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Headscratchers: The Office (US)
  • Both openings to this show feature Dwight doing something somewhat prank-ish. In the first opening, which was used for the majority of the show's run, he seemed to be playing around with the shredder (I assume he's just playing because of his really casual posture and the fact that he seems to be shredding credit cards). I initially chalked this up to Early Installment Weirdness, since Dwight might be one of the most law-abiding members of the building. However, the second opening features him using some kind of blowtorch to heat up a metal door handle. When would Dwight ever do this, and what's with his out of character portrayals in the openings?
    • The first is seen in one of the early episodes when Jim is trying to talk on the phone to a client, and Dwight is just shredding stuff to annoy him. I'm pretty sure the second is when he's "teaching" them about fire safety in the episode that aired after the Superbowl. He heated the door knobs to make them think there was a fire, as well as filling the office with smoke.
  • First Stamford, and now Buffalo is closing? Why is it that the Scranton branch is nothing but screw-up after screw-up, and they are still open, especially after the whole Michael Scott Paper Company incident?
    • It's been stated that, despite Michael's quirks and the lax attitude, they still have high sales numbers. Also, the Stamford branch closed because Josh screwed them over.
    • The merger was just that: a merger, meaning that the purpose was to streamline and not that either branch was failing. Of course either location would have worked, but Stamford was chosen because corporate wanted Josh to lead the combined branch. When it was found that Josh would be leaving, there was no reason to move to Stamford. We are never told, but there could have been other factors working in Scranton's favor like location or lower rent costs for the office space, which made it the better location when Josh left.
    • And the Buffalo branch likely closed because of the money they spent to buy out the Michael Scott Paper Company
      • Doubtful. The only real money they spent was on Pam; Ryan got busted down to temp right away, which would mean he makes less, and Michael was taking back the job with the same benefits and such that he would have had anyway. Erin got Pam's old job, so she got the money that would have gone to Pam. The budget just has to increase fifty thousand per year, and if a mere fifty-thousand dollars was all that it took to keep a multi-million dollar business afloat, they're doing worse than they thought.
      • Dunder Mifflin is a company of middlemen, and in an internet world the margins for being one shrink every year. Not only would they be taking back three fresh salaries, but they'd have to keep supplying the paper at Michael's too-low prices until the contracts ran out. Couple that with the fallout from a major fraud indictment in corporate management and that could easily be the tipping point. As for why the Scranton branch stays open and profitable, the Stamford branch was very successful, but when it folded only Jim and Andy stayed on with Scranton. So they inherited all of their clients but almost none of their payroll.
    • Jim was the ninth best salesman in the entire company, Dwight was first, and Michael is one of the best salesmen in Dunder-Mifflin history. They're all very good at what they do.
    • In keeping with one of the theories mentioned below, a foreign television studio produces the show for audiences in a foreign country and pays the Scranton branch for the opportunity, boosting that branch's revenues quite substantially. This aspect of the branch's financial structure may even have contributed to Sabre's acquisition of it.
  • Are they ever planning on airing this documentary? In the British version, all the office footage seemed to be done over a relatively short time frame and the Christmas Special featured the effects of this stuff having been shown on national television. In the American version, the film crew has been there long enough for at least 2 Christmases to have happened, and if any of the stuff has been aired, clearly none of the participants have been watching
    • It's airing right now, and we're watching it!
      • Yeah, I always assumed it was an ongoing TV show. In fact, that's what I thought in the original show.
      • Of course, then the cast could watch the show, which might interfere with their interactions. For example, if Pam saw Jim telling Micheal that he had a crush on her might have affected how she felt about him.
    • The whole mockumentary premise has been stretched beyond the breaking point in the American series by now, and we should basically accept that it has — it's a sort of fourth-wall-breaking framing device but there's no way anymore to presume that the documentary crew really exists in their world. For one thing, it's not just that they've been filming for too long, but they've been filming too much stuff, including stuff that in real life they'd never allow a documentary crew access to. It's implausible in the extreme that Michael would allow the documentary crew to shadow him to the call-center job he's moonlighting at or that the call-center boss would let them in. It's ridiculous that Ryan would be terrified of the cops finding out about his drug-addled apartment parties but have no compunction about letting the crew film him high on coke. There's no way a pathologically distrustful man like Dwight Schrute would let a film crew into his B&B, nor is there any way the film crew would actually be there all night in Jim and Pam's bedroom waiting for something interesting to happen when they wake up. Etc.
      • Starting with the call-center job: Michael's dumb. Bribes. High on coke. Publicity. Next door bedroom. All justified!
      • Although in some instances the notion that there is a film crew present is really a stretch of Willing Suspension of Disbelief, in the case of filming Jim and Pam at Dwight's farm, there was one or two additional room available for them to have stayed in, so it was arguable justified in-universe.
      • I think you really underestimate how far a reality TV crew would go to get a juicy shot like Jim and Pam in bed together.
      • There was a specific shot of Jim closing the door to their room at the B&B with finality when it was really time for bed, a definite acknowledgement that the film crew was accounted for.
      • Another thing, would they really take an airplane to Costa Rica and back, just to get a quick interview with Toby?
    • One of the most obvious questions about the film crew is why no one outside the office seems to really notice or care about the cameras. There's been the odd moment where a non-regular character kind of looks askance at the cameras, but the camera crew follows them everywhere, even to things like (many) sales calls, house showings, going to other offices or visiting relatives, and rarely are the cameras even looked at by these people who, unlike the regulars at Scranton Branch, are not being filmed regularly and have not had time to get used to them. Similarly, visitors to Scranton branch don't stop when they see the cameras and ask why they're being filmed. And none of them show the slightest compunction to watch how they act or what they say when the cameras are on them.
    • Although some of the funniest jokes have interactions with the camera crew. Pam trying to bribe the cameraman into letting her know what's going on between Dwight and Angela spring to mind. Besides who knows, maybe the documentary crew's trying to make the next Hoop Dreams.
      • Lately they seem to have dropped this premise, as the cast hasn't interacted at all with the "crew" in the last few seasons.
      • Some documentaries film for years - take Jon Ronson's "Reverend Death", filmed over the course of six years.
      • One way of trying to explain it is that rather than the boring look at office life the camera crew had anticipated, they found an interesting group of characters and series of events and wanted to see where they were going. Realizing themselves that the show airing could interfere with these events, they decided to turn it into a long term thing, and start filming outside of the office more and more.
      • Yeah, this troper has a feeling that the producer of said documentary found himself obsessed with the characters as we, the audience, are. That still doesn't explain why no one gets too weirded out by the fact that the cameras ARE STILL THERE, but we'll accept it because of the Rule of Funny.
      • Doesn't Pam address this in the first episode of season 9? Once her and Jim finish their talking head, she asks the crew something along the lines of "Why are you still filming us? Surely nothing new or exciting will now happen?" to which the a crew member replies "Well we're following what happens to you guys"
    • The real question is, why didn't the camera crew follow Karen to Utica, or Holly to Nashua, when they clearly followed Pam and Ryan to New York (on two different occasions) and Jim to Stamford?
      • Both of them left under difficult circumstances, so they probably withdrew their consent to be filmed daily.
      • It follows the original, established characters, not the ones who come later.
    • I LOVE the documentary style of The Office, as it's unique film style donates tremendously to the show's originality. That said, I find myself repeated hitting my head against the wall that none of the Dunder Mifflin employees ever watch their own show or even question why a crew is there in the first place. I mean, come on! They're videotaped everyday to a point it could almost be called harassment, and they don't even care. I was hoping that new girl,Erin, or even Scary Black Man Charles might have questioned the filming in a Crowning Moment of Funny... but they didnt?! If anyone watched at least one episode of their own damn show, that would just save so much time for them.
    • This troper just found an article of The Onion that answers all these "documentary based" questions.
    • There's actually a good theory that covers most objections about the realism of the documentary style.
      • "An American Office" is a reality show filmed for a foreign market. This makes sense, as in the American TV market, most "workplace" reality shows are about exotic workplaces. For foreigners, America itself it a somewhat exotic, or at least interesting, place.
      • It's also produced for a country where a relatively minor language is spoken (e.g., Estonian), and has not been translated for other markets.
      • Thus, even though "An American Office" is wildly popular in Estonia, few if any people at Dunder-Mifflin (except corporate legal types) have ever seen the show.
      • So they're not "famous" in America and don't adjust their behavior to play to the camera much, react to being shown in a bad light, etc.
      • It'd be funny if they ran into an excited Estonian tourist who reacts to the Big in Estonia characters: "Is Kevin! Is Kevin!"
      • Confirmed, only in Denmark.
    • Now that David Brent has appeared on the US Office, there's the question of why David reacted to the cameras on the British Office, but didn't seem to react to them on the American Office.
      • Character Development; after his experiences in the British Office, Brent's gotten over his compulsive need to play up to the cameras.
      • Fridge Brilliance; Brent was in the building solely to get on cameras and is attempting to get the job at the US branch to reclaim his on-screen glory.
    • Lampshaded by Michael in his last episode. Even he asks the same question as us. Let us hold our peace henceforth then, guys.
    • Does David Brent's appearance mean that everything in The Office UK happened in this universe, and thus, by pure coincidence, there are two offices with very similar employees, and both offices had nearly the exact same things happening in them one day?
    • The most recent episode has Oscar find the show is about to air in Denmark and sees the promos online, with everything narrated in Danish. Meridith and Angela, in particular, are surprised to learn the crew filmed certain things, Phyllis notes they had no idea what was being filmed, and Oscar likens it to a hidden camera show.

