That's What She Said

Ooh, Ooh, She’s Magic

Litigation Value: Not much from this episode, but if Nellie sticks around her apparent prejudice against the Irish and Hispanics could lead to some sticky legal situations.

Another week, another party in Scranton. Last night on The Office, Robert had the party-planning committee working hard on a party to welcome Nellie into the fold. Problem is, the party-planning committee doesn’t actually like Nellie. Nor does anyone else in the office, for that matter. So Pam comes up with the idea to throw a terrible party for Nellie. The gang strings up black streamers, buys bad food (a carrot cake — it’s like a salad bar, as Kevin indignantly points out), and hires Creed to play “all originals.” And the piece de resistance — they hire a magician, because Nellie hates magicians.

But in the process of helping Nellie move into her new apartment while the party-planning goes on, Jim and Dwight learn that Nellie — prejudice against the Irish and Oscar notwithstanding — isn’t all bad. In fact, much of her abrasive attitude is rooted in having to start her life over in a new country after getting her heart broken by “a bloody stage magician.”

Oops. Jim tries to convince Pam to call off the “ironic party,” but it’s gone too far. So Pam convinces the gang to give Nellie a code name to use when they want to insult her. (Their choice: “Pam.”) And Jim ruins the magician’s show, putting perhaps the first smile on Nellie’s face since she moved to Scranton.

The party didn’t lead to any major liability for Sabre … this time. Of course, office parties are fertile ground for hijinks — especially when alcohol is served. (Meredith has proven that on multiple occasions in the past.) And if they’re mandatory — or at least appear mandatory — as Nellie’s party likely was, any injuries are probably going to be covered by workers’ compensation. Still, the only one who managed to even make a start at causing legal problems for Sabre was Nellie herself, with her comments about the Irish and Hispanics in the cold open. Nellie seemed almost Michael-esque in her inability to filter her thoughts before putting them out there … which made me hope she sticks around for awhile. We could use the entertainment, and the legal fees.

Finally, a quick word about the B-plot. Andy, having convinced Erin to get back together, attempts to break things off with Jessica while she attends her friend’s bachelorette party. In an effort to make it easier on himself, he tries to wiggle out of the relationship by telling Jess that he’s gay. Jess doesn’t buy it — they’ve been together for awhile — and Erin is furious to discover that he told Jess that she “wasn’t relationship material,” even though Andy reasonably explains that he said what he had to say since he was dating Jess at the time. Erin’s chilly reaction prompts Andy to turn around, drive back to the bachelorette party, and make a bad situation worse by proclaiming that he is, in fact, NOT gay, he’s in love with Erin, and she is definitely relationship material.

The romantic in me, who has been rooting for Erin and Andy since Jim and Pam’s wedding, was thrilled. I love those two as a couple, and as individual characters, and I’m dying to see them happy with each other. The lawyer in me (sometimes she drowns out the romantic — it’s pretty loud inside my head) just wants to remind you all that while workplace romances seem like fun, they can go sour quite quickly, leaving everyone worse off. I certainly hope it doesn’t happen with Andy and Erin, but if they do break up, Erin might suddenly forget that the relationship was consensual, and Sabre could find itself fighting off a pretty damaging sexual harassment lawsuit, particularly given that Andy is the boss and Erin is a subordinate. Although I suspect (I’m not entirely clear on this, though) that Erin reports to Pam as Office Manager (or Director of Administration, whatever title Pam gave herself), Andy would be Erin’s second-level supervisor and there’s no department that doesn’t report to him. So a relationship will be fraught with some legal concern and, as much as we’re all hoping for a happy ending for Erin and Andy, Toby’s going to have his hands full no matter what happens.