The Office Episodes Different Writing Styles

“The Office” is the famous sitcom/mockumentary featuring Steve Carell as the offensive, ineffective, pointless boss for which he’s so famous. “The Office” is also famous for its ensemble cast and extensive use of different writers/directors/producers for individual episodes. In this post, I’m going to look at, summarize, and rank four episodes written and directed by four different individuals.


The cast

I’m going to summarize these episodes in the order of quality, with what I thought was the best episode first, and the worst episode last.

1) Episode 67; S04E14 (accounting for 2 part episodes);Episode Title: ‘Chair Model’; Air Date: 4/17/2008; Written by: BJ Novak; Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz.

rip chair

Mourning the death of the chair model

This episode begins with a Kevin and Andy complaining about how there is no more parking spaces for them because of construction workers doing work on the building, causing them to have to park in the satellite lot and walk a considerable distance to the office.



Next, Michael Scott wants to be set up on a date since he just broke up with Jan. He’s ready to get back on the market after his breakup. In the process of soliciting his subordinates for dates, he asks Oscar for help and he calls being gay a “condition” which is incredibly offensive to Oscar. Phyllis then asks Michael if he’d be interested in her friend that is a pro softball player. Among a few different offensive questions Michael asks about Phyllis’ friend, he asks if she’d be able to fit in a rowboat, trying to find out if she’s fat without asking it directly. Michael then makes a formal request to his workers to submit him a name and number of someone he could go on a date with. My favorite line from Michael in this part is how he says he’s a catch and doesn’t want to be the one that got away.


Page 85

I thought it was interesting how Jim jokes with Pam and says he is putting her mom’s name and number down for Michael to call. Just 40 episodes later in the series (“The Lover”) in season 6 episode 7 it is revealed that Michael has been dating Pam’s mom since Jim and Pam’s wedding.

Michael calls up “Wendy” who was Kevin’s submission, and it happens to be “Wendy’s” fast food restaurant, and not a woman named “Wendy”. This seemed to really upset Michael.


I want her number

The title of the episode comes from the model Michael finds in the chair magazine while looking for a new chair to order, and not a literal “model” of a chair. Dwight has the idea of tracking down this model for Michael because he thought she was so very attractive. Dwight does some digging and finds out this woman is dead. Michael takes the news of her death very seriously, even though he has never met this woman.

the chair model

The chair model

Pam then sets Michael up with her landlady (Margaret), which turns into a real disaster. When she first approaches Michael in the coffee shop, he denies his name is Michael. This backfires when the barista calls out his name “Michael” and hands him the drink he ordered, hot chocolate. I like how in this scene, Michael breaks the third wall and looks into the camera hopelessly. Michael then starts asking her really stupid questions, like what she does with the rent checks she gets from tenants. He then shows her a pic of Jan on his phone and tells her about Jan’s boob job and accidentally calls Jan. He then says he “felt like he was talking to the sweet old lady on the bus” which the landlady says is incredibly rude.


Margaret the land lady

Meanwhile, Andy and Kevin arranged a meeting of the “5 families” which are the four other businesses that work in Scranton business park + Dunder Mifflin. I enjoyed this scene because it is a truly incredible waste of time, which could have been completely done through email or phone calls, which one of the attendees points out.

Then, Michael yells at Pam about hooking him up with Margaret, and how he’s a man of “cool, youth, and ‘passionately'”.

At the end of the episode, Andy is talking about how proud he is of getting their parking spaces back. He says some bizarre things in this scene like he did it for the guy who “wakes up everyday in his $400 apartment and wonders how he’s going to pay his mortgage every month”.

2). Episode 64; S04E11 (again, accounting for the 2 part episodes); Episode Title: ‘Survivor Man’; Air Date: 11/8/2007; Written by: Steve Carell; Directed by: Paul Feig.

