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Series / The Office (US)

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"An office is a place to... live life to the fullest. To the max. To... an office is a place where dreams come true."note 
"The people that you work with are just, when you get down to it, your very best friends."
Michael Scott

Based upon the British version, the American adaptation of The Office ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013. Set at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company, the series starred Steve Carell as office manager Michael Scott; also featured in the cast were Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, and Ed Helms, with (for a while) James Spader.

The show started out as a fairly straightforward Cultural Translation and initially received a generally skeptical-to-unfavorable reception, but soon came into its own as it moved away from the original's awkward, cringe-inducing brand of humor and towards more of an absurdist style, and quite notably focused on the rest of the office workers to a far greater degree than the original. In the UK (where it's subtitled An American Workplace to avoid confusion with the original), it has — shaky start notwithstanding — been much better received than most American remakes.

The American Office went on to become one of the most acclaimed comedies of its era, winning accolades in particular for the performances of Carell and the rest of the cast. It also spawned Parks and Recreation, a very similar Work Com set in the public sector rather than the private, and a further Spiritual Successor with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a Police Procedural comedy. It was also notable as one of the first network TV shows to really embrace the internet and video streaming, beginning with special edited versions of episodes made available after airing, then extending to a number of web-only mini-episodes.

With quite a few classic episodes, and as the subject of endless Memetic Mutation, the show has proven to be enduringly popular. It holds the title of the most streamed show in the history of Netflix (though it moved to the NBCUniversal streaming platform Peacock at the start of 2021).

There are two different Podcasts about the show's history hosted by cast members: Office Ladies (Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey) and The Office Deep Dive (Brian Baumgartner; Fischer and Kinsey have both made guest appearances).

Not to be confused with Office Space, a much darker comedic take on American office work, or with the 1995 Valerie Harper CBS sitcom of the same name (which, since it only ran six episodes, was quickly forgotten anyway).

This show contains examples of:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Happens in various ways. Michael tends to barrel forward with almost any crush he has, often going straight to borderline Stalker with a Crush. Kevin is like this with just about any female, sometimes even admitting when something turns him on.
    • Meredith seemingly had a crush on Jim and made a few awkward hints in that direction (she asked him alone to sign her pelvic cast after Michael hit her with his car), but it isn't uncommon for her to make blatantly sexual advances towards men. She exposed her breasts to Michael in Season 2's Christmas party, aggressively flirted with several minor male characters, and did a sexual dance up against Darryl on his last day in Scranton.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • In "Casino Night", Toby reveled in having won money from Michael, and said he was going to chase that feeling. This was supposed to be the start of a storyline about Toby developing a gambling addiction, but it ended up not happening.
    • Season 4 was clearly setting up a Jim-yearns-for-more arc (probably to mirror the major Character Development arc Pam had gone through the year before) but the season was cut short due to the writer's strike. The ninth season had Jim re-address this issue.
    • Every time a Romantic False Lead is introduced for Jim or Pam following season 4 on, nothing ever comes of it. This included the characters of Alex, Pam's flirtatious Art School classmate who tries to keep Pam in New York. Cathy, who hits on Jim in one episode after a season of hanging out in the background and then was Put on a Bus. And Brian, the boom mic guy, who appeared to have been in love with Pam for years only for nothing to happen. The character of Jordan was originally meant to be another Romantic False Lead, but not only did she disappear after three episodes, most of her scenes ended up being cut from the episodes in question.
    • Paul Lieberstein has admitted that Jim's demotion back to Assistant Regional Manager, after being promoted half a season earlier was a result of poor audience response to the change and Dwight's resulting plot to seriously get him fired. This meant that the Ryan-Dwight alliance established at the end of Scott's Tots led to nothing, as the Jim plot ended four episodes later.
    • The romance between Dwight and Isabel is another example. The last episode she appeared in left it looking like they were simpatico.
    • In season 6 Oscar develops a crush on a blonde warehouse worker named Matt. Despite some initial awkwardness between them, the show seems to be alluding that this will eventually go somewhere, and Oscar even claims that he’s playing the “long game,” or words to that effect. Despite this, the romantic subplot is dropped after only two episodes and Matt never appears again.
    • Erin's foster brother Reed only appears in one episode, which builds up his rather creepy attitude towards the oblivious Erin as a stumbling block between Andy and her getting together. Though the Andy-Erin romance remains an important story for years afterwards Reed is never so much as mentioned again.
    • In the season 6 finale, Andy finds himself in trouble after the IT guy denounces him as the one who told the press about Sabre printers being defective, with everyone except for Erin turning their back on him and Jo being out for blood. Come season 7 premiere, all is forgotten.
    • The wife of Robert California only appears on one episode, at the end of which Andy unknowingly makes a date with her, this is never addressed again.
    • "The Farm," which was written as a backdoor pilot for a new spin-off centered on Dwight, ended with him inheriting his Aunt Shirley's farm in her will, and him convincing all of his visiting relatives to stay and help him run it. Since the pitch ended up being rejected by the network, this storyline was dropped after the episode and the farm is never seen again. Dwight owning the farm does get mentioned in passing in the last few episodes, and some of his relatives ended up making cameo appearences in the finale. The main influence the episode had was establishing his relationship with Esther prior to the penultimate episode where he proposes to Angela.
  • Above the Influence:
    • Pam would've done anything with Jim (and even kisses him before he can react) in "The Dundies," but Jim just makes sure she gets her ride home.
    • Jim also displays this in "After Hours" when Cathy makes unwelcome advances towards him: Avoiding her, inviting Stanley to join them, tricking Dwight into the room, gently rebuffing her, and finally asking her to leave outright (having also tricked Dwight into the room again to make sure she leaves).
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The documentary format can raise the question of just how long these people are going to keep filming before they have a finished product. And if it's a TV show in-universe as well, apparently none of the characters actually watch it. Fans tend to let it go for the sake of the jokes.
    • Lampshaded in "Goodbye, Michael", when Michael asks the camera crew to let him know if the show ever airs.
    • In the final season Dwight has a similar lampshade moment when, when meeting covertly with his criminal friend, he offhandedly mentions that he's "been followed around everywhere by a documentary crew for nine years, but I think we're in the clear."
    • Another point to consider is that it's a multi-angle documentary, but no cameras or crew are ever seen on camera, even when the shot immediately switches directly across the room.
      • Even stranger is the lack of reaction to the cameras. This, of course, is not a problem within the office itself, as the longer they go on being filmed, the more used to the camera's presence the staff become, but what about when they go to a social function, sales call, or any other location where they will be around people who are not expecting cameras? Rarely, if ever, do others seem to acknowledge the cameras at all, even going as far as to say things or engage in behavior that they would never say or do if they knew others would see it.
    • Some fan theories make it a foreign production on American office life and is not aired in the US.
    • In the latest episode, Oscar finds out the show is starting to air in Denmark, narrated in Danish, and is more or less a hidden camera show. Everyone watches the promos, shocked at what has been filmed and mentioning they had no idea they were being filmed half the time, or that certain footage was included. Pam talks with Brian the fired boom mic operator, who reveals they've been filming a lot of private moments over the past ten years. Thought the sound quality issues are hand-waved away (Brian says they use parabolic microphones that can record from very far away), it's still quite implausible that the cast was unaware they were being filmed in some very small or intimate settings. But hey, it's a comedy.
    • And now, near the end of the final season, the documentary has finally aired on PBS.
  • Accidental Marriage: Angela and Andy arrange to host their wedding at Dwight's farm. During a walk through, Dwight has a local German-speaking Amish minister perform a "mock" ceremony with himself as the groom. Subverted in that, until Dwight pulled this stunt, Angela was carrying on an affair with him and had finally decided to leave Andy.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Hey, Big Tuna!
    • Michael liked to apply unintentionally offensive nicknames, usually for mnemonic purposes.
      Michael: Shirty, mole, lazy eye, Mexico, baldy, sugar boobs, black woman. I have taken a unique part of who you are, and I have used that to memorize your name. Baldy, your head is bald. It is hairless. It is shiny, it is reflective like a mirror. "M," your name is Mark.
    • Similarly... "D! W! I! G! H! T!"
    • Meredith's son also took to calling Dwight (Mr. Schrute) "Mr. Poop."
    • Andy gives Clark a variety of nicknames, but he's mostly known as Dwight Jr. or New Dwight.
    • Andy had also taken to calling Pete "Plop" so often that he forgot his real name and didn't realize he was the Pete that was dating his ex-girlfriend.
  • Accidental Truth: Michael learns about Stanley's affair, and instantly uses it as break room gossip. To cover up his mistake, he spreads a bunch of lies to make sure the truth isn't believed. One of the lies was to say Pam was pregnant, which Pam and Jim had found out recently was true.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • When Michael thinks Dwight has betrayed him to Charles (Idris Elba), he checks him for a wire in the parking lot.
    • Creed gets several of these.
      • In "Money" Creed reveals that whenever he gets into debt he dumps it all on his alter ego, "William Charles Schneider": Creed Bratton's real life birth name.
      • Furthermore, in "A Benihana Christmas", Creed can be seen singing "Spinnin' and Reelin'", a song by Creed Bratton.
      • In a deleted scene from "Booze Cruise", Creed talks about being the lead guitarist of the 1960's folk group the Grass Roots (best known for their hit "Let's Live for Today"), which Creed Bratton actually was. The finale outright confirms this connection.
    • In "Cafe Disco", Michael lip-syncs to "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)", just like Steve Carell did during the end credits of Evan Almighty.
    • In "Whistleblower", while reviewing the contents of the employees' computers for evidence of the leak, Jo takes it upon herself to take a quick skim of Toby's novel and offers her feedback.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • After Michael hosts a "Roast Me!" where everyone's insults leave him in tears and out of the office for a day, he comes back with his usual brand of rather insulting comments he thinks are hilarious. No one is impressed, until Michael tells Stanley "You crush your wife during sex and your heart sucks. Boom, roasted." Stanley actually seems to legitimately think this is hilarious, and it gets everyone else laughing at their roasts to cheer Michael up.
    • In "Happy Hour" when Andy and Erin discuss the progress of their relationship as talking heads, Andy unfolds the window blinds to see Kevin making childlike gestures and laughing. He quotes this trope word for word while giggling with Erin.
    At least I didn't win Smelliest Bowel Movement, like Kevin.
  • Adaptation Drift: The Office (UK) was a vicious satire of Work Coms, using its mocumentary format to contrast the TV fiction of working in a quirky office for a wacky boss with the reality of how excruciating that would be in real life. This adaptation started off as a carbon copy of the original, but it drifted over time into a show about how much fun it is to work in a quirky office for a wacky boss.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Jennifer and Neil from the UK series were set up as antagonists for David Brent, but at the same time they were clearly just trying to run a business and are personable enough to not be hated. Compare this to Jan and Neil's US counterparts (Josh, Ryan and Charles), all of whom have serious character flaws that would put their professionalism up for question.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original had 14 episodes, whereas this one had 201. The Stamford merger is a much larger plot point in Season 3 than the Swindon merger in the original UK series. Furthermore, the Will They or Won't They? between Jim and Pam lasts considerably longer than the one between Tim and Dawn. Dwight's quest to be made manager lasts for many seasons, whereas his counterpart Gareth gets the job much earlier.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Michael is a constant offender. If he ever learns a lesson, expect it to be long forgotten by the next episode.
    • Dwight tends to alternate between playing this straight and double subverting it. Throughout the show's run, Jim constantly pulls pranks on Dwight relying on Shmuck Bait that Dwight rarely ever thinks twice about falling for. However, on a number of occasions, Dwight has learned his lesson about trusting Jim, except that these occasions are usually when Jim is actually trying to help Dwight or otherwise be nice to him. A great example is when Dwight is working alongside Nellie to put together a Sabre retail store. Jim hears from Robert California that he's going to torpedo the project and fire Dwight, but Jim's attempts to warn Dwight himself about it are ignored, as Dwight simply brushes it off as another attempted prank.
    When I'm about to do something I stop and say to myself "Would an idiot do that?" And if they would, I do not do that thing.
    • A possible example by Andy in "Doomsday". For background, remember when Sabre took over and informed the salesmen that they have no commission cap; the salesmen let loose their A game and sales skyrocketed. In "The Incentive", a mere four episodes ago, Andy got the office to double profits in a fairly short period of time - despite them previously claiming that doing this at all was impossible - thanks to his "Tattoo My Ass Initiative". In short, lesson for management: the Office's employees respond very well to positive reinforcement. This makes it rather jarring when Andy, faced with the task to eliminate mistakes, allows Dwight to implement a solution that runs purely on punishment (Stop making mistakes now, or everyone loses their jobs.) The attempt is, predictably, a spectacular failure, only succeeding in making the office effectively fall apart for a day, quite possibly making even more mistakes than normal.
    • Frequently the office will forget how bad someone's been if given a good enough speech. Michael convinces everyone to side with him in dating Pam's mom despite how selfish and insensitive they know he is (including Pam's mom herself since Pam mentions having constantly complained about Michael to her already). Ryan keeps convincing people that he's "clever" despite how nearly all of his ideas are stolen and end in failure. Jim even voices that everyone seems to have forgotten how bad Dwight was as a manager after he just bribes Toby and Kelly into suggesting he already has the job.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Dwight doesn't care for artificial intelligences. This allows Pam and Jim to trick him into thinking the sales website server has achieved self-awareness with the intent of destroying him (in terms of sales) in one episode. There's this exchange in a later episode:
    Michael: Why do you have a diary?
    Dwight: To keep secrets from my computer.
  • The Alleged Boss: Michael Scott. Over Michael's head, there's David Wallace and Jan... no wonder Dunder Mifflin goes bankrupt. Charles Miner seems to be the only person they ever hired who's capable of exercising actual authority.
  • Alpha Bitch: Jan gets shades of this. Most of the time, she's completely justified in her treatment of Michael (who declares their relationship when he shouldn't or it's not existent). But she constantly gives him mixed signals. After they kiss, she pretends that it never happened, then kissed him again, then pretended like it never happened, then tried to get back together with him...only for sexual interests and not for an actual relationship.
  • All for Nothing: When Jim has the office work late so they wouldn't have to come in on a Saturday, they get locked in, then freed by the cleaning staff. Hank, the head of security — who they called repeatedly — arrives after this and is pissed.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders:
    • Inverted by Jim in "Booze Cruise". When it comes up that his girlfriend Katy was a high school cheerleader, he briefly doesn't believe it and overall seems to see it as a negative, in preference to Pam the "art geek". He dumps her near the end of the episode.
  • All There in the Script: A lot of notable material detailing the background of characters or situations was scripted, but either ended up as a Deleted Scene or even never got filmed.
    • Probably the most important example is with the Stamford branch in Season 3. It was never completely clear in the episodes whether Jim was promoted or just doing the same job there, but the scripts for those episodes spelled out that he was Josh Porter's assistant (to the) regional manager. Originally the plan was to explore the irony of Jim being the Stamford branch's Dwight (not only in job title but as the awkward misfit trying to impress his boss), while Karen would be the Distaff Counterpart of Jim himself, pranking Jim the way he pranked Dwight. As the season went on that angle was abandoned.
  • All Women Are Lustful: This is probably the most aggressive portrayal of female sexuality on network TV. Nearly every female character has had sex in the office, and many of them are quite frank about themselves in the Confession Cam.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Robert California. While he has shown quite the appetite for the lady folk, there has been more than one instance to suggest he wouldn't mind the intimate company of a fellow Y chromosomer as well.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Karen Filipelli, to Michael at least ("Wow, you look very exotic. Was your dad a GI?"). Rashida Jones is half-Black, half-Jewish.

  • Ambulance Chaser: When Michael thinks he's about to be sued for sexual harassment, he hires his own attorney, who takes the opportunity to advertise directly into the camera about specializing in motorcycle and diet pill lawsuits.
  • Ambulance Cut: After Deangelo attempts a slam dunk on a freestanding basketball hoop and pulls the whole thing down on top of himself.
  • American Accents: Several Southern accents are attempted (poorly) in "Murder." The exception was Andy, who has an uncanny knack for dialects (and is played by an actor from Georgia).
  • Amusing Injuries :
    • When Michael hurt his foot by burning it on a George Foreman grill.
    • In the same episode, Dwight crashes his car trying to rescue Michael and receives a concussion. (This alters his personality and makes him more likable to his co-workers.)
    • Erin Hannon, being attacked by her literal "Twelve Days of Christmas" gifts certainly give merit to this trope.
    • Andy tearing his scrotum. It SOUNDS funny...
    • Meredith getting bit by a possibly rabid bat, and then Michael hitting her with his car and cracking her pelvis.
    • Andy's doing a Parkour high jump right on top of an empty cardboard box.
    • Andy's bloody nipples during the rabies fundraising race.
    • Andy trying to break a steel golf club over both of his legs.
    • In-universe: Andy drinking liquid soap and pouring hot coffee over his crotch in order to impress Deangelo.
    • In "China", Dwight attempts to lift his coffee mug with his foot- and promptly spills the hot beverage all over his crotch.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jim to Pam in "Casino Night", marking the first deeply dramatic moment of the series.
  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land: Dwight's Nazi maternal grandfather lives in Argentina.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Oscar described Ryan's illegal maneuvering as such:
      Oscar: Ryan's big project was the website, which wasn't doing so well. So to give the impression of sales Ryan had us record sales twice; once as office sales and once as website sales. This is called misleading the shareholders. Another word for this is fraud. The real crime, I think, was the beard.
    • When Michael is defending himself for continuing to have a relationship with Donna (who he now knows is married) he describes her husband as such:
      Michael: He's a sports guy. He's scummy. Dogfighting, drugs, they spit.
    • Angela's response to Andy singing "There's a Place In France" during the Moroccan Christmas episode.
      Angela: Really, Andy? It's Christmas, and you're singing about nudity and France.
  • The Artifact:
    • B.J. Novak was featured in the opening credits throughout his time on the show even though Ryan slipped out of his original role as the Audience Surrogate/Only Sane Man, and Novak became so busy behind-the-scenes that Ryan only appeared sporadically after Season 4.
    • As the show moved away from the style of the UK original over the years, Todd Packer, who as the Americanized Chris Finch was the character most in-line with the UK version, felt more-and-more out of place.
    • A strange case of a character who was an Artifact by the time he debuted was Brian the boom mic guy. Since Greg Daniels was leaning toward having Jim and Pam separate in Season 9, Brian was supposed to be a potential love interest for Pam. But John Krasinski objected to the idea, feeling that, whatever difficulty the marriage faced in the Athlead arc, the show owed it to the fans to keep Jim and Pam together. This left Brian with no real purpose in the show other than finally being a depiction of someone from the documentary crew onscreen.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Dwight predicting what will happen as a result of all the women in the office being in the same room for a "women in the workplace" seminar:
      Dwight: They stay in there too long, they're gonna get on the same cycle. Wreak havoc on our plumbing.
    • Dwight, after using the Sheriff's Department computer to look up medical records.
      Dwight: There are an enormous amount of yeast infections in this county. (looks thoughtful) It must be because we're downriver of that old bread factory.
    • When he sees that Karen is pregnant, Michael immediately asks if it is Jim's kid, even though they broke up almost two years previously. When he finds out Pam is pregnant and is chewing her and Jim out for not telling him sooner, he asks, "How long have you known? A year? Two years?". Similarly, when the office placed bets on when Angela's baby was due, Kevin got the right month, but the wrong year.
    • Meredith is found to have contracted rabies twice. Rabies was believed to be 100% fatal at the time the show aired. There are now at least 30 known survivors of rabies. It's still around 99% fatal, though, so Meredith surviving rabies wouldn't be impossible but would be a much bigger deal.
  • Artistic License – Chess: One episode had Jim with both of his bishops on white squares.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • In Employee Transfer, the fact that Nashua is a seven hour drive from Scranton is a major element in Holly and Michael's breakup. In fact it's barely a five hour drive, unless traffic is incredibly bad, seven hours will get you all the way to Augusta, Maine.
      • They also make a big deal about the fact that the halfway point is an empty wilderness, but at nearly exactly halfway through the drive from Scranton to Nashua is Danbury, Connecticut, which is a larger city than Scranton.
    • Going south, it is a 16ish hour drive from Scranton to Tallahassee with no breaks, but the characters make it seem like a trip to the store.
    • Several of the chain restaurants featured on the show don't actually have locations in Scranton. The nearest Chili's is in Wilkes-Barre, which is just 20 miles (32 km) away, but for Benihana and Hooters they would've needed a two-hour drive to the Philadelphia suburbs.
  • Artistic License – Law: In both the "Booze Cruise" episode and the episode in which Jim and Pam get married, the misconception of ship captains marrying people is brought up. The short answer is that no, captains do not have the ability to marry anyone unless they have taken specific ordination to legally marry people that would have nothing to do with being a captain of a ship. That said, it's still highly probable captains of the Niagara Falls ferries are ordained for just such occasions. And even if not, they were already going through with a second "ceremony" wedding, so they'd be covered either way.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Phyllis Smith (Phyllis) was originally a casting assistant who was rewarded with a part after making a good impression at a read-through.
    • Mindy Kaling (Kelly), a member of the show's writing staff, was pressed into service in her first appearance because they needed an Indian actress.
    • Creed Bratton (Creed) was cast as a background character in the pilot because he was friendly with director Ken Kwapis (who'd met him working as an extra on The Bernie Mac Show), then was brought back when the show went to series, but still just a nonspeaking background employee. After giving an impressive performance in his first speaking part in "Halloween", his role was expanded.
    • Erin Hannon (portrayed by Ellie Kemper) was originally intended to be one of those characters that would be on the show for a few episodes and then leave the office for whatever reason. Kemper made such an impression on the producers, however, that she was made a regular.
  • Ascended Meme:
  • As Himself: Creed Bratton has a pretty interesting history and is basically playing an exaggerated version of himself. In episode commentary, the actors say the real Creed is just like the character, except without the "creepy" tendencies of his onscreen persona.
  • Aside Glance: A major source of humor for the show is various characters shooting an aside glance at the camera.
    • Jim usually does this several times an episode, shooting the camera a "can you believe this?" look. It quickly becomes his trademark, to the point that Dwight and Karen both point it out.
    • Pam does this almost as much as Jim, usually in frustration
    • Dwight tends to do it whenever he says something that he feels is particularly meaningful and/or insightful. He also likes to give the camera a smug "told you so" smirk whenever he's proven right about something.
    • In a deleted scene for Fun Run, Stanley questions why he should visit Meredith in the hospital, because she sits "all the way over there." After remarking that he would visit Phyllis, he looks at the camera and shakes his head no.
    • A rare one by Andy when he immediately realizes that the flasher's wanted poster drawn by Pam is really Dwight with a mustache.
    • In "Promos", the whole cast does this together after they realize the documentary crew had been filming their private moments for the past 9 years.
  • Asshole Victim: Jim's pranks on Dwight can sometimes be very cruel and mean-spirited. But Dwight brings a lot of it on himself, an early episode makes it clear that he annoys the office with his behavior. So even though we may not see what inspired the prank, we can be assured Dwight did something to deserve it.
  • Attention Whore:
    • Michael desperate need for attention and love is a major driving force throughout his term on the show.
    • Kelly, so much her new year resolution is "Get more attention by any means necessary"
  • Attractive Bent-Gender:
    • Gabe's Lady Gaga Halloween costume (complete with false eyelashes and a corset) is disturbingly sexy.
    • Nellie dresses as "Sexy Toby."
  • Audience Surrogate: Jim and Pam most often filled this role, with their tendency to make an Aside Glance (him bemused, her frustrated) that reflects how we're also perceiving the situation. Ryan, as the Naïve Newcomer trying to understand the world of Dunder Mifflin, also fit this well in the early seasons. Oscar and Darryl (the most consistent examples of Only Sane Man), Stanley (the apathetic one who's not afraid to speak his mind), then Pete and Clark in Season 9 as the new guys also could count.

