After running out of excuses, Jim and Pam finally agree to go on a date with Michael and Helene [Pam's mother]. Meanwhile, Dwight deviates from the norm and performs good deeds for his coworkers.
We open this week with Dwight bringing bagels to everyone in the office. Of course, on the surface, it seems like a kind gesture, but we all know Dwight is scheming. With each person who takes a bagel, he tells them: "Now, you owe me one." And why is Dwight racking up the future favors? He wants to get a "certain someone who stole my co-manager position" fired. My, my...I wonder who that could be!
Apparently, Pam is a girl who just can't continue to say, "No!" She gets roped into going on a double-date birthday lunch with Jim...and Michael...and her very own mother! (Yes, yes, yes...Michael and Pam's mother, Helene, are dating - old news. It's being "kept in the family," and Pam knows what I mean.)
Pam tries everything - even faking a "shipping emergency" - to get out of the lunch. Unfortunately for her, nothing works. The fates (and her husband, Jim, who solves the faux shipping emergency with one fierce hang up of the phone) are going to make this happen.
The day wears on in the office, and Dwight attempts to "you-owe-me" help Andy. Andy repays the favor...but all to quickly. You see, Dwight's looking to "rack one up," to garner some future favors, but Andy doesn't believe in that form of repayment. Instead, Dwight opens a door for Andy, and Andy closes it right behind him. It's a immediate tit-for-tat, give-and-take, which drives Dwight insane.
The family foursome arrives at an Italian restaurant for their lunch. Things quickly go from casual to catty. Pam and her mother go at it through clenched teeth, pointing out the all-too evident flaws in each other (like "being 6 months pregnant but only being married for 30 days"). Pam rebuttals by talking about their family's "longest tradition" of celebrating Helene's 49th birthday for the 9th year in a row. This rattles Michael; he starts feeling like he's "robbing the grave" because in his eyes, she's really, really, really old!
As his gift, Michael gives Pam's mom a handmade gift: a scrap book of all of their cute, little relationship highlights to date. It's sweet, thoughtful and really warmed my heart to watch Pam as she watched her mother go through the book. Both women were really touched by the emotionally generous gift.
But Michael is feeling anything but emotional or generous. In fact, he's feeling nothing more than uncomfortable terror because he doesn't want to be with an old lady! So, in true Michael style, he dumps Helene - in front of everyone - on her birthday! He gives the excuse of doing it "for Pam," but Pam encourages Michael to continue dating his mother - Pam's actually OK with it. But it's a no go. Michael is out.
Back at the office, Michael offers Pam a raise. Is it for her good job performance? For her great go-getter attitude? Hardly. It's a bribe to make Pam like him again. But it doesn't work. She "wants to hit Michael" so, she makes a date to do it in the parking lot after work..."as hard as she can." Hilarity ensues, as the office turns into an all-out pre-rumble junior high playground. (Even Toby, the head of HR, gives Pam pointers on how to take someone down with a single throw - hysterical!)
The office collects outside on the designated fighting grounds. The fight is about to commence, and then Pam recoils. Not out of fear, but out of pity for Michael. She almost lets him off with a staunch warning: "Do not ever date someone else in my family!" Michael's response? "Your mother came on to me!" And that's when Pam offers up the slap heard around the office.
Quick, resounding and loud; Pam's slap, just like the episode, was a tight and fun thirty-minutes of television, at least in my opinion. What'd you think? Should Michael have dumped Helene, on her birthday no less?! Should Pam have slapped him as retribution? And what do we think of Dwight's storyline? (My opinion? Super weak!) But overall, a good, fun time at The Office again had by all.