      The office is not impressed, and Pam talks to the fired boom mic operator, who reveals they film everything they can get away with, and is planning on including everything in the finished product, much to Pam's horror.
    • In the finale, the documentary finally aired on PBS.
  • What exactly are the rules the documentary crew follows for not getting involved in the lives of their subjects? They're perfectly willing to conspire with Pam to let her know about Dwight and Angela, but at other times they seem overly dedicated to staying out of things. It's one thing for them to not let Jim and Pam know about their feelings for each other (or even let Andy know that Angela is cheating on him), it's quite another for them to not tell anyone about Roy's threat to kill Jim, Michael's plan to jump off the building, Dwight's incredibly dangerous fire safety drill, Dwight's very serious plot to get Jim fired (if someone actually believed Dwight's story, that's actually something that could make it impossible for Jim to get another job), etc.
    • After finding the documentary's promos, Pam talks with the director - who's basically a total sleazebag - who reveals they've been filming everything they can get away with, esentially invaded everyone's privacy, and are planning on including as much of it as possible.
  • If Michael had to fire someone in that Halloween episode, why didn't he fire Ryan, a temp who hadn't even made a sale?
    • It's because Ryan is hot and Michael has a man-crush on him. Besides, if the company needed to fire an employee to save money firing a temp wouldn't be the same thing.
    • Also, throughout the show, Michael favors Ryan, along with Jim and Darrel because he thinks they are cool and wants to be accepted by them.
    • He might not even have thought of it. He asked around for who to fire, but no one mentioned Ryan.
    • More to the point, temps are usually low-paid, with benefits (if they have any at all) that would be paid for by the temp agency, not Dunder-Mifflin. It's unlikely that letting a temp go would solve the implicit financial problem.
    • Michael wasn't told to fire someone just for the sake of firing someone; it was a financial issue. As a temp, Ryan is paid considerably less than everyone else, and, as mentioned above, was likely not even getting his paychecks from Dunder-Mifflin. Firing him would have been a pointless gesture.
  • Why does Jim go for the big job in New York, when in his own words, he would throw himself in front of a train if his job became his career?
    • Because over the course of two years, Jim's priorities in life changed. Karen had convinced him that success in the company was more important than he thought it was. She was also trying to manipulate him and get him away from Pam.
      • That's a pretty narrow interpretation of Karen. And anyway, they were competing for the same position.
      • It's not without some truth though. The job is in New York, and she said that if Jim got the job she would move to New York with him, and she expected him to do the same for her. So either way Jim leaves Pam behind. It was pretty clear that she was partly motivated by getting Jim away from Pam.
      • It doesn't make her an evil person or even unjustified, but this "narrow interpretation" was all-but-spoken-out-loud on the show. She was clearly shown pressuring Jim on a commitment that he had second thoughts about.
    • It's a good job and he wouldn't be working as a paper salesman, but an executive.
  • Why the hell would Pam, practical, down-to-earth, reasonable, Pam Beesley go off to work with Michael? I get that she was unhappy with her job, but what the hell? And why didn't she rush back afterwards once she realized the mistake she made? Who cares if Michael would feel "hurt" or whatever? She basically just lost all her income.
    • Jim and Pam are getting married soon. That means expenses are being merged into one household. If things work out with the Michael Scott Paper Company, great, two income sources. If not, then hey, they still have enough to get by. It's win-win.
    • How is it win-win? Pam already had a job. Not a great one, sure, but a comfortable job with a stable income and decent coworkers. And Pam's hinted at possibly having kids (back when she was engaged to Roy) and that's the kind of thing you save up for. I doubt Dunder Mifflin salesmen make a lot of money, anyway. Most of the employees live with roommates who they'd split the cost of living with. Michael's got a good life, but he's the boss. I really think the Office jumped the shark on this one.
      • A majority of the employees live with roommates? Are you counting Angela's cats, Phyllis's husband, Stanley's mistress, or Dwight's cousin Mose, who helps Dwight run the family's beet farm? Jim had a roommate early in the series, and you can count Dwight's ... person ... but apart from that I don't think that any of them have roommates.
    • I think it was stated that Pam hates being the receptionist. She really wants to be a salesman - if the MSPC worked out for long enough (which it did, as Michael is not an incompetent salesman himself) she'd have work experience as a salesman and be able to get a job as a salesman with another company.
    • It's also character development. Look at how timid Pam was with Roy, who shot down all of her ideas (like the design school from "Boys and Girls") compared to how Jim has been trying to encourage her to take risks.
    • It might even have been out of pity for Michael, since its been shown that without his friends at the office Michael basically self-destructs.
    • Like the person above me stated, it's character development. Pam has been getting more impulsive and assertive about things and more willing to take risks (the events of Beach Games come to mind). Also, we've been shown moments between Pam and Michael that really solidify their friendship, so Pam quite possibly left out of a sense of loyalty.
    • In that episode, Pam had spent a great amount of time learning their new copier inside and out. It was a huge accomplishment for her, but no one cared, and she herself realized she couldn't be proud of it. She could, however, be proud of being a salesperson.
    • Don't forget, Pam did panic and crawl back to Charles to ask for her job back. He said they'd already replaced her, and then refused her idea of becoming his personal shopper. She had to go back to MSPC as her next best bet.