  • Babies Ever After:
    • Subverted by Ryan, who was left with Drake, the son of an ex-girlfriend who left the infant with Ryan in the year between the final two episodes. At the Martin-Schrute wedding, he himself abandons the baby, leaving it with Ravi to run off with Kelly. It's then implied to be played straight when Nellie ends up with Drake. Played straight with Pam and Jim, Angela and Dwight, and Holly and Michael.
  • Backhanded Apology: When Todd Packer comes back to Dunder Mifflin Scranton in "The Farm" as part of his apparent rehab process, he fires off many of these until Pam stops him.
  • Back for the Finale: Michael, Ryan and Kelly. Carol and Devon also appear briefly in the finale.
  • Badass Boast: Robert California delivers one to Andy in "Turf War":
    ''"I will not be blackmailed by some ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft penis'd debutante. If you wanna start a street fight with me bring it on, but you're gonna be surprised by how ugly it gets. You don't even know my real name! I'm the fucking lizard king."
  • Bad "Bad Acting":
    • "Threat Level Midnight".
    • "Slum-Dunder Mifflinaire".
    • "Lazy Scranton"
    • Michael's Blair Witch style new hiree introduction video.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Nellie, who lied and stole her way into Andy's manager job, gets to officially keep it after he's unfairly fired(by Robert, no less, who initially supported his getting-back-in but did a Face–Heel Turn after the conference about Andy's newfound sex life struggles). This doesn't last, however, as after David Wallace buys out Dunder-Mifflin Sabre, he fires Nellie back and rehires Andy.
  • Bad News in a Good Way:
    • Inverted when Michael tells the office that Meredith was hit by a car. He explains the situation in a very sorrowful tone, then ends it by saying she's going to be okay.
    Stanley: What is wrong with you?! Why did you have to say it like that?!
    • Inverted again by Deangelo in his first shown meeting after Michael left. He delivers a series of good news, but acts as if they're all things everyone is supposed to be upset about. It understandably causes considerable confusion.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In The Stinger for "Fundraiser" Kevin describes his recently-adopted dog Ruby in a way that suggests she has died. It’s revealed at the very end that she’s still alive.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • How Pam manages to get a new job in the office in season seven.
    • Michael goading Dwight into using the information from the notes he stole into losing his biggest client to the Michael Scott Paper Company.
  • Beach Episode: ...sort of.
  • The Beard: Oscar's Gaydar helps him to realize that Angela is The Beard for her new politician boyfriend. Pam, meanwhile, denies that this trope even exists. Angela is later directly referred to as this during a press conference after her husband announces his homosexuality
  • Bears Are Bad News: Dwight is well aware of this.
  • Blonde Brunette And Redhead: Angela (blonde), Phyllis (brunette) and Pam (redhead) as the basis of the Party Commitee.
    • Ryan (blonde), Michael (brunette) and Pam (redhead) count as well during the Michael Scott Paper Company arc in season 5.
  • Before My Time: In one episode, Michael goes clubbing with Ryan and chats up a girl with a tangent on Back to the Future. She doesn't seem to have heard of it, even though the movie or one of its sequels is basically always playing on some cable channel or other.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Michael likes to think of himself as being one of these.
      • Can be, of sorts, when it directly relates to himself (sympathizes with Kelly after she purposely sabotages Jim and Dwight's customer reviews because no one will go to his parties as well, gives Phyllis 6 weeks vacation because she gave him an "important" role in her wedding)
    • Jo Bennett also seems to qualify.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not pretend to fire Stanley.
    • Or actually fire Devon, particularly if Creed actually deserves to be fired.
    • If you're Pam's boss, don't date her mom.
    • Do not cut in or save a spot for anyone in line on Pretzel Day! One of the few things Michael and Stanley agree on (though as usual, Michael doesn't seem to think the rules apply to him- he has absolutely no qualms about asking Pam to save his spot while he goes to the bathroom).
    • Do not hide Andy's cell phone in the ceiling and call it repeatedly (this, coupled with an embarrassing encounter with Michael, caused Andy to go seriously berserk, and resulted in him being sent to anger management classes).
    • If your name is Toby Flenderson and you leave the office to go to Costa Rica and then return, Michael will not appreciate it.
      • Being Toby around Michael at all.
    • Don't ever bad mouth Angela in front of Dwight.
    • Angela doesn't take kindly to people calling Dwight a freak or making fun of her height.
    • Never, ever insult Michael's car. You'd instantly regret it.
    • NEVER badmouth Dunder Mifflin or criticize Michael's management style behind his back to your classmates, especially if you are an unexperienced employee who does not perform well. That's a very valuable lesson, and Ryan learned it the worst possible way.
    • Also very importantly, don't even think of conspiring against Michael to get his job. He doesn't speak nicely to traitors.
  • Beta Couple: A lot of the other couples on the show function as this to Jim/Pam in a subtle way. Jim and Pam are the realistic couple who build a solid relationship after a long Will They or Won't They? period. Dwight and Angela are the aloof ones who can't fully commit to a relationship because they're not comfortable expressing their feelings. Ryan and Kelly are the couple in the Relationship Revolving Door, who are almost like a parody of a stereotypical Slap-Slap-Kiss Romantic Comedy pairing. And Michael and Jan are the very unhealthy, toxic couple.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Pam with Jim and Roy.
    • Michael with Carol and Jan.
    • Jim with Pam and Karen.
    • Angela with Andy and Dwight.
    • Michael with Holly and Jan.
    • Erin with Andy and Gabe also now Andy and Plop/Pete
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Erin Hannon. Holy shit.
  • Big Applesauce: The corporate headquarters for Dunder Mifflin are in New York City, prompting a number of trips there throughout the series.
  • Big Eater:
    • Dwight, during a meeting with Jan he orders enough food for 2 (maybe 3) people for himself. Also, stuffing himself with breakfast in front of Michael on the morning of Jim and Pam's wedding: "I'm ravenous after a night of lovemaking."
    • Michael. During one dinner with Holly, he has three entrees in front of him, and in one Cold Opening, it's mentioned that he ate an entire family-sized chicken pot pie by himself for lunch.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-universe: “Do The Scarn” from “Threat Level Midnight.”
  • Big "NO!":
    • Michael, after learning that Toby has returned from Costa Rica.
    • And an offscreen one when Pam learns that Michael's dating her mother. It continues through a commercial break.
    • Dwight to Stanley after receiving a fax from "Future Dwight" that the coffee is poisoned.
    • Also Dwight as his (supposedly) robot character in "Threat Level Midnight" when he takes Goldenface's first bullet for Michael Scarn.
    • Yet ANOTHER Dwight example when he gets to an obscenely vandalized DM ad billboard featuring him and Andy and sees that it was in fact vandalized.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jim and Pam (both levelheaded and fond of pranks), Michael and Holly (both socially awkward dorks with a bizarre sense of humor), Andy and Erin (both outgoing and quirky). Also Dwight and Angela, to an extent (both aloof and Comically Serious).
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "Michael's Birthday". You get one try in figuring out who's birthday was celebrated.
    • Zig-Zagged in "Lecture Circuit", where a subplot is new Party Planning Committee heads Jim and Dwight trying to put together a makegood party for Kelly after they forget her real birthday.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • In spite of her passive personality, Phyllis sometimes reveals herself to be quite the troublemaker. In "Happy Hour," she revealed that she dresses provocatively in bars so her husband will beat up men who flirt with her. In another episode, she says from experience that customer service people will just give you things for free if you make enough of a scene.
    • Cathy, Pam's rarely seen/heard from replacement, as well. Apparently her goal is to seduce Jim while they are in Tallahassee.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Some episodes sport this, with people leaving the office upset, Michael doing something cruel and succeeding, Jim and Pam on awkward/bad terms, etc.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In "St. Patrick's Day", sports drink bottles can be seen on Erin's coffee table. Their brand name is "Sports Drink" and the logo and font strongly resemble that of Gatorade.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: Dwight "mercy-kills" Angela's cat, leading her to break up with him. The cat required a lot of medication, and he blamed his farmer's instinct in deciding his way was better. He claimed the cat was already dead when he put its body in the freezer, but Angela found claw marks all over the frozen vegetables.
  • Blasphemous Boast: In "New Leads", Dwight calls himself the "King of Kings" of sales and then lampshades that he thinks of himself as if he's Jesus.
    Dwight: Salesmen is king. As the best salesman, I am the king of kings. Oh, you say Jesus is king of kings? Well, what does that say to you about how I think of myself?
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Among many others, Michael's claim that when he was in college, the professors were invited to the many parties he went to. As if it weren't blatant enough already, everyone knows Michael never went to college.
    • Again Michael, this time when being counseled for the public spanking of his nephew. He was apparently probed by Alf and raised by wolves. He was twenty-five years old before he saw his first human being.
    • Michael denies having a "compulsive need" to be liked in "Fun Run", despite doing almost anything he can on a daily basis to be loved and respected by his employees.
    • When Toby pushes forward a notice about PDA's to everyone (in a veiled move to spite Jim and Pam's then-secret relationship), Angela announces out loud that she has never been involved with anyone at work in any capacity. The cameras have more than enough footage of her sexual encounters with Dwight to prove that false.
    • Related to Angela's denial of her relationships, in the finale for Season 8 she explains in a talking head she thinks that Dwight is after Phillip's DNA to prove he's Dwight's son - something she claims is impossible because the Senator is the only man she's ever been with. This is in spite of everyone in the office knowing about her admitted affairs with Dwight and her time with Andy at a minimum.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Phyllis considers her manipulation of Angela as such when Phyllis is head of the PCC in season 5:
    Phyllis: I don't think it's blackmail. Angela just does what I ask her to do so I won't tell everyone that she's cheating on Andy with Dwight. I think for it to be blackmail, it would have to a formal letter.
  • Board Game: An old board game adaptation of the CBS show Dallas is sold by Kevin to Andy in "Garage Sale", and leads to a subplot in the episode.
  • Booby Trap: When Dwight is in Tallahassee and looks like he's about to be promoted and stay, the office decides to find out what's in the box he left marked "treasure". Fearing it might be booby trapped they get the most insane person in the office (Creed) to open it. When he does the only thing that seems to be inside is a picture of everyone there. At first they're touched but then a dart suddenly shoots out and up into the ceiling. Dwight TH's innocently that he had no idea it was rigged with a poison dart!
  • Book Ends:
    • Season 2 opens ("The Dundies") and closes ("Casino Night") with Michael hosting a big party for the staff outside the office. In both episodes Pam gravitates towards Jim after Roy leaves early, and both episodes climax with a major Wham Shot for the series: In "The Dundies" Pam kisses Jim in an In Vino Veritas moment, while "Casino Night" features Jim's Anguished Declaration of Love for Pam, followed shortly after by a Big Damn Kiss initiated by him.
    • Holly Flax first appears in the episode "Goodbye, Toby." Her last appearance is in "Goodbye, Michael."
    • If you ignore "Finale," the last scene of the series is the entire cast watching the first scene of the pilot.
    • The pilot and the series finale were both written by Greg Daniels and directed by Ken Kwapis.
  • Bookshelf Dominoes: In "Boys and Girls" Michael accidentally drives the warehouse forklift into a large metal storage rack causing the other racks to topple over like dominoes.
  • Bottle Show: The majority of episodes are set primarily, if not entirely, in the office and its immediate surroundings, i.e. the warehouse and parking lot.
  • Bowling for Ratings:
    • Ryan's gig after getting fired from Dunder Mifflin's executive ranks.
    • Also mentioned in "Booze Cruise." Last year's team building trip was "Bowl Over the Competition."
  • Brainless Beauty:
    • Beautiful but dumb Erin is a textbook case.
    • Kelly is a ditzy modern socialite who is usually more oblivious than stupid.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • An actual food-related example with Dwight's machine during "Secret Santa."
    • In the season 4 premiere, Michael describes his flaws as singing in the shower, spending too much time volunteering, and occasionally hitting someone with his car.
  • Break the Cutie: Erin Hannon in "Secretary's Day." So apparently you can pretend to fire her, make fun of her behind her back, and smuggle a flock of geese into her car, but tell her that her boyfriend used to date another co-worker and you're Deader than Dead.
  • Breakfast in Bed: In the episode "The Injury", Michael's explanation for burning his foot on a George Foreman Grill is that he enjoys breakfast in bed, but because he doesn't doesn't have a butler, he begins to cook his own bacon at his bedside before going back to sleep.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Technically, all the talking heads fall in this category, as do all the glances into the cameras. But it doesn't stop there:
    • When Pam has suspicions of Dwight and Angela dating, she asks the camera crew for help.
    • The camera crew also forces Jim and Pam to confess they were dating by showing them the footage they shot of them.
    • In the final season, the camera crew and the documentary they've been filming begin to intrude in the story lines.
    • In "Branch Wars," when Jim is hiding from Karen, he motions to the camera man to be quiet and get down. When they pop their head back up to get footage of Karen (and, consequently, end up giving Jim away), Jim shoves the camera back down, mouthing "What are you doing?" into the camera, and "Come on, man!" to the camera man themselves.
    • When trying to get Dwight to open up about feelings concerning Angela and Andy's wedding, Phyllis reminds him that the camera crew are aware of his affair with Angela, as they walked in on them having sex in the office, so he can speak freely in front of them.
    • Once the documentary promos air, the office workers realize that they were being filmed at all times, with the camera crew even hiding to sneak footage of them in compromising situations, such as catching Angela and Dwight having sex in the warehouse. As this sinks in, the cast all turn as one to glare at the cameraman standing near them.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In "Casual Friday," Dwight sends out an innocuous looking memo with a secret message. He gleefully reveals to the camera that the invisible ink is actually urine. When Michael asks him to send a second one around, we see Dwight preparing the second memo by using Ryan's coffee mug.
    • "The Lover" has Dwight giving Jim a wooden mallard that is an Incredibly Obvious Bug. During the scene, he awkwardly returns a pen he borrowed from Jim. At the very end of the episode, by which time the mallard has been thrown away and everyone else has gone home, Dwight sneaks back into Jim's office and takes out the pen, which is his true listening device. "Do you really think I'd put my primary listening device in a wooden mallard?" And then in "Scott's Tots", the pen comes back.
    • In "Traveling Salesman," there is a small bit where Dwight is doing Michael's laundry. This is a callback to when Dwight attempts to betray Michael and become the boss in the episode "The Coup".
    • Season 4's "The Chair Model," Michael makes everyone write down the name of a woman they'd set him up with. Jim writes down Pam's mom, and when he tells Pam, she tries to wrestle the paper away from him. Fast forward to Season 6 when Michael starts dating Pam's mom for real, and Pam and Jim both freak out.
    • In "Prince Family Paper," Michael is tasked with investigating a small, family-owned rival paper company. When the owner gives Michael a copy of his client list, Michael has an attack of conscience, realizing that this will allow Dunder-Mifflin to undercut them and drive the family out of business. Dwight has to physically wrestle the list out of Michael's hands. Several episodes later, Michael has put in his two weeks notice with Dunder-Mifflin, and tries to call Prince Paper for a job, only to be informed that they have, in fact, been run out of business.
    • In "Ben Franklin", Ryan wants to know if the Foreman grill that Michael is grilling steaks on is the same one that he burned his foot on. Michael admits it is, but assures Ryan "I got all the foot off." We see the grill again in Michael's kitchen in Season 5.
    • When recapping some of the weird people who interviewed for Michael Scott's job after Michael leaves, Jim mentions one guy who kept talking about the Finger Lakes, although the audience never saw the interview. At the end of the episode, there's a quick series of talking heads from each interviewee. The Finger Lakes guy is unexpectedly revealed. It's Jim Carrey.
    • During the women in the workplace meeting organized by Jan, each of the women is asked to list one of their strong points. Meredith mentions being very good at supplier relations. Then in the ethics meeting, she reveals she's been having sex with a supplier for months in exchange for rebates on supplies and coupons for free steak.
    • In one episode Darryl is learning to be more efficient and records an all-purpose non specific talking head reaction interview to save time while the camera crew are in his office. About ten minutes later after Nellie's prank leads Andy's co-workers to believe his family were slave owners, Darryl's non specific talking head reaction is run.
    • In the pilot, Jim puts Dwight's stapler in some jell-o. Then, when Pam is out on her second maternity leave in Season 8's "Pool Party", Jim turns to Stanley as the audience for his pranks, and puts Dwight's stapler in a meatball.
    • In "Phyllis' Wedding," Dwight says that it's a Schrute tradition to be married standing in their own graves. When he marries Angela in the finale, this is exactly how they perform the ceremony.
    • In "Christmas Party", corporate gives Dunder-Mifflin branded bathrobes for everyone - Michael has Toby's taken away from him. In "Benihana Christmas", the next season's Christmas episode, Pam is briefly seen giving Toby a Dunder-Mifflin robe as a Christmas gift.
    • In "Drug Testing", Kevin asks for a magazine when he is asked to give a urine sample for just what the episode title says- which earns him some strange looks. In a deleted scene from "Baby Shower", it is revealed that he is a sperm donor.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Jim. Once news of impending bankruptcy surfaced he matter-of-factly tells the camera that he only screws around when things are going well. In a later episode it is deconstructed a little. The company has commission caps, limiting how much money he can actually make as a salesman. When the company is bought out by Sabre, Jim is excited to have no commission cap and does exceptionally well working hard... until he learns that Sabre put in new commission caps and he hit that limit. With no reason to make more sales that month, he's left with a lot of time on his hands. And thus he goes back to pranks and other time wasters.
  • Broken Aesop: One of the things that Pam learns during her Character Development arc in Season Three is the importance of taking risks when you're unsatisfied with the current state of your career...except that the risks she takes, such as art school, joining the Michael Scott Paper Company, trying to be a salesperson, keep turning out not to be worth it and get her disliked by other members of the cast. She does as badly as people say she will. And with the addition of Erin, who makes the best of the receptionist job that Pam doesn't think much of it's starting to look like the best option would have been to adjust perspective on the whole thing.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: A variation on this trope occurs when Pam breastfeeds the wrong baby(!) while spending the night in the delivery room.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the staff have their unusual quirks, but Michael and Dwight take their jobs much too seriously and have very high opinions of themselves, sometimes acting like they think life is an action movie. Jim is similar, to a lesser extent, due to his tendency to slack off and play elaborate pranks on Dwight. The Scranton office is frequently mentioned to be one of the highest sales record of Dunder Mifflin, with Dwight and Jim having the highest sales records. Jim is actually excellent with customers, which is why corporate kept promoting him, and Dwight knows how to sell their products. And Michael, for all his inappropriate behavior, is good with putting people in the right place.
  • Bury Your Gays: In-universe. In the Show Within a Show "Threat Level Midnight", Michael's character Michael Scarn garottes Oscar's character to death for seemingly no reason. The audience seem very disturbed by the brutality and lack of necessity in including the scene.
  • Burning the Ships: Discussed Trope in the last season: Andy Bernard talks about the legend of Cortes sinking his ships. He then insults David Wallace and defecates on his car so that he won't have the option of returning to Dunder-Mifflin if his show business hopes don't work out.
  • The Bus Came Back: For several characters. Roy, Karen, Todd entire episode was focused on Michael revisiting all his old girlfriends.
  • Business Trip Adultery: Cathy tries to flirt with Jim, who is happily married, on their work trip together.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Dwight, re: his relationship with both Jim and Michael.
      • Jim has next to no respect for Dwight, so Mr. Schrute routinely finds himself to be the go-to guy when Jim is bored and in a pranking mood. Dwight does, on rare occasion, get his own back.
      • With Michael, it's love-hate; he loves Dwight's obsession/idol worship of him and does everything he can to keep it, but he hates the kiss-ass sycophancy that comes with it and so dismisses Dwight as a friend and any of his attempts to gain authority, real or imagined.
    • Despite the fact that one of the most salient aspects of his job is to sort out conflicts, Toby finds himself the constant receiver of heaping dollops of ridiculous abuse from Michael.
    • To a lesser and inconsistent extent, the assistant to the "World's Best Boss" was this to him, too.
    • Andy is regarded as a naive, tactless, irksome and incompetent individual and salesman (which is certainly not an untrue view) and an even worse manager by the majority of his co-workers, all of whom, for the most part, have no qualms voicing their annoyance with him. A somewhat subverted example, though, as they have shown that, despite all his foibles, they really do care and want the best for him.
    • Nellie becomes this to the aforementioned example in the last season, with him point blank telling her that he plans on being a "real bitch to [her]" as revenge for what she did to him in the previous season, though his animosity becomes less fixed on her as he not so gradually becomes a Jerkass to the rest of the staff as well, thanks to his aggressive new demeanor he adopted during his Outward Bound manager training.
    • Phyllis is the recipient of an almost daily serving of unflattering comments and abuse from both her boss and his loyal lapdog.
    • Meredith isn't all that popular amongst her co-workers (especially with Holier Than Thou Angela), given her unintentional penchant of causing a feeling of disgust to strike them to their very core with her anything but surreptitious life of wild sex, booze, and occasional heavy partying.
    • Gabe is perhaps this show's most predominant example; save for the eponymous HR rep himself, he is literally "the Toby" to the entire office.
    • Nick, the IT guy from Sabre, Or, as the staff knew him as (among other unwanted monikers), "Lurch" and "Glasses". Unlike his co-worker from the Tallahassee-based printers corporation, however, he did not lack the balls to eventually stand up to the Scranton branch office, but was able to pull it off successfully.
  • The Butler Did It: Inverted by Dwight. When he ends up as the Butler character in a murder mystery dinner party game, he immediately turns into the Munchkin hardass detective and starts Perp Sweating every other character.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard:
    • When comparing Pam and Karen, Kevin explicitly notes that Pam has bigger breasts.
    • In that same episode ("The Job"), Jan, previously dumped by Michael on the advice of Pam and the other office women, has returned to win him back. The office women tell Michael to be strong, and he confronts Jan—only to see that she has a brand-new and very big set of breast implants. They immediately get back together.
      Michael: So, I guess we're getting back together.
      Pam: What happened?
      Michael: Your advice was good, but Jan's was bigger.
    • Several seasons later, Erin the new receptionist makes a new friend out of an old lady named Irene (portrayed by The Mary Tyler Moore Show alum herself, Georgia Engel) that she meets in Florida. Erin tells her that her boyfriend Andy rejected her, and Irene answers with "With those gazongas?".

