwight and his appetite for “cookie”?  And evidently she does watch Will and Grace. We know that underneath her “hard and stern” demeanor is a cat-loving woman who needs to believe that God has a really cute sense of humor and that the babies are in charge.  Loosen up, Angela, the babies are in charge! 

STAMFORD BRANCH.  “JELL-O.”  Andy opens his calculator to find his calculator encased in a flawless yellow mound of Jell-O.  Andy asks, fairly calmly, who put his calculator in Jell-O.  Jim gives the camera a conspiratorial impish Jim-grin.  But it doesn’t last long because Andy goes apeshit insane.  Who?  Who did this?  Who did it?  Who?  “I NEED TO KNOW OR I’M GOING TO LOSE MY FRICKING MIND," he raves, giving his chair a vicious kick.  The kick rolls away as fast as its little castors can scurry. Jim looks shocked, discombobulated, then he quickly turns to his computer screen as if he never put a calculator in Jell-O in his life.

SCRANTON BRANCH.  “QUEER AS [BLEEP!].”   Michael is receiving another bollocking from Jan, backed by Toby.  Hey, he’s got nothing against gays.  He watches The L Word!  He watches Queer as Fuck! (<not a typo)

Jan and Toby explain to him that he outed Oscar and that coming out is a significant event in a gay person’s life.  Michael clearly doesn’t understand this. 

They tell him that Oscar now feels that Angela is discriminating against him.  Michael doesn’t get this either.  Could the two of them be having a gay affair, he wonders.  Um.....?  Could Oscar and Angela be having a gay affair?  But he is obviously completely serious. 

This is the moment at which it becomes crystal clear how little Michael knows about sex or sexuality in the abstract.  He really doesn’t understand.  He can't let that sort of information in. 

Jan tries again.  “Imagine that you are gay.”  Silly Jan.

This is not something that Michael is prepared to imagine.  “I’m not and you should know that better than anyone.”

Jan is “extremely disappointed” by his immaturity.  The company is facing a possible lawsuit and the company wants Michael to "deal with the situation."  The company wants Michael to deal with the situation?  Silly Dunder Mifflin.

Michael to the camera:  The company has made it his responsibility to put an end to “100,000 years of being weirded out by gays.”  No worries, Michael, I'm sure the weirding out is mutual. 

“WE’RE ALL HOMOS.”  Pam stomps in to tell Michael that Dwight is looking at gay porn on his computer (presumably as part of his “research.”) 

Out in the office, everyone has gathered around Dwight’s computer.  We can't see the screen, but they definitely have that "gay porn showing on Dwight's computer" look.  The picture, whatever it is, has left them looking stunned or bemused, in varying degrees.  Whatever it is, it's something a bit more advanced than just two naked buff guys in a lip-lock.   

But if they don't want to see it, why don't they just not look?

Michael looks at the picture.  You can see him struggle to come to terms with it.   He gamely says that there is nothing wrong with it.  In fact, he actually sees the merit!  It is quite beautiful, he concludes.

Some of the others look a bit dubious, but nobody says anything. 

But Oscar, who has just joined us and just seen everyone clumped around Dwight's computer, is not amused.  “What are you doing?”

Angela to Oscar:  They are watching "some of his friends."  Okay, you can see how this would irk:  again, wrong on so many levels, starting with the one where all gay guys are the same lascivious gay-porn-liking gay guy.  Oscar, fed up---I feel you, Oscar!---pushes roughly---quite roughly---past her, causing her to fall.  Dwight goes after him with some of his fourth-grade karate kicks and arm-flailings, but someone holds him back.  I admit I had trouble watching that scene. 

But it's time for the solution for all inter-office problems:  the conference room.  Michael yells that everyone must go.  He doesn’t care if they are gay or straight or overweight!   

Cut to poor Phyllis looking chagrined. I’m so glad she has Bob Vance ("Vance Refrigeration!").  One of the things I hate most about Michael and Dwight is their constant dissing of Phyllis on the basis of her looks.  It’s only very insecure men, Michael and Dwight, who assume that women have some obligation to be pleasing to them and pick on/dismiss as losers the ones who don’t fulfill their ideas of what is pleasing.    

Michael is sharing his thoughts on homosexuality.  Gay used to mean happy, he says.  (Sigh.)  Then, when he was growing up, it meant lame.  Now it means a man who has sex with other men.  But that’s okay!  We’re all homos---homo sapiens!  He's got a point, you know. 

And: anyone---by which Michael all too clearly means anyone but Michael--- can be gay!

