Did I miss something, or isn’t The Office company Sabre now and not Dunder-Mifflin? Yeah? Then why did they keep referring to it as “Dunder-Mifflin” all this episode? Was it part of the ruse? I don’t know. I couldn’t follow this episode too well and am apparently one of the few people who didn’t find it particularly funny.
The basic rundown is that hotshot salesman Danny Cordray (guest star Timothy Olyphant—but wouldn’t it be awesome if it were Rob Corddry?), who apparently is the best salesman in the Dunder-Mifflin company (ah, maybe that’s what was confusing—but then Sabre bought out Dunder-Mifflin, right?) is competing with Jim and Dwight to land an account with a high-profile potential client, so to hit heavy, they bring in Michael, who, despite all his incompetences as a manager, is still a first-rate salesman.
Nevertheless, Sabre still loses the account, so Michael and Dwight set up the titular “Sting” to learn his sales secrets and enlist Meredith to pose in a wired room as a company head and potential client. Danny falls for the bait while Michael, Jim, and Dwight watch from another room, but the plan goes awry when Meredith starts coming on to Danny, prompting Michael to intervene and try to patch things up by offering Danny a job at Sabre (or was it Dunder-Mifflin?).
Danny’s greeted coolly by the rest of the office, who are worried that he’s going to steal their clients, and apparently he has a past history with Pam, which puts Jim on the defensive.
The B-plot concerns Andy’s attempt to start a band with Darryl and Kevin after hearing that one of his friends (from “Here Comes Treble”?) has become a musician. The two are reluctant to join at first and only end up doing so after Andy debuts a creepy song sung from the perspective of a little girl.
Back to Danny: Not much else happens, as Michael tries to assure the rest of the staff that Danny won’t poach anyone, and the episode ends with Danny staying on as Sabre’s other traveling salesman (ohhh, could they please bring back Todd Packer?)—and Andy’s band writes and performs a good song.
I honestly don’t remember laughing at anything in this episode—Meredith coming on to Danny, guest star, Pam’s sordid romantic past, even the sting would seem to be prime territory for comedy, but…it…just…eh.
It’s like the episode was in love with many of the ideas but then forgot to write any jokes for them. Usually I love it when the gang goes on a sales call (“Traveling Salesmen” is one of my favorite episodes), but there wasn’t much of the great interplay of Jim and Dwight playing off each other’s abilities to land a client nor even Michael’s uncharacteristic talent for it. Mainly it’s him just bargaining.
Olyphant doesn’t add much as a straight man either. He’s a lot like Josh, the manager of the Stamford branch from season three: handsome, confident, and everything else Michael’s not. But even he had his moments (though not quite as many as Charles Miner or David Wallace [case in point: remember Josh?]).
Not much else to say other than I have the feeling that this season is shaping up like the last: a good deal of rough stuff to wade through to find the gems.