  • In "Back From Vacation," during the Inventory Luau, Darrell finds an iPod and attached stereo in the warehouse. What is the significance of that iPod, was there a deleted scene?
    • I can't say for certain, but my understanding of that particular bit was that Darrell had previously lost that iPod/stereo combo, and him finding it was adding onto his great day (the previous great thing being the picture Michael accidentally sent out, of course), hence the line "See? I knew he'd turn up! This is the greatest night of my life!"
  • In "Gay Witch Hunt," the first episode of Season 3, Oscar intends to quit his job, but he is convinced to stay when Jan offers him a three month paid vacation in Europe and a company car. Why would Jan do this? The company as a whole is in a difficult financial situation, Oscar is quitting of his own accord and would not need to be paid severance, and it was revealed in an earlier episode that the three accountants of the Scranton branch do work that only requires two people. Yes, Oscar could sue the company, but would the legal fees and punitive expenses in that case really exceed the cost of covering an employee's salary and benefits for the next thirty years (or however long it will be before Oscar retires)?
    • At that point she has feelings for Michael (she reveals them in "Casino Night"), and he would necessarily be fired if it came to a lawsuit. I thought she did it to protect him, rather than Dunder Mifflin.
      • Even a successful lawsuit probably would have cost DM more money than what they offered Oscar, who probably doesn't make much money anyway. Businesses do this all the time.
      • Personal feelings or not, Dunder-Mifflin is still in bad shape financially. Giving him three months vacation with his regular salary (like most normal compaines do) is one thing; but the company to actually give him an all-expenses paid vacation in another country is just asinine.
    • It's possible that they feared negative publicity.
    • Also, remember that Dunder-Mifflin is a badly managed company in many ways. They were probably wasting money in any number of ways on the road to bankruptcy; this could have been just one of them.
    • Additionally, Kevin is generally portrayed as pretty incompetent with accounting. Just because they only need two accountants doesn't mean that he could be one of the two. But it wouldn't make sense that corporate knows he is incompetent or he would have been fired.
      • Also, keep in mind that the audience knows that only two accountants are required, but they never reported that to corporate, so corporate doesn't know they don't need three people.
    • If Oscar sues, his coworkers might decide to follow. Almost everyone in that branch has a good basis for a harassment suit.
    • He was never given an all-expenses paid vacation. He just took the three months of free money and rolled it into a European vacation (which was not specified to be three months long). Gil likely helped pay part of that way also.
  • Why was Holly wearing a Nashua t-shirt at the company picnic when the other HR people (Toby, guy who acts like Toby) were both corporate?
    • Maybe some of Michael's dislike for corporate rubbed off on her, and she didn't want to be associated with them?
    • Toby wasn't with Corporate, he was wearing a gray hoodie but if you look at his collar he's wearing a red Scranton shirt underneath. The only HR person from Corporate was Kendall.
  • I highly doubt that a former VP of a multi-million dollar corporation with a bachellors degree in business wouldn't know what a variable price model is.
    • In fact, he actually had a masters degree by then.
    • That's the joke.
    • This troper always sort of guessed that the drugs Ryan was addicted to sort of messed up his brain. He may know what a variable price model is but he can no longer summon the ability to construct it properly in his head. It seems to fit with his current characterization which is no longer as sane as it once was.
  • Not sure why it's taken so long for someone to ask this — why the fuck hasn't Michael been shot!? or sued!? or at least fired!?
    • He was fired, in Season 5.
      • Perhaps I'm remembering wrong, but Michael quit because Charles wouldn't let him have a 15th Anniversary (with the company) party.
      • 6 of one, a half-dozen of the other. David sent Charles to Scranton to rein Michael in. Michael chafed at it, and when he thought David wasn't taking him seriously, he put in his notice. While running out his two weeks, Michael realized that he had no realistic plan for the future, and tried to start MSPC right in Dunder-Mifflin's offices. Charles discovers it, and fires him.
    • As for the shot or sued parts, "Conflict Resolution" seems to imply that Toby manages to defuse most of the immediate issues people have with Michael before they get that far.
  • Now, I understand B.J. Novak does a lot for the show in real life, but why is he still in the opening credits? Come to think of it, why was he in the credits to begin with? Ryan has been as much of a main character as characters like Kevin and Angela. Not only that, but he wasn't in a good amount of episodes from seasons 4 and 5 (Though 4 is understandable, as he was in New York).
    • He's a writer and co-executive producer.
      • The original poster acknowledged this in saying that Novak does a lot for the show in real life — s/he is referring to how his name comes up among the names of other cast members and how his character appears in the opening credits (not so for other writers and co-executive producers who aren't also cast members).
      • What probably happened, and this is just a guess, is that when Novak signed his contract to appear on/write for the show, they intended Ryan's character to be a much bigger part of it. As the writing/producing process went along they shifted focus from him to others. Usually what'd happen is they'd terminate a star's contract and re-negotiate once they were no longer a main character, but since he is so involved in the production process behind the scenes, they can't terminate his contract without losing that aspect of him as well. So as long as they renew his contract, he'll be in the opening credits. He's never gonna negotiate himself out of the top five. That's money.
      • Novak explained in an interview that he loves the show and wants to continue working with it, but is beginning to lose interest in continually playing "Ryan The Temp", hence his drastically reduced role in later seasons.

