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Your lifestyle, your quirk
This episode shows us a slightly different side of many of the characters: Dwight’s vulnerable side, Nellie’s motherly side, and a side of Kevin that is good at math. Jim, who was awfully cold to Pam while keeping his new career plans secret, is suddenly very eager to please her. Since she handled the news so well but seems a little unhappy, he is trying to find ways to lift her mood.
Tobey finds that there is electromagnetic radiation in the office due to wires that aren’t insulated, but Dwight, who owns the building, refuses to fix them because there is no concrete evidence that electromagnetic fields (EMF) cause any problems. The staff is convinced that if Dwight repairs the wires, the office will be shut down for a week and they will all have a vacation. After Pam mutters that she would like a week off, Jim gets to work on shutting the office down. He carefully pops just one kernel in his bag of microwave popcorn, then convinces Dwight that it is a new bag and that the one kernel must have been popped by the EMF. Jim adds that the radiation may cause infertility. This strikes a chord with Dwight, who immediately moves to get the office fixed.
Jim promises to take Pam to a lake for their impromptu vacation and stop at their favorite pie stand on the way. Unfortunately, there is no vacation to be had. As part of his contract, Dwight has to find another location for Dunder-Mifflin to work out of while the repairs are being done, so he has acquired a work bus. The work bus is a portable, though cramped, office space on a bus commonly used by politicians. The staff members have a hard time fitting on the bus and are constantly bumping into each other. The sales people can’t hear their own sales calls and things are dropped constantly. Pam seems more miserable than ever when she has a pile of paper and a beverage spilled on her, so Jim sets to work on convincing everyone to drive the bus to the pie stand. It doesn’t take much and soon Andy tells Dwight to start driving, which Dwight is unhappy about because he didn’t want to pay for gas.
During all of this, Nellie is trying to adopt a child. She needs a letter of recommendation from her employer, which is a difficult feat given that Andy hates her. She offers to write the letter so that he would just have to sign it; he agrees to read it and sign it if he agrees with it. Erin, who was in the foster care system but was never adopted, decides to secretly help Nellie to write the letter because she knows what the system is looking for. When Nellie presents the letter to Andy while on the road to the pie stand, Andy refuses to sign it because he says that the letter is awful and untrue. Nellie retreats behind a curtain. Later, Andy hears crying from behind the curtain and makes a comment about Nellie; Pete tells him that it’s not Nellie crying. Andy realizes that Erin is crying and Nellie is comforting her in a very maternal way.
On the way to the pie stand, the staff is in good spirits. They sing bus songs and stop to see roadside attractions like a large rooster statue. Once back on board, Kevin realizes that they will not make it to the pie stand before it closes at 5 p.m. unless they travel at 55 miles per hour, and even then they would only have five minutes to select their pies. Angela and Oscar realize that he can do math in his head if it involves pie, but nothing else. Dwight refuses to drive because he needs gas and doesn’t want to fill it. Jim tells him to just go back to a gas station they already passed. Jim leads the staff in a chant, Dwight freaks out and throws Jim the keys, calling him the alpha-male before retreating on to the roof through the sunroof. Everyone is afraid that they won’t get pie, so Jim goes up to the roof to talk to him. Dwight opens up about how he thinks he is infertile, Jim admits that the popcorn thing was a prank, and Jim convinces Dwight that as the building owner, the inhabitants are kind of like his children. He points out that Dwight’s sort of-children are dangerously close to going without pie, so with new purpose, Dwight gets behind the wheel and high-tails it to the pie stand.
They arrive at the pie stand with plenty of time, though I wonder how the staff is all right with staying on the work bus long after 5 p.m.; is pie really worth a much longer work day when many of them have children to whom they have to get home? Anyway, while everyone eats pie, Andy signs Nellie’s letter and adds a few thoughtful lines at the bottom about how she is tough in business but tender with those she cares about. He also notes that they would have to find a kid who doesn’t mind a funny accent.
Jim and Pam seem to bond over the pie. I still can’t tell how Pam really feels about the move to Philly, maybe she’s unsure too, but it looks like she may be coming back around. Maybe the series won’t end with their divorce (it better not!). Maybe it will end with them moving to Philadelphia together as a pie-eating team. We shall have to wait and see.