  • Callback:
    • In Season 2's "Boys and Girls," Meredith says she's good at supplier relations. In Season 5, we see how good: she's sleeping with a supplier for a discount and steak coupons.
    • "Christmas Party" ends with Michael invited to drinks at Poor Richard's with his co-workers; "E-Mail Surveillance" had focused on how much everyone in the office (and even everyone in Michael's improv class) would lie to avoid Michael following them to social events outside work.
    • At the end of Season 3, when Jim applies for a job at corporate, we see his yogurt lid medal from "Office Olympics."
    • In season 2's "The Client", we learn Michael has written the screenplay for a film called Threat Level Midnight. The screenplay is referenced in several later episodes, and the completed movie is finally seen in the season 7 episode of the same title. However, the finished movie seems to occur in a later timeline than the screenplay from season 2. In the screenplay, Catherine Zeta Jones is merely a secretary to Scarn with a Subordinate Excuse, and Scarn and Goldenface have a somewhat friendly conversation at one point. In the movie, Catherine Zeta Scarn has been murdered some time ago, by Goldenface, making him Scarn's most hated adversary.
    • In Season 3's "The Negotiation," Darryl derails his pay-raise negotiation by pointing out that Michael is wearing a woman's suit. The rest of the office gets a good laugh at Michael's expense, and Michael, during a talking head session, tries to defend his mistake and asserts that he'll never wear women's clothes again. According to Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey's "Office Ladies" podcast,sharp-eyed viewers will note that Michael wears women's suits several more times throughout the series.
    • In season 3's "Women's Appreciation", we learn that Creed uses the women's rest room "for number two". In season 7's "Goodbye, Michael", we see he's still doing so.
      • Also in "Women's Appreciation," we hear that Jan videotapes Michael's performance during sex and then critiques him. In "Dinner Party," we see the camera set up in the bedroom.
    • In Season 4's "Local Ad," Jim's avatar in Second Life has a guitar slung on his back. This is a minor Call-Back : during "Email Surveillance," when we saw Jim's room, there was a guitar leaning against the wall by Jim's bed. Pam claims she didn't know he played, yet she stood right beside the guitar.
    • In the same episode of "Local Ad", Jim's second life character is a sports writer from Philly... which is the job he eventually ends up pursuing after Dunder Mifflin.
    • In season 5's "Casual Friday", Michael calls Pam into his office and tells her that he's given Ryan the sales job instead of her, then reveals that he was just kidding, and that the job is, in fact, hers. This harkens back to the pilot episode, in which he called Pam into his office and pretended to her fire her. Lampshaded when Pam admonishes Michael to stop fake-firing people.
    • In Season 7, Toby is visibly reluctant to enter the church where Cece Halpert is being baptized. At first glance, it appears he's just upset about seeing his crush's baby. But then he talking heads that "He and the big guy have a lot of catching up to do." It's actually a reference to a much earlier sequence where Toby admits dropping out of seminary to date his now ex-wife.
    • The office performance of "Seasons of Love" from Season 7's "Michael's Last Dundies." The Dundie awards themselves are referenced in a couple of other places (notably "Dinner Party," when Jan throws one through Michael's TV), but we haven't seen the ceremony since season 2. The song references the time Michael hit Meredith with his car, and helped Ryan get off drugs, both in season 4 episodes.
    • In Season 8's "Pam's Replacement", after spending the entire episode trying to make Jim admit that a very pregnant Pam's new replacement is hot, which included a lie detector test, they found out he has high blood pressure just like his father. This was first mention in Season's 6, "The Mafia".
    • Nellie Bertram, first seen applying for the Scranton manager position in Season 7 finale "Search Committee", pops up again in Season 8 working at the Sabre HQ in Florida.
    • In "Phyllis's Wedding", Dwight mentions in a talking head that a wedding in the Schrute family involves the bride and groom standing in their own graves for the ceremony. In "Finale", Dwight and Angela's wedding has them doing exactly that, though they come up with an explanation that keeps the practice from seeming quite as bleak as Dwight describes it: the graves are symbolic of "til death do you part".
    • In Season 4, when Jim asks Pam to move in with him, they both state they're slobs. In Season 9, when Darryl and Jim are Odd Couple roommates, we see what a slob Jim is.
    • In Season 2, we have Toby giving Dwight some sex education. In Season 9, both Dwight and Angela have questions about how gays have sex.
    • In Season 3's "Cocktails" episode, Michael chokes on his Scotch and asks for Splenda. In Season 5, he drinks Scotch and Splenda in one of his talking heads.
    • In Season 9, when Pam and Dwight meet with the white pages rep, Pam recognizes the Warhol-style print and realizes it's Jan. We first see the painting in "Dinner Party."
    • In Season 4's "Goodbye, Toby," Dwight attempts to haze Holly by enlisting Meredith to break into her car so Mose can put a raccoon in. When Michael and Holly are upset, Dwight protests "It's not rabid!" and Meredith mutters "Thanks for bringing that up." In the first and second episodes of that season, doctors learned that Meredith was bit by a possibly rabid bat.
    • In Season 3's "Business School" Dwight sharpens a broom handle into a stake because he believes Jim is a vampire. A few episodes later in "Women's Appreciation", he is using it to poke through bushes looking for Phyllis' flasher.
    • In Florida, Stanley's co-workers try to wake him up by telling him it's Pretzel Day.
  • Calvinball: When Andy, Darryl, and Kevin play the Dallas board game without any instructions to consult, the first two just make up the rules as they go, to Kevin's great displeasure. Eventually he Rage Quits, secretly pocketing all the money as he does so. "Now that is Dallas!"
  • The Cameo:
    • "The Seminar" has Michael meeting his British counterpart David Brent (Ricky Gervais) outside an elevator.
    • Gervais pops up again in the "Search Committee" episode, along with Jim Carrey, Catherine Tate, Ray Romano, James Spader, Will Arnett, and Warren Buffett.
    • In "The Convention" Michael meets NFL star Jerome Bettis.
    • In "A.A.R.M", Aaron Rodgers, Santi Gold and Clay Aiken appear as the judges of a American Idol-style singing competition.
    • In New York, Michael misses seeing a passing Conan O'Brian.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Many, many examples:
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Michael.
    • Not necessarily. "The Client" proves that he can tell a joke pretty well(especially since it's implied that jokes are a key part of his sales pitch). Michael's problem is that he's terrible with situational jokes and coming up with his own material.
      • Not just situational. He's proven time and again that even with prepared material, he is a terrible public speaker and a horrid stand-up comedian. He can tell correctly a joke when Pam goes over it carefully (as "The Client" proves) but if he prepares his own, every characters knows that This Is Going to Suck. This is lampshaded repeatedly every time Michael opens with "Good Morning Vietnam!" which gets met with a room-wide groan.
      • His failure in most situations probably comes from trying too hard, and trying bury his desperation for approval with a facade of ludicrous overconfidence. When he's actually relaxed and in his element, such as during a one-on-one sales pitch with a client, he's really very competent and charismatic. The jokes are successful in these cases because he actually reads the situation well, employs empathy to great effect and makes the client feel valued and entertained rather than offended.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Michael does this on occasion, like in his and Dwight's first meeting with David Wallace in "Stress Relief".
  • Captain Oblivious: Stanley tunes out everything that goes on around him. The entire office spends the cold open of "Costume Contest" trying to challenge his oblivious sense and he fails to notice Kevin dressed as Phyllis, shirtless Andy, Michael sporting gag teeth, the fake computer monitor Jim slips on the real one, the "everyone sits backwards" meeting where Michael proclaims 8000 percent profits for the Jupiter branch, mustache Pam or Dwight's pony.
    Jim: Stanley just took a sip of my orange juice instead of his hot coffee and didn't notice, so the question begs to be asked: Is there a limit to what he won't notice?
    • Creed suffers from this as well. During a round of side betting amongst the staff, they switch Creed's apple with an old potato they found behind the fridge. Creed doesn't notice even after biting into it.
  • Car Fu: Andy does this with stealth by using his hybrid's electric engine to sneak up on Dwight and pin him to a hedge.
  • Carpet of Virility:
  • Cassandra Truth: In "Broke", Jim exploits Dwight's Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies to thwart his attempt to expose the true financial situation of the Michael Scott Paper Company.
  • Catchphrase: Michael's "That's what she said!"
    • Dwight: "Idiot," "False," "Question" and "MICHAEL!" Lampshaded in "Product Recall," when Jim impersonates Dwight and emphasizes Dwight's more common phrases.
    • Also Michael's unconvincing deflection of "" whenever someone accuses him of something that he indeed did.
    • Ryan had "How's my favorite branch doing?" in season 4.
    • Stanley: "Have you lost your mind?!"
    • Oscar: "What are you implying?"
    • Jim, Pam, and Dwight have all responded with "Absolutely, I will," when asked to do something. Or "Absolutely, I do."
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: Is Hilary Swank hot or not?
  • Caught in the Rain: Jim and Pam, when he proposes.
    • Mirrored when Michael proposes to Holly while the two are being drenched by fire sprinklers. Considering there was a discussion earlier in the episode about Jim and Pam's example above, one has to wonder whether or not that was intentional.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • In the season 4 episode "Money," Michael Scott critiques the film Live Free or Die Hard. In season seven, his newest hire is a hotshot traveling salesman played by Timothy Olyphant, who was the villain in that film. Speaking of Olyphant, see next entry.
    • In season 4's "Night Out" Michael mentions watching The Wire. Shortly thereafter, three Wire cast members—Idris Elba, Amy Ryan and David Costabile—ended up on The Office. Which leads to the question of whether Michael noticed that Charles Miner had a strong resemblance to Stringer Bell, or that Holly Flax looked like Beadie Russell with blonde hair, or that Eric Ward resembled Thomas Klebanow. Another Wire cast member, Chris Bauer (Frank Sobotka), showed up in season 8's "Turf War" as Harry from Syracuse.
    • With Will Ferrell's guest run in season 7, who in the Office-verse stars in Michael's beloved A Night at the Roxbury?
    • In season 3's "Back from Vacation", everyone's making fun of Dwight for tape-recording and transcribing a meeting in Michael's absence by inventing all kinds of outlandish occurrences. At one point Phyllis tells him, "Jim Carrey just walked in! Dwight, get his autograph for Michael!" Steve Carell appeared in a supporting role in the Carrey-led Carrey Bruce Almighty (one of Carrey's more popular and successful films) prior to this show, and Carrey himself appears in season 7's "Search Committee" as the Finger Lakes Guy.
    • In a blooper from season two's "Christmas Party" episode, Dwight is shown angrily firing paintballs at a poster for The 40-Year-Old Virgin featuring Steve Carell's character from that film (however, the canonicity of the outtakes falls into unknown territory).
    • In "Viewing Party", when Michael is invited to a Glee party, he says his favorite character is "the invaild", who is played by Kevin McHale. Kevin had earlier played a pizza boy who Michael had kidnapped in "Launch Party".
    • In "Health Care," Michael mentions he's a fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Chip Esten, a frequent guest performer, had the recurring role of Josh Porter in Seasons 2 and 3.
    • In the episode where Phyllis marries Bob Vance, Jim mentions the film Wedding Crashers to Dwight. Will Ferrell, who played Deangelo several seasons later, cameod in that movie.
    • In "Blood Drive", Kelly mentions Enchanted, a movie starring Amy Adams, who played Katy in seasons 1 and 2.
    • Michael keeps a Homer Simpson doll in the office. Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer) makes a guest appearance in Season 8.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In "The Sting," Kelly comments that Timmy Olyphant's Danny Cordray looks a lot like Josh Duhmael. Also an Ascended Meme as this comparison comes up a lot in real life as well.
    • In a deleted scene from the 9th season premiere, Creed thinks the new interns look more like Siskle and Ebert than Jim and Dwight.
  • Chain of Corrections
  • Chain of Deals: When The Office starts their first garage sale, Dwight picks up a thumb tack, convinces Meredith to trade a half-used candle for it, and continues the chain with the other coworkers until he ends up with a telescope. Jim then pranks him into trading that for a packet of "miracle legumes".
  • Chandler's Law: Michael lives by this trope, and only this trope, at his improv nights. Much to the annoyance of the other performers.
  • Chaos Architecture:
    • Between the first (shot on location) and second (shot on a soundstage) seasons, everything just outside of the Dunder Mifflin's office changed, as if the office was ripped and transplanted into a different building. In the first season, the appearance of the building is completely different and the parking lot is much bigger. Deleted scenes from season 1 also show a completely different staircase and a balcony, which doesn't exist from season 2 onwards.
    • Minor example: right after Jim got promoted to co-regional manager in season 6, Creed and Devon's desk clump was replaced with a small office, and Creed changed desks, now facing Meredith. While such a change is realistic and justified, this can fall under this trope since nobody comments on it.
  • Character Blog: Though Creed's doesn't live up to Ryan's description (see Take Our Word for It).
  • Character Development:
    • Phyllis and Pam both grow out of their Shrinking Violet behavior as the series goes on.
    • Nearly the entire support cast has this. Creed went from being the quiet guy to being the weird guy. Kelly went from being the traditional Indian girl to being a cheerleader who hasn't grown up. Erin went from the oddly strict secretary to the girl who doesn't quite get it. Even Dwight's unique view of the world went from being geeky, paramilitary and a little too serious to full fledge paranoid.
    • Pam and Jim can both be argued in the sense that each started with dreams of leaving the Scranton workplace; they saw their jobs as menial, and the only thing that kept them there was each other. Now, though, all their dreams of going beyond Dunder-Mifflin have gone, and it's been hinted many times that Jim is following Michael's path to management despite his apathy for a career in paper. They're content to just stay there, although still will complain about the job often. Jim also learns to appreciate Dwight, realizing that instead of a target, Dwight can be a partner in his hijinks.
    • Ryan started as sort of an Only Sane Man outsider perspective character but became increasingly Jerkass as he rose in the company becoming Corrupt Corporate Executive, falling from grace, and ending up just as messed up as anyone else in the office.
    • Dwight. Going from the character everyone in the office is either annoyed or perplexed by, into... well, still perplexing, but damn golden-hearted. Also, realizing that his boss is grossly unfair to him and learning to stop hero-worshiping Michael.
    • Michael grows from an obnoxious person and Pointy-Haired Boss to a genuinely quirky and charming guy when he demands to be, and a calm, observant and a happy family man by the end.
  • Character Filibuster: Used in the literal sense by Dwight to stall for time at the volleyball game while waiting for Pam to get back from the ER.
  • Character Shilling: A constant barrage is doled out for Nellie:
    • In "Search Committee", Jo praises Nellie's integrity for not talking about the friendship between them when interviewing for the Regional Manager job. However, based on Nellie's later talking head, in which Nellie states that her friendship with Jo will get her the job, chances are she either forgot to mention it in the interview, or she knew that Jo would bring it up herself.
    • In "Welcome Party", Jim, after discovering a number of things about Nellie "intended"" to paint her as The Woobie, gets Pam to help him defend her as the rest of the office trashes her. Made infinitely worse by the fact that this happens immediately after Nellie steals Andy's job.
    • In "Andy's Ancestry", Pam begins talking up Nellie after apparently finding her to be "fun".
    • In "Work Bus", Erin spends some time with Nellie. While Nellie's goal of adopting a child would logically appeal to Erin, the fact that Erin seems to believe that Andy hates Nellie for no real reason, and Nellie is the one comforting a crying Erin when Andy refuses to provide Nellie with a character reference, makes it fall squarely under this.
    • In "Fundraiser", Darryl tells tells the camera that she isn't so bad after she tries to bond with him over tacos.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Michael was originally portrayed more slimy and creepy, with deep rooted character flaws that lead most season one episodes into a depressing conclusion. This was because he was based on Brent from the original UK show, and British Brevity meant that worked just fine. As the show evolved Michael had to evolve too, and so his slicked back hair was combed and stylized better, and went from an ill fitting suit to a Sharp-Dressed Man. He gradually became more of a guy with a Friendless Background that made him more sympathetic, while also ramping up him being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who knows how to do his job and work the system to everyone's advantage.
    • When he's first introduced, Andy Bernard is a douchebag fratboy asshole with anger management problems and a sleazy, predatory attitude towards women. He goes to an anger management class after punching a wall, but the rest of his early character does not mesh well with the later portrayal of Andy as a good-hearted, wimpy guy with a serious inferiority complex due to being The Unfavorite.
      • He also goes from a hot shot salesman who continually behaves as if he's better than Dwight, and even apparently holds the title "Regional Director in Charge of Sales" to being one of the worst salesmen in the office, and knowing it. At one point when offered more clients as a parting gift from Michael, he immediately replies "I'll lose them", and several sales trips show that he lacks even basic interpersonal skills with clients.
    • Mindy Kaling was originally a writer who was pressed into service in "Diversity Day" because of her Indian ethnicity. The businesslike Kelly who slaps Michael in that episode does not match up well with the flighty, shallow Kelly of later seasons (as Mindy Kaling admitted on a DVD commentary).
    • It's difficult to reconcile the Kavorka Man (and by all accounts excellent lover) Dwight of later seasons with a man who once asked Toby, in all seriousness, what the "female vagina" looks like.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: Michael puts five Golden Tickets worth 10% each off for a year's supply of paper into packs of Dunder-Mifflin paper. Unfortunately they all end up at Dunder Mifflin's biggest client, Blue Cross. Even worse, he forgets to write "one per customer" on the tickets.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A very long-running example. In the second season Christmas Episode, Jim writes something in a card to Pam and sticks it in a teapot he plans to give her. He ends up changing his mind and tucks it into his pocket before she can read it. In the ninth season episode "A.A.R.M.", he finally gives her the card in order to prove to her that she's always been everything to him.
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Meredith, oh Meredith...
    • Erin also plays this role sometimes, having her Twelve Days of Christmas "presents" pluck out her hair, scratching her face and attacking her in other ways. Also, while riding in a shopping cart, being pushed by Kelly, she falls out and hurts her leg while Kelly and Ryan make out.
    • Andy too, tearing his scrotum, and falling into an empty box while doing Parkour.
  • Chick Magnet: Jim, who attracts Pam, Karen, Katy, Brenda, Jordan (in a deleted scene), Cathy, and others, like Meredith. Lampshaded in "The Fire" when every woman in the office proclaims that Jim is who they'd do.
  • Christmas Episode: So far the only seasons not to have Christmas episodes were one (only six episodes long) and four (interrupted by the 2007 writer's strike).
  • Chronic Pet Killer: Dwight Schrute.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Jordan Garfield in Season 8, mirroring her rather abrupt addition to the cast in the previous season.
    • Gabe unfortunately falls victim to this trope in the ninth season, ironically after making his return to the Scranton branch in his first appearance since the previous season's finale.
  • Clip Show: The show's only example is "The Banker" in Season 6, which has the staff telling lies about the office to the auditor of an investment banking firm. The show then Gilligan Cuts to a montage of past clips proving the lie wrong.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kelly.
    • Jan goes ballistic when she learns that Pam was "peeping" on Michael (all she ACTUALLY did was inadvertently walk in on the guy while he was changing clothes). Michael doesn't exactly help the situation when he claims that he and Pam were once an item.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dwight, sometimes Andy, occasionally Kevin, but most especially Creed.
    • Michael. For example, after pressing his face into wet cement, he beams that "in a hundred years, I'll be able to visit this spot with my great-grandchildren, and say "That's me."."
    • Erin Hannon. Her Flanderization escalated her character from simply The Ditz to a full-out example of this trope.
      • Although in season 9, she's actually relegated to being more normal again.
    • Holly Flax is a somewhat milder one.
  • Cock Fight: Andy versus Dwight, over Angela.
  • Cold Open
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: An inversion. Michael color-codes the back of his saleslead rolodex card entries with information about his clients. However, he admits that every color he uses is a warning to not bring up that info during a conversation with that particular client.
  • Color Me Black: In the episode "Diversity Day", Michael has the whole office do this as a tolerance exercise, having them place post-its with a race written on their foreheads, with the wearer unable to read it. It fails miserably because (1) nobody wants to act prejudiced and so participate grudgingly, (2) some, like Stanley, have their own race by accident, and (3) Michael is clearly the most bigoted person in the room.
    • Done literally by Nate in “Dwight Christmas” as part of Dwight’s Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Michael is often guilty of this.
      "I don't care if Ryan murdered his family, he is like a son to me."
    • In "The Secret," Dwight investigates after Oscar takes a sick day. He sees Oscar get out of the car with his partner Gil, stroke his hair and...
      Dwight: I found out something very interesting about Oscar today. [beat] He was lying about being sick!
      • In "Gay Witch Hunt," Michael discovers and tells the entire office that Oscar is gay. At the end of the episode, he looks out his window to see Oscar getting into Gil's car.
        Michael: There's Oscar's roommate, Gil. [beat] I wonder if he knows.
    • Angela in "The Job", when Michael thinks he's getting promoted and Dwight takes over as the regional manager.
      Dwight: How would you like to spend the night with the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton?
      Angela: No, Dwight. I don't care if that's how they consolidated power in Ancient Rome—
      Dwight: No, no! Not, not Michael! Me! I'm taking his job...
  • The Comically Serious: Dwight, with his utter inability to not treat everything as Serious Business, is one of the classic examples of the trope, but uptight Angela, neurotic Gabe and awkward Toby, all lacking senses of humor or self-awareness, also count.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted in the season 7 Halloween special with Oscar complaining that the coupon book prize was stupid but he was the one to win the 15000 dollar coupon book after saying it costs more to get all the things in it. Usually in-universe with Michael's regards to Toby.
    • The way the trope for Oscar was invoked was justified, as all the other employees wanted the coupon book, but were not allowed to vote for their own costumes, so they all ended up voting for Oscar, thinking he was the least likely employee to win.
  • Concussions Get You High: Dwight starts acting uncharacteristically nice after crashing his car. The others eventually realize that he has a concussion and take him to the hospital. During this bout of identity amnesia Dwight also shows absentmindedness and compulsive behavior not unlike fictional portrayals of being high on marijuana.
  • Confession Cam: Often used to provide additional commentary from one of the characters on their view of what's happening.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: In "Nepotism", Michael tries to write out "don't bother Luke", but keeps putting it in a way that says the reverse of that.
  • Continuity Nod: The pilot concerned possible downsizing of the company and the inability to "justify a Scranton branch and a Stamford branch" and that one branch would incorporate the other. The downsizing remains a part of the plot for the rest of the season, but the Stamford branch is not mentioned until season three, when Jim transfers to that branch. Shortly thereafter, the Scranton branch absorbs the Stamford branch.
    • In "Local Ad" in season 4 Jim creates a Second Life character that is a sportswriter in Philadelphia. Fast forward to season 9 and Jim is itching to start a career in Philadelphia doing sports marketing.
    • At the end of "Niagara" (Jim and Pam's wedding episode) the final shot features Pam with her head on Jim's shoulder, similar to their Sleep Cute moment way back in season 1. Not a bad day indeed.
    • In "Secret Santa," Pam asks Jim if he bought the company to save his Christmas party - he responds by promising never to buy a company without telling her first, a reference to him buying a house without telling her in Season 5.
    • In "Business School," Dwight asks Creed if he has any tools that can turn a broom handle in a wooden stake. In "Women's Appreciation," he's seen stabbing into a bush with a sharpened broom handle, most likely because all of his other weaponry was taken away in "The Negotiation" two episodes earlier.
    • In "Here Comes Treble" Meredith yells "Stop bagging my head!" after Dwight throws a net over her, a call-back to the bat incident.
  • Control Freak: Gabe. Angela, particularly when it involves the Party Planning Committee.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • After learning that Ryan told his business class that a paper company would inevitably fail against a computer company, Michael moves his desk next to Kelly's. (Toby wonders if it was a punishment for him, as Kelly and Ryan bicker constantly). And then, to punish Ryan's insubordination, Jim moves his desk into the closet between the bathrooms.
    • When Dwight insults her about her baby weight, Pam and Jim learn Morse code just to tap out messages about bombs and detonators, knowing paranoid Dwight will understand them and go crazy.
    • Karen tries to annoy Jim with the squeaking of the chair that he swapped with hers. Jim responds by repeatedly singing the chorus from "Lovefool" by The Cardigans (with Andy, of course, immediately joining in). Karen is begging him to stop in seconds.
  • Conservation of Competence, taken to its logical conclusion: after Jim is promoted, he becomes just as gullible and gaffe-prone as Michael, even outside of work. Heavily lampshaded.
    • Also, when Michael takes an entry-level telemarketing job, he becomes much sharper socially and relating to people, but can't make a sale, which is basically the opposite of his qualities when he is in his manager role at Dunder Mifflin.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: It's not uncommon for characters to discuss/argue about a small, unimportant topic for several minutes at a time. One of the funniest scenes in the series is an argument between the entire cast over the correct usage of "who" and "whom."
  • Cosmic Deadline: Steve Carell announced before Season 7 began that he would be leaving the show by the end of it, so naturally that season saw the end of several subplots that had been running for years. Michael gets closure with several former love interests, finally acknowledges that he and Ryan will never be friends, completes Threat Level Midnight, realizes Packer for the Jerk he is, etc.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: In "Drug Testing" Michael calls Dwight a narc this way.
    • Andy and Dwight exchange insults this way at the end of "The Merger".
  • Covering Up Your Gray: Creed dyes his hair black when the online retailer Dunder-Mifflin Infinity is launched because he thinks the company is going in a new youth-oriented direction. This being Creed, he "dyes" it with ink from the printer.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Angela. She has a motherly devotion to all of her cats, sometimes bringing one into work (keeping it in her filing cabinet!), while watching the rest of them on a Nanny Cam. Kevin, Meredith, and Oscar once actually caught her grooming a cat with her tongue. Not to mention that she coughs like a cat with a hairball...
  • Crazy-Prepared: Dwight stashes weapons all over the office (most notably a knife he keeps in the filing cabinet under the file "A. Knife"), and is convinced that he's prepared to survive any eventuality.
    Pam: "There are two keys to the office. Dwight has both. When I asked him what would happen if he died, Dwight answered 'If I'm dead, you've all been dead for weeks.'"
    • When Ryan rattles off a list of excuses why he can't go to Benihana with Michael (including both food allergies and having just eaten there) Jim complains that he used all the good excuses and Ryan reveals that he keeps a list of excuses on his Blackberry.
  • Credits Gag: In the episode "Michael Scott Paper Company," the title sequence switches to show scenes from the titular company, as Michael has left Dunder-Mifflin.
    • When Deangelo takes over, the scene of Michael adjusting his Dundie Award statuette in the last shot of the credits is replaced by Deangelo adjusting a strange, brightly-colored figurine of his own. When Deangelo is injured and forced to leave, it's replaced in turn with a shogun statue for Dwight, a fan in the shape of a cartoonish sumo wrestler for Creed and a statue of a sailor for Andy. For an added bonus, the latter two mess up the scene: Creed makes his figurine face himself instead of the door (it makes sense since it's a fan that he is pointing towards himself, but it wouldn't be out of character for Creed to do this as a mistake) , and Andy knocks his figurine off the desk and tries to catch it as it falls.
  • Cringe Comedy: Toned down from the UK original, where it was the main focus. Still used without mercy, especially with Michael. Any time Michael is speaking in front of a large group, prepare to cringe.
    • There was a tendency to do this with Jim and Pam a lot around the period in which Jim was a co-manager alongside Michael.
    • Erin's public dumping of Gabe.
    • Meredith is made of this.
    • Michael awkwardly dumping Helene. On her birthday, no less.
  • Crossover: The cold open of the episode "The Seminar" features the historic meeting of Michael Scott and David Brent.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being...out there, Michael's branch is consistently the top in sales.
  • Cultural Translation: The version of the show produced by Hotstar in India is notable for being very directly based on the US version rather than the UK original. The main characters follow the basic template of the UK version, but receptionist is named Pammi, the uptight accountant who has a relationship with the assistant (to the) regional manager is named Anjali, and there are characters based on Toby, Stanley, Creed and (naturally) Kelly. Thus far, all the episodes have been rewrites of the first two seasons of the US version, in the same exact airing order, with cultural substitutions made as needed. This crosses with Mythology Gag in the re-do of "Christmas Party", which takes place on Diwali.
  • The Cutie: Kelly and Erin.
    • At least Kelly likes to think so.
    Kelly: *after Jim and Dwight forget to celebrate her birthday, but also no one recognized that she had dressed up for it* I think that everyone likes to be jealous of the cool, popular girl.
    • Erin far more so. She's not just cute but also extremely naive and innocent.