  • Sometimes Kevin is just a plain boring guy. Other times he seems to be bordering on the line of mental retardation. Wassupwitdat??
    • I think he has Asperger's Syndrome. He is good with numbers, the accounting and the gambling, but can't interact well with people. You can see this when he has to be the receptionist(his mistakes with the phone lines are because he's nervous), mimicking the Nard Dog "You're so money that you don't even know it" and when he drops insensitive one-liners when people are covering up the truth ("Hi Jan, you look tanned" while her a picture of her sunbaking topless is plastered over the warehouse).
      • Wait, what? Kevin is terrible with numbers, and loses tons of money to his gambling addiction. Michael says he was originally going to be in the warehouse, because he is so terrible an accountant.
      • I thought Kevin was going to be in the warehouse originally, but Michael convinced him to work in accounting instead.
      • The safety episode of the third season in particular showed him to be bad with numbers and number-related gambling.
      • Of course, Michael is the epitome of the Unreliable Narrator... about anything. We can't necessarily trust his memory or veracity abou such things.
      • Actually, he seemed pretty excited to be allowed to be talking to customers when the watermark-crisis required him, Oscar, and Angela to assist Kelly.
      • He has skills, just unrelated to his job. He is a musician and it is heavily implied that he is a pretty good cook.
      • Also, in one episode Kevin flat-out tells Holly he's not "special."
      • He says that because Dwight told Holly that Kevin was 'special' as some sort of joke on Holly as a hazing of the new guy.
      • He's good with mental arithmetic but only when the adding, subtracting, division and multiplication is to do with pies as reveals in the episode "Work Bus".
      • In Scott's Tots Michael reveals that Kevin applied to work in the warehouse but that he hired him for accounting because he had a feeling about him — typical of Michael to make an unsupported decision based on unprofessional whims, usually rooted in the need to be liked. However, there is a diploma hanging in Kevin's workspace for an Associate of Science degree in Accounting from Penn Foster College.
  • It seems that, particularly in the later seasons, the rest of the people in the office can be pretty hostile towards Jim and Pam. Examples of this would be the way they talk about Pam after she becomes a salesperson, or the lack of respect they showed Jim when he was the boss. I mean, you don't have to like all your co-workers, but it seems to get kind of nasty sometimes. This isn't what bugs me though, what bugs me is that despite this, the entire office was present at their wedding, and the entire office was in the hospital when Jim and Pam's baby was being born. Give me a break, these people are acquaintances at the very best, why were they present at these events?
    • The hostility is justified if you consider Jim and Pam's smug nature, passive-aggressive tendencies, and fondness for pulling pranks. Don't forget that Jim and Pam provoked Andy's outburst (which landed him in rehabilitation), for example.
      • Maybe, but at times several of them have enjoyed their pranks or have demonstrated some fondness for Jim and Pam, and their reactions seem out of place. Obviously it was necessary for plot reasons, but I was really struck by how quick everyone was to jump on Jim for the Employee of the Month scheme - he may be an arrogant prankster, but he's never done anything even approaching that level of malevolence, and he's being set up by Dwight, who on at least one occasion ALMOST KILLED ONE OF HIS CO-WORKERS.
    • The wedding, at least, was lampshaded and justified, in that Michael gave everybody some ridiculous vacation-time incentive to anyone who attended. Jim and Pam's plan was to have the wedding in Niagara Falls specifically because they thought it would keep most of the office people away without having to actually "non-invite" them. Thanks to Michael, that plan backfired.
      • Diiiiid you not notice that along with her co workers Pam's personal friends and family members were ALSO taking part in it? It was kind of the ENTIRE wedding party doing this, not JUST the office members. And besides, it was a Rule of Cool moment that was pretty heartwarming.
      • Jim and Pam are (I think) two to the youngest person in the office, there's bound to be some resentment when people younger than you get promoted to your equal or above you.
      • Ryan, Kelly, and Erin are all younger (though Erin is recent, the other two have been here the whole time.)
      • Interestingly, Ryan has already been promoted over everybody once and the end of Season 6 suggested Kelly was going the same route.
    • What kind of bugged this troper was that Jim got treated about as badly in season six as Pam did at the end of Season Five. Yes, he has been promoted above them and people like Dwight think they deserved it more but at least he didn't hurt the rest of them to get it. No, Pam didn't join a rival company and steal their clients out of spite and didn't resent anyone personally until they told her she was unqualified for the sales job, but she doesn't show regret when she found out how things had been. I can understand why someone would be angry about that to the point of a bit of irrationality. Jim's no saint either (and if you are looking for saints, you're watching the wrong show) and Dwight and Ryan have hated him for awhile but as manager he seems to want to put in the effort to keep the branch running smoothly (which is saying something, since he's a [1] character in general) even if he does make boneheaded mistakes at times. It's not as if Micheal has never made a boneheaded mistake; he just gets more sympathy from the employees because they are used to him as a boss (and let's them get away with things like getting drunk on an extended lunch hour). It makes one wonder if Jim might actually get more respect from the others at this point if not associated with Pam.
  • Why everybody loves Jim and Pam. Yes, Dwight and the others can be annoying, but they can really go to extreme measures to seem above the others, to the point of being smug. "We're so normal, everybody else is stupid" is a vibe I'm getting. Hell, a recent episode had them learn Morse Code JUST to mess with Dwight. That seems out of character, it's stooping to Dwight's level.
    • Yeah, because Jim and Pam have NEVER done zany schemes and pranks against Dwight. It certainly wasn't one of the well known parts of the show for the first three seasons or anything.
    • Nah, they do that all the time - Jim especially, but Pam usually joins in too. It's even lampshaded a couple times, with Jim actually saying in camera talk something to the effect of "Man, just think if I spent as much time and effort on my actual job...."
      • This is a bit of a strange one, as the writers seem to have gone out of their way in the last three seasons to have more moments that are critical of Jim or Pam. A great example is when they meet the daycare guy who outright tell the two that they're not as charming as they think they are. Yet at the same time, they both seem to have become bigger jerks more and more in the last three seasons, especially season 6, creating the need for the criticism in the first place. Jim and Pam were a LOT easier to like in the early years then they have been in season 6. That's something that bugs me big time.
      • You've also got the new character (currently being groomed as Michael Scott's successor) telling Pam that she was too dorky for his tastes. And you could tell that he did not mean "dorky" in a cute way ... he meant "dorky" in a bad and offputting way.
    • It could be, that they somewhat resent Jim and Pam for being promoted. It could be issues like why it wouldn't necessarily be good for someone who graduated from a high school to return there as a teacher. Pam was the receptionist and Jim was a salesman. Seeing them promoted to an equal and superior, respectively, to the rest of the staff could cause some resentment.
    • When you say everybody, do you mean the characters or the audience? Because the other characters do not love Jim and Pam. They're just the least defective of the bunch. As for the audience, through most of the early seasons, Jim and Pam acted as audience surrogates - the Only Sane Man who was stuck in a job surrounded by idiots and snarked to get through the day. When Jim and Pam committed to their jobs at D-M and started to join the office crazy, they became less sympathetic over time.
  • If Holly is on a three day retreat in "Lecture Circuit", then why is her sweater on her chair?
    • Oh, that's pretty common. I know a lot of people who keep a sweater or sweatshirt at the office pretty much just to wear there when needed due to the vagaries of office air conditioning.
  • In the drug testing episode of season 2, Dwight says he generally likes his coworkers with four exceptions. Obviously Jim is one, and probably Ryan because of jealousy, but who would be the other two? He never seems to catch Pam's involvement in the pranks, and he turned to her instead of the other women when he wanted feminine advice, so I don't think she would be one. And I don't remember him having major conflicts with anyone else through the second season (and I just watched the first 2 seasons).
    • As I recall, this was before "The Coup" when Dwight was still Michael's sycophant. So I'd guess the other two would be Toby, because Michael hates him, and Stanley, because he's clearly not committed to D-M and insubordinate.
    • For some reason, I seem to recall him saying something about disliking Meredith. The same for Kevin. Of course, it's Dwight, at that point in time the only people you could tell he cared about were Michael and Angela.
      • ^^It was the Moroccan Christmas party episode where Dwight says he likes Meridith to the group during the intervention, then reveals in the talking head that in fact he does not like Meridith, but was bluffing because he wanted to end the intervention. I agree with Ryan, Jim, and Meridith; Stanley, Kevin and Toby are good possibilities for the last one.
  • Pam lying to get a better salary in "Counseling" just because she's not so great at sales. If she has such balls, why doesn't she just apply it to her clients?
    • Because Gabe is a spineless idiot, and her clients are not.
    • I think the bigger issue there is why Pam thinks she can get away with that kind of fraud when she KNOWS THE CAMERAS ARE FOLLOWING HER.
      • That generally plays into the idea that the show isn't aired in its own universe's United States. Either it's only shown abroad or it's never shown at all, but the characters in general reveal way more information to the cameras than they ever would if they were going to be seen later.

