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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Scranton ready for some West Baltimore style?

Holy Stringer, Batman!

Variety is reporting that Idris Elba -- a.k.a Russell "Stringer" Bell of "The Wire" -- will be joining the cast of "The Office" for a six-episode arc in which he plays a rival Dunder Mifflin manager. For "Wire" fans everywhere, it's a new day -- for "Office" fans, perhaps a rude awakening when everyone at Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch ends up, well, slinging drugs on a corner. Kidding.

Not long ago, we here at Channel Surfing lamented that the fine actors of "The Wire" were nowhere to be found on the television landscape, a complaint that "Wire" creator David Simon also shared. That tide has shifted this year with our favorite Baltimore faces cropping in everything from "90210" to "The Beast." With two "Wire" alums on the set of "The Office" this year (the other being the fabulous Amy Ryan), it was only time before bloggers Malavika Jagannathan and Thomas Rozwadowski began to conjure up a magical world where the two meet ... and merge.

Scenario 1: Stringer Bell puts a hit out on Michael Scott in an effort to overtake as regional manager, using Dwight as a go-between. However, Dwight figures out what Stringer is up to, uses his contacts at the Lackawanna County Sheriff's Department to get a wiretap on Stringer. The plan fails because Dwight is a volunteer Sheriff's deputy with no pull whatsoever, but Stringer is scared enough to back off... until next time.

Scenario 2: Everyone's favorite gay stick-up artist Omar Little walks into the Dunder Mifflin office, whistling Farmer in the Dell. He wants to order some resume paper, resulting in a fight between Jim and Dwight over who is the better salesman and deserves to make the sale. Omar gets annoyed and accidentally shoots Kevin's donut with his shotgun, then walks away with Kevin's jar of M&Ms.

Scenario 3: David Wallace's body is mysteriously missing and new paper powerhouse Marlo Stanfield is largely thought to be responsible. With Dunder Mifflin on the ropes, Stringer Bell tries to get Michael Scott to join a printing paper co-op so that everyone can share in the abundant wealth of top-o'-the-line glossies smuggled from overseas. Michael's inability to keep his mouth shut -- not to mention that he keeps calling Stringer "Puff Daddy" -- leads to an embarrassing incident at the Scranton Holiday Inn. Stringer is forced to hire Philadelphia muscle to send a clear message. His goons rig the Dunder Mifflin printer with an exploding ink cartridge -- ruining Michael's prized women's suit the following morning.

Scenario 4: Michael says "dinkin' flicka" to the wrong person in Avon Barksdale's Albany crew, leading to a paper industry beef that can only be settled with an intense dice game won by Phyllis. Proposition Joe tries to use increasing tensions to give Staples a bigger cut of the Scranton paper pie, but Dunder Mifflin snitch Bubbles uncovers dirt about the nationwide chain acting as a front for a widespread prostitution ring that caters to Hewlett-Packard magnates. Beadie Russell and Holly Flax both appear like the Doublemint twins and attempt to win Michael's affection. A jealous Jimmy McNulty shows up in a drunken rage and attempts to punch Michael's lights out, but Dwight maces him in the face, saving the day.

Scenario 5: Ryan Howard returns from vacation strung out on coke, leaving Michael no choice but to employ a hard-knock intervention on the street corners of Scranton. Bodie and Poot school Michael, Dwight and Jim -- both present for security reasons -- on the rules of the game. Dwight bets Jim he can sell more WMD than him -- and while Jim ducks out to enjoy some lake trout with Pam -- Mr. Schrute sets up an expansive, profitable network for smuggling using only pocket calculators. Just as Prez and Lester are on the verge of cracking Dwight's intricate "Battlestar Galactica" code, Commissioner Burrell thwarts the entire operation because it turns out Clay Davis buys all his paper from Dunder Mifflin.

One last thought: "Wire" fans will also recall that Stringer was head of a legit photo copy shop that used lots and lots of (hello!) paper. So all the pieces fit, right? Could this synergy have been planned out from the .... nahhhhhhhhhhh ...

-- Malavika Jagannathan, and Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Hopefully Stringer's episodes will be as clever and amusing as your scenarios - but, I've lost much faith in the show. Either way, it'll be a treat to see his XL physique around the Office ... oh, indeed.

By Anonymous mary, At January 19, 2009 at 3:23 PM  

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