  • Dance-Off: Happened on two occasions between Andy and Kelly. The second dance-off ended with Andy doing a very painful split.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not even this show is safe from this trope! While it's still a lighthearted, comedic, optimistic, and upbeat series, and overall still lighter than its British counterpart (Season 1's darker tone can be owed to Early-Installment Weirdness), the show starts becoming more darker and serious in its own way around season 4, and up to season 7, considering there is a legitmate boost in parental concerns, more genuinely emotional moments, more tensions between characters (often between Michael and the Dunder Mifflin employees, the Dunder Mifflin employees and each other, and/or Michael and an outside party: however the last of these is generally Played for Laughs considering Michael's stupidity, though it still does leave a lasting negative impact on either Michael and/or the Dunder Mifflin employees), heavier themes, lesser jokes (to an extent), and the show overall becomes more story focused. Oh, and need we mention, the Scranton Strangler first starts coming into play around Season 6? However, on the other hand, the color palette becomes progressively more brighter and saturated as each season progresses, and Seasons 8 and 9 become lighter and much less drama-heavy again. Anyways, let's some of list the ways how Seasons 4 through 7 were darker to give you an idea:
    • Season 4 had Ryan become more of an ass with the launch of Dunder Mifflin Infinity, his new website. Oh, and there's the infamous "Dinner Party" episode, Angela cheating on Andy with Dwight, and finally, Ryan getting put into prison for fraud.
    • Season 5 had the Charles Miner story arc. Charles became hated by everyone at Dunder Mifflin for his arrogant nature. So much that Michael decided to stop working for Dunder Mifflin and form his own paper company with Pam and Ryan's help.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Cryptically hinted at; "No-one steals from Creed Bratton. The last man to do that... disappeared. And that man's name was Creed Bratton!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stanley's primary role in the office. Jim and Pam frequently fill this role too.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Neil Godwin from The Office (UK). His role as the manager of a rival branch that eventually merges with the main one was given to Josh Porter in Season 3, and replacing the branch's current corporate liaison was given to Ryan Howard in Season 4.
    • David Brent as well. While Michael Scott is Brent's official counterpart, in season 9, a newly confident Andy Bernard started behaving similarly to Brent, including an attempt to move on to show business after leaving his company.
  • Defcon 5:
    • Michael declares DEFCON 10 and DEFCON 20 in "The Job."
    • He declares DEFCON 5 in "Whistleblower".
  • Denser and Wackier: Famously so compared to its UK counterpart/progenitor. This has lead to endless debates, many of which are moot points as the two shows are so fundamentally different that it's hard to make a legitimate comparison between them.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Erin was an orphan and raised in a foster home. We're given hints that the experience wasn't a particularly pleasant one for her.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • Justified, as the repetition is meant to emphasize the implication that Michael is incredibly upset at not being invited, especially when Toby is.
      Phyllis: Michael wasn't invited on Ryan's camping trip. Toby went, but Michael didn't go. He wasn't invited.
    • When Dwight is hazing Ryan in "The Initiation:"
      Dwight: You have planted the beet seed. You have walked the long, lonely walk of loneliness.
  • Depending on the Writer: The show's writers themselves have admitted that each writer seemed to have their own approach to different characters, with Michael Scott getting a wide amount of variation from episode to episode. Sometimes he'd be a Jerkass, sometimes he'd be sympathetic, sometimes immature, sometimes a Genius Ditz who'd succeed despite his faults, and sometimes just pathetic and pitiable.
  • Derailed for Details: When asked which five books he would want on a deserted island, Dwight acts like a Munchkin completely missing the point of the game and asking whether there is any firewood on the island or whether he lost his shoes before he got there.
  • Description Cut: In "PDA", Holly has a talking head in which she gives a description of Michael Scott basically exuding sex. As she's talking, a montage is shown of Michael being anything but sexy, culminating in a shot of him slouched in a chair with his face and bits of his suit smeared with Cheese Puff dust.
  • The Determinator: Dwight in "Tallahasee" tries to make it through a Sabre seminar even though he's in pain from an appendicitis. Later in the day, he still tries to give a presentation just a few hours after having an emergency appendectomy.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's unclear exactly what happened between Jan and Michael in "The Client." Michael attempts not to talk about it to the camera the next day, then claims they went to a hotel, made out, talked, and then fell asleep. Starting with the next episode, and in numerous episodes afterward, various claims are made by Michael and through co-worker gossip.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Many of Michael's schemes end up as this. For instance, his "Golden Ticket" promotion promises the recipient 10% off their Dunder-Mifflin orders for a year. He ends up putting all the tickets into one shipment that goes to one company, which usually wouldn't be a problem, but he didn't specify "limit: one per customer."
    • Also, he and Holly thought it would be a good idea to mention that the Buffalo branch is closing during a sketch at the company picnic, in front of all the employees and their families.
  • Diet Episode: Season 5's "Weight Loss" episodes, wherein the employees compete for a vacation prize.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: In "Benjamin Franklin", Michael notices that his acronym for "Guys' Afternoon In" spells "gay" (sort of). Each attempt to rephrase makes it sound even more gay.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: "The Injury" gives Dwight a conspicuous line telling Pam about a Russian site where she can download songs for two cents, as if the writers were afraid of acknowledging the existence of channels that would charge you nothing.
  • Dinner and a Show: Jan and Michael's titular gathering in "Dinner Party" descends into utter chaos, with each of them berating the other and breaking their possessions, much to the simultaneous entertainment/horror of their guests.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Karen in the Stamford office in Season 3.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: In Season 3's Traveling Salesman, Andy and Michael go out on a sales call. When the camera catches Micheal coming out of the Woman's side of a park restroom in the background during Andy's talking head, Michael's next talking head has him explain the Men's was too filthy to use.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jim hits Dwight with a snowball. Dwight traps Jim and pelts him relentlessly with a barrage of snowballs while he's defenseless on the ground. Multiple times.
    • Don't forget Jim threw the snow at Dwight's face merely because Dwight lightly teased Jim.
    • When a girl was rude to Kelly at a mall, she created a fake IM account in order to force the girl into becoming anorexic.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Holly, to Michael.
  • The Ditz: Kelly. Erin too, perhaps to a greater extent as she lacks the occasional flashes of manipulative cunning Kelly shows.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Phyllis has been blackmailing Angela into letting her run the party committee. When Angela gets fed up with her abuse...
    Angela: Shut up.
    Phyllis: Excuse me?
    Angela: I'm not moving the tree. Face it. The only power you have over me is this big secret that I know you're not going to tell. And you want to know how I know that? Because then you won't be able to plan your stupid, tacky parties anymore. So you move the tree.
    Phyllis: Okay. [starts to walk away, then turns around] Angela's having sex with Dwight! I caught them doing it after Toby's going away party!
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Michael: "If you have a problem with that, then you can talk to our complaint department." He holds up the wastebasket. Pauses for a tick... "It's a trashcan!"
    • Michael's massive ego refuses to believe he could be a bad comedian, so he assumes anyone not laughing at his jokes must probably be incapable of getting them.
    • Creed shares this trait in the NBC version of his Creed Thoughts
    Creed Thoughts - Jan 24 2012 Buying a zoo in this economy is a pretty crappy idea, but it's a lot better than buying the farm. (Cause that means you're dead).
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Michael after warning his obnoxious 20-something intern/nephew Luke to stop acting up ("I'm going to count to five") bends him over his desk and spanks him several times. It is such a cathartic moment for the other employees who thoroughly dislike Luke that they reenact it.
  • Double Entendre: Michael finds it extremely hard to go all day without using "That's what she said."
    • His jokes always left Jim satisfied.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Jan and Michael's sexual relationship is very clearly exploitative and would easily be Dude, Not Funny! if their positions were reversed. However, we really only hear his side of things, and he appears to dish out as much as he gets in "The Dinner Party." In the end, while it's played for laughs, the abuse is clearly not portrayed as "okay". They both spar verbally, but physically Jan is shown to clearly be the aggressor, starting with "forgetting" the Safe Word and culminating with Michael declining to press charges and police advising him to leave his condo to stay with Dwight after she breaks his prized flatscreen TV with one of his Dundies in a rage. It's also heavily implied that she smashed the patio door.
  • The Dragon: Dwight often seems to like seeing himself as this to Michael.
  • Dress Code: Averted, naturally, in the "Casual Friday" episode.
  • Driven to Suicide: This is what started the entire plot. According to the writers, an employee named Tom Peets killed himself just before the events of the first season, and the documentary crew came to see how Dunder-Mifflin handled his death. Instead of finding people in grieving, they found the insane antics of the entire office, and stayed to film it. Mentioned in "Performance Review," where Michael finds a suggestion box with a paper asking for depression management, signed "Tom".
    • Also, Michael in "Safety Training." When Darryl tells Michael he lives a "wimpy little Nerf life," Michel tries to find something in the office that's as life-threatening as the baler. Depression is a common ailment among office workers so Michael pretends he's going to jump off the roof. While he's up there, he starts to think he might not have a reason to live, but Darryl talks him down.
    • It's also mentioned several times throughout the series that Robert Mifflin, a co-founder of Dunder-Mifflin, hated himself so much he killed himself
    It takes courage just to be you, man. I couldn't be you.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Deangelo Vickers ends up in a coma after the basketball-hoop accident in "The Inner Circle".
  • Dude Magnet: Pam and Erin. Pam manages to attract Jim, Roy, Toby, Brian the boom mic guy, Andy, Ryan, Danny Cordray, and has been lusted after by various men in the office, like Kevin and Creed. Erin attracts Andy, Dwight, Gabe, Pete, Clark, Ryan, and her own foster brother.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Michael reacts angrily to an office prank, until he realizes it was done by Packer. Then he loves it.
    • Dwight's knock-knock joke to Michael, the punchline of which is slapping Michael in the face, gets Michael very angry, who "officially" bans knock-knock jokes. Jim does the exact same joke to Dwight a mere seconds later, and Michael is laughing his ass off.
    • In "Koi Pond", the entire office has a field day with the fact that Michael fell into a Koi Pond, until they find out that Jim pulled away instead of trying to help. This made it look like Jim let Michael fall into the pond because he didn't reach out a hand to help him, so they start giving him a hard time instead.
    • Michael taking insulting Toby just a little too far in "The Chump". A shame really, as he was actually getting some laughs before he hit that point.
      Michael: If I had a gun with two bullets, and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice.
    • In the cold open to "Cafe Disco," Dwight pulls a prank on Pam. Since the prank deals with Pam giving up on her artistic dreams, both Jim and Pam are peeved. Apparently they can dish it out to Dwight repeatedly for years on end, but can't take it even once.
      • Dwight tends to go too dark and/or too mean with his pranks, as he finds it hilarious to for anyone not him to be in great emotional distress because he thinks himself superior to everyone. This is why Jim's pranks often don't make sense to him, and he'll often says "That's just stupid" or explain how to actually go about a similar prank on someone, again often going really dark and/or mean.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Stopped clocks are right twice a day, and even Michael Scott stumbles into some legitimate points one or twice a season. Witness:
    • His advice to Jim on the Booze Cruise: "BFD. Engaged ain't married. Never, ever, ever give up."
    • His response to Andy's anger about having told Erin about his former engagement to Angela: "You didn't tell her you were engaged to someone who sits six feet from her? That's, like, Mr. & Mrs. Smith crap."
    • He correctly surmises that after Roy attacks Jim, Darryl is attempting to use the incident as leverage for a pay raise.
    • His attempt (in deleted scenes) to claim that Meredith was drunk when he hit her with his car actually turns out to be a reasonable argument.
    • His speech to Stanley at the end of "Did I Stutter?", when he reasonably points out that however little Stanley thinks of him, he has to treat him with the respect due a boss.
    • Everyone attacks Michael's obsessions with the idea that Donna wants him to kiss her again, and later that she's cheating on him - both of which turn out to be correct.
    • Meta example - As it turns out, both Dwight and and Michael are correct in "The Secret" to assume that Oscar is faking sick to get out of work. Dwight is just so excited about this that he misses The Reveal - that Oscar is gay.
    • When Dwight gets bad performance reviews, he's convinced that Kelly has it in for him and is falsifying his data. Jim discovers that he's right, she is sabotaging both Jim and Dwight's reviews as payback for not coming to her America's Got Talent finale party.
    • In Jim's perspective, he agrees with Dwight (for once) when questioning Ryan on why a paper company's website would need a social networking feature.
    • With the news of China's rapid economic growth, Andy and Phyllis suggested that they should drop a bomb on China to make sure they don't invade America. Michael, who brought up the paranoid rambling in the first place, tells them that it was a stupid idea.
    • Kevin, of all people, is the one to finally call out Sen. Lipton in "Vandalism":
      Kevin: "Also, you suck. You are, like, a terrible person. These guys care about you and you're just using them. Again, the food was very good."
    • In the seventh season finale Kelly tells Jo that Gabe was unprofessional in dating Erin in order to suck up to Jo and pointed out that Gabe was acting creepy when Erin broke up with him.
      • Also when Dwight gets snubbed at an upscale shop at the Steamtown Mall.
        Kelly: You know what Dwight? You need to go back there and Pretty Woman their asses.
        Jim: Wait, wait wait. That's actually a really good idea, Kelly.
        Kelly: What did I say?" [talking head] I talk a lot, so I've learned to just tune myself out.
  • Dwindling Party: The new employees from the Stamford merger in Season 3. Tony Gardner attempts to quit and is fired by Michael during their welcoming party. Martin Nash quits in the next episode after his status as an ex-con is revealed. Hannah Smoterich-Barr lasts a few more episodes before quitting offscreen. Shortly afterwards, Andy punches a hole in the wall and is sent to anger management training. This leaves Karen Fillipelli as the last Stamford employee, until Andy returns, and she transfers to Utica. After that, Andy becomes a major character, but even he is fired just a few episodes before the series finale. And then Jim, who is still technically a Stamford transfer is 'fired' by Dwight for the massive severance pay for his and Pam's startup, meaning the Stamford employees are completely gone by the Grand Finale.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Notably apparent with Dwight. Early episodes painted him as a Know-Nothing Know-It-All who was great at selling paper but clueless about basically everything else, to the point that he had to go to Toby to find out about the female anatomy. After a while, he became a genuinely knowledgeable, if somewhat backwards, businessman and Kavorka Man.
    • In the first episode, only Stanford and Scranton branches were mentioned, with the situation being so scarce even when they are the only branches that downsizing may have to occur. Later on, the offices expanded to New York, Stamford, Scranton, Buffalo, Albany, Nashua and Utica branches.
    • Then again, when Dwight broke up with Angela, he mentioned his family's tradition of "sowing wild oats" when men have Their First Time and seems excited about sowing his own. It's possible he was a virgin until he started dating Angela and after that moment, became much more confident with the ladies.
    • The first season, and about half of the second, featured random workers in the background with no lines or names. This was quickly dropped and the only people in the office would be the main and secondary cast.
    • Brian Baumgartner used his regular speaking voice for Kevin in the first few episodes; when Kevin gained more screen time from the second season on, he acquired his more distinctive slow voice.
    • Michael is balding and sporting a combover during the first season. Starting with the first episode of the second season, he has the full head of hair that he would retain for the rest of the series.
    • In the first two seasons, everyone except Dwight clearly hates Michael. They don't find his mannerisms endearing or cute, they're absolutely sick of him and most of them try to avoid speaking to him or being around him whenever they can. Later on they mostly take a more relaxed view of him and even deeply care about him, especially Jim and Pam. They had emphasized that they had been working under him for several years already at the start of the series, so this can't be attributed to getting used to him or bonding with him.
    • In accordance with the above, Season One Michael was a very different man. He was pretty much openly racist, misogynistic, and cared only about himself. He possessed a very mean-spirited sense of humor, and not due to being unable to understand why his jokes were hurtful; he thought the meanness of it made the joke funny. And he tended to assume that everyone worshipped the ground he walked on. While some of these qualities would rear their heads in later seasons, they were softened, and seemed to stem from his friendless upbringing and need to be liked by everyone. In later seasons he would show genuine appreciation for his colleagues and actually wanted them to be happy, but his lack of self-awareness would always find some way to screw it up.
  • Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting: Michael does this while trying to reach out to his employees in his own attempt at a diversity seminar.
  • Elevator Failure: Induced by Pam as a prank on Dwight.
  • Embarrassing Slide: Michael Scott does this intentionally to show off who he's been dating. He oversells it with a smiling "Whoops! How did that get in there?" while no one else is amused.
    • He does it again in "Body Language".
  • Enemy Mine: In "The Merger," Michael tries to invoke this by letting the air out of everyone's tires (except his of course), blaming Vance refrigeration, but achieves it by accident when everyone quickly realizes it was him and get pissed. He still tries to claim it as a victory.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Kevin thinks that mummies are fictitious monsters from the horror genre, and expresses surprise and fear when people tell him that they exist and there are some in a local museum.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Pam is trying to bluff her way into an office administrator job, and Gabe is trying to call her bluff, she realizes he's incapable of actual confrontation.
    Pam: Say that I'm lying or say I have the job. Make a definitive statement, Gabe.
    Pam: (in talking heads) One thing I learned from watching Tournament Poker at two in the morning: you don't play your cards, you play your opponent.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Jim, being the faithful husband he is, isn't willing to admit to Pam how attractive her maternity leave replacement Cathy is. Pam, on the other hand, doesn't hold back.
    Pam: Look at her! Even I want some fries with that shake!
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ryan apparently. Michael Scott has a sublimated crush on him, and Angela's closeted fiancee was looking at Ryan's Facebook photos at 3 in the morning. Ryan used to be squicked out by this but has slowly gotten used to it.
  • Everyone Can See It: Jim and Pam during the first three seasons, to the point several of the staff thought the two were having an affair. The only ones who missed their obvious attraction to each other were Michael, who's just oblivious, and Roy, because he mistakenly believed Jim was gay.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In "Branch Closing", where Jim Halpert is disgusted at another manager's disloyalty, he admits begrudgingly, "Say what you will about Michael Scott, but he would never do that."
    • When Toby is framed for having drugs in his desk, Michael decides it's too far when the police arrive and begin to arrest Toby, and reveals that he placed the "drugs" in the desk. It was Caprese salad.
    • Creed, a man who is normally unfazed by vulgar acts and has no problem disturbing his coworkers, is creeped out by Dwight pretending to give birth to a watermelon.
    • Dwight has some strange ideas about society, but he's never okay with revenge murder.
    • Nellie wanted to steal Andy's job as Scranton branch manager, but she never intended to shatter his confidence and worsen his performance in bed.
  • Exact Words: When Andy asks Creed to read what it says on a Chinese bottle, he does exactly that. In Chinese. With no translation.
  • Expy:
    • The first episode of the ninth season introduced two interns lampshaded as "New Jim" and "New Dwight". A deleted scene has Creed compare them to movie reviewers Siskel & Ebert.
    • Mark from "Moving On", as lampshaded by Pam, is an expy of Michael Scott. With the added behind the scenes bonus that Bob Odenkirk was one of the original candidates for the Michael role.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Pam abandons her hairdo from the earliest episodes (or, as Jenna Fischer called it, the "girl mullet") and wears her hair down when she starts dating Jim.
    • Ryan grows a beard when he becomes a VP and shaves it after coming back as a temp.
    • Late in Season 3, Jim gets a haircut, at Karen's bidding. This is just before he interviews for Jan's job at corporate. It doesn't last, though.
  • Extended Disarming: Played for laughs in episode "E-mail Surveillance", where Michael is made to surrender all his imaginary guns at improv class. Also the many occasions upon which Dwight is forced to surrender his in-office arsenal.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The show was frequently having more and more hour-long episodes as the series progressed, partly because, in such a dialogue-heavy show, the writers had trouble keeping the scripts a standard episode length. Some fans got annoyed, pointing out the shows were just going to be split into half-hour two-parters for syndication anyway, and that the hour-long shows tended to have a lot of Padding. The final three episodes were extended, with NBC giving "Finale" a 75-minute slot.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Toby getting a paper cut in the eye during a paper plane competition.
    • In a more literal example, the same episode shows Andy having to demonstrate how to properly use an eye wash in a laboratory. Made especially squicky since it's established that Andy is particularly squeamish about things involving eyes, and shrieks with pain through the entire procedure.
  • Eye Take

