Work Bus

Season 9
Episode 904
Air Date 10/18/12
TV-PG

Ever the clever boss, Andy gathers his staff and shows them a masterpiece video he's edited together. He claims it's a highlight reel of "FAIL!" moments from the staff's season of softball, but really it's just regular footage of them playing ball set to vulgar noises, particularly fart noises. The staff is not amused until Jim shows his video of Andy struggling with a Gatorade cooler, falling over and spilling the entire cooler on himself as he topples to the ground. Andy's mortified, but the staff is quite enjoying themselves. There's a true "FAIL!" moment, courtesy of the boss man himself.

The following day, Dwight is busy marking spots on the wall with red tape Xs. It turns out that there are EMF hot spots through out the office: EMFs are concentrations of wiring in a poorly insulated area that can potentially be harmful. As the landlord, Dwight is responsible for fixing it, but he's convinced it's not a real threat and ignores the problem. The Halperts arrive at the office, with Jim being particularly chivalrous, sweeping past Pam to open the door and pressing the elevator button so she doesn't have to lift a finger. He's so grateful to Pam about her support on his new business venture that he's going out of his way to take care of her.

A jittery Nellie steps into Andy's office and asks for a moment of his time, begging him not to use his one-minute hourglass. Andy being Andy slides it to the front of his desk and flips it over. Nellie explains that she's trying to adopt a baby and needs a character reference from her employer. "A baby what?" Andy asks, completely serious. "A human? No!" Apparently he just can't fathom Nellie as a mother figure. Nellie is desperate and offers to write the letter and all Andy would need to do is sign it. He refuses, but when Nellie accuses Andy of being insensitive to orphans, he agrees to at least read her letter. After all, Erin is an orphan. To the camera, he admits he'll only sign it if she tells the truth about how evil and unfit to be a mother she is.

Dwight's research on EMF concludes that in order to fix the problem, he'll have to rip the walls apart and shut down the office for at least a week! While Dwight admits that he's comfortable living in a magnetic field (isn't that how all great superheroes got their start?) and doesn't feel like shelling out a huge sum of money for the repairs, the rest of the staff is concerned for their health and safety. They also wouldn't mind a week's worth of paid vacation, so there's that. Trying to give Pam a break from work, Jim warns Dwight that EMF causes infertility, which strikes a chord. He also briefly microwaves a bag of popcorn so that some kernels have popped, and then stashes it near Dwight's desk. Jim casually tricks him into examining the bag. Dwight, thinking some kernels have already popped due to the radiation, rushes into Andy's office in a panic.

Any and Dwight come to an agreement. The office will be shut down so that the proper repairs can be done, and in the meantime, Dwight (per his lease contract) will provide an alternative workspace for the company. Enter, the Work Bus. Dwight extolls its virtues, reminding us of how well a mobile command center worked for the likes of Sarah Palin and John McCain. But the bus is, after all, a bus; as a workspace, it proves to be extremely cramped. The staff is miserable, but somehow they attempt to get some work done. Meanwhile Erin, who grew up within the system, agrees to help Nellie with the adoption forms.

Jim feels terrible that his attempt at getting Pam out of the office has resulted in the worst day ever. While reaching over to get some paper, Angela ends up knocking a cup of coffee all over Pam, and Pam runs out of the bus. Jim feels terrible, but Dwight, on the other hand, barely conceals his smirk. He thinks justice has been served: Jim has forced him to spend money on needless repairs, and now he's locked in a prison bus as "his woman drips with beverage." Jim begs to Dwight to at least take the staff somewhere while they're on the bus, but Dwight doesn't think it's up to him to solve the issues in Jim's marriage.

Jim appeals to Andy, convincing him that the entire office morale would be improved by a trip to Laverne's Pie Shop Tires Fixed Too. Jim knows the shop is Pam's favorite. The gang's having a good ole time, mooning passing cars (well, just Meredith) and singing songs. They even pick up Creed, who's hitchhiking and playing hooky from work, not realizing that he just hailed down a bus full of his coworkers. While stopped by a rooster statue to take a company photo, Pam notices that Dwight's been acting off. She tells Jim, but he waves it off, claiming that Dwight is just upset that everyone's having fun.

Back on the bus, it turns out Kevin is quite skilled at fast math, but only when pies are involved. Everyone's anxiously waiting to get to the pie shop since it closes in 20 minutes, but the bus is low on fuel, and Dwight insists on shopping around for inexpensive gas. With Jim picking on him, Dwight hands over all the "alpha male" responsibilities to Jim, gives him the keys, and climbs to the roof of the bus, hurt and upset. The staff, obsessed with getting pie, wants Jim to just drive away, but Pam convinces Jim to talk to Dwight. It turns out Dwight is upset because he believes the EMF has made him impotent. He's always wanted to be a father, a point made even more heartbreaking by the news that Angela's child isn't his. Jim assures him that the popcorn ordeal was merely a prank.

In the bus, Nellie hands Andy her reference letter. He takes the opportunity to criticize and let her know he will not sign it; Erin watches from a distance, concerned. Back on the roof, Jim tries to reassure Dwight, reminding him that as the building owner he should think of the office staff as his children. He convinces him that, as the building dad, Dwight's the only guy who can save his building children from going without pies. Even Jim can't do it. Inspired by his newfound duties, Dwight rushes to the front seat and steps on the gas pedal, determined to make everyone's pie dreams a reality.

After the dangerous ride, the gang finally arrives at Laverne's Pie Shop Tires Fixed Too. Andy, realizing his harshness was uncalled for, hands Nellie a signed reference letter with a couple of extra sentences outlining Nellie's tough character in the workspace but tenderness with the people she cares about. Kevin, done with his pie, is putting on a gallant effort to upset Oscar so that he'll pie him in the face. Oscar's hardly offended at being called a "doo doo face" but does Kevin a favor and pies him anyway. Kevin is elated. Jim and Pam enjoy their dessert on a bench, content with pie, one another's company and how the day has turned out.

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