  • Why did everyone act like they have never seen a limo before in "Shareholder Meeting"? Especially Andy, who is supposed to be filthy rich. Only reason I can think of is that he was making limos seem special to him just to kiss Michael's ass and get a day off.
    • Not every rich person has a limo you know. And if Andy is rich enough to have a limo/have ridden in one growing up, then why doesn't he have a higher paying position?
      • Andy comes from a wealthy family and had a very privileged upbringing, and it has been hinted that his family still takes care of him to some degree; that doesn't mean he's a good salesman.
  • Why would Andy propose to Angela, or even keep dating her; a woman who shows zero affection or interest in him. Is it the challenge? This leads on to me questioning why does Angela even agree to marry him or continue dating him, she's a strong woman with strong beliefs, why would she stay in a relationship for the sake of it? To make Dwight jealous? Maybe, but then she sleeps with him a few hours after the proposal anyway.
    • Not sure about Andy. I guess those are just some of his traits: he falls in love easily (he asked Jim for dating advice for nearly every woman in the office), and he persistently goes the extra mile for them (playing the guitar for Pam, giving Erin the 12 days of Christmas) even when they don't seem to return his affection. For Angela it seems that at first it was about both making Dwight jealous and trying to convince him she was over him. However,she still has feelings for Dwight, which is why they sleep together the first time. In one episode (sorry, can't remeber the name) it's noticeable that Angela sleeps with Dwight every time Andy is really annoying her. However, she gets attached to Andy too, and in that same episode when Andy (who's planning the wedding) does something nice for her, we get a shot of Dwight in the warehouse waiting for Angela, but she doesn't show up. Eventually, hse's so confused and conflicted she's not sure who to choose in "the Duel".
    • As Phyllis said in Crime Aid, Angela's not a big risk-taker and Andy isn't a real risk. She's got her safety net (Andy) and her secret bad boy (Dwight). Angela is judgmental of everyone except herself and has never considered that what she did was wrong, and we know this isn't her first time, as another duel was fought over her in the past. Angela took what was offered her from both men without thinking twice about her own role in it.
    • Andy is something of a stereotype of an upperclass, ivy-league WASP from Connecticut. A cold, indifferent, petite blonde with a CPA is probably the type of woman his mother always wanted him to marry.

