Money - or How the People Who Bring the Office Documentary to a Television Near You Get Their Salaries. | Five glimpses at people who work behind the scenes on our favourite documentary about a paper company.
Status: Complete [one-shot]
Spoilers: Spoilers up to Money.
This is rubbish. I know it is. I wrote it in less than a day because rachel_lupin is awesome and she deserves to have something dedicated to her for her birthday - no matter how terrible it is. This was fun, anyway, and I'm considering having follow-ups. Behind the scenes is kind of fascinating.
or How the People Who Bring the Office Documentary to a Television Near You Get Their Salaries
PART ONE: How They Know He Loves Her
1) There's a beat between she's and great.
Jen has been bored and irritated today, even though it's just her first day here, sitting through interviews of ramblings and moments of sheer idiocy [she's fully prepared to tell her boss that there's nothing here, pack up, and leave] but when she notices his eyes flicker between her face and the door of the conference room, she straightens.
She watches him: he swallows a lot of his words; he grins lopsidedly like he needs to smile but he shouldn't; he scratches the back of his head, glancing away often; he fingers his tie, watching her nervously.
She chews the side of her lip, then nods, giving him her thanks.
He smiles at her, leaves; and as he moves to sit at his desk, he grins at the receptionist's desk.
Jen taps her pen against her clipboard, pursing her lips. Perhaps it's worth staying a little longer.
2) He calls her bluff.
Ben's only heard some of what happened in the parking lot - he was just told to follow Pam. He slipped into the breakroom when he heard someone coming up the steps.
He didn't believe it at first, but he'd be damned if he couldn't believe it when he saw her walk up to Jim's desk instead of her own; picked up his phone instead of her own; sat on his desk instead of at hers. He gets the camera working only halfway into her conversation, fumbling quickly and quietly with buttons he doesn't usually fumble with.
Damn, Halpert, he thinks, moving as close to the window as he dares to. He's so mad at the man. When this documentary finally gets on air [if it ever will, he thinks, and glances around reflexively for Jen, because she gets to mad at him when he implies this], the paper salesman is going to ruin any chance he [maybe any guy] has with women. They're all going to want a Jim. But he can't believe -
There's a shadow moving behind Michael's office, and then there are footsteps, and then - dammit, he feels like such a girl, but his heart nearly stops. The pressing of the appropriate zoom buttons are done subconsciously - he's staring at them, gawking.
Jim knows [and Ben's sure of this] that she's lying. The first time she'd done it that night, down at the warehouse, he knew, but pretended otherwise, let her go, and he lost. The second time she does it, he knows, but he calls it: he goes ahead and kisses her anyway - even if he thinks he may lose this time, too.
When she stops him after the second time, he nearly screams: tell him. [Such a girl.]
He pulls his camera away instead. He may be mad at him, but he respects his guts.
3) He's evolved.
Oh, they break her heart. They really do.
Mindy has the tapes from the merger sitting next to her computer and she's nearly in tears. They're blind and God, so stupid, and can't they just talk? She doesn't even want to edit these, they're too terrible. She needs to watch them again and again to find the right places to cut off and the right bits to leave in, and it's insanity. This is going to drive her insane. She'll cry.
She'll cry. She's so sure of it.
Around the twentieth time she rewinds the scene in the breakroom, she's almost convinced that he doesn't feel anything for her anymore. Around the fiftieth time she rewinds the scene in the parking lot, she is convinced that he doesn't feel anything for her anymore. But that doesn't make sense, because she knows he loved her, before, and how can you fall out of love like that? It's not even like he was told that she doesn't love him, he was just told that she can't.
But she can! She can, now! How does he not see that?! She got her hair done differently for him! She's wearing an adorable sweater! She's even wearing the slightest bit of make-up! The cruelty of the world and all its men does not escape her.
Around the hundredth time she rewinds the scene in the breakroom, though, she realises he doesn't look at her straight in the eye. He keeps shifting his weight, restless. When he's walking off with the Stamford chick [who looks amazing] from the parking lot, she notices that he glances away multiple times. And when he begins to drive off, in his car? She sees him rub his face against his hand tiredly, a hunch in his shoulders that she remembers seeing so many times before. And then she realises he's not stopped loving her - he's evolved to try to avoid the entire issue completely.
The editor side of Mindy cuts out some of this evidence, because otherwise it won't be money enough [who'd watch the show if they knew there wasn't a chance that Jim and Karen would last?]. The hopeless romantic side of Mindy buys a can of grape soda, and she leaves it in the cooler under her desk.
His hair is a mess, his eyes are dark, and he looks like he hasn't been eating well. Whenever Roy comes up to the desk behind him, whenever he hears some part of their conversation, whenever he hears something about them, his jaw tightens and his face turns blank. The one time he even looks like he's kind of happy is when he's with Karen, and even that's not very convincing.
David isn't a genius, but it hardly takes any special knowledge to know that he isn't over her.
He tries to keep his finger off the record button when he's around him. Nothing more depressing than having someone record your depression.
5) He says he's in love with Italian food.
Oh, they are freaking precious. Ever since they'd come back from Dwight's farm, it's all they've been - laughing and smiling and being happy. Steve knows this is good for them, and good for the show, but it's all so sickening. He'd known that once they hooked up, it wouldn't be interesting anymore. It's just that he wishes he wasn't right, because they're nice kids, and they deserve this, they're just boring.
And the next time he sees them grin widely at each other or be adorably cute without even touching so much in the break room, he's going to commit murder. Or suicide.
Enough is enough. Some conflict, please? It's all wrong. This doesn't happen in real life, he knows this. He may be a bitter old man, but at least he's realistic. They have too many troubles for this to work, just yet.
Ben's the guy at the top of the staircase who follows Dwight out of the office, and when Jim comes down, he gets his walkie-talkie on so all the other camera guys know what's going on. Steve listens, and he sighs. Of course, Jim will finish off saying oh, it's okay now, i'm so happy, and Mindy will be sighing happily, and all the fangirls in the world will be happy, and he will try not to tear his hair off.
But Jim leaves it at even you and Steve is confused. Nothing to cheer Dwight up? It's only when he hears the shuffling of feet as someone moves away that Steve realises and appreciates what Jim is doing - by making it less about Dwight and more about himself, it looks less like pity, and more like empathy.
Steve is still thinking about this when he notices movement at the door to the stairwell outside the office. He fumbles with his boom, picks it up and holds it next to the camera David's holding, just as Jim closes the door behind him. Something in his face [contemplative, pensive] makes Steve tense. Is this what he's been waiting for?
It isn't. He goes to Pam's desk and kisses her. This is sickening. David turns around to grin at him, and he feels like whopping the side of his head. He gets it. They have their happily ever after. It still strikes him as too easy, but no one will agree - obviously.
Later in the conference room, Jim tells them he likes Italian food, and glances at the boom mike above his head. It's a familiar glance, and the way he props his head against his hand when he's done reminds him of how he looked two years ago - except he wasn't as happy as he is now.
These crazy kids.
Steve presses his lips together to hide his smile.