  • Face–Heel Turn: Ryan's transfer to Corporate can be seen as this. While up until then he's portrayed as a relatively sympathetic character, during the fourth season, he becomes arrogant and thoroughly unsympathetic, somewhat playing the role of Big Bad for that season.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama:
    • Michael as he walks to his car with Andy in "The Duel"
    • Also Michael's sleeping dummy with the string connecting the door to the arm so that someone entering the office triggers a snoring tape. It's not fooling Stanley, who lampshades how pointless the whole scheme is anyway.
      Stanley: How is you being asleep at your desk better than you not being there?
  • Failure Knight: Andy and Dwight.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Kelly does this in an effort to get back together with Ryan after he breaks up with her to move to New York at the end of season 3.
  • Fallback Marriage Pact:
    Michael: You know what, Pam, if in ten years I haven't had a baby and you haven't had a baby...
    Pam: [firmly] No, Michael.
    Michael: Twenty years.
    Pam: No, Michael.
    Michael: Thirty...
    Pam: ... Sure.
  • Final Season Casting: Steve Carell left shortly before the end of Season 7, and while the show not only finished that season but had two full seasons after it, those seasons dragged out a few new main characters to fill the gap. James Spader got added to the title credits at the beginning of Season 8. note  Catherine Tate as Nellie Bertram joined full-time in the middle of the season, and now Season 9 has given us Clark and Pete, and removed BJ Novak from the credits for the first time (after that season's first episode, which showed him quitting to pursue Kelly), as he had left.
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: In "The Fight", Michael claims to have been involved in a gang as a youth. Jim snaps his fingers and says, "Once you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way." Later, Michael has to confront Dwight about an issue and Jim follows him, snapping his fingers in rhythm.
  • Firing Day: In the episode "Halloween", Michael Scott absolutely bungles a firing because he can't decide who to fire. He procrastinates until the end of the month (meaning it happens on Halloween) and he tries to pick the person that will be the least difficult to fire for him. He first decided to fire Creed, but during the firing Creed convinces him to instead fire Devon.
  • Flanderization:
    • Meredith and Creed eventually show up every episode just to make either a gross-out joke about sex and/or alcohol and a non sequitur, respectively.
    • Perhaps the most egregious offender is Erin, who started off as a sweet and innocent girl, not the brightest bulb in the world, especially when it comes to older pop culture (such as not knowing who Marlon Brando is), but still competent. Nowadays, she thinks that if your boss asks you out, you have to accept, that disposable cameras are supposed to be thrown away immediately after taking a picture with them, and, when asked to follow Phyllis's lead in a conversation, takes that to mean repeat every word that she says exactly.
    • A perfect example would be Jan. In her last appearance in season 5, she sang an inappropriate song to her daughter in front of the office. Her next appearance in season 7 had her singing every other line.
    • Andy, after becoming regional manager started to come off more like Michael Scott. Then came "The Garden Party" and his actions are more understandable. Also averted since Andy's clueless (as opposed to Michael's childish buffoonery), but is capable and willing to learn. Michael would rarely defend his employees' integrity against an imposing boss as Andy did, would never go through with actually getting that tattoo as Andy did, and would never be able to handle the Darryl/warehouse situation as exceptionally as Andy did.
    • Also very notable is Kevin who started as a normal overweight man with a somewhat funny smile who was relatively competent at his job, (Gambling Addiction aside) to a bumbling stupid Fat Idiot and crazed pervert incapable of basic math and accounting who is thought of as mentally retarded and even talks more ridiculously as the show goes on.
      • Though it has also introduced areas that he is capable in; he is evidently a great cook and a talented musician. "Nepotism" indicates that he has some familiarity with electronics as well.
    • Jim's pranks. Early on, it was fairly mundane things like the stapler in jello or hiding Andy's phone. Fast forward to Season 8 where Andy's brother had a garden party one weekend. Andy then plans his own garden party for the very next weekend at Dwight's farm and insists all the employees go. Assuming Jim found out first thing Monday morning, he then penned an impressively thick book, "How To Throw a Garden Party," had multiple copies professionally produced, and put them up for sale on Amazon, all on the off-chance that Dwight, the party's host, will search online for help, find and buy the book, and make a fool of himself. All in just a couple days.
      • As mentioned in the Headscratchers page, there is an explanation for the Garden Party prank. Dwight had mentioned that he was planning to break into hosting high-scale parties for some time, meaning it was likely that Jim was aware of this (after all, Dwight tends to brag about this kind of thing), and thus prepared for that actually happening with the above prank. This gains some credence after a Cold Opening in Season 9, in which Dwight stumbles across an incredibly elaborate prank that Jim had set up so long ago that he couldn't even remember it at first, indicating that he often sets these pranks up well in advance. Still Flanderization for sure, just not to the point of achieving the impossible just to pull them off.
  • Flipping the Bird: Done regularly by various people. Always pixelated out.
  • Floorfilling Song and Dance: In the In-Universe film Threat Level Midnight, Michael Scarn starts doing a dance called "The Scarn" and rapping, causing everyone in the bar to join him.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: When Dwight bumps his head, he starts being nice to Pam. It doesn't last.
  • Force Feeding: In "Ultimatum", Michael forces Kevin to eat a large piece of broccoli after he makes a New Year's resolution to eat more vegetables.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Gabe is a Japanophile.
  • Foreshadowing: In the second to last episode of season 2, Dwight tells Jim there's a sales position open in the Stamford branch that Jim could transfer to when Dwight is trying to get Jim kicked out after one prank too many for Dwight. The next episode Jim chooses to transfer to that position after Pam rejects his love confession.
  • For the Funnyz: No matter what the situation, Michael will always try to interject, "That's what she said!"
  • Formerly Fat: In "Livin' the Dream: Part 1", Andy mentions he was an overweight child, as he ended up breaking several pool diving boards.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The five main characters:
    • Cynic: Dwight — hostile, critical, lacks compassion
    • Optimist: Michael — disregard for consequences, childish, overconfident
    • Realist: Jim — calm, mediator, humble
    • Apathetic: Ryan — aloof, insensitive, enigmatic
    • Conflicted: Pam — self-doubt, indecisive, empathetic
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Pam is Melancholic, Jim is Phlegmatic, and Michael and Dwight crank up the most dysfunctional aspects of Sanguine and Choleric respectively. Andy begins to fill in the role of Eclectic after his introduction in season 3.
    • Season 8 sees Andy move into the role of Sanguine as he goes through his character arc of becoming a competent, capable manager after Michael’s departure, while Robert California becomes the very dysfunctional eclectic for that season.
  • Freak Out: Ryan.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In "The Seminar", we see the performance rankings of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton's sales team: Jim is first, followed closely by Dwight, then Phyllis and Stanley, followed by three warehouse workers...then finally, Andy. Also counts as Continuity Nod.
    • In "Whistleblower", Dwight presents Jo Bennett with a list of people she should fire. The list appears to contain every employee except him.
    • In "Scott's Tots", Stanley holds up a newspaper article about Michael's promise to several third-grade children to pay their college tuition. Michael Scott is introduced as someone "who likes to wear jeans," and one father is quoted as saying, "Her mother and I have tried to save, but we both really enjoy drinking Italian wine and that takes a huge chunk out of our weekly income."
    • The diploma-looking framed certificate on the wall of Michael's office actually reads "This certifies that Michael Scott is the proud owner of a Quality Seyko timepiece." Not only did he put a certificate of authenticity for a wristwatch on his wall, but the brand name is incorrectly spelled "Seyko" instead of "Seiko", and the word "quality" is wrongly capitalized, implying that his watch is really just a Shoddy Knockoff Product.
  • Freudian Slip: In "Women's Appreciation Day", Dwight has one in his quest to catch a flasher.
    Dwight: Pam, you can draw, kind of, why don't you work with Phallus on drawing a picture of the exposer that I can post around the community.
    Pam: "Phallus?"
    Dwight: Phyllis. Sorry, I've got penises on the brain.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Kevin realizes in the fourth season premiere that PB&J could stand for Pam Beesly and Jim.
    • Later in s6, Oscar mocks the symbols for DM stock (DMI) by saying they stand for Dummies, Morons, and Idiots.
  • The Gambling Addict: Kevin.
  • Garage Sale: In the "Garage Sale" episode, Dwight stages one of these in the company warehouse.
  • Gary Stu: invokedMichael's Threat Level Midnight features the very blatant "Michael Scarn".
    • In any sort of role-playing exercise, Michael will always give himself the role of "the heroic (something)" or a highly respected historical figure, especially if such roles aren't even required or can be detrimental to the entire exercise.
  • Genius Ditz: Michael Scott's knack for sales.
  • Genki Girl: Erin.
  • Genre Deconstruction: The low key, humanistic approach to the series ends up exploring a lot of consequences to things that are romanticized elsewhere. Big, romantic gestures don't go according to plan. Bad behavior catches up to a person. Good intentions backfire horribly. The employees get away with a lot, but there are occasions where HR or Corporate has to intervene.
    • Once he finds out that Pam kissed Jim during her and Roy's engagement, Roy comes to the office to, in his own words, kill Jim. Dwight pepper sprays him down in a rare victory, but that victory is short-lived when everyone feels the pepper spray's effects. Within seconds, Dwight and others are reduced to tears.
      • As a result of his attack, Roy is fired from the warehouse. Darryl uses the loss of one of his better employees and subsequent increase in workload for himself as leverage when asking for a raise. It turns out that giving him a raise would means he's earning more than Michael, so Michael successfully tries to get a raise as well.
    • After firing some new employees, Michael decides to rally the other members of the office against Vance refrigeration by releasing the air from their car tires and blaming the ex-employees. However, the office immediately figures out it was him because he didn't flatten his own.
    • The Stamford branch of Dunder-Mifflin gets closed down in season three, so some of the employees (Jim, Andy, Karen, Tony, Martin, and Hannah) get moved to the Scranton branch. However, while everyone (i.e., the main cast, Jim included) is used to the chaos of the Scranton office, the Connecticut people aren't. They soon begin to leave, starting with Tony on the very first day, who got upset at Michael's jokes about his weight (who then "fired" him to save face). Then in the next episode, Martin quit after Michael made a big deal about his time in prison and locked him and everyone else, sans Toby, in the conference room when they didn't take his Scare 'Em Straight meeting seriously; Hannah left for undisclosed reasons (heavily implied to be Creed's sexual harassment) and Karen, who barely tolerated Michael's crap and thought of him as an incompetent, left when Jim broke up with her to be with Pam and wasn't able to work with him despite this. The only reason Andy stays on is because, unlike the other Stamford employees, he's just as much as a Cloud Cuckoolander as Michael and Dwight.
    • When Pam goes into labor the first time and Michael drives her and Jim to the hospital, Dwight escorts them. They get caught in traffic, so Dwight places a red flashing light on his car to get the vehicles in front of them to move. He is immediately pulled over and ticketed for impersonating a cop.
    • In season nine, the normally incredibly strong and loving Jim and Pam relationship gets strained when Jim starts double-booking himself with a start-up company in Philadelphia. The stress of raising the kids alone for Pam and dividing his time between Dunder-Mifflin and his new venture for Jim takes a toll on them and their marriage.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Erin Hannon and her cake.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Parodied in a season 7 episode where Dwight attempts to look more refined in order to get back at a store that refused to serve him. When he's trying to get opinions on how to do so, a couple people mention that he should try not wearing the glasses, at which point Dwight immediately rips off his glasses, hurls them to the floor, and stomps on them. Then a couple more people pipe up that they preferred him with the glasses. And now Dwight can't see.
    • This trope was discussed by Michael in episode "Job Fair".
    • Invoked to an excessive degree by Michael when Pam forgets her contacts and has to wear glasses for a day. He completely refuses to listen to her, drowning out her attempts to talk by saying "Blah blah blah - I mean, I can't even hear you. It's just noise coming out of an ugly scientist." Kind of a backhanded compliment in that he implies she's spoiling her usually-attractive appearance.
  • The Glomp: Michael does this to Jim after he learns of Jim's engagement.
    • Pam glomps Jim when he returns from Stamford in "The Merger".
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Ryan grows a Beard of Evil after being promoted. Michael grows one out of adulation (as Dwight does likewise for him).
  • Gone Horribly Right: Darryl's prank on Andy to convince him that Sabre printers really are catching on fire and that the company has a huge cover-up going on to prevent loss of business. When Andy's printer test does confirm that this is in fact exactly what is going on, Darryl realize that he's in over his head.
  • Grandfather Paradox : Discussed in "After Hours." Dwight claims that his ancestors were time travelers...or so the legend goes.
  • Grand Finale: The series finale, titled "Finale" that aired May 16 2013.
  • Gratuitous French: When tagging along to the Winnipeg business trip, Andy brushes up on his French which he practices profusely before leaving. There is virtually no one in Winnipeg who actually speaks French, most of the French-speaking Canadian population being concentrated in the eastern portion of Canada. Also, Andy's French isn't that great.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: "Sempai" (先輩) does not mean a person is an assistant (to the) sensei. It is a term of respect used to refer to a superior or person of higher rank. The title is accurate given Dwight's rather high ranking in the dojo, however. When talking to a superior, you don't call yourself sempai, which would explain the implication that Dwight's sensei was utterly confused until Dwight referred to himself by name.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Andy manages to do this to himself when he tears his scrotum doing a split in "Niagara, Part 1."
    • Not be outdone, Dwight, shortly thereafter in the episode "Murder," manages to sneak attack himself with a groin punch.
    • When Sabre CEO Jo Bennet comes to Dunder-Mifflin, she brings her enormous Great Danes. They spend the entire episode with their faces jammed in Andy's crotch.
    • "Snip-snap-snip-snap! You have no idea the physical toll that three vasectomies have on a person!"
    • Dwight inflicts massive trauma upon his man-parts so as not to impregnate Angela (it doesn't work).
    • Dwight accidentally cuts his penis while trying to urinate in a soda can.
    • Dwight ends up accidentally doing this to his Sensei after getting too into board-breaking as one of his final tests before obtaining his black belt.
  • Gun Twirling: When Dwight is told that he can't wear a gun in a holster in the office, he twirls the gun and it discharges, putting a hole in the floor and temporarily deafening Andy in one ear.