  • Going back to the reactions to the limo, why was Oscar saying it was a disgusting example of the company's reckless spending in a way that it was implied that we were supposed to agree with him? Car services routinely send out fancy limousines for the same price as a towncar when they run out of the latter.
    • I figured he was referring to the fact that they sent a car (and a driver) at all when it's already known that driving to New York isn't all that difficult. Michael was a lowly branch manager. Sending a car for him was a waste. He could have driven.
    • He's also on record as saying renting the hall for a presentation to the stockholders was a waste of money, so either the writers don't know what they're talking about, or he doesn't.
    • And this season, it's been established that Oscar is something of a know-it-all (and indeed has earned the nickname "Actually.") As any troper should know, though, such self-assurance isn't necessarily accompanied by being right, though.

  • In the episode where Jim leaves Michael at a gas station, Michael asks to use the gas store clerk's cell phone. When Michael remarks, "Oh, you don't have any of my numbers on speed dial.." the clerk takes the phone back. Why didn't he just call his own phone if he knew it was missing? Jim would've answered it and explained the situation to Michael. Doesn't Michael know his own number?
    • I don't...
      • A salesman would be pretty silly not to know his own phone #. What if he runs out of business cards?
      • This is no ordinary salesman. This is Michael Scott. He may be great at sales, but it's totally in character for him to not know his number.

  • I just didn't got the whole thing with Jim being kicked out of Angelo's Inner Circle for saying some people perceived it as sexist, and then being readmitted after Pam complained about the noise. I get that she complained in purpose to have Jim readmitted, I guess by turning herself again into a target of hate... or something.... I just don't get the logic of it.
    • I gathered that Deangelo realized that it was Pam pushing Jim to bring it up, and so it wasn't Jim's fault. But in the next scene Deangelo injures himself, so we didn't really have time to see the ramifications.

  • Why was Andy so upset about the Stanford branch closing? He comes from a wealthy family so he didn't need the job and later episodes indicate that he isn't all that good of a salesman. Then he moves to Scranton, away from his family and most of his friends in Connecticut to keep his job. It just seems like a lot to go through for no real reason.
    • While Andy's parents seem well-off I've never gotten the impression that they are so rich that he never needs to work again. As for the Stamford issue, Andy's original characterization was as a Dwight-like Yes-Man. He had (in his mind) climbed all the way up to Josh's #2 man before the rug got pulled out from under him, forcing him to start over.
    • His relationship with his parents seems distant at best, so it wouldn't a stretch for them to be unwilling to support him financially for life.

  • What happened with Erin in the episode on the 6th of October, in 2011? She got dark when Jim and Dwight were dismissive of Kevin trying to suggest they grease the boxes of paper and slide them to the truck (assuming that was what he originally meant to suggest, and they later changed the plan to greasing the floor instead).
    • Hi, welcome to the joke!
      • It seems that that (along with a couple of minor incidents in the following few episodes) was foreshadowing to the Christmas party episode, and not necessarily just a joke of incongruity.

  • What is the deal with Robert California? It feels like he's being plastered in each script when it wouldn't really make a difference if he was there or not. The show keeps pushing him, making him look like a wise old master of the buissness who takes away from Andy trying to take control and learn to manage himself.
    • To me it seems he is what Michael, or even better David Brent, would have become eventually. A man convinced he is some kind of business guru/wise old master, when in reality he's just full of it and has simply picked up a knack for convincing people he is what he believes he is. And I think they have him there to give us the jerk boss the show was built around, but that Andy can't be.

  • Why does Robert California, the CEO of Sabre, who now runs this enormous company, spend all of his time still hanging out at the Scranton branch?
    • Is there the implication that he just happens to live in or near Scranton (hence him interviewing for Michael's old position in the first place?) and pays special attention to this branch just because it is conveniently located?
      • The episode "Pool Party" shows that it was indeed largely because his house was close to Scranton.

  • How did Jim prank Dwight in "Garden Party"? Even if I accepted that Jim was crazy enough to write/adapt a book on garden parties and bind a copy just to prank Dwight, how would he find the time? They only knew about the titular party less than a week in advance because Andy staged it on short notice to upstage his brother.
    • The Office is starting to take on a reality level akin to that of The Flintstones.
    • During one of his talking heads, Dwight points out that he has wanted Shrute Farms to break into the high end of "Bed Hosting Industry" for some time, so it's likely that Jim knew about this since Dwight likes to brag about this kind of thing. The whole thing with the book probably happened some time before, but only became relevant during this episode in which Andy hired Dwight to be the host of that party. The joke is clearly not a brick joke and was written for the episode, but within the show it's perfectly reasonable that the book was one of the jokes Jim has invested in, hoping for it to pay in the future.

  • What exactly is Gabe's job? Seems like the only thing he really does is micro-manage Michael. And after Michael leaves, he's more or less just...there.
    • He's a "management supervisor" (quote mine), the sort that handles messages from upper management and acts as their spy on the middle management... I think. It's not so much "since Michael left" as it is "since Robert California took over".
    • His role made more sense when Sabre initially took over D-M Scranton - they were a new acquisition, so they sent a junior exec to oversee the transition, which should be significant since they went from re-selling paper products to being an internal distributor for an electronics OEM. Once the changeover had largely occurred, his role was rather superfluous but it wouldn't surprise me if they left him in Scranton because he was annoying.
    • Answered in the most recent episode: He handles whatever dirty jobs senior management doesn't wish to be bothered with.