This episode was definitely a close second to “The Chair Model”. Season 4 had some of the best episodes of the show, without a doubt. The episode opens with Toby telling a group of workers about the retreat in the woods he went on with Ryan, who recently became an executive with Dunder Mifflin. Ryan took all the branch managers and HR people, except Michael Scott because everyone already knew enough about him. This is pretty upsetting to Michael, who feels very left out and excluded and appalled that Toby was invited and he was not.

Because of this feeling of exclusion Michael is experiencing, he decides to go out into the woods himself and will try to survive on his own. Dwight rides out to the woods with him to make sure he gets set up properly. On the way there, Dwight digresses and says if he were a serial killer he would cut off people’s fingertips and remove their teeth, and he’d be known as the ‘overkill killer’. Michael, disturbed, yells at Dwight and says to let him have his one cathartic experience in his life — I also notice this word ‘cathartic’ was used in the next episode on my list, ‘Frame Toby’.


The Survivorman

Back in the office, while Michael is gone in the woods, Jim is in charge. He seems to be having major issues with the changes he made to birthday parties in the office. His new ideas aren’t very popular. Birthday parties happen to be one of the areas that Michael was very good in, even tho he sometimes went overboard with the singing, surprises, and jokes.


Happy bday

Back in the woods, Dwight is shown spying on Michael. Dwight didn’t want to leave him alone in the wilderness to fend for himself, what a pal! While being watched by Dwight, Michael records himself yelling out some bizarre things that he apparently needed to let loose. He bellows, “I wish I could have gone with Ryan on that cool retreat!”, “Jan has plastic boobs!”, and “I have hemorrhoids!“.


Dwight watching Michael

In an interesting scene in the office, Phyllis calls Jim “Michael” by accident. This disturbs Jim and he mentions it to the camera people.

Michael then randomly shows up for the birthday parties and sings. He then says he doesn’t need wide open spaces, because he has a pic of the grand canyon and the sky on his desk top. And he also doesn’t need fresh air from outside, because he has the freshest air, which is air conditioning.


What a view

At the end of the episode, Jim tells Michael about how unpopular his idea for the birthday party was. Michael tells him he made the same rookie mistake and in 10 years, Jim will learn. Jim says he won’t be there in 10 years, and Michael said that’s what he also said 10 years ago. This scares Jim.

3). Episode 81; SS05E09; Episode Title: ‘Frame Toby’; Air Date: 11/20/2008; Written by: Mindy Kaling; Directed by: Jason Reitman.

Toby starts off the episode by saying his time in Costa Rica was “cathartic” — see paragraph 2 of the ‘Survivor Man’ section. I think cathartic (vocally expressing ones feelings to relieve strong emotions) experiences are important to office workers such as these, and “cathartic” is the perfect word for them to be using. I am going to be paying extra attention for other uses of that word throughout the series (I’m a nerd).


He is back

A funny Michael Scott-ism from this episode, in the beginning, someone brought in brownies and Michael says he’s going to take two and parcel them out and eat them slowly throughout the day because it’s healthier that way. While getting brownies, Michael finds out Toby works there again, since he just got back from a couple of months in Costa Rica.

In the next scene, Jim talks with his coworkers about how he just bought his parents house, and not to tell Pam because it’s a surprise. He tells the people where his house is, “near the quarry”, and Creed says he lives right there too, and they should hang out and throw stuff down into the quarry (bizarre) and Jim says sure he would be up for that, sarcastically.


After Michael comes to grips with Toby being back, he begins plotting a plan to get Toby fired. His first plan is to give Pam a note to give to Toby that says to kiss her, so he would assault Pam and that would be cause to fire him.

hat him

Just cause

In a very weird scene that I didn’t understand completely, Ryan and Kelly are shown making out and Toby tells them that its inappropriate, then asks them if they want to see his pics from Costa Rica. Why would he interrupt their make out session, then ask them to look at his personal pictures? But then Michael walks up and bats the pics out of Toby’s hand and tells Toby to punch him for it, so Toby will assault him and then can be fired. Toby doesn’t take the bait.


