7

In episode two of the seventh season, Pam tricks Gabe into believing she was promoted to office administrator previous to Dunder Mifflin's acquisition. Gabe suspects she's lying and confronts her, but after some talking, he ultimately accepts it and she becomes officially the office administrator. How did this happen?

English is not my native language (it's Spanish) but I think I understood everything they said in this scene. I also watched the episode with Spanish subtitles and even with that, I really can't figure out what happened there:

Gabe: Can you just admit?... Admit...
Pam: Admit what?
Gabe: I don't wanna say it.
Pam: (Stares to Gabe with a challenging face)... Say it.
Gabe: Mmm. Mmm uhm... (Saying "no" with his head)
Pam: Say that I'm lying or say I have the job. Make a definitive statement, Gabe.
Gabe: Statements of such nature, while they have their place, are overused in a competitive business environment.
Pam: Great. Well, Let me know if you need a new chair, or anything that an office administrator can handle.
Gabe: I'll do.

I don't understand how he was so easily convinced/tricked into this. Am I listening wrong here? Or there's some slang term I'm missing? Is there a reference to something in American pop culture that I'm not getting?

10

He wasn't really 'tricked'; they both knew she was lying. Pam simply recognized a weakness in Gabe and got into a standoff with him, knowing he'll back down. A few of things about Gabe (from Wikia):

A quietly insecure person, [Gabe] seems resigned to being forced to work inhuman hours and have no social life, as a consequence of Sabre CEO Jo Bennett's unpredictable management style. His attempts to be respected by the rest of the office workers end in awkward failure and he seems to be universally ignored by everyone, as he does not have any power to control Scranton as Jan Levenson or David Wallace did.

Consider, for example, Secretary's Day near the end of season 6, where Gabe tried to assert himself and suspended Pam for impersonating Kevin. Pam then found out Gabe has no real authority, and that 'suspension' became a paid vacation.

So Pam knows that Gabe is powerless, somewhat spineless (at least in his early days there), tries not to antagonize everyone (though usually failing) and is afraid of the higher ups. She realizes he's trying to avoid confrontation and leverages that to get what she wants. Gabe simply doesn't want to:

  • Call Pam a liar and possibly punish her for it, thus antagonizing her and the other workers;
  • Make this into a whole corporate scandal with him in the middle of it;
  • Actually be assertive and make a decision, with all the awkwardness involved.

Pam's gamble pays off and Gabe backs down without calling her bluff. Pam also says where she learned this tecnhique:

Pam: One thing I learned from watching Tournament Poker at two in the morning: you don't play your cards, you play your opponent.

  • Awesome explanation. I'm also a Spaniard ;) and I'd just add that in "Statements of such nature, while they have their place, are overused in a competitive business environment" the word "overused" translates by "sobreutilizado", and it implies that lies are no longer a wrong but part of the job. You can think of it as a subtext like: "ok, you lie and you know that I know it and you're not stopped by me knowing it, so you're not just a liar but a bold, competitive, assertive person .. competent to do the job required in this environment". – Giuseppe Oct 25 '15 at 10:10
  • Now that I'm thinking about it, you're totally right. Sometimes it seems he actually would take care of the difficult situations, but he fails because he wants to fit in the office. For example: when Pam makes some cartoons and starts a caption contest in the office. He threatens to tell Jo, but he yields allowing the contest with some restrictions. Everybody continued the "real" contest at the I.M. anyway, but focusing the captions to make fun of him. – LotharOne Oct 25 '15 at 10:12
  • @Giuseppe - Right. So, he "gave" her the job not only because he didn't wanted to cause trouble, also because with that attitude she proved being the right person to do it. – LotharOne Oct 25 '15 at 10:26

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