Jim’s done it again and we now have another Dwight prank to live on in The Office infamy. Dwight finds a mysterious red cord attached to his computer which wasn’t there before. He suspiciously rips it out, but the cord goes under every other desk, around the hallway, out of the building, into the parking lot, and up the phone tower. And, yep, he climbs it, officially making Jim’s 20 bucks well worth it. One of these days though I’d like to see Jim actually create these elaborate acts. We’ve seen him wrap an entire desk and every object in wrapping paper and now he’s ascended an electrical post? I heart you Jim but doesn’t all this trickery take time and effort that could be better spent with Pam?
David Wallace asks Michael to dig up some dirt on a local paper rival, taking him and Dwight out on some reconnaissance work. While they are out a debate springs up over whether or not actress Hilary Swank is hot. Jim suggests they put it to a vote that ends in a tie, leading Andy to initiate a formal assessment with opening arguments on the “hotness” of poor Ms. Swank. My sincere apologies Hilary. Now that the apology is out of the way, let’s break her apart and mercilessly judge her based on looks alone! Kevin surmises she is beautiful, but not hot, just like how a painting may be beautiful to look at, he doesn’t necessarily want to bang it. How lucky for the painting. Let’s check back in with Michael.
Michael and Dwight plan to infiltrate Prince Family Paper with alter egos; Michael will play business owner Michael Scarn (also the hero of his screenplay!), and Dwight will play a job applicant. Dwight insists they create a signal in case of an emergency and they settle on licking their lips. Not in the, oh my lips are a bit dry way, but the, is it possible to make out with myself way. And test it out while staring at each other. Oh boy. Michael explains that this is all part of the business food chain. He and Dwight are the big sharks the smaller sharks that in turn eat the tiny ones until even the single celled sharks are taken out. Huh? Irregardless, the big sharks are welcomed warmly by the husband, wife, and son team running the place. Michael succeeds in charming Mr. Prince with his jokes (or Prince is really a good businessman) and Dwight rattles off his stats and claims he needs a new job because of his insensitive boss. Surprisingly, Michael keeps his cool.
Back in the office the debate has become a full blown argument with each person making a case for their side. Jim argues celebrities are real people too and manipulates Kevin by providing a breathy fantasy of Hilary coming to seduce him. This also reveals that Jim could always make a second career as a late night phone operator. Just sayin. It works momentarily but Kevin isn’t swayed. It’s a competition of is she hot, not whether he would “do her.” Well, Hilary, at least you know he’s not turning you down there. Though I’m not sure if that should make you feel better or worse. At this, Angela, who was previously vehemently uninvolved, steps in just to counter Kevin and joins team Hot to break the tie. That is until Toby walks over and decides Hilary just doesn’t do it for him, continuing the deliberations. The constant judgment over Hilary Swank’s appeal finally leads Kelly to break down in tears, because if Hilary isn’t hot, then there’s no way she is. I would feel bad for her, but, this is Kelly we’re dealing with.
Michael and Dwight finally get what they came for when Mr. Prince hands over a list of references of all their clients. They lick their lips in joy and run celebrating to the car. As they attempt a slick getaway, Michael busts his bumper and the entire Prince family runs out to help. Mr. Prince insists on fixing the car while Mrs. Prince serves up hot coffee and on the way home Michael is no longer celebrating. When they get back they don’t even notice the spectacle of Hilary Swank pictures all over the walls. Oscar has even just given a presentation breaking down her lines of symmetry (which according to him only prove she is attractive, not hot). Michael sequesters himself in his office and decides he can’t sell out the Prince family to Wallace. Dwight tries to urge him otherwise, citing that relying on his heart has never worked out, Michael agrees on the basis of Jan and Ryan. Wait, whaa? Dwight even applies the logic of Frodo saving the world by destroying the ring to restore all goodness. How can you lose with an argument like that? But Michael fakes him out and runs off with the paper to the parking lot to destroy it with Dwight quick on his tail. It’s an all out wrestling match until Dwight finally secures it and helps Michael send it to Wallace who gives him big props for a job well done. Michael feels bittersweet about it all which he doesn’t like. It’s also probably why he doesn’t like bittersweet chocolate.
But for once, the rest of the office pays no attention. How can they when they are at the crossroads of their lives? Stanley gives what can only be described as a sermon, preaching that he’s finally learned to find the good in things, and damnit, Hilary is hot. It’s a deadlock at 6-6 until Michael emerges and finally notices the Hilary pictures on the wall and without knowing the circumstances, calls her hot, officially ending the great debate of ’09. Congrats Hilary. This totally beats your Oscar.