  • The addition of a commission cap in a "" just kinda bugged me. Back in "New Leads", a huge deal was made out of Sabre's "Sales is King" policy, giving them no commission cap, large amounts of swag, and spending a ton of money to obtain new client leads for them. Yes, businesses can change their policies, but suddenly delivering a massive "Fuck You" to the entire sales staff out of nowhere, not even bothering to tell them so they would only find out when they get screwed over by it, and then shrugging off protests when they find out just seems like much too stupid a move for Jo to try and pull.

  • In "The Manager and the Salesman", I was kinda bugged by the conversation Jo had with Michael and Jim about how she sees that they were two guys doing one job. The problem there is that the arrangement was made in the wake of Scranton merging with two other branches, meaning that a more accurate assessment is that they are two guys doing three jobs(especially considering David Wallace established that no clients were lost over those mergers, meaning that they were still dealing with three branches's worth of business). It just strikes me as odd that neither Michael nor Jim would bring this up, and that Jo would be completely unaware of this, considering how the Scranton branch's success is the whole reason she bought it in the first place.
    • It's not uncommon for new management to take a reductionist view of a workplace they've inherited and believe that they can do more with less through shrewd management, ignoring the actual history and precedent of the company.

  • Similar to the scene just above, when Charles Minor is in Scranton, there is a conversation where Jim is trying to convince him that he isn't a complete goof-off, citing his position as Assistant Regional Manager, only for Charles to throw the Assistant to the Regional Manager card at him. Considering Jim got that position from Corporate and got a pay raise from it, Charles should know full well that it's not as made up as he's trying to claim it is. Even worse is when Charles asks Jim what new responsibilities came with the job, and Jim can't come up with an answer. We know his job came with extra responsibilities, Jan told him so - back when she was still sane, mind you - and it wouldn't make sense for Jim to be caught off-guard by the question, considering demonstrating his responsibilities and his ability to take them seriously is the entire reason the conversation is taking place. I can see what the idea behind this scene was - Jim winding up in the same position as the people he most frequently mocks - but the execution makes absolutely no sense, and makes the writers look like idiots more than it does Jim.

  • Did Jim drive home drunk in "Pool Party?" They never show exactly how full or empty his bottle of wine is, but seeing how drunk Oscar, Toby, Ryan, and Gabe clearly became, and assuming Jim drank every time there was a toast, he'd have to be at least buzzed. And that's....really not cool. And he clearly ran over something while driving away from Robert's house.
    • I think normally, Jim would totally agree. He was just that desperate to get out of there!
    • As far as the clumsy escape, he did mention earlier that Meredith had him blocked in, so a graceful exit was simply not an option.

  • How did Pam get past security to say goodbye to Michael without a boarding pass? Furthermore, how did the camera crew get access to that area? Normally, cameras aren't allowed anywhere near TSA checkpoints.
    • Pam wasn't supposed to be in that scene; Jenna Fisher ran onto the set on her own and it was decided to Throw It In, so the logic of the scene was probably not given much thought. Chalk it up to Rule of Heartwarming.

  • From the episode "Special Project," where did Kathy get the idea that Jim and Pam don't have a good marriage? They spent almost the entirety of that episode basically hanging out together with Pam dutifully trying to help Jim compose the perfect text message. And in "Jury Duty" the whole office found out that Jim took extra time off to stay at home with her and their children. Kathy saying that just seemed so out of nowhere and forced that it got me wondering whether the actress who plays her has a contract or something and they just needed something to do with her. In any case, I am seriously not looking forward to future plot points with her.
  • David Brent's appearance indicates that the UK and US offices exist in the same universe. Given this, wouldn't somebody notice the extreme similarities between people and events in the two workplaces? Especially since the first episodes of the two documentaries were almost exactly the same?
    • Who would notice?
    • Fans of reality television? Probably british ones, because American programs are more likely to air in the UK than vice versa.
      • According to Michael's last line before departing the show, the American version has never aired. Besides, what would someone do if they did see them both? Conclude that they were scripted and turn them off.
      • This raises an interesting question. Are they scripted? In-universe, I mean? The American show has branched off a lot from the original, but in the beginning they were virtually identical. I mean, come on, what are the odds of that?
      • I would say, no, they are not scripted.
      • The reason being? You shouldn't just leave it at that, give us a reason you feel that way. MST 3 Kmantra be damned, it's fun to get a debate going over meaningless crap like this.
      • I would argue that by bringing David Brent in it means the two must exist in the same universe. The attitude of the show is clearly that the characters don't realize this, at least there is 0 evidence to support it. There's 0 evidence to support that David Brent is aware of the activities in the DM office, because really he's the only one who could be expected to put it together. The way it's been left (and I really doubt they'll come back to this) is that yes, these two reality shows/documentaries are of two separate paper selling offices in the same universe, in two separate countries, each with an employee whose stapler gets put in yellow jello. To me it takes away from the realism which is why i was not a fan of Brent's cameos. I think it just has to be accepted, as unbelievable as it is.

  • Was believing the insurance salesman in "Mafia" to be a gangster entirely unreasonable? I mean sure, just because he fits the mobster stereotype doesn't mean he is one, and assuming he's a full-blown criminal is a leap in logic, but a lot of what he said came across as thinly-veiled threats, and he was definitely a pushy guy one shouldn't be faulted for feeling a tad uncomfortable around.
    • Some salesmen are pushy; as a former salesman I can firmly say that some people need to be pushed into making a purchase, and insurance IS one of those things that many people don't think about needing. Him playing into the idea of being a mafioso is the entire point of that plotline, because none of them had ever seen a real mafioso, so they were basing it off of what they'd see on TV.

  • Putting aside the fact that the whole ancestry thing was a hoax, when Andy shares with the rest of the office that he's a distant relative to Michelle Obama, Oscar's immediate theory is that Andy's family owned slaves. Perhaps I missed something, but couldn't the possibility stand that some of Andy's family could've just had interracial marriages?
    • Or better yet, why they cared that much about it?
    • Because the writers are actively trying to make Andy look like a horrible person now. They apparently believe that way, we'll forget about the crap Nellie pulled last season and finally actually like the show's resident Creator's Pet.
    • It wasn't an outlandish idea, to be fair. Andy's family was already established to be older, rich, and southern.
    • If the relations are that distant, the common relative would be from long before interracial marriages were common, or even legal, in the US.

