“I have an STD…and it’s incurable and starts with H…I….” That is how Michael makes his first “cold” call to former fling Donna to inform her of his herpes (i.e. a cold sore). In an episode full of “this would only happen on The Office” cringe-worthy moments, this probably ranked as the most cringe-worthy of the night. But, cringes were running as rampant as STDs tonight.
Michael getting a cold sore was the catalyst for a ‘ghosts of girlfriends past’ theme when Dwight encourages him to notify each former lady love of his condition. He contacted Donna and Holly by phone, and it was immediately obvious that his chemistry with Holly had not faded one bit (she is clearly the only person on this planet who really gets him). Holly tried to brush off their connection by telling Michael that he over-romanticizes relationships, which of course sent Michael down a self-destructive path in dealing with his other ex-flames in person—Jan, Helene and Carol.
My favorite encounter, by far, was Jan. The crazy that was Jan and Michael was always a highlight of the early seasons of this show, and psychologically imbalanced Jan did not disappoint in this episode. At first she seemed like her old corporate self, now working as a hospital director, but as soon as little Assie (i.e. daughter Astrid) entered, Jan could only speak to her daughter through new-age melodies.
Meanwhile back at Dunder Mifflin, everyone was so repulsed by Meredith’s admission of herpes (and not of the cold sore kind) that Andy reverted back to his college dorm R.A. status to teach them that the number one STD is ignorance. After a particularly catty lunch session in the break room (and with Erin and Gabe creepily watching the others from behind a window like they are a focus group) Andy called a meeting and began to show them instructional porn. I particularly liked the discussion that evolved when they discussed the pros and cons (although mainly the pros) of sex. And, then there was Pam admitting that daughter CiCi was not a mistake, just a surprise. It was also nice to see Daryl have some screen time – he is always a great straight man for the crazy antics of everyone else.
In closing, I just want to make mention of solid opening and closing bits. The opening with Dwight was particularly strong when he was trying to pick up migrant day laborers. Dwight’s broken Spanish—even to the one white dude—was pretty great: “Donde are you from?” Of course, Dwight knows how to get away without paying them—just send Mose the “immigration agent” at 5:30 p.m. And, the end of the episode was a truly awkward scene with Michael treating Oscar like one of his past flings—because who could forget their kiss in Gay Witch Hunt?
Are you excited to see Holly come back in future episodes? Supposedly she will make her first appearance around the holidays. Would you attend a sex ed session led by Andy Bernard?