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The Office rarely goes wrong when it hangs silly, irreverent gags on top of a more grounded hook, as it does to great effect in "New Leads." Having spent ample time in my fair share of workplaces, I know from first hand experience that the tension between an administrative staff and a sales force can sometimes be pretty thick. That simple, yet relatable premise helps bolster the episode's numerous jokes, and it makes "New Leads" one of the best and most satisfying outings of the season.
The episode definitely started off on the right foot. The cold opening featured one of those classic bits of silent comedy from Steve Carrell, where his facial expression alone delivers the big comedic pay-off. His reaction to Jim's suggestion that the Johnny Depp look alike named M. Shulman might really be M. Night Shulman was absolutely priceless, a mix of astonishment and hope.
From there, the episode paved down its core conflict rather quickly, establishing the sales force's new sense of empowerment under the Sabre regime and the accounting and administrative folks resenting them for it. I loved Michael trying to explain how things used to be before the salesmen got drunk on their new fat commissions, reflecting about the days when a salesman's priorities were to "make friends first, makes sales second and make love third. In no particular order." Michael's final stand – his decision to withhold valuable sales leads from the crew by instead giving them to non-salesmen – was also good for a couple big laughs, specifically Phyllis calling the boss "numb nuts" and Michael calling Stanley "uppity" before thinking better about it.
For more, see: IGN
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