  • Halloween Episode: Six in total. Only seasons 1, 3 and 4 didn't have a Halloween episode ("Diwali" was meant as Season 3's alternative to a Halloween-themed show).
  • A Handful for an Eye: During a prank on the Utica branch, Dwight's plan is to blow chalk dust in the guard's eyes if caught.
  • Hands Go Down:
    • In Michael's improv class, the other students are happy to take part in a scene... until Michael is chosen to be in it.
    • In the finale, Dwight fires Kevin. Everyone else protests, and Dwight responds by asking them to make a case as to why he should stay. Just as everyone starts doing so, Dwight adds "based on his merits", and everyone immediately shuts up.
  • Happily Married: Phyllis and Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    • Jim and Pam Halpert
    • Karen and Dan
    • Michael and Holly, as confirmed in the Grand Finale.
    • Seems to be likely for Dwight and Angela.
  • Happy Ending: Everybody gets what they want or deserve in the finale. Michael has children with Holly and is clearly an enthusiastic father. Pam and Jim sell their home and move to Austin to re-join Darryl at Athleap, and with severance pay on top of that. Dwight and Angela are married with their son, and Dwight is the Regional Manager; he also inherits his Nana's 1600 acre farm and happily runs it with his siblings. Oscar is running for State Senator, and appears to be winning. Kevin owns his own bar. Erin meets her birth parents. Andy gives the commencement speech at Cornell University and talks his way into a job there. Stanley is happily retired in Florida. Phyllis has a new co-worker to fatten up. Ryan and Kelly run off to elope. Nellie ends up with Ryan's baby (that he didn't want anyway). Meredith gets her Ph.D, Creed gets caught for his crimes, but apparently has made peace with it. And even Toby, poor endlessly abused Toby, finally gets to dance with Pam (and it may be implied that he not only gets over his feelings for her, but also gets another job where he's well liked).
  • Harsh Talent Show Judge: In the final season, Andy tries out for a talent show whose gimmick is that all three of the judges are "the mean one."
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: Jim hates Todd Packer.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Charles Miner, despite being a Villainy-Free Villain. From day 1 he's been trying to assert his authority over Michael and the rest of the office, despite not knowing a thing about how they function. He doesn't take the time to get to know his subordinates, causing him to delegate work to the worst of the staff while overlooking the more skilled members. He kisses up to his superiors and he forcibly dismantles anything that would make work fun for the sake of cutting costs, which when combined with his yes-man attitude implies he's protecting corporate's Christmas bonuses at the expense of the wokrer's morale.
    • Frank from "Vandalism." In his sole appearance, he defaces Pam's mural with butts, smugly mocks her "crappy doodles" and inability to do anything about the vandalism while telling her, Toby, and Nellie to go screw themselves and Pam to get the stick out of her ass, attacks Clark and leaves him duct taped to a chair with "Spy You'll Pay 4 This!" scrawled on his chest, and tries to assault Pam when she gets her revenge by defacing his pickup truck with paint (while he admittedly did not know that the paint was water soluble and would simply wash off, it was still an overreaction). Even Roy wasn't as nasty as this guy.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Pam and Katy, the titular Hot Girl played by Amy Adams. Subverted with Meredith; she Really Gets Around but none of the men on the show want her.
    • Erin, whom Gabe and Andy are fighting over, recently changed from to brunette to redhead. She even won the "Cutest Redhead" award at Michael's last Dundees, much to Meredith's chagrin.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The documentary film crew. They've never been seen, although there was a point where, during "Stress Relief", someone knocks down the cameraman during the fire drill.
    • They have occasionally been referenced to and in "Dunder Mifflin Infinity" Michael takes the time to rescue the cameraman from the car. They also actually affect the plot in "E-Mail Surveillance" when they help Pam try and figure out if Dwight and Angela are dating.
    • They are very good at avoiding reflections. Not once have they ever been caught in a mirror, no matter how many times they've followed a character in a bathroom or highly reflective glass.
    • Finally averted in Customer Loyalty when an upset Pam is comforted by Brian, the mic guy. He requests that they turn the camera off, and it faded to black.
  • Hidden Supplies: Dwight has weapons stashed all around the office. Knives in the filing cabinet (labeled under A. Knife), sais behind the water cooler, jians in the sub ceiling, blowdart gun out of the toilet tank...
    • Fridge Horror settles in after you think that while the tank of the toilet would probably have the cleanest water of the entire system and thus be safe for Dwight to touch the blowdart gun with his lips, this is the office where Todd Packer has taken a dump in the manager's office (twice with the implied incident Ed Truck recalls), so Todd Packer would probably be the type to consider it hilarious to perform an upper decker...
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Michael's character in his screenplay... and in his improv comedy.
  • Hollywood Board Games: In "The Seminar", Brainless Beauty Erin plays a Scrabble phone game with her Abhorrent Admirer Gabe. Seeing that she lacks the vocabulary to win the game, Pam and Oscar attempt to help her.
  • Hollywood History: The Ben Franklin impersonator tells the girls about his key-on-a-kitestring experiment.
  • Hollywood Law (as well as Hollywood Finance): There is almost no onscreen fallout from Ryan's fraud indictment beyond him simply being fired from Dunder-Mifflin. This should have led to serious consequences for David Wallace (as his supervisor) and virtually all of the cast (who were material witnesses). However, between seasons 4 and 5 the prosecution simply evaporates and is barely mentioned again. This is partially an aversion of Cerebus Syndrome and partially a Rule of Funny, but it's jarring nonetheless.
    • When Ryan returns in season 5, he mentions taking a plea deal that involved a fine and community service (and probably several years' probation, too). Nevertheless, its still a wonder how he got rehired.
    • Michael spanking his nephew, while constituting assault in a legal sense, is brushed off in exchange of a mere 6 hours of counseling which he burns off in a single sitting with Toby (arguably worse than a real court imposed sentence, seeing how this is Michael and he despises Toby)
  • Hope Spot: There are a number of scenes in which it seems like Michael is finally being mature for once, only for him to turn it completely around seconds later. For example, his improv class where it briefly looks like he finally abandoned Chandler's Law for a bit, only for him to attempt to hold his acting partner at imaginary gunpoint in secret. Another is when it sounds like he's expressing confidence in Angela's party-planning abilities by asking her "Who else could do this?", only for him to point out in his next breath that it wasn't a rhetorical question.
    • A different example is in the beginning of the "Classy Christmas" two-parter, where Michael goes around making a concerted effort to make sure that no one had any latent issues or emotional baggage to bring to the ensuing Christmas party, with even Stanley being genuinely cheerful for once. It seems like there's going to be a Christmas party without any crazy drama this time... and then Michael finds out that Holly's coming back. He promptly throws out everything for the Christmas party that was about to happen, and sets up a new one that goes to Hell in a hand basket faster than you can say "Scranton Strangler".
  • Hopeless Suitor: Basically anyone who shows some attraction to a half of Jim/Pam post-Official Couple status like Toby, Cathy or Brian for example. Even Ryan a bit after they get together tried to ask Pam out and it's obviously fail.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Michael...
    • Averted with one instance of him being an excellent judge of character. When choosing who should get a sales position between Ryan and Pam, Michael wants to give the job to Ryan because Pam doesn't follow through. He eventually gives Pam the job, but sure enough, Pam tricks her way into becoming an office administrator because she can't handle being a saleswoman.
      • On the other hand, Ryan had already proven to be a lousy salesman, so that was kind of a lose-lose decision either way. In addition, Pam's actions could be interpreted as going to the effort of finding an important yet unfilled position that she could do, rather than sticking to a job in which she'll be contributing nothing to the company, something that Ryan never even attempted.
      • Michael keeps insisting on bringing in Ryan back, so it's his own fault for setting that up in the first place.
      • Eventually Michael understands how much of a liability Ryan is and manipulates him into paying all their money back, and joins with Jim and Dwight to 'transfer' Todd Packer once he insulted Holly, even telling her Packer is an ass.
  • Hot Librarian: Kevin seems to have a fetish for these, considering how his noted that all of his previous girlfriends had glasses, and when Pam wears glasses to work once, he tries to get her to recite cliche librarian phrases to him.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Dwight and Angela (who happen to be the tallest and shortest characters on the show- Rainn Wilson is approximately 6'3 while Angela Kinsey is just 5'1). Also, the Senator and Angela. Anyone and Angela, really.
    • Roy and Pam also count (and also Jim and Pam, but Jim is slightly shorter and skinnier than Roy).
  • Hypocrisy Nod: When Nellie shows up in Scranton following the failure of the Sabre retail store, Dwight (who was her Number Two in setting up the store) has this to say about her:
    Dwight: She reeks of failure. The fact that she's even willing to show her face around here is an embarrassment. I should know: I'm in an identical situation.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Angela openly mocks the other female employees for being "too whoreish" and such, but she has affairs with Dwight and Andy (at the same time!). In one episode, she implies that this wasn't even the first time she's pulled this.
    • Dwight is irritated when Jim dresses like Dwight and imitates him mockingly in one episode, he also tells Jim that "Identity theft is not a joke." In a later episode Dwight pretends to be Andy in order to annoy him, similar to what Jim did to him earlier.
    • Dwight tells Meredith's son that he does not have games on his office computer because that would be inappropriate. But in a later episode, he plays Second Life during work. However he himself doesn't consider it a "game." In the same episode, Jim mocks Dwight for playing Second Life but he himself also plays it. (Originally to mess with Dwight but he did put a lot of effort into his character. Pam calls him out on this). Also, Dwight openly plays a computer game with Robert California's son, Bert, in Season 8.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • During "Niagra", Dwight talks with a group of kids about how he believes Jim only got the co-manager position due to "kissing the boss-man's butt". Kind of a dubious argument for Dwight to be making, considering his being a Professional Butt-Kisser to Michael is one of the strongest aspects of his character.
    • In "Paper Airplanes", Andy tells Oscar that he will use his breakup with the Senator as inspiration for sad scenes, which causes Oscar to ask why Andy doesn't use his own breakup with Erin as inspiration. Andy then criticizes Oscar for bringing up such a painful memory.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Michael dates Pam's mother for awhile, much to Pam's chagrin.
  • Idiot Ball: Jim picks up the idiot ball when he becomes a manager, ultimately culminating with him outing Pam's pregnancy to her overly-traditional grandmother. Whether it's the position itself, or finding that actually trying to manage the cast of characters that make up the office that drives one to idiocy is up for debate.
    • Being a manager or higher-up at DM in general seems to make someone an easier target for having the idiot ball lobbed at them.
      • Even Charles Minor, seemingly the most authoritative and managerial boss to be on the show, shows himself to hold the Ball at all the wrong times.
  • Idiot Houdini: Michael has incredibly poor judgment, even considering his skill as a salesman, it's surprising he's as successful as he is.
    • Michael also provides a literal example when he tries the straightjacket escape trick.
    Michael: (in talking heads, still in straightjacket and hair is a mess) On a related topic, if anyone has found a small brass key...
  • Idiot Savant: Michael is shown to be an extremely talented salesman, which is odd given his utter lack of social skills in all other situations. His existence as an office manager is a critique of how offices will always promote someone one level above their best level of competency.
    • It's implied that Michael, in his quest for love and adulation, studied all kinds of techniques of making friends and such, so when he is selling he is goal oriented at getting a sale, using what he knows. This is how he relates in The Client, by taking things slow and relating experiences until the client is comfortable and he can slide in his pitch; even Jan was impressed in the end. The idiot to all that savant is, because getting love and adulation isn't so much a goal but a requirement to work with/for him, he doesn't try to do any of that with the people around him; even when he tries to follow simple empathy directions, he ultimately fails because he believes he shouldn't have to genuinely work for his underlings respect.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Michael seems to feel this way about Ryan.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Michael loves this trope, especially when it's inappropriate.
    • Phyllis' wedding to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration-
      Michael: If you lay a finger on Phyllis, I'll kill you.
      Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration: If you lay a finger on Phyllis, I'll kill you.
    • After Stanley accepts a job at Karen's Utica branch.
      Michael: "If you so much as harm a hair on Stanley's head, we'll burn Utica to the ground."
    • Michael to Gabe about Erin after the Glee party.
      Michael: If you break that girl's heart I will kill you. ...That's just a figure of speech. But seriously, if you break that girl's heart I will literally kill you and your entire family.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Jan played this quite obviously with Michael. Michael was equally obvious about the effect it had on him.
  • I Have This Friend:
    • An unusually happy Angela tells Pam about "this friend" Noelle, who forgot to send in important documents, and her friend ("Kurt") drove all the way to New York to hand them in for her. Pam sees right through it, of course, having seen Dwight come back from what looked like a long drive a little earlier (not to mention the fact that the names Angela gave just happen to be her and Dwight's middle names).
    • Dwight tells Nellie about "his cousin Mose" who might need medication for anxiety since he's getting a lot of responsibilities, including taking care of his cousin Mose he immediately clarifies that this last one is a different cousin Mose
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In "Michael Scott Paper Company", when Michael's own company isn't running very well, Michael complains about Pam and Ryan on the phone... while they're all sharing the same "office" (it's actually a large closet).
    Michael: They're getting on my nerves, mom. Both of them. R thinks he's too good to be here and P is not as much fun without Jim.
    Pam: Michael, we can hear you.
    Michael: I'm on the phone, please.
    Michael: Mom, I'm gonna have to call you back. P is being a giant B.
  • Incompetence, Inc.:
    • The Dunder Mifflin Paper Company is led by a suite of old school businessmen that has no idea how to respond to a world that is becoming more paperless and the increasing competition from big box retailers like Staples. The company's business strategy is so flawed that even a bunch of preteen kids can point out its problems to Michael. Scranton, the most successful branch, is kept from failing mostly through the competence of Jim and Dwight, and when people stop fooling around each time the branch's incompetence comes under scrutiny (the ones who can't shape up usually get fired).
    • The Michael Scott Paper Company does surprisingly well at first, poaching a bunch of clients from Dunder Mifflin, but they're ultimately revealed to have a horrible business plan that seems to guarantee failure.
    • Sabre is a classic example of a huge corporation bogged down by bureaucracy, using gimmicks as a substitute for innovation, and with no quality control.
  • The Informant: Andy is this is when it is revealed in "Whistleblower" that he is the one who leaked to the press that the Sabre printers Dunder-Mifflin are selling are prone to catching on fire. He becomes the office pariah afterwards. Which kind of sucks, considering that there were three other whistleblowers in the office as well.
  • Informed Ability: Despite Michael being a very poor manager, and the office staff slacking off constantly the Scranton Branch is the most successful branch. Even David Wallace and other leadership is baffled by this.
    • Also Dwight Schrute is hailed as their number one salesman and apparently has the numbers to back it up, early in the show he wins an award. Yet whenever we see him at a meeting or over the phone, his usual abrasive and arrogant nature persists and drive away the sale. This is especially obvious in the episode where he quits and goes to work for Staples. He immediately breaks records by selling two printers in his first day (off screen) but when we see him, he's chasing off a customer by insulting their printer paper choice. In contrast Michael, likewise touted as an excellent salesman, has been repeatedly shown winning over customers on-screen.
      • Ultimately, it probably comes down to the makers of the documentary obeying the Rule of Funny. Dwight's persistence likely gets him plenty of sales, but why waste time showing those? The exception to his lack of sales success is when it becomes especially ridiculous, like when he forces Andy to sell him his car by repeatedly counting down to zero and saying "NOW!" over and over. This likely doesn't work on anyone but Andy. He's often shown talking normally to clients over the phone (usually right before Jim interrupts him with a prank), but when he goes too far, that's when they put it in the episode. As for Staples - at that point in the show, Dunder Mifflin didn't sell printers, but they did sell printer paper. Despite his momentary hatred for Michael, maybe Dwight was still loyal to Dunder Mifflin deep down.
    • The UK show's idiots had to actually be good at their jobs for the transition to a US audience to work; it's a fair bit easier to get fired in America. However, Dwight is just a freak...basically the writers just don't care.
      • Well it may be that Dwight makes up for chasing off customers with an equal amount of scary "I will skin you alive if you don't buy from me" looks he gives other ones.
      • It's also worth noting that in many cases where Dwight is apparently being rude to a customer, he is distressed by something else that is going on.
      • Certain sales prospects actually respond favorably to an aggressive sales pitch; some people apparently need to be bullied into making a decision. Dwight also has some clever tricks, such as calling up the company's biggest competitor and letting the "on hold music" play throughout a sales presentation, to prove that Dunder Mifflin has better customer service.
      • There's also the simple fact that Dwight is ridiculously dedicated.
      • When Jim helps Dwight get over Angela announcing her engagement to Andy, we see regular dedicated Dwight get back on the phone and make a sales call where he is courteous, efficient and clearly this is the Dwight we don't normally see that gets the highest Dunder-Mifflin sales numbers year after year.
  • Informed Attribute : Ryan as "hottest in the office." It's mostly Michael and Kelly's crushes on him that inform this, and Ryan himself.
  • In-Series Nickname: Michael gives random nicknames to most people in the office: A common one is him calling Stanley: "Stanley the Manly."
    • Jim is called "Big Tuna", "Large Tuna", or just "Tuna" by Andy. This is because on Jim's first day at Stamford, he was eating a tuna fish sandwich.
    • Ryan is called "Temp" or "The Temp" early in the series, he is also often known as "The Fire Guy" ever since "The Fire".
    • Andy calls himself the "Nard Dog".
    • When Clark and Pete are hired, Andy assigns them the names of "Dwight Jr" and "Plop". This actually comes up in a later episode when Andy finds out that Erin is dating someone named Pete and tries to find out who it is. Pete realizes that Andy has been calling him "Plop" for so long that he genuinely forgot his real name.
  • Inhuman Resources: Michael thinks that Toby is this. Subverted, as Toby is just a bored and boring man who half-heartedly tries to reign Michael's excesses in, which makes him evil in Michael's eyes. Michael's reaction when Toby is reassigned to the Scranton Branch (over Michael's Love Interest) is an exemplar of this:
    Michael: No, God! No, God please, No! No! No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO- (gets cut off by the opening theme)
    • Toby seems to attract this attitude with anyone who gets promoted to higher management at the branch, as Jim and Andy both become just as antagonistic towards him when they're respectively promoted.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Dwight's "Assistant Regional Manager" and Pam and Jim (and even Michael)'s correction of "Assistant to the Regional Manager" which is the correct, if unofficial, title.
    • Dwight's position at his karate dojo:
    Dwight: A Sempai is the assistant Sensei.
    Jim: Assistant to the Sensei.
    • Oscar would like to remind you that Robert Lipton is, in fact, a State Senator.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!
    • Andy. Poor Andy.
    • Dwight in the episode "Customer Loyalty", as the victim of a "Fire in the hole!" prank.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A now-iconic piece by Jay Ferguson (of The '60s band Spirit and a One-Hit Wonder in 1978 with "Thunder Island"), featuring piano and melodica. Ferguson says "it has this vulnerability, this yearning to it that soon explodes into this overdone optimism which then gets crushed - which is pretty much what the show is about."
  • Insult Backfire: Dwight reveals that he's taking martial arts classes (he's the Assistant to the Sensei).
    Michael: [scoffing] I know a ton of 14-year-old girls who could kick his ass.
    Jim: You know a ton of 14-year-old girls?
    • In "Drug Testing" when Dwight is drug testing the office as a volunteer sheriff:
    Michael: *cough* Narc!
    Dwight: If you are attempting to compliment me then you are doing a very good job.
    Michael: I wasn't attempting to compliment you.
    Dwight: Well you have because being a narc is one of the hardest jobs you can have and I'm proud of being a narc.
  • Intercourse with You: In "Dinner Party" Jan plays a song by her old assistant which goes "You took me by the hand/Made me a man/That one night, you made everything alright".
  • Internal Deconstruction: Later in the shows run the various pranks Jim would play on Dwight is eventually taken to corporate HR, which are taken to review every claim made (one had Jim slowly increased the weight of Dwight's phone with dimes, then removed them all and Dwight hit himself in the head when the phone rang). With all of his pranks laid out in order, Jim came to realize how mean-spirited many of them were as well as how much time he was wasting on this rivalry.
  • Intra-Franchise Crossover: David Brent, the hopeless boss from the British version, has made a couple of guest appearances here.
  • Invisible Writing: In one episode, Dwight attempts to pass a secret message to the other salespeople by handing them letters with a second message written beneath the main text in invisible ink, hinting to them to expose the letters to heat to make the secret message visible. Of course, none of them bothers to do so. Dwight also cheerfully admits that the "invisible ink" in question is in fact his own urine.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: When Andy punches a hole in the office wall (again), he's seen nursing his hand with an icepack in the next scene.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Judging from a remark during Jim's interview, David Wallace apparently has the same relationship with Corporate's HR officer Kendel that Michael has with Toby.
    • Jim's wedding proposal is done in the rain at a gas station after he and Pam drive to meet each other midway between Scranton and New York. It is soundless. Dwight's wedding proposal is done on a sunny day when he tries to pull Angela over using his volunteer Sheriff's siren and ultimately runs her off the road. He then proposes to her with a bullhorn.
    • In this deleted subplot, Ryan reveals that he once accidentally knocked the mirror off a coworker's car during his Drunk with Power corporate days. It turns out to have been Kevin's, but when Kevin confronts him about it Ryan smarmily refuses to take responsibility and tries to weasel out of it by claiming "he was a different person back then", and is now "Ryan 2.0", so can't be punished for the things he did as Ryan 1.0. In revenge, Kevin steals Ryan's expensive sunglasses and microwaves them; when Ryan discovers this and confronts Kevin, Kevin takes great pleasure in throwing Ryan's exact words right back in his face.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Ryan's photography.
    • A photo of a topless Kelly:
    Explicit? Indecent? Erotic? Or commentary about the way in which women are treated in the workplace? Here's a woman, hard at work, pulled herself up by the bootstraps despite her ethnic heritage, but all you see is that she's topless. It's sad, but the saddest part is that the woman was willing to pose for this photograph without a single question as to the artist's intent. What happened to integrity?
    • Also comes up in one of the deleted scenes from the episode "Goodbye Michael" when Michael catches one of his employees with some erotic drawings:
    Stanley: It's called hentai... and it's art.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Many people at Dunder Mifflin, especially Michael and Dwight, treat the Internet as a passing fad, showing just how out of touch they are for a changing marketplace. While addressing Ryan's business class, Michael dismisses computers as things for "playing games and forwarding funny emails," telling them to write that down...which they do on their laptops.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Averted with Ryan: "Maybe we weren't right together,'s weird. I'd rather she(Kelly) be alone than with somebody. Is that love?"
    • Jim really tries to be happy for Pam and Roy, but seeing how Roy treats Pam (with disinterest, mostly) isn't making it easy for him. Still, aside from a few times when he almost tells Pam what he really thinks of Roy, he does his best to be happy for her.
    • Reversed in season 3, in which Pam even gives advice to Jim that helps him and Karen get over their first big fight. It isn't easy for her, but she's simply too much of a friend to give Jim bad advice and undermine his relationship with Karen, no matter how much she wants to.
    • After Erin proves incapable of breaking up with Andy, Pete has this reaction, which is what gives her the courage to go through with the break up and choose him instead.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Andy, by a little girl no less in "Test The Store". He attempts to obscure the detail about his black eye...until the mother comes by forcing her daughter to apologize. He later gets another black eye after Kelly accidentally punches him. Toby is sympathetic, heavily implying he was abused by his ex wife.
  • Indestructibility Montage: Played for Laughs when Dwight performs his own series of intense tests on Jan's expensive stroller, reasoning that if it's going to cost over a thousand dollars, it had better be near indestructible. It is.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Andy won't shut up about having gone to Cornell, though it's eventually clear that it was because his dad is filthy rich and made a donation to the university. A number of cast and crew members on the show have prestigious college backgrounds.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Jim's plan to celebrate all the office birthdays on one day.

  • Jerkass:
    • Dwight, Angela, Ryan (season 4 onwards) and, less consistently, Michael, all have their moments in the main cast.
    • Todd Packer does not have a single redeeming characteristic.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Dwight's fire drill. While extremely dangerous and causes Stanley to have a heart attack, it does show the office is terrifyingly unprepared for a fire. To start, everyone panics for several minutes when they believed the building was on fire and not once does anyone think to phone for help (Pam does pick up the office phone right away, only to discover that it was dead, but no one thinks to use their cell phones) or even activate the fire alarm.
      • Though the reason they started panicking was that Dwight had purposely locked them in the office and blocked quickest means of escape.
    • Dwight again in Doomsday. Although his device was overboard, the branch did hit five mistakes incredibly quickly.
    • Ryan in Job Fair. He covers up his real motives (jealously over Jim's relationship with David Wallis) for giving Jim a verbal warning with what are accurate grievances — Jim spends too much of his time at reception with Pam or pranking Dwight. Jim is spooked enough by the warning to go out and land a huge client on the same day.
    • In the final season, Dwight becomes manager and fires Kevin. Through layoffs and multiple changes in management, it took ten years and Dwight to finally fire a man who is grossly incompetent, socially inept, unhygienic, prone to sexual harassment, and implied to lack the basic certifications required to do his job, which the office apparently doesn't even need a third person doing anyway. Although everyone objects at first, they immediately admit they can't think of a reason he should keep his job (based on merit).
    • Michael had every right to be upset with Jim and Pam in "Gossip" when he tells them they should have told him about the pregnancy. He is their employer and as both are salesmen at that point, their likely (and eventual) time off will impact the office greatly, especially given at that point in the series Dunder Mufflin was facing severe problems.
      • However, this one is more arguable than the other examples. Michael was clearly annoyed for personal reasons as he (inaccurately) considers himself to be a co-equal third in Jim and Pam's relationship. Additionally, it is noted to be early in the pregnancy (the couple only having told their own parents the previous day), long before it is going to affect productivity and when parents-to-be are often warned by doctors not to tell many people in case of miscarriage.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Andy, who was initially introduced as an overconfident sycophant with rage issues has evolved into one of these. He's still largely clueless but seems like a nice enough guy.
    • Jim as well. Most of his pranks on Dwight are genuinely mean-spirited, but most would agree he's a nice guy. Lampshaded in one episode where several of his pranks are mentioned in quick succession; Jim himself notes that they don't sound nearly as funny that way.
      • While Jim is pretty horrible to Dwight in a lot of small, petty ways, he does seem to have a sense (more so in later seasons) for when he's going too far, and is probably the most likely person (apart from Pam) to actively try to cheer Dwight up when he's truly upset. In fact (and here's a depressing thought), it seems like he and Pam are probably the closest things Dwight has to friends in the office (not counting Michael, who is just as likely to stab Dwight in the back as try to help him).
      • A talking head in "Nepotism" indicates that Jim and Pam's pranks are at least in part to keep Dwight's ego from going out of control, so there is that.
    • Dwight fits this now as well. Though his compassion isn't seen by any characters (just the audience), its effects are obvious.
      • When Pam is at the hospital giving birth, Dwight comes by her house to look for Pam's iPod at her request. He notices mold under the kitchen sink and spends the next few days rebuilding the entire kitchen of his own initiative.
      • When Pam starts bluffing about moving the office to a different building to get him to undo the awful changes he's made to the building, Dwight finds out and counterattacks, in the end he lets her win after (Unbenknownst to her) he listens to her breaking down to Jim about being a failure.
      • In the series finale, when Dwight learns that Jim and Pam intend to leave Dunder-Mifflin, he fires them—entitling them to receive generous severance packages.
        Dwight: No, don't say it—you're fired. You're both fired!
        Jim: Dwight, c'mon, don't end on a bad note...
        Dwight: Don't be an idiot, it's for the severance. The best that I can do is one month for every year you've been here. That's the max.
    • Michael goes back and forth between this and regular ol' Jerkass depending on the episode or the season. Much more likely to be a complete Jerkass in earlier episodes. He does have a heart of gold however.
    • Roy was a Jerk Jock for the first two seasons but showed a softer side throughout season three when he tries to get back with Pam and even apologizes for trying to beat up Jim when he learned he kissed her.
  • Karma Houdini: It's the only possible explanation for why Michael has never been fired (or arrested); although he is known to be an extremely good salesman (and in one episode, it's alluded to that he was in fact one of the most successful salesmen in the company's history), his management skills are... inferior.
    • Nearly averted (sort of): One early-season episode specified Scranton as bottom of the heap in sales for the branches that Jan oversaw. The Scranton branch was going to get closed and Michael was going to get laid off ("Branch Closing"). It was only after Josh, the Stamford manager, took a job at Staples that Scranton absorbed Stamford. And after all that went down Scranton had absorbed Stamford's clients while keeping only two employees (Karen and Andy).
      • After Karen takes a manager job in another branch, this leaves only Andy as the extra salary, trading for Devin's QA job (fired in the first Halloween episode) to re balance the exact payroll of the first season staff while having the client base of two branches. Maybe David Wallace should have just looked at those numbers rather than ask Michael to New York to explain how he does it.
      • However, when David Wallace is meeting with Michael about his high sales numbers, he takes a moment to specifically congratulate Michael on not losing any clients over the course of the two mergers. Wallace has not been portrayed as an idiot, so one would think that if it was just that simple, he would've connected those two dots himself.
    • Justified by the fifth season, when it's revealed that the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin is, in fact, the most successful regional branch in the company much to the utter confusion of corporate.
    • Michael sexually and verbally harasses his employees (and refuses to stop, usually targeting Ryan, Pam, Oscar, Karen, Phyllis, Angela, and Stanley via the photo of his daughter) and put them in physical danger, and almost never actually works. Hitting Meredith with his car should have resulted in a charge of criminal negligence, if nothing else. During a game of "Who'd You Do?", he stated that "I would have sex with Ryan" because he was so good at business. He had sex with Holly (and, earlier, with Jan) on company property after work hours and forgot to lock the doors, allowing thieves to steal most of everyone's work property. He has kidnapped a pizza delivery boy, knocked a ladder out from under another employee, causing him serious injury, forced a kiss on a gay employee when trying to convince the rest of the office to be accepting, he emailed a sexually explicit photo of his superior to everyone in the local branch (albeit accidentally, he meant only to send it to his buddy, Todd), and attempted to get Toby sent to prison. He seems to wreck Stanley's car numerous times for unknown reasons. And all that was BEFORE he lost new business leads that Sabre (which is a much more serious and successful company than Dunder Mifflin) spent $50,000 on in a failed attempt to get his sales staff to stop acting up, with no later reference to it from corporate. Is a complete douchebag to everyone in the office (except Erin), especially Toby.
      • Michael and Dwight both did things which absolutely would have gotten them terminated immediately during "Stress Relief" - legitimately threatening Stanley's life. David Wallace mentions that they're "not going to just let this one slide" - and then requires Dwight to 'formally apologize,' and the whole thing is promptly forgotten.
    • Dwight has, among other things: caused another employee to have a heart attack with his "fire drill" (using arson as a learning tool), had a duel with another employee during work hours, cut the face off of a CPR dummy (which had to be replaced by the company, costing them thousands), repeatedly abandoned fellow employees at remote locations under false pretenses, and fired a gun in the office injuring Andy (burst ear drum). He keeps all kinds of other weapons in the office (which turned out to be useful, when he stopped Roy from attacking Jim). He looked at gay porn on his computer for "research". He made Holly think that Kevin was mentally disabled, and made Erin think that the office was haunted by the ghost of a 19th Century prostitute. He talked to Toby's 5-year old daughter about Nazi's. He brought a porcupine into the office in an attempt to set Jim up to get fired. He shot Jim repeatedly with paintballs, and slammed Jim so hard with snowballs that Jim's nose bled, otherwise known as assault. He locked Meredith in a closet with a rabid bat. He locked Ryan in a barn, with nobody but himself and Mose. He frequently has sex with Angela in the office. He tried to ban women from wearing pants in the office. He takes pride in verbally abusing his coworkers. He would definitely be fired if he wasn't the top salesman at the company.
    • Jim and Pam spend the vast majority of their work day flirting or pranking Dwight (often in extremely disruptive ways). Jim, along with Dwight, created a fake salesman in order to get around Sabre's commission cap. He also faked being called to jury duty for a entire week. And broke the window trying throw a snowball at Dwight.
      • Although they probably only do this in the first place because they know their workplace isn't exactly a "professional" one and doing well in a place like that isn't exactly going to get them anywhere career-wise. They probably just do it for kicks since it's all they've really got, and if they were working in a more normal work environment, they'd be much more professional and serious about it.
      • Some of the pranks however, go straight into the realm of bad taste at times and are generally not the kinds of things most decent people would do for a laugh, such as planning a prank that results in Dwight destroying his cell phone on Christmas, having him seal himself in a box planning to leave him there for who knows how long, and stealing his personal possessions to put them in a vending machine for his co-workers to buy.
      • Jim could be brought up on criminal charges for sexual assault after kissing Pam in the office after she clearly rejected his advances in "Casino Night". Obviously it ends up differently because it's Hollywood, but in real life that's clearly way over the line.
      • Pam lied her way into a Office Administrator job (and tried to claim back pay) because she wasn't a good salesman. She allowed another employee to blackmail her into giving that same employee more vacation days. She also brought lice into the office (albeit by accident) and put the blame on another coworker.
    • Kelly at one point faked negative customer reviews (which affect the bonuses of other employees) as revenge against Jim and Dwight for not attending one of her parties. She also spends all her time fighting with Ryan and fooling around with him, which would get normal people fired. Physically assaulting her boss, as she does in the second episode, would also get her fired, despite it being sorely provoked.
    • Stanley has repeatedly and openly chewed out his own boss (though at times fairly reasonably), does crosswords on company time, and destroys parts of Michael's car with a crowbar. He also naps at his desk daily.
    • Toby makes little to no attempt to actually control the constant disruptions in the office.
      • Actually, "Conflict Resolution" makes it clear that the conflicts in the office would be far worse if it weren't for Toby. Obviously he has to pick his battles to some extent, and a disruption in the office that is quickly dealt with by HR wouldn't exactly make for an exciting episode, would it?
    • Creed makes no attempt to do his job at all, to the point of needing to frame another employee when an obscene watermark makes it through his quality control responsibilities. In fact, half the time he can't even remember what his job title is. Subverted in the series finale, where he's arrested on numerous charges, then played straight when he escapes from police custody.
    • Meredith is frequently drunk at the office. She sexually harasses Michael and others in the office on a frequent basis. In addition, her casual Friday outfit gave a new meaning to the word nasty (an undersized tube top and shoes, nothing else). Her behavior only comes under scrutiny in season 5, when she reveals she's sleeping with a client for a discount. Corporate doesn't seem to care(as the company is months away from going under, they turn out to have to allow it because they need every client and sale the can get).
    • Ryan has never made a sale and rarely seems to work. (And that was after he nearly burned the building down and before he defrauded Dunder-Mifflin.) He also sexually harasses Karen, Pam, and Erin. In the finale, he abandons his child to run off with Kelly.
    • Andy is a terrible salesman who hit Dwight with his car and punched a hole in the building's wall. (Though he did go to anger management for punching the wall, and has made several efforts to improve his sales abilities, even succeeding on a few occasions.) He also destroyed his work computer in order to get a better one.
    • Angela has shown a pattern of extremely disrespectful behavior to the other women in the office, calling them 'hussies' and 'whores,' and has had sex on office property during work hours. Also a total homophobe, ironic as her husband is a closeted homosexual.
    • Phyllis has blackmailed Angela. She also has frequent two-hour lunches (coming back drunk) because Michael is afraid of Bob Vance, and is shown (covertly) masturbating at her desk while listening to Fifty Shades of Grey.
    • Gabe's treatment of both Erin and Andy during their love triangle (assaulting Andy and attempting to deny him a promotion for being interested in Erin, making harassing phone calls to Erin) qualifies him as a sexual harasser.
    • Kevin isn't as bad as the rest but it's been suggested he's really not that great an accountant. Also, he makes sexual remarks to/about his co-workers even after attending a seminar on sexual harassment. It also doesn't help that he looks at porn during work hours on office computers. And commits insider trading (and somehow never gets caught). He applied for a warehouse position, but Michael "saw potential" in him, and put him in accounting. Averted in the finale where he gets fired for his incompetence
    • Oscar, while normally a very good employee, destroyed the window of someone's car (in order to free a dog) and casually walked away. He and Angela bring baby Phillip to the office and spend the day caring for him rather than doing any work.
    • Darryl pretended an injury was work-related when in fact the warehouse staff were using the mechanical lift as an elevator against company safety procedures.
      • Also steals Michael's payslip, photographs it without his consent and shares it with a number of people. Michael would have been well within his rights to both fire on the spot and later sue Darryl for such as egregious breach of privacy and potential identity theft.
    • Averted by Roy, who, after assaulting Jim on company property, is immediately fired and removed from the building.
    • That leaves Erin as the only Dunder Mifflin employee who would conceivably be employed in the real world. Or maybe not, since throwing a cake at Andy qualifies as assault.
    • The Scranton branch itself is under the effects of Karma Houdini. For some fun reading, here's a blog, written by a professional lawyer, describing how much hot water Dunder-Mifflin would be in if they were a real company.
  • Kavorka Man: Dwight, who manages a one night stand with one of Pam's friends at her and Jim's wedding and handles it with a level of expertise that suggests experience in the field and when Pam's friend approaches Dwight at the wedding, he's doing well while chatting with another girl. He also appears on the verge of picking up at least one girl in a club in NYC, but he abruptly runs off to help Michael without a second thought. He also brings a woman to Michael's dinner party, when Jim learns that she was his babysitter, Dwight cuts them off with:
    Dwight: "It's purely carnal, and that's all you need to know."
    • And this is despite having to have Toby explain female anatomy to him in the "Sexual Harrassment" episode.
      • Then again, it was only after that episode that he started dating Angela and becoming more successful so perhaps Toby's lecture helped him out more than we realize.
    • Todd Packer. However, since all the information we have about his conquests come from Michael or himself, it might be an Informed Ability.
      • Or possibly he just made it all up. There is no evidence to support any of it, and his seduction technique when shown onscreen is less than stellar.
    • Stanley, as well. Despite being a middle-aged, significantly overweight, grumpy sales guy, Stanley has a wife and at least two girlfriends who are younger and and cuter than you'd expect.
  • Kick the Dog: Jim's getting a few of late, like trying to give bonuses to the sales department without considering that it looks like a transparent attempt to reward his wife, or moving specifically to allow Michael to fall into a fish pond.
    • In "Casual Friday" the Dunder Mifflin salespeople are presented as the victims with right on their side and the opposing Michael Scott Paper Company employees are presented as the ones in the wrong, which is exactly the case. Then Michael, Pam and Ryan took Dwight, Andy, Phyllis and Stanley's lunches out of the fridge and ate them in front of revenge for nothing more than saying very true things about them in a secret meeting in the warehouse.
      • And then lying to him about it.
    • In the pilot, Michael fires Pam as a practical joke, making her cry.
      • Michael really needs to stop fake-firing people.
    • Pam's getting in on these now: Mocking how the senator proposed to Angela; Manipulating Dwight, claiming they've been great friends when she knows that's not true, so that he can take care of her daughter for a night, so she (Pam) could sleep; Lying her way into a nonexistent job where she created her own higher salary because she couldn't cut it as a salesman.
    • Andy in "The Garden Party." He threw the aforementioned party to get a So Proud of You from his father, and is instead belittled by him and just about everybody else.
    • Angela has a lot of these moments. From victims gaming Phyllis who is devastated after being flashed, to being cruel towards Andy while dating him for no reason at all, to being very snide and homophobic towards Oscar, and generally preaching her religious beliefs down others' throats in general.