Pam reading Michael’s note to Toby from her

Michael starts to get stressed and starts pounding the brownies he said he was going to parcel out and eat throughout the day. While pounding brownies, Dwight and Michael decide the best way to get Toby fired, after their other 2 plans failed, is to plant drugs in Toby’s desk and call the police and get him arrested. Michael goes and talks to the 2 Vance Refrigeration employees asking if they can sell him some weed. So, they sell him Caprese salad and tell him its 2 pounds of weed, and charge him $500. Dwight and Michael then put the salad in Toby’s desk and Dwight calls the cops (saying his name is Andy Bernard). So, the cops come and immediately notice that the bag contains Caprese salad and leave. Then Toby asks Michael if he put it there, to which Michael asks “since when is it illegal to put Caprese salad anywhere?”

cap sal

This shit right here

Ryan and Kelly are then shown again making out (too much irrelevant making out between them in this episode) and then he breaks up with her. He says he needs to go to Thailand with some friends.


It’s over girl

The episode ends with Jim bringing Pam to the house he bought from his parents. She loves it! Happy ending.

4). Episode 180; S09E04; Episode Title: ‘Work Bus’; Air Date: 10/18/2012; Written by: Brent Forrester; Directed by: Bryan Cranston.

Overall season 9 was terrible, so naturally this was going to be the worst episode on this short list. After Steve Carell left, I think it could be argued that it wasn’t even the same show anymore. I picked this episode because it was directed by Bryan Cranston, and that intrigued me because I never knew he had any involvement in the series. He still couldn’t save it, however.


Season 9 = fail

At this point in the series, Andy is the manager and Dwight owns the building the office is in. Toby is measuring the electromagnetic field in the office and marking where it’s detected. To mess with Dwight, Jim pops his popcorn so only one or two kernels pop. He then hides the popcorn under Dwight’s desk and asks Dwight to hand it to him. Of course, Dwight notices that only a couple of kernels have popped, and thinks its due to the electromagnetic field. Dwight tells Andy, who gives everyone the week off because of it. Not to lose out, Dwight arranges for a work bus for all the workers to work in so they can’t get the week off.

crew love

The crew

Jim then convinces everyone to pressure Andy to take the bus to get pies. On this ride, Dwight gets madder and madder at Jim for his prank and messing with him all the time. Jim confronts Dwight about his attitude, and Dwight asks him what position him and Pam conceived their child. The two positions he asks Jim are “regular” and “lady on her back”. What could “regular” mean? Doggystyle? This was one of only two laughs for me in this episode. The other was when Dwight stops to pick up a hitch hiker, who says he ditched work today, and it turns out to be Creed, who was suspiciously absent until that point in the episode.


American pie

That is all for today, folks! Leave me some comments and give me your thoughts.

Two Quotes from ‘The Pale King’

I just finished up reading ‘The Pale King’, David Foster Wallace’s last (unfinished) novel. It was a fun read, I definitely recommend it. Especially if you read and liked Infinite Jest please do yourself a favor and read this!


DFW Deep in Thought

As you can expect from DFW, there are many great paragraphs, sentences, and phrases throughout this novel. However, two quotes specifically stuck out to me as significant. They were both very ornately worded, emotionally deep, and true.


IRS Drones

  • The first quote that hit me hard can be found on page 210:

“…my best guess as to his never dispensing wisdom like other dads is that my father understood that advice – even wise advice – actually does nothing for the advisee, changes nothing inside, and can actually cause confusion when the advisee is made to feel the wide gap between the comparative simplicity of the advice and the totally muddled complication of his own situation and path. I’m not putting this very well. If you begin to get the idea that other people can actually live by the clear, simple principles of good advice, it can make you feel even worse about your own inabilities. It can cause self-pity, which I think my father recognized as the great enemy of life and contributor to nihilism.”

