The Office “Trivia” Review

I was feeling pretty bad for Kevin at the start of tonight’s episode of The Office. Sure he’s not the brightest one on the staff, but after Andy had rejected Kevin’s offer to assist in making an $830 “error,” and later watching Andy, Jim, Darryl, and Ryan shun Kevin from their trivia team, I was ready to see Kevin dole out his karmic payback. Eventually it happened – and it was good.

“Trivia,” had most of the Scranton office engaging in a battle of wits to win a $1,000 grand prize at “Triviapocalypse.” Clearly I’ve been going to the wrong bar for pub trivia if there are bars that offer $1,000 grand prizes, but maybe that’s precisely why Oscar was willing to make the two hour drive from Scranton.

I don’t really understand why the rest of the staff was motivated to drive two hours to play bar trivia and hand over their winnings to Andy so he could buy paper to meet Robert California’s quota. It was also odd that Jim didn’t have a problem being two hours away from his soon-to-give-birth wife and their young daughter so he could play trivia in the late afternoon and into the evening. Personally, it took some suspension of disbelief to put those logistics aside and just let the game begin.

The thing about bar trivia is that sometimes all the questions seem completely obvious, as if they had been hand picked just for you. Other times the questions can seem like they were pulled straight from a Mensa qualifying exam in a foreign language. This was the “Einsteins'” night and, fluke or not, each team member had their own personal trivia-related trump card that led them to the win.

Meredith’s familiarity with her children’s multiple learning disorders gave her an advantage over Oscar’s team, and Erin’s affections for Andy and his many hobbies set her up to correctly answer a sailing question about a flying jib. My favorite jaw-dropper of the night came from Kelly’s long winded explanation about how she knew Lamar Odom had won the Sixth Man of the Year award by cross referencing her knowledge of both “Khloe and Kris” and “Dancing With The Stars” without having any actual sports knowledge at all.

Kevin’s moment to shine finally came after Oscar had incorrectly (and so pretentiously) answered a question about French cinema. After Oscar groaned in disappointment at his error, Kevin confidently chimed in with “Les Jolies Choses” which he knew simply because Marion Cotillard had exposed herself several times in it. That is precisely the scenario in which I imagine Kevin would have an interest in watching French film, and it paid off for him this time.

Meanwhile, Dwight had flown himself out to Florida to meet with Robert California about an open Printing Manager position. Dwight did not seem quite like himself in this subplot. Although showing up unannounced and demanding a promotion is absolutely something Dwight would do, he had moments where he didn’t seem comfortable in his own skin. In a few scenes, he appeared to be thrown off guard by the people he encountered at the corporate office, including Gabe. I’m not used to seeing him enter into a battle without a full plan of attack and countless contingency plans so I was surprised when he settled for the C.O.O. when he originally intended to speak with the C.E.O.

We saw more of that passive-aggressive, conflict-avoiding side of Robert California in this story line as well. Rather than face Dwight head on, Robert passed the task onto the “C.O.O.” only to call Gabe and have him take care of the problem lingering in his lobby. I was happy to see Dwight fight back against Gabe’s attempt to flush the problem and to see Dwight finally get fired up enough to find his way to Robert California’s home. I’d accept no less of an effort from Dwight.

Robert California’s receptionist was probably my favorite part of this story line. She played the role of corporate receptionist so perfectly and nothing Dwight said seemed to surprise her. She’s exactly what I imagine California’s assistant would have to be like to survive working with him on a regular basis.

In terms of plot, this episode of The Office was a little weak, but it made up for a flimsy story with solid gags and a ton of hilarious lines which made it a fun episode nevertheless.