  • How is it that Dwight hasn't been fired for gross misconduct? While Jim's pranks can at time be downright mean spirited, they're generally harmless, and he's never attempted to get Dwight fired, demoted or otherwise in serious trouble with superiors. Dwight, on the other hand, has done all that and more. He's tried to get Jim fired repeatedly, changes Jim's plans for the Employee of the Month to make it seem like he was trying to give himself the award (plus ordering a cake with Jim's face on it), then give Pam the award, and collecting for an employee bonus without authorization, then filed numerous bogus complaints under co-workers' identities to get Jim demoted from Manager, put a bag over Meridith's head to catch a bat, resulting in her getting rabies, announced personal medical files in a meeting, almost kills an co-worker, performs an extremely dangerous fire safety drill, destroys a CPR dummy costing the company $3500, and, most recently (2012 Halloween), after finding an anxiety pill, tried to find out who was diagnosed with anxiety. So, how exactly is he still employed?
    • First off many of your complaints (Jim & Employee of the month, trying to get Jim fired, trying to get Jim demoted) are all sort of fair game when Jim pranks him as much as he does. The way I see it, you can either be empathetic to Jim or Dwight and you're clearly in the former camp.
      • That's no reason to write this off as nothing. You're assuming that All Crimes Are Equal, which any sane person will tell you is not the case. Mildly annoying someone every so often, even if in an absurd and elaborate way, doesn't hold a candle to trying to get someone fired in a way that will ensure no other employer will even touch them with a 10-foot pole ever again, committing fraud, and physically assaulting someone multiple times in a single day. You can be empathetic to Dwight if you like, but you can't ignore the obvious fact that Jim has standards, Dwight does not; when Dwight is going through genuine problems, Jim tends to back off, or even switch around to being nice to him. Dwight, on the other hand, actively tries to ruin Jim in very serious ways.
    • I don't even see how some of these complaints would cause a dent in Toby's HR file (which I doubt he even keeps and that is why Dunder-Mifflin is so wacky anyways. For instance, the anxiety pill thing in the last episode wasn't really anything that was particularly wrong from a company standpoint except it's massive time theft (which everyone seems to be doing anyway. Also, no one was really aware of Dwight's suspicions except Nellie. And how would putting a bag over Meredith's head be firable? Would Meredith file an assault complaint? Also, Dwight has a lot of seniority and can make sales.
      • ...are you even listening to yourself? Putting and holding a plastic bag over someone's head is a very well-known way to suffocate someone to death. The anxiety pill thing in and of itself isn't cause for legal trouble, but it can open the floodgates to a whole series of very costly lawsuits were Dwight to let slip who those pills belonged to. Not to mention the series of Dwight's much less defensible actions that you've conveniently ignored.
      • And that bag contained a bat, which gave Meredith rabies.
    • And in "Stairmaggedon", Dwight shoots Stanley with three bull tranquiliser darts to get him downstairs. Not only is this definitely against the company's violence as well as drug and alcohol policies, Stanely could sue Dwight blind for assaulting him with tranquilisers and could force the company to pay Stanely's medical bills in the ensuing drug addiction to tranqiliser darts.

  • Why are they trying to derail Andy for the sake of bringing Pete and Erin together? He almost lost his job just so he could bring her back from Florida, whether or not you support this shipping it's obvious that they should be more dedicated to each other. Are they going to derail Pete so she gets back with Andy? That would be just as bad as whats going on here.
    • What's worse is that Pete's personality is sort of Andy-like. He's better looking (subjective, and he can't help it anyways), less insecure (should have overcame that by now), and no anger management issues (also should have been overcome), but they share similar quirks.
    • The moment this subplot fell apart for me was the massive Jerkass moment that was Erin barging into Andy's office and telling him to "get over it" like a spoiled teenager. This apparently setting aside the fact that she spent most of the last season being a selfish jerk who repeatedly tried to derail Andy and Jessica's relationship, eventually accomplishing exactly that.
    • Ellie Kemper (Erin's actress) stated that Erin's relationship with Pete was suppose to transition her maturity. Would have been a nice idea if Pete was introduced earlier. My other problem with Pete is that he's not giving us much of a reason to care about his character (I will say the same exact thing about Clark) while Andy had at least 6 seasons worth of development.

  • The writers putting Jim and Pam's marriage through the wringer seems like a really transparent way to avoid the Relationship Ceiling. Since the moment they got together they've been totally in sync with one another, but now out of the blue their relationship is crumbling. Jim lying about his new business prospects and becoming a subsequent Jerkass, Pam wanting nothing to do with Philadelphia, and the ultimately pointless love triangle teased with Brian the sound guy that lasted all of two episodes.... It's not that I don't buy the idea that Jim and Pam could ever fight, it just seems like they're trying to cram five years of marital problems into the span of just a few episodes just for the drama.
    • True Art Is Angsty seems to have played a part. And angsty episodes like Customer Loyalty rather predictably got good critical reviews, partly because of the fight, so using that trope worked on critics (except the sound guy romance was still seen as a bit much).
    • Pam complaining now years later about Jim buying their house without telling her. You know, the "I love it" one with her own art studio that Jim set up for her? What the hell, Pam?
      • To be fair, Pam was probably too much in shock (both good and bad) and she didn't want to be rude about it. It's also an apt counterargument to "How dare you sell our house without telling me?"
    • I assumed it was a callback to PB&J's attitudes/characters back in season 2-4 (when the most angst in their relationship happened). Jim wants to have more out of life, while Pam had grown complacent in her marriage. Season 8 also had Jim mention different jobs he would not mind having, including among them owning his own business (selling bicycles or something?), and this was supposed to be a natural growth out of his character development. In S 9 E 1 he even shows some level of shock when Pam says that nothing exciting will happen to them for a long time. It doesn't forgive the writers rushing it, but it might help explain some things.

  • I'm confused, why is everybody congratulating Dwight on becoming Regional Manager when the last time he had that role, he was a complete fascist about it?
    • My guess is that everyone's acknowledged that he's matured since then and by now would be more up to the task.
  • How was Dwight able to get rid of Toby when Michael couldn't?

  • So does Phyllis ever find the kid she gave up? Or was that just another aborted arc?
    • Not even really an arc. Just a red herring in Erin's arc.

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