  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Like a bad penny, the obnoxious womanizing pea-brained Jerkass Todd Packer turns up once again, Only to be the Sacrificial Lamb when Robert torpedoes the retail store initiative.
  • Kubrick Stare: Dwight in episode "E-mail Surveillance". Michael, though between the blinds in his office, when Ryan sits in Pam's desk while she's on vacation in Season 2.
    Jim has been looking at me, kind of a lot. I would be creeped out by it, but it's nothing like the way Michael looks at me.

  • Lady Drunk: Meredith, who not only drinks a lot but is frequently implied to come hungover to work.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Aside from a majority of Michael's dialogue, at the "Charity" Auction, where employees offer up a particular skill, the card with Creed's contribution just says... Creed.
    Creed: That's all inclusive.
  • Lampshade Hanging / Medium Awareness: Well, of course, given that this is supposed to be a documentary. But, apart from the omnipresent "character talking head" moments, we occasionally get subtler instances of this. One of the more notable examples: Prior to getting on the plane in his last episode, Michael asks the unseen videographers, "Hey, will you guys let me know if this ever airs?"
    (removing a microphone pack from under his jacket) "It's gonna feel so good getting this thing off my chest." (inaudibly mouthing to the camera) "That's What She Said."
    • Earlier in the "Goodbye, Michael" episode, a jealous Gabe confronts Andy in the restroom and threatens to make him regret it if he goes near Erin. After Gabe leaves, Jim exits one of the stalls, having apparently heard everything. Cut to a talking head segment with Jim where we expect to hear his opinion on the Gabe/Andy thing. Instead, Jim asks if they're really filming people in the bathroom now.
  • Large Ham Title: "Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration" (who even has the second part used at his wedding).
  • Last Episode, New Character: Robert California and Nellie Bertram were introduced in the Season 7 finale.
  • Last-Name Basis: In something of an inversion of the usual trope, Jim and Pam use each others' last name when flirting. Even after the wedding, Jim sometimes calls her "Beesly".
  • "Last Supper" Steal: Jim tricks Dwight into doing a live Tableau during a picnic, so Dwight of course picks The Last Supper to imitate so he can take the role of Jesus.
  • Lawful Stupid: Dwight would make an excellent Paladin given his anal adherence to rules.
  • Leitmotif: Discussed in "The Play", where Darryl tells Michael to shut up during the overture to Sweeney Todd, or else they "won't recognize the musical themes when they come back later".
  • Lighter and Softer: It's generally lighter than the UK version—everyone is somewhat jaded, but to a reasonable degree, and there's comedy outside of the uncomfortable kind, which is a big contrast to the UK version and its sense of gnawing despair and complete lack of warmth between the employees. This isn't to say the US version is all sunshine and rainbows, however. Season 4's "Dinner Party" and its depiction of Michael and Jan's broken and emotionally abusive relationship was notoriously dark for US network TV, and Seasons 4 all the the way to 7 become more darker, serious, and emotional.
    • Seasons 8 and 9 become this to Seasons 4 to 7. It returns to the more lighter, comedic and peppy vibe the first three seasons had after the more serious fourth, fifth, sixth seventh seasons.
  • Like Goes with Like: In "Angry Andy", after Kelly and Ryan break up, this is successfully attempted by Jim and Pam (nearly lampshaded by the former, falsely denied by the latter) when they set Ravi-their kids' pediatrician-up with Kelly.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Most characters have a certain style and color they wear to the office.
    • It's rare to find Dwight wearing something other than a mustard-hue short-sleeve button down under his cheap brownish suits. Lampshaded in "Customer Survey" when Pam asks Jim over the phone, "Describe him exactly. What color mustard is his shirt?" Also partially justified in Shareholder Meeting when Dwight wishes he could swing by the Garment District and pick up a few crates of his shirts. He's got a shirt guy.
      • He may also have an UNDERWEAR guy- in all but two of the scenes in which he drops his trousers (and there are PLENTY), he is revealed to be wearing forest green boxer briefs.
    • Jim has a loose fitting tie and his sleeves rolled up.
    • Andy typically wears a blue blazer and tan pants with a sweater-vest.
    • Kelly prefers wearing pastel colors. She also adores how she looks in white, even at a wedding where that goes against tradition.
    • Oscar wears purple and orange dress shirts.
  • Literal Metaphor: "Gay Witch Hunt".
    Toby: Oscar's really gay.
    Michael: Exactly.
    Toby: I mean for real.
    Michael: Yeah, I know.
    Toby: No, he's attracted to other men.
    Michael: Okay, little too far, crossed the line.
    Toby: Okay, I am telling you Oscar is an actual homosexual.
  • Living Prop: A number of the minor characters in the early episodes, especially the pilot, before they were really fleshed out. Most of the background cast from the different branches and the warehouse still qualify.
    • Some characters kept appearing in the background until well into season 3. Luanne (first by the fans believed to be the Marjorie mentioned in season's 2 "The Fire") is such an example. Word of God says it was to add realism to the series, by having employees that the audience knew nothing about, but it became harder to explain their presence as the series progressed and thus they were eventually written out completely.
  • Local Hangout: Poor Richard's Pub (a Real Life Scranton establishment) turns up in a few episodes.
  • Logic Bomb
    Dwight: Jim is my enemy. But it turns out that Jim is also His Own Worst Enemy. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So actually my friend. ... But... because he is His Own Worst Enemy, the enemy of my friend is my enemy, so actually Jim is my enemy. ... But...
  • Logical Fallacies/Insane Troll Logic: After Meredith is hospitalized (Michael hit her with his car), Angela's cat dies (Dwight murdered it because it was "weak"), and Pam's computer crashes (she was downloading porn), Michael comes to the honest conclusion that Toby is Satan, and has placed a curse upon The Office.
    • It's pretty safe to say that 90-99% of Michael's thought process falls under this trope.
    Jim: I've been studying Michael for years and I've condensed what I've learned into this chart. (holds up pie chart) "How Michael Spends His Time." You can see we have "procrastinating," and "distracting others," and this tiny sliver here, (points to a pencil thick line) is "critical thinking." I made it bigger. So that you could see it.
    • Michael's favorite hare-brained schemes involve visiting people unannounced and at bad times. He usually explains his absurd reasons why.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Offscreen, Andy has... bedroom trouble with Erin when Nellie steals his job.
  • Lonely at the Top: Jim felt it during his stint as manager.
    • We got hints that Darryl got a bit of this after being moved from the warehouse to the office.
    • This was also Jan's problem early on, leading her to finally settle for Michael.
    • Michael seems to suffer from this a bit, making him even more desperate to be friends with his employees.
    • Ed Truck tells Michael that this is to be expected, because he will always be seen as a manager first by his employees. Michael could have prevented a lot of suffering to himself and the office if he'd listened.
  • Longing Look:
    • Jim and Pam's main mode of communication during the first few seasons, especially season 3. It gets to the point where they subconsciously do this even when the other isn't around, which Ryan gets to experience from both sides due to borrowing Pam and Jim's desks at different points.
    • Andy and Erin do the same in season 6.
  • Lord Error-Prone: If corporate executives are modern aristocrats, then Michael fits this one to a T.
  • Loud of War: Jim steals Karen's desk chair because his squeaks. So Karen (not realizing who she's dealing with) tries to get back at him by squeaking the chair. He sings the chorus for "Lovefool" by The Cardigans repeatedly to get it stuck in her head. She's begging him to stop in seconds.
  • Love Triangle: Oh boy...Jim/Pam/Roy, Pam/Jim/Katy, Pam/Jim/Karen, Dwight/Angela/Andy, Jan/Michael/Carol, Jan/Michael/Holly, Michael/Holly/AJ, Ryan/Kelly/Darryl, Toby/Pam/Jim, Dwight/Erin/Andy (for one episode), Andy/Erin/Gabe, Angela/Dwight/Isabel, Dwight/Angela/Robert, Angela/Robert/Oscar, Erin/Andy/Jessica, Gabe/Val/Darryl, Darryl/Val/Val's boyfriend, Cathy/Jim/Pam, Andy/Erin/Pete, Jim/Pam/Brian, the documentary crew's sound guy, and then finally Angela/Dwight/Esther
    • Taken to an extreme in "The Duel":
    Angela: My worst breakup was actually two breakups. Two different men. I was in love with both of them and when things went bad they had a duel over me.
    Oscar: Yeah, Dwight and Andy. We were here.
    Angela: No, this was years ago when I was living in Ohio. John Mark and John David.
    Oscar: Angela, you had two sets of different men actually duel over you?
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The Webisodes focus on the supporting cast.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: "Casino Night."
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Pam indicates that she would have taken Roy's name if they had gotten married, but wouldn't have been terribly happy about it.
    Pam: That's as close as I ever want to get to being Pamela Anderson.
    • But when marrying Jim, she's more than happy to change it, and Squees with delight when Kevin hands her a check made out to "Mrs. Pam Halpert".
  • Man Versus Machine: In "Launch Party" Dwight tries to outsell the Dunder Mifflin website. He does.
  • Manchild: Michael most often comes across as this.
    • Kevin perhaps more so. Holly mistook him for a mentally handicapped person after Dwight told her that Kevin was hired under from a work program for the mentally challenged.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In "Promos" when some of the workers realize that the documentary will include private intimate moments that they weren't aware were being filmed, and they all turn to the camera.
  • Matchmaker Failure: After Jim and Pam have their baby, an emotional Michael becomes convinced the two got together thanks to him and is inspired to matchmake the other employees in the office. He tries it with Kevin and Erin, and while Kevin is enthusiastic, Erin already likes Andy, so it doesn't work out.
  • Meaningful Echo: Michael gets fired from Dunder-Mifflin for trying to found the Michael Scott Paper Company under their nose. When he tries to give one last speech, Charles cuts him off with "No, no. You're done." When Michael forces Dunder-Mifflin's hand to get re-hired, Charles tries to give one last speech and Michael cuts him off with the same phrase.
  • Meaningful Gift: In "Christmas Party", Jim has Pam as his recipient for Secret Santa. He buys her a teapot that she wants and fills it with mementos representing their inside jokes, as well as a note (presumably declaring his love for her). Things go horribly awry when Michael abruptly changes Secret Santa into Yankee Swap and everyone's presents are switched. Pam winds up with her teapot in the end, but Jim removes the note at the last minute.
  • Meet Cute: Invoked (and namecalled) by Kelly with Deangelo, dropping a folder and "letting" him pick it up for her. And then walking off without the folder.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Played straight by the ones who like sports, Jim (his short-lived Finer Things membership), Roy (his comments at the art gallery, though he did try), and Kevin (he takes the life-size picture of Jan because he "[does]n't have a lot of art.") Subverted by Toby and Oscar in the Finer Things club, and Oscar and Gil at Pam's art exhibit. Andy also subverts it (knowledgeably critiquing an opera among other instances), presumably because of his upbringing. Gabe appears to be something of a Movie Buff, albeit with a decided preference for horror flicks.
    Oscar: Besides having sex with men, I would say that the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.
  • Metaphorgotten: Michael does this all the time. For example: "What happens to a company if somebody takes a boss away? It's like what happens to a chicken when you take its head away. It dies... unless you find a new head. I need to see which one of these people have the skills to be a chicken head."
    • "Business is like a jungle. And I am like a tiger, and Dwight is like a monkey that stabs the tiger in the back with a stick. Does the tiger fire the monkey? Does the tiger transfer the monkey to another branch? ...Pun! There is no way of knowing what goes on inside the tiger's head. We don't have the technology."
    • "So Ryan got promoted to corporate, where he is a little fish in a big pond. Whereas back here in Scranton, I am still top dog in a fairly large pond. So who is the real boss? The dog or a fish?"
    • "At first, we were talking about introducing a line of toilet paper. And what part of the human body does one use toilet paper upon? So you draw a line from there to the other planets, and I think by the end, we learned a little bit about how small we are."
  • Mexican Standoff: With fingerguns/fingercrossbows at the end of "Murder." Naturally, it ends in a Blast Out.
  • Mistaken for Disease: In one episode, Michael believes he has herpes and goes around telling all the women he's had sex with that they may have it too. But at the end, it's implied (and later confirmed in a future episode) that it was just an ingrown hair.
  • Mockumentary: Unlike many of the mockumentary-type shows that appeared following this series, the shaky cam isn't just a stylistic theme, and the talking heads segments aren't just a convenient storytelling device. The logistics don't really hold up to scrutiny,note  but there is an in-universe camera crew. The crew never appears or makes a sound until near the end of the series, but there is occasional interaction between the crew and employees (e.g. in one episode the cameraman silently points out to Pam evidence of Dwight and Angela's relationship), and the employees can turn off their microphones if they wish, for example.
  • Money Dumb: Michael was mentioned to be in debt before, but in Season 4's "Money", he is shown to be having to take a second job to pay for his debts, not helped by his live-in girlfriend Jan wasting their money (which is basically HIS money, seeing as how she doesn't have a job at this point) and having no idea of the debt issue. When Oscar analyzes his spending, he realizes that Michael's issues come from unnecessary purchases.
  • The Movie Buff: Gabe is a horror fan.
  • Munchkin: Dwight applies this philosophy to everything including Secret Santa.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: (From Michael's final episode)
    Michael: The Dream Team! ...And Meredith.
    • In Paper Airplane
    Nellie: We are now down to an Elite Eight. Well... Seven. And Toby.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Jim and Pam, of the 'Plan First, Then Elope' variety, coupled with a Married at Sea. A more spur-of-the-moment elopement was subverted earlier on when they decided to stay for an impromptu office party instead.
  • Mythology Gag: In "Whistleblower", we learn that Dunder Mifflin's address is 1725 Slough Avenue. The fictional Scranton street is a nod to the UK show's setting of Slough, England.
    • Ricky Gervais' cameos as David Brent in "The Seminar" and "Search Committee".
    • In "Dwight K. Schrute, Acting Manager," Dwight begins wearing a six-shooter in a hip holster. Phyllis suggests that he carry his cell phone in it instead. Dwight's spiritual predecessor, Gareth, carried his cell phone in a shoulder holster.
    • An ad for the in-universe documentary reveals that it's titled The Office: An American Workplace. The full title is what the series is called in the United Kingdom to avoid confusion with the original show.
    • In "Michael's Last Dundees," Michael describes the Dundees as like "the Golden Globes, only not as mean." Ricky Gervais had hosted the Golden Globes that year and was criticized for some jokes at some of the nominees' expense.
    • Stanley Hudson's counterpart in the UK version is Malcolm. In "Finale," after Stanley retires, he is replaced by a man named Malcolm.
    • Michael's dance in "Booze Cruise" looks an awful lot like David Brent's dance in "Charity".
    • Todd Packer's middle name, Finch, is a tip of the hat to his UK counterpart Chris Finch.
    • Maybe not intentional, but when Tony Gardner (who got fired in "The Merger") makes a brief The Bus Came Back cameo in "Threat Level Midnight", he'd added a goatee to his mustache and looked a lot like Keith Bishop from the UK show.