What this quote means to me is that sometimes, fathers need to recognize that even though, in hindsight, a situation that their son is going through is straightforward; at the son’s age and maturity level, the situation is 100% complicated.


In these types of situations, DFW is saying less advice is actually more advice. And no advice is actually the best advice. This is because, by making the situation seem so simple in the manner in which the father gives advice to the son, the son will actually feel worse about his ability to deal with the situation.

This, in turn, leads to self-pity. DFW says that self-pity is the enemy of life and contributor to nihilism. Self pity is the enemy of life because it makes life lose all meaning and enjoyment. Nihilism is a philosophy where the individual does not care about anything and just “coasts” along in life. Nihilists never reach their full potential, rather they just take the easiest route through every situation.

  • The second quote that enlightened me can be found on pages 405-406:

“…the universe as an infinite system of neural connections that had evolved, at its highest point, an organism which could sustain consciousness of both itself and the universe at the same time, such that the human nervous system became the universe’s way of being aware of and thus ‘accessible [to]’ itself…”

In my mind, this quote actually seems to be an “answer” to the above quote. This is because DFW is explaining what he believes “the point” to human life is. Which is that humans are the universe’s way of being aware of itself. And vice versa.


The Universe

What this means to me is that, we as humans, have to achieve the most we possibly can in life, and that’s the universe’s way of knowing how great it really is. Additionally, by reaching one’s full potential, a person can realize just how great the universe is.

So, the conclusion I reach from these two quotes is that DFW believed that the point of life is to achieve the most things a person can. This is the opposite of the philosophy of Nihilism.

Maybe DFW struggled with these two extreme’s in his own personal life, and this is a brief glimpse into his inner psyche?

These are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!



Why I Will Go to the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards Before I Die

Just Like the average American male, I am a huge porn fan and I am not afraid to admit it. I am frightened of what Iwould do for a simple clothed picture with my favorite actresses Priya Rai or Asa Akira. If I was given the choice to share lunch with Barack Obama or Lex the Impaler I would pick the latter 1O times out of 10.


Lex the impaler

I recently read Big Red Son (BRS) (1998) by David Foster Wallace (DFW) god rest his soul, an essay on his pilgrimage to the 1998 AVN awards, the annual award show for the best and brightest in the porn industry (it’s the Oscars of the porn industry). I am a fan of the porn genre (‘pornog’ to quote Adam Devine in the masterpiece that is workaholics) but my viewing is confined for the most part to youporn and xhamster; I’m a non paying user of both these sites. I’ve been to an actual porn store on only 3 measly occasions in my 24 year old life. I am sure I had heard of the AVN awards before I encountered the fascinating story that is BRS. However I never really thought twice about looking into the awards, any details or history about them, or physically going to the actual Award show in Las Vegas. Like Shakespeare said, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, and BRS is a prime example of this.


DFW smiling like Mona lisa

Here are my reasons BRS has convinced this porn fan/industry outsider (according to industry lingo i would be considered a ‘mook’ by insiders) to put attending this fascinating award show on his bucket list:

1. The adult software exposition of the international consumer electronics show coincides with the AVN awards every year. The adult software exposition of the consumer electronics show is the annual pornog industry trade show; the public’s main and most significant chance every year to see what’s happening in the industry. Every pornog production company maintains a booth and display at the event. Most of the biggest stars in porn have contracts with one production company and they are usually at their company’s display. This would give me my opportunity to meet and take a picture with my favorite pornog actresses. My goal would be to meet at least 5 of my faves and get a picture. Pictures with my favorite pornog actresses would be one of my most prized possessions, I would put them in my will to be passed on to my closest family member when I pass away.