“WHATEVER."  This next part is so obnoxious, and yet you can’t help feeling for poor clueless sexually ambivalent Michael.  He really is being completely accepting.  He just doesn’t know the words or the tune because his own sexual anxieties have made him deaf to nuance in that area. 

So he says that Oscar should officially come out to everybody.  He tells Oscar to stand up.

Oscar stands up.  He looks extremely disgruntled but not particularly surprised.  He says that he is gay.  “And I didn’t plan on sharing that part of my life with you today, so whatever.” 

Then we get Creed!  And, seriously, this show just doesn’t do enough with Creed.  (I’m still pissed off that they deleted the scene in Booze Cruise where he rocked the house with his guitar stylings after Michael made an ass of himself.)   Creed says to the camera that he is not offended by homosexuality.  Back in the Sixties, he made love to “many women” many times in the mud and the rain.  “It’s possible a man slipped in.”  There’s just no way of knowing.  And it's so clear that Creed couldn't care less.   

But Dwight says that other “office gays” should identify themselves.  Dwight wants to know who is gay and who isn't.   For example:   he thinks that the non-Dwight-attracting Phyllis might be gay.  What?  Why?  Because she’s “not feminine.”  Shut up, Dwight.  I hate the Michael/Dwight idea of what is or is not feminine.  Phyllis may not be beautiful or young, but she is as feminine as it’s possible to be.  As Bob Vance ("Vance Refrigeration!") knows.

Which is what Phyllis says.  Much less resentfully than she should, she says that she is not only not gay, but she in fact is getting married to Bob Vance (Pssst!  "Vance Refrigeration!").  Amid cries of excitement and congratulation, Michael remarks that this is surprising. Surprising to Michael, maybe, because his emotional age is about 13.  The implication (he's 13, you know) is that Phyllis is long past the age when Michael would have thought she could still get a man to take her own.  Michael would have thought her sell/buy date had long ago expired, he means.

And Phyllis---rather spiritedly for the typically muted Phyllis---reminds him that he knew her/she knew him in high school. 

And: in high school, everyone thought that he---Michael---was gay.  Hmmm. Interesting.

Michael can’t have this.  He was not, he was never gay.  He just liked to look good. 

Oscar points out how defensive Michael sounds.  Michael clearly isn’t comfortable with the gayness of Oscar or gayness in the abstract.  He’s sending out mixed signals.   He’s not really conveying unambiguous acceptance.

Yes, that's right.  Any implication that he, Michael, might himself be gay, is simply unacceptable to him. He goes into a tailspin.  With much too much defensive protesting, Michael says that he, Michael, is coming out---“Coming out hetero!” But if he were gay, he’s be leading the parade, "covered in feathers." 

He's not lying, Oscar.  You just know that if he decided he was gay, he would be the most flamingly gay man ever.  He couldn't just be gay, he would be compelled to be gay.  Gay men all across America would run for their lives.

AS OBSERVED THROUGH MY FINGERS.  But now Oscar has had enough.  He has had it.  “I can’t work here anymore.”  He starts to storm out, but Michael blocks him.  Michael can't bear to fail at being liked or appreciated, and it's clear that Oscar isn't liking or appreciating him at this moment.  For Michael, everything really is all about him.   

But the part you have to remember while you “watch” this---if anyone has ever managed---is that Michael is, he is, really and truly trying to do what Oscar accused him of failing to do.  He is trying his best to convey unmixed acceptance---not because he necessarily feels that way, but because he can't bear not to be loved.  But at least he is trying in his way to do what he (so very wrongly) thinks Oscar wants and needs.  Let's give him his due, even though everything he does is always for the wrong reasons.

So" he is going to embrace Oscar---an acknowledged gay man---because Oscar is his friend!  Everyone must see Michael embrace gay Oscar as his friend. This part is really cringe-inducing.  There is a brief scuffle of some sort. 

I’m sorry; I wasn’t watching.  There are times when I just can't.   

Oscar understandably wants no part of this.  He tells Michael bluntly that he doesn’t want to touch Michael---has Michael ever considered that.  “You are ignorant and insulting and small,” he says slowly and coldly.  All true, of course.

But we all know that Michael, underneath his layers of ignorance and cluelessness and self-centeredness can’t stand not to be liked.  Clearly upset, he starts to walk out.  He looks as if he might cry.  He might already be crying.

Oscar, who truly is sensitive and kind and a good guy, sees this.  Being sensitive and kind and a good guy, he apologizes very sincerely to Michael.  Michael, crying now, says he is sorry that he called Oscar faggy.  They embrace. 

It looks like a nice moment, a moment of insight and unity and epiphany etc. etc.