  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Angela, of all people, during "Costume Contest."
  • Nazi Grandpa: Dwight alludes to this more than once.
    Dwight: My grandpa Manheim is 103, and still puttering around in Argentina. I tried to go visit him once, but my travel visa was protested by the Shoah Foundation.
    Dwight: My maternal grandfather was the toughest guy I ever knew. World War Two veteran, killed twenty men and spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp.
  • Nepotism: In the episode of the same name (season seven premiere), the new office assistant is shown to be too apathetic to do any work right, and it turns out he was hired because he was Michael's nephew whom he was trying to reconnect with. But the rest of the office can't stand him, which eventually leads to Michael reaching his breaking point and abruptly disciplining him, at which point he leaves.
  • Nerds Speak Klingon: In "Andy's Ancestry", When Erin starts learning a language to impress Andy's family, Dwight convinces her to stop learning French and start learning Dothraki under his tutelage. She doesn't realize that it is a Conlang and is dejected when Andy tells her that she was doing something he considers so nerdy. Pete gives her a Dothraki farewell at the end, another hint of his crush on her.
    Erin: I'm learning how to speak Dothraki! Color you impressed?
    Andy: That you're learning a made-up language from HBO's Game of Thrones? I have a lot going on today...but this was a great nerd-out!
    Erin: Dwight, you didn't tell me you were teaching me a fake language.
    Dwight: People laughed at Klingon at first, and now you can major in it.
  • New Year's Resolution: "Ultimatum"
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Out of the main characters, we have:
    • Nice: Jim, in relative terms. He's not a saint but, despite his pranks on Dwight, he's the most pleasant and level-headed of the three.
    • Mean: Dwight, who is hostile and unfriendly most of the time, and often a malevolent Evil Genius towards his co-workers.
    • In-Between: Michael, who tries to be friendly but is perpetually selfish, obnoxious, and Innocently Insensitive, other than being an outright jerk to Toby.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Andy and Angela
  • No Bisexuals:
    • The instant the members of the office find evidence that Angela's senator boyfriend is attracted to men, they conclude that he's purely gay and his relationship with Angela is a sham. The possibility of bisexuality is never even mentioned.
    • In another episode, Andy starts to question his sexuality after Michael starts a (deliberately false) rumor that he's gay. Despite Andy's clearly-depicted interest in women throughout the previous seasons (and the fact that the only "evidence" he provides for his possible homosexuality is a pretty mild fantasy about kissing Brad Pitt), the possibility that he might be bi rather than gay apparently never occurs to him. At one point he even asks Oscar for advice, only for Oscar to dismiss the matter with a remark about "insecure straight guys."
  • Non Sequitur: Basically anything Creed says or does.
  • Noob:
    • Jim, at Call of Duty. It makes Josh and Andy crazy.
      You don't snipe on Carentan!
    • Done intentionally in the "Ethics" episode. After Dwight boasts that he does not waste any time at work, Jim carries around a stopwatch to keep track of any time not spent on work related activity. It culminates with him discussing The Remake of Battlestar Galactica, and deliberately gushing about things like "Klingons" and "Wookies", and tells Andy that it's "practically a shot-for-shot remake" of the original. Dwight is struggling with every fiber of his being to focus on his work.
      Jim: It's about this guy named Dumbledore Calrissian who has to return a ring to Mordor.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In one of the Christmas episodes, Jim intends to give Pam a teapot filled with several mementos linked to inside jokes the two of them share. After explaining the stories for a couple of the items, Jim pulls out an unsharpened pencil, and simply states that "'it would take too long to explain." This, of all things, gets explained eight seasons later in the penultimate episode "A.A.R.M." It was apparently the exact same pencil that she had thrown at Jim during a minigolf outing years earlier.
    • Dwight mentions his cousin Mose "has been having nightmares since the storm."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Pam is constantly on the receiving end of this. On many occasions, she makes an attempt to do something nice or otherwise helpful for the office, only for it to be either ignored, taken as an opportunity to mock her, or thrown back in her face. Every time she takes pity on Michael and reaches out to him as a friend he invariably repays her by doing or saying something characteristically inappropriate, and sometimes getting the both of them into trouble.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party:
    • Dwight claims his family had a policy that if they ran out of food in the winter, they would eat the weakest member. The camera, filming a still black-and-white photo of Dwight's family, zooms in on a baby. Dwight then laughs and says he's joking; things never got that bad.
    • Discussed in "" when the power goes out:
      Dwight: Everyone, follow me to the shelter! We've got enough food for fourteen days. After that... we have a difficult conversation.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: Technically there is in the form of Toby and Holly, but in keeping with the theme of the show, they're pretty useless at resolving the office hijinks. It's suggested in one episode that Toby is actually good at keeping the internal office conflicts to a dull roar. Unfortunately when Michael finds this out he decides they need to be fixed HIS way, which ends up making many of them worse.
  • No Social Skills: A large part of the humor comes from this; pretty much all of the main office ensemble except Jim, Pam, Oscar, and Darryl have deplorable social skills. Michael is rude and obnoxious (among many other things), Dwight is rude and generally weird, Ryan is self-absorbed, Stanley is grumpy, Andy is obnoxious and clueless, Angela is extremely rude and argumentative, Kevin is slow witted and inappropriate, Meredith is often inappropriate (and drunk), Creed is up in the clouds, Kelly is a Motor Mouth and often rude, Phyllis is sneakily rude, and Toby is awkward and quiet. Put em all together and it's no wonder they can't go a day without wackiness ensuing.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Jim realizes this after Phyllis accidentally called him Michael. Whenever Jim is in charge of the office, he tries to do the opposite of what Michael does in order to make the office more enjoyable even though it doesn't go well at all. Improving the work environment was what Michael has been trying to do ever since he was manager.
    Michael: So, what'd I miss?
    Jim: Well, I tried to put all the birthdays together at once. Terrible idea.
    Michael: (*nods in understanding*) Yeah, okay, I did that. Rookie mistake.
    Jim: You did do it?
    Michael: Uh-huh, yeah. Just wait. Ten years—you'll figure it out.
    Jim: Well, I don't think I'll be here in ten years, but...
    Michael: That's what I said.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Roy when he talks with Pam after his outburst. He says that he thought Pam and Jim were Just Friends and that Jim might be gay or something. He then remembers that he's on camera and quickly adds "Not that that's wrong..."
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation:
    • Creed works in Quality Assurance. Everyone knows this except Creed.
    • Ryan's job is extremely unclear once the Michael Scott Paper Company is absorbed by Dunder Mifflin. He is hired as a salesman but is demoted in favor of Pam.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: One of the workers is flashed by a pervert. Pam is asked to draw up a description of the man in order to make wanted posters. Pam ends up drawing Dwight with a moustache and asks him to put the posters up. Dwight does so, even mentioning happily that he wants the "pervert" to be caught.
  • Oblivious to Love: Subverted. Although it was never explicitly stated until Jim and Pam's other relationships ended and they had to deal with the situation, Pam gave very subtle indications that she was aware of Jim's feelings, but didn't want to deal with the situation.
    • It's not clear if she's on to Toby, but given his weirdness and one instance of sexual assault, its likely that if she were any more bothered by that
    • Erin and Andy might count as this. They clearly know that there's an attraction between the two, but are both terrified that the feelings are one way, so neither one of them is willing to make a move.
      • Erin is also completely oblivious to her foster brother.
  • Odd Friendship: While in no way blind to his faults Pam has a definite soft spot for Michael that seems to go beyond the pity Jim feels for him (though pity is clearly a part of it). She followed him into the Michael Scott Paper Company and tried to set him up with a friend on two different occasions. They had a huge falling out when he began seeing her mother but Pam seems to have forgiven him.
    • Andy and Darryl. One is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander WASP with little upbringing in the real world, the other a common sense black guy with little time or tolerance for Cloudcuckoolanders. They get along very well in later seasons.
  • Office Sports: A whole Olympics in fact.
  • Offstage Villainy: When Michael is shown pursuing and stealing DM clients, it is from Dwight and a reaction to Dwight not only betraying him (which Michael is willing to forgive), but then breaking his own truce he deceptively brokered with Michael. But in Broke and Casual Friday in particular, we find out that Michael had been stealing clients off camera from all the sales people, despite how far Dwight to go and the It's Personal nature before on-camera Michael started taking his clients.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jim has some good ones, given his tendency to look into the camera frequently. Probably his best ones are when his pranks cause Andy to lose his temper.
    • Also when Jim is wearing the tuxedo and hears that Charles is visiting that day.
    • Kevin gets a moment when he talks with the identity theft department for Jim's credit card, while Jim's on his honeymoon.
      • And on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, where he talks to the camera about how he has to make sure none of the young girls see the porn on his computer, then realizes they could be doing that right now.
    • Vikram realizing that joining the Michael Scott Paper Company was probably a mistake.
      Vikram: What kind of name is Nana?
      Pam: It means grandmother.
      Vikram: Oh sweet Jesus.
    • You can see the tiniest glimmer of Oh, Crap! in Stanley's eyes in Did I Stutter when Michael orders everyone but him out of the office (before Michael bursts into tears).
    • Jim realizing that he had to resolve the conflict between Dwight and Andy after they challenged each other to a duel over Angela.
      Jim: (to the camera) I have two choices. I could get more involved. Or I could just take the afternoon off. Leaving Dwight in charge. Oh god.
    • At the end of "Goodbye, Michael" there was a rare moment where Jim & Dwight share this reaction, as Deangelo starts screaming at a cake.
      Dwight: Uh-oh.
      [Jim mournfully nods in agreement]
    • After Michael leaves, Jim turns down an offer at being Acting Manager. A minute later, Dwight's phone rings and Dwight accepts the offer. Jim is speechless that he did not see that coming while Pam is much more vocal.
      Pam: What have you done?!
    • During one of Pam's interviews when she realizes a concussion has made Dwight her friend.
    • At the end of "Valentine's Day", Michael has saved Jan's and his own job by defusing a situation that he started in the first place. Jan is nonetheless grateful and because it's Valentine's Day, she kisses Michael in what seems to be one moment of weakness. Michael stares at her, then looks at the camera crew. Jan follows his stare and turns around to face the camera with an absolutely horrified stare.
    • In a deleted scene from "Weight Loss," Ryan experiences a memorable one when he's the secretary & David Wallace calls, is shocked to learn Ryan returned to Scranton, & tears him a new one before talking to Michael about it.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe there is "Threat Level Midnight," Michael's microbudget movie filmed with most of the staff, was finished and screened in the 7th season. Most of the characters have qualms with their parts in the film, Jan and Karen were annoyed at being tracked down by the documentary crew for their brief parts they played years ago. Jim played the Politically Incorrect Villain "Goldenface" just to impress Pam, meaning he gave it a good shot but was not "in love with the character."
  • One-Episode Wonder: The pilot for proposed Dwight Schrute spinoff The Farm, rejected by NBC, was re-worked into a 9th season episode of The Office appropriately titled "The Farm".
  • One Head Taller: Jim with Pam (and also Roy with Pam). Dwight is more like two heads taller than Angela.
  • One-Scene Wonder: A whole bunch of In-Universe examples in the Threat Level Midnight movie, but most memorably Karen saying "Ever banged an entire bachelorette party, baby?", followed by a clumsy attempt at flirty facial expressions. She seems pissed off that the documentary crew tracked her down years later for that one bad line of dialogue.
  • One-Steve Limit: Occasionally played with for comedy:
    • Erin's actual first name is Kelly, but when the original Kelly has a crush on Charles, she hangs out near his office in the hopes that he will call for Kelly the receptionist, allowing her to run in and say, "Charles, you wanted me?" After this joke has run its course, the show completely forgets that Erin's real first name is Kelly.
    • Pam and Angela end up both naming their newborn sons Phillip, which sets Angela off as she had named him after one of her cats. Phillip Halpert meanwhile is named after Pam's grandfather (which Angela still refuses to settle with).
    • Robert California, Robert Lipton the state senator, and Robert "Bob" Vance are a simple aversion, and the show never makes anything out of their shared names.
  • Only Sane Man: Jim usually plays this role as the person who comments the loudest about the insane things going on in the office, particularly in early seasons. As the show goes on, however, more characters trade the role back and forth depending on the circumstances. Darryl probably has the highest percentage of his screen time playing this role over the course of the series.
  • On the Rebound: Invoked and lampshaded. After breaking up with Carol, Micheal hooks up with a young waitress from a Japanese restaurant and brings her to the Christmas party, only for her to leave an hour later. Jim explained to Michael that he was having a rebound and should not feel disappointed. Michael realizes that was what he was doing and even admits he couldn't tell his date apart from the other Asian waitress that had attended the party.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jim and Pam realize that Dwight's suffered a serious head injury when he starts acting nice to Pam.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: When Erin learned that Andy was once engaged to Angela, she gets upset and frustratingly covers her face with her hair.
    Erin: In the foster home, my hair was my room.
    • Also in Paper Airplane:
    Erin: Growing up in an orphanage, you have to fight other kids for everything. Snacks, pillows, parents... I once ripped Greedy Susan's pigtail right off her head, just for a handful of Crispix.
  • Out of Focus: Ryan begins the show as one of the most important characters, as his character has a direct analog to the original British series. As the season goes on, however, he retains his opening sequence credit, but his actual importance to the show fades considerably.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In Season 2 Episode 17, Jim describes Dwight being voted Salesman of the Year as "literally the highest possible honor that a north-eastern Pennsylvania based mid-size paper company regional salesman can obtain."
  • Overtook the Manga: The American version has 201 episodes, while the original series only has 15 (12 standard episodes, two Christmas specials, and a Reunion Show) along with a spin-off film.

  • Panicky Expectant Father: Jim turns into this when Pam goes into labor in "The Delivery." To be fair, he didn't start panicking until she refused to go to the hospital even when her contractions were getting close together (Pam finally relented once her contractions were a mere TWO MINUTES apart- at which point even SHE had begun to panic).
  • Paranoia Gambit: Dwight ambushes Jim by hiding inside a snowman. Later that day, when Jim is walking to his car, he finds himself surrounded by snowmen. As Jim snaps and starts destroying every one of them, Dwight watches from the roof. "In the end, the greatest snowball isn't a snowball at all. It's fear. Merry Christmas."
  • Parental Substitute: Michael learns Erin, an orphan, thinks of him as a father figure in "Viewing Party."
  • Le Parkour: Mocked in the season six premiere, when Andy, Dwight, and Michael "parkour" through the office. It's basically them jumping on furniture and kicking things over while shouting "parkour!"
  • Party Scheduling Gambit: In "A Benihana Christmas" Angela's overbearing unpleasantness as head of the Party Planning Committee lead Karen and Pam to form the Committee for Planning Parties and plan a more fun party.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • The server password bigboobz is figured out when Michael recalls that when the IT guy told it to him, Michael laughed, but Pam got upset.
    • Michael's computer password is revealed to be "password123," which the IT guy spots written on a post-it note stuck to his computer monitor.
    • At the end of "Gossip," one of the interns says that half of the office members use the password "password."
  • Payment Plan Pitch: In an episode, Michael buys an insurance policy that is "...only a cup of coffee an hour."
  • The Peter Principle: Michael is the living embodiment of this. He used to be a great salesman; because of this, he was promoted, and ended up in a position for which he's absolutely unqualified. When the time comes for his job to schmooze with clients, his talents as a salesman shine.
    • When Jim starts making some advances in the company, eventually as co-manager, he starts making rational, firm, boss-like decisions and simply assumes the rest of the office will be mature about it. When the employees start complaining and accusing him of nepotism or other ulterior motives, something he never had to deal with as a salesman, the look on his face is a realization of why Michael avoids making such decisions.
  • Pet the Dog: Michael and Dwight get these moments every now and then, in order to balance out their Jerkass personalities. And everyone in the office has had at least one, except for Creed.
  • Pie in the Face: In "Work Bus", Kevin tries to goad Oscar into doing this to him. Oscar realizes what he's doing, but indulges him anyway.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: For all the talk that the Scranton office is Dundler-Mifflin's most productive, the episodes constantly show the employees fooling around during the work hours. That being said, they're dedicated to it - specially if it's an excuse to fool around, such as when there is a massive productivity spike for the purpose of getting Andy to do an Embarrassing Tattoo.
  • Pixellation:
    • Used to hilarious effect in "Benjamin Franklin", when Michael visits a sex shop and everything in the background is pixellated.
    • Seen again in the cold opening of "Body Language". When Michael has trouble with the gender aspect of Spanish, he uses drawings of genitalia on Post-its to help, which are partly pixelated.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Ryan and Deangelo. Double subverted with Michael. He seems like this at first, but it's later made clear that he's not only a very good salesman, he's the best salesman in the company's history. It is then almost immediately made obvious that, despite his sales acumen, he is an absolutely terrible manager.
  • Poirot Speak: Michael adopts the ridiculous "How you say?" mannerisms when speaking English to an English-speaking Canadian.
  • The Pollyanna: Erin, the new receptionist. She actually seems to like working for Michael! In one of her earlier episodes Michael pulls the "fake fire" stunt on her, she seems to get the joke and laugh it off. Compared that to Pam, who was reduced to tears and anger.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "The Farm". See Spinoff.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: The production of the musical Sweeney Todd that Andy is in is clearly based more on the movie version than the actual stage versions. Though they get points for performing the opening ballad, which is not in the film version, and by having costumes that look more like the original stage version than the movie.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Invoked intentionally by Jim when he's trying to goad Dwight in a non-work related discussion to prove that he does "steal time" from the company.
    • Darryl admitted that he was, at least in part, banking on this when he applied to the Regional Manager position after Michael left.
  • Potty Failure:
    • A young Michael Scott as ring bearer at his mother's wedding (which led to the poor boy being swapped out in favor of THE FAMILY DOG at the last minute).
      Michael: I was understandably emotional and somehow my pants became wet.
    • After Michael and Dwight fall down the stairs in "Branch Wars", the former announces that he just wet his pants.
  • Privacy by Distraction: The cameraman falls for this in "Weight Loss" when Jim and Pam want to get some private time. He is distracted long enough for Jim to close the door on him.
    Jim: Hey, did you get a shot of Pam's art over there?
  • Product Placement:
    • To add authenticity, flyers and tchotchkes from Scranton-area businesses adorn the office, and real Scranton businesses are often mentioned.
    • For "The Convention", companies were invited to provide their own materials and staff, with the understanding that the show would try but could not guarantee that they would appear on screen. One of them (Hammermill) played a significant plot point.
    • Trip Advisor. Check out Schrute Farms's stellar rating.
    • Michael does this a lot, though it's arguably justified in that it's completely in character for him to do so.
    • The original broadcast of "The Merger" has a small subplot with Kevin gushing over his new Staples shredder. The very first commercial during the next ad break was for the exact same shredder. This was extremely jarring because Staples is one of Dunder-Mifflin's biggest competitors and the company is usually mentioned on the show with various levels of contempt.
    • Dwight and Jim both play Second Life in one episode. Reasonably accurate game footage is shown.
    • "Dwight, do you want an Altoid?"
    • Jim sucks at Call of Duty.
    • Countchoculitis.
    • The 2005 Dundies Award Show is held at Chili's. Later that same season, Michael and Jan take an important client there to work out a big sale.
    • Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman grill. In a talking head, Jim makes a point of noting how he does most of his cooking on a Foreman grill.
    • Michael eats a Cup O'Noodles as he tries to get himself invited to Jim's party.
    • Michael wants Pam to rub Country Crock Spread on his foot.
    • Charles stays at "The Scranton Radisson" (which IRL would be the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, Scranton)
    • This is also subverted: Staples and Office Depot are mentioned repeatedly, but they are the antagonists and ultimately drive Dunder-Mifflin under.
    • Utz potato chips and pretzel snacks can often be seen in the breakroom's vending machine. As Utz is a Lancover PA based company whose products are largely distributed in the NY/NJ/WV/Penn area, this is realistic for a Scranton PA workplace.
    • When Michael goes to New York, he likes to enjoy the "authentic New York pizza" at Sbarro (a nationwide fast-food pizza chain often found in mall food courts).
    • Try to count all the close-ups on the back of their monitors to show the HP logo.
    • Every phone in their company is provided by Cisco, although the logo is only shown on close ups of the phones which are relatively rare.
    • Michael's Chrysler Sebring and later PT Cruiser.
    • According to Creed Thoughts, Creed likes Minecraft.
    • "Break me off a piece of that Fancy Feast" (Plus every time Andy recited the first part of the slogan the audience is reminded "Kit Kat").
    • An advertising standee of Keebler's mascot Ernie is decoration in Dwight's Day Care center.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Dwight to Michael in the early seasons.
    • Gabe to Jo Bennett.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Ellie Kemper was originally signed on to do one or two episodes as Erin Hannon. However, as the popularity of her character increased, she was (thankfully) worked into the script as Andy's love interest.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: This is what gets Todd Packer fired in season 8.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Ed Helms (in season 6), James Spader (in season 8).
  • Proud Warrior Race: Invoked. In one episode, Dwight reads a speech by Mussolini shouting WE ARE WARRIORS!, apparently claiming that paper salesmen are a Proud Warrior Race.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dwight.
  • Punch a Wall:
    • Andy's reaction to one of Jim's pranks, leading to his Anger Management.
    • Mirrored in Season 8 when Andy gets frustrated that Nellie had stolen his job, and takes his anger out on the same wall.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I...declare..........BANKRUPTCYYYYYYYYY!!!!"
  • Pursue the Dream Job:
    • In the ninth season, Jim decides to become the co-founder of a new business in Philadelphia.
    • Also in the ninth season, Andy decides to quit his job and pursue his dream in the arts, including singing, acting, and dancing. He even defecates on David Wallace's car in effort to burn his bridges to make sure he'd have all the motivation to succeed.
  • Put on a Bus: Roy, Karen, Jan, Charles, David, Gabe, Holly, Michael, Jo, Robert California and Kelly all leave the show before its conclusion. Ryan is present in the final season's premier episode, literally waiting for a bus.
  • Queer People Are Funny: To Kevin, due to his immaturity. Oscar does not appreciate this trope, for that matter, no one else laughs at Kevin's jokes either.
  • Race for Your Love: Erin chases down Andy as he's driving away in "Get the Girl."
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue:
    • Michael is unaware that Phyllis's Uncle Al's rambling is due to dementia.
    Michael: I listened to you for half an hour even though most of that stuff went right over my head.
    • Michael invites Robert Dunder to speak to the employees. Dunder's rambling story flits from subject to subject until Michael kicks him out.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Dwight while he's running towards the obscenely vandalized DM ad billboard that he and Andy were featured on. Followed by a Big "NO!" when he sees that it was in fact defaced.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Done by Deangelo when cohosting the Dundies with Michael and about to present Dwight with an award:
    Deangelo: They say he's going to be my right-hand man. Ad-lib masturbation joke. (cut to Erin holding up a huge cue card)
  • Ready for Lovemaking:
    • Cathy pulls this on Jim at the end of "After Hours". Jim tells her to get out (and then calls in Dwight as a Moment Killer when she refuses to comply).
    • Angela, of all people, attempts to pull this on Dwight in "The Convention". Her plan goes awry when Jim decides to prank Dwight by sneaking into his hotel room, but leaves as soon as he notices that there's a woman in the room. (Hilariously enough, Jim thinks that the scantily-clad woman perched seductively on the bed is a prostitute that Dwight hired. He never realizes it's actually Angela!)
  • Real Fake Wedding: Dwight gets a priest who only speaks German for Andy and Angela's wedding. He does a practice ceremony where he stands in for Andy, and makes the priest believe Dwight's the groom and it's a real ceremony. Angela does not accept it as a real marriage, however, and immediately has it anulled.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jenna Fischer's real-life pregnancy was written in during season eight. She was noticeably more pregnant than she was during Pam's first pregnancy.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After his brief stay as office IT, Nick delivers one to the entire office before leaving while Flipping the Bird to everyone.
    • Stanley gives one to Michael in "Did I Stutter?"
    • Also Michael with his quickfire "Boom, roasted!"
    • The deleted scenes for the above episode, "Stress Relief," have Jan delivering a scathing one to Michael.
    • Kevin of all people has given two:
      • First to Angela in "The Duel" for cheating on Andy with Dwight.
      • Then one to Senator Lipton in "Vandalism" for not only cheating on both Angela and Oscar, but using them to further his political career.
    • Michael to Toby: "Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be."
    • Oscar gives a short, yet particularly powerful one to Michael in "Gay Witch Hunt," after Michael forcibly outs him to the entire office.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: David Wallace.
  • Reckless Gun Usage:
    • In "Survivor Man," Dwight is observing Michael through the scope of his hunting rifle.
    Dwight (to camera): Nothing to worry about, the safety is (Beat) *click* on."
    • In "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager", Dwight brings a gun into the office and winds up accidentally discharging it. This winds up costing him any shot at the permanent position (at