Priya please be at the expo when I am there I will do anything

Also, I think it would be very cool to meet the male porn stars I recognize. It would be awesome to be able to ask them a few questions and try to figure out what their philosophy on life is. I would also watch them and try to learn how to mimic their style, demeanor, and attitude in my own life. Hey if it worked for them it just might work for me! About this, in BRS, DFW says:
“It is difficult to describe how it feels to gaze at living human beings you’ve seen perform in hard core porn. To shake the hand of a man whose precise erectile size, angle, and vascular structure are known to you.”

2. It’s the perfect opportunity to get an inside view of the social dynamics of the pornog industry. What I would specifically be interested in is the cliques and rivalries involved as well as to learn the “lingo” of the industry. About this phenomenon DFW says, “…in a way that makes it seem like high school. There are cliques, anticliques, alliances, betrayals, conflagratory rumors, legendary enmitities, and public bloodlettings, plus involved hierarchies of popularity and influence.” As just an outsider, a mook, a basic pornog fan, I had no clue that behind the scenes everyone was so vicious to each other. The hierarchy described by DFW is as follows: performers > directors who have performed > directors who have never performed > studio execs and producers > film reviewers and industry journalists > non industry journalists > porn fans AKA mooks. 

DFW discusses a brilliant, as well as true scene of an actress attacking a pornog journalist. Specifically actress Ms. Nici Sterling was not happy about Mr. Harold Hecuba’s review of one of her recent movies. He said, “it was ‘unclear whether she’d win any beauty contests, but she sure could suck cock'”. So Sterling was pissed about this and when she saw Hecuba at the expo, she immediately physically attacked him. If you need more details on the imbroglio, read BRS. The scene sounded very intense, and could have been way worse than it turned out. When I go to the expo/awards I would consider myself luckier than a megamillions winner if I was able to witness this kind of impromptu confrontation. 


Woman getting ready to beat her man's ass

Like all industries, groups, etc the porn industry has probably a small dictionary worth of jargon and technical vocabulary. Going to the event would help me pick up more of the jargon than simply sitting at home watching porn. I think that because I would witness insiders talking to eachother and it would give the language better context; then when I would get home I would be able to use my new words with friends and at work! For example, In footnote 18, DFW introduces some industry jargon and challenges the reader to make a sentence with 8 of these interesting words, so here’s my attempt at this:
The b-girl just finished her enema to get ready for the DP SS, the good old tush and bush, and both the guys have been fluffed so their wood is ready and throbbing; I’m expecting to see them skeet a healthy money-shot right in her face.

3. Attending the actual awards ceremony! DFW’s description of the award ceremony sells it extremely well. It makes me feel like I haven’t existed until I’ve attended one of these things. I guess I could have looked up the specifics of what actually happens at the awards, but I never really even thought twice about looking to it. An interesting detail DFW describes is the outfits the performers, specifically the actresses, arrive in. He describes 2 starlets who arrive in “identical copper colored beaded gowns with myriad lengthwise slits in skirt parts’ fronts and backs and sides, so that when they walk to their table their upper halves look normal and their lower halves seem to be passing through an infinity of bead curtains”. This is just one example of attendees’ outfits but there are many and I think it would be inspirational almost to see so many people who are famous, in my eyes at least, dressed in such a way.

What interests me most about the AVN Awards is it sounds like a parody of the Oscars.  With nude women on stage, porn playing on screens throughout the event, the unpreparedness of presenters, etc. I know I would be beyond entertained. DFW says that the majority of the ceremony is unintentionally funny. For example, winning actors consistently thank their “directors and execs for giving them ‘an opening’ or ‘a shot’ or ‘my big shot’ and seem wholly unaware of the carnal entendres involved.” The ticket ($195 for the 1998 show, obviously probably more now) would be well worth it for this type of bizzarro entertainment. 


They wear less clothes than this, I would presume

Well I hope you found this interesting!  Thanks for reading! I’ll be back sooner next time than I was this time; I hope to take care of some stuff in my life the past few months and haven’t gotten around to blogging.

-ya boy Jules