The Office is a show I often find myself relating to, and wanting to quote the series…often! But like Abed, in Community, I think it would be not often understood (I don’t mean this in a snobby way; my coworkers and I just watch different types of shows…but, I’ve got them on some of my fandoms already mwa-hahahaha!).
The Office episode in question is the Scranton, PA branch of Dunder-Mifflin (I’ll use D-M…shorter), a mid range paper supply company. The boss is the bumbling, non-PC, Michael Scott; the assistant to the regional manager Dwight; the cute prankster Jim; secretary Pam; and other Dunder-Mifflinites.
Any who, the episode centers on the annual Christmas party. One of the usual games/traditions is “Secret Santa", and Jim received Pam’s name for the first time this year. For those who haven’t seen the show: Jim LOVES Pam. And you can tell that Pam loves him too. Jim’s gift for her consists of a teapot, filled with inside jokes including a picture of him in high school, and a card that, when he shows it to the camera, he says: “because Christmas is the time to tell people how you feel.”
Jim doesn’t know Pam’s exact feelings toward him, as she is engaged to Roy, one of the warehouse workers. She and Roy have been dating since high school, and he doesn’t treat her all too well. She stays true to Roy, and because of that, she continually writes Jim off as just a friend—despite the fact that we, the audience, keep yelling at our TV sets saying, “Clearly Jim is the right person for you!”
Maybe that was just me...
Anyway, Michael Scott has intern, Ryan, as the recipient to his gift. Using part of the $3,000.00 bonus he received for saving D-M money (by firing someone...gotta love corporate Amercia's thinking), Michel goes well above the Secret Santa $20 threshold and gets Ryan a brand-new, $400.00 Video iPod (this is in 2005…holy crow! Almost 10 years?!?!). Michael goes on to say this about his splurge:
However, when Michael receives his cost appropriate gift (a handmade oven mitt), he is so upset that he is not loved “ this many dollars worth,” he decides to change Secret Santa into Yankee Swap, or White Elephant, or as Jim calls it: Nasty Santa. It’s where "Machiavelli meets…Christmas." With this game changer (double entendre intended), hilarity ensues as people’s gifts—that were actually chosen VERY specifically for their recipients—end up in the hands of others—from Pam, the teapot; from Ryan, the iPod; and from Jim, an old shirt from Creed (who is probably my favorite character because the dude is seriously: CRAZY!!!).
At the end of the Swap, the staff is clearly upset (in part because there is only one iPod) because their gifts don’t end up in the right hands, and because Michael acted like a baby. Michael goes on to say that he was able to afford the iPod because he got paid extra for firing someone. Everyone is immediately done with the party. Pam has the iPod, and Dwight has the teapot. Jim is clearly agitated by this, as he and Dwight are something akin to rivals. He immediately attempts to trade the key chain he ended up with, for the teapot. Dwight however wished to keep it with the intention of using it as a sinus irrigator.
Michael, in an attempt to make up for his blunder, goes to the liquor store and picks up 15 bottles of vodka. He breaks D-M corporate rules and the party gets started. People seem to forget all about the iPod with all the Christmas "Spirits" they are having. In the end, the gift that we are all rooting for, the little-teapot-that-could, ends up in the hands intended—Pam. She shows Jim that she got it, and as she inspects the teapots contents, Jim sneaks the card-of-feels out of sight like a ninja. Pam is none the wiser.
In the end the party is such a hit that Michael gets invited to the bar with everyone else after hours.
On his way out, he receives a sneak peak at Meredith.
For me, this episode has made its way on to the list because of one person: my littlest brother Dave.
Sure, I quote this episode in my head at my office’s annual Christmas party. But it’s not something I can do without a fellow fan. But you know what is more difficult? Quoting with Dave!
You see, Dave is a Dunder-Mifflinite. I like this show, but my brother can quote it. Anywhere. Any time. Any place, situation…you get the idea. In fact, he interrupted my fiance proposing to me with a quick-witted Office interjection. I love him so much....(but seriously, no joke, he did! We have it on Film somewhere!)
Since seeing this episode, guess how EVERY White Elephant gift exchange has gone since?
Here are some of our annual highlights (to the best of my recollection)
- · It’s not White Elephant—it’s Yankee Swap.
- · When a good gift gets taken, someone tends to say Yankee swap…just like Michael Scott
- · There is always one gift in a plastic grocery bag a la Creed’s gift wrapping technique
- · When the newest person on the scene brings that nice gift (the iPod so to speak) chances are, they will end up with a plastic bagged gift…they might think the bag is reverse psychology
· Quotes of this, and the other Office Christmas specials…like, no joke!
Hopefully, you can tell that this episode is not merely tradition to watch, but, tradition to reenact!
You know...like a Christmas miracle!
I think I have to end here. You see, that party is happening this Saturday, and I have quotes to go memorize.