Cut to Dwight, looking into the camera.  He says, slowly and bemusedly:  “Michael....appears to be gay too and yet... he is my friend.”  So, he says with dawning realization, he,Dwight, does have a gay friend!  To his credit---and this seems significant---he seems not especially bothered.  As we all know, Michael---who, having embraced another man, might now himself be gay---can do know wrong.

Back in the office, the embrace is still going on, while Oscar looks increasingly uncomfortable.  He begins to squirm a bit, trying to escape from it. 

As well he should, because Michael has decided to make a statement and that actions speak louder than words.  Still clenching Oscar, now looking distinctly unhappy, he tells his staff to burn the moment into their brains because he, Michael, is going to raise the stakes.  His lips---oh my God, no; I can't look---inch towards Oscar’s.  Oscar, flinching, gasping, tries to escape.  Oh my God, poor Oscar.

Pam is staring at the two of them, her mouth hanging open.  Ryan looks away. 

Michael then somehow---and I was too covering my eyes to watch closely, so sorry---forces a kiss upon Oscar, who is yelping with revulsion.  It’s just so awful.  It’s seriously, seriously awful.  You want Oscar to knee Michael in the balls, and yet…Michael is trying in his horrible clueless way to show unity with Oscar.  He just doesn’t know any way to do that without making it all about himself.  So it’s also sort of poignant in a hideous fashion.

Pam has the strangest expression:  her mouth is still hanging open, but now with shocked laughter.  Angela has her hand over her eyes and his looking at the floor.

Michael looks around at them all and announces with maximum self-satisfaction, “I’m still here.” 

Kevin applauds.  And then Dwight gets up and heads toward Oscar, apparently bent on kissing him.   

Pam turns to share an incredulous look with Jim.  But Jim is gone, of course.  Ryan looks back at her blankly, with that faintly troubled expression B.J. Novak has made into an art form.  But his own shame and disgust are obvious. 

Oscar protests.  “Dwight…ah, come on….  Dwight---!”  I really wasn't watching this part at all, even through my fingers, so I can't tell you how far it went.  Perhaps the camera mercifully pulled away before we had to see this. It ends with Oscar stomping out of the room.  Man, he’s had a bad coming out. 

“WE’D BETTER PUT THIS MATTER TO BED.”  We see Pam back at the reception desk, gazing sadly at Ryan who, of course, is seated at Jim’s desk.  Having something to talk about makes her miss Jim more than usual. 

In a voiceover Michael asks “What is love, anyway?”  Maybe, he says, it’s supposed to break all the rules.  See, he can learn some things.  He may never learn to deal with the issue sensitively, but you really can’t say that he hasn’t made an effort to embrace his employee’s gayness.  But you really can’t blame Oscar for being grossed out either. 

At Stamford, we see a diversity training in progress for the Stamford branch.  It’s the same mild-mannered Mr. Brown we saw in Season 1’s “Diversity Training” and he appears to be giving exactly the same speech.

Michael says, “We’d better put this matter to bed.”   Then, because he’s Michael:  “That’s what she said.”  Then, because he has learned something, he adds,   “Or he said.”  See, who says he doesn’t learn?  He learns!

He peers out the window at the parking lot, where Gil is driving up.  “I wonder if he knows,” Michael muses.  Okay, so maybe he hasn’t learned that much.  Still, you can’t say he hasn’t learned anything. 

“SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO BE GAY.”  Oscar tells the camera that he was all set to quit, but the company offered him a three-month paid vacation and a company car in return for his signature on the dotted line.  He and Gil are going to spend three months in Europe.  “Kids,” he says solemnly, “sometimes it pays to be gay.”

In the meantime, Dwight has received a package.  The card says:  “Hope this helps, Jim.”  Dwight takes out what any viewer who has ever been checked in by an airline will recognize as a metal detector.  Dwight does not recognize it as a metal detector. He looks at the object with shining eyes.  “That is so good,” he says with great satisfaction.  But what could it be?

Remember Dwight's assigned "research"?  He goes over to Oscar and waves the vicinity of his crotch.  It beeps.  “What are you doing?” Oscar demands.   Dwight’s eyes brighten even further.    The gaydar works!

So then, of course, as you knew he would, he sweeps it along his own crotch.  It beeps.  His face falls, and fills  up with fear and dismay.  “Oh no.  Oh no…”  Oh, Dwight.  What will Angela say? 

Pam, who has observed the whole thing, is laughing quietly.  Sniff.  Pam and I miss Jim!  And I don't want Oscar to go!  Without Oscar, Stanley will have to shoulder the entire burden of defending the dignity of the place because God knows Michael doesn't listen to Toby or care what the women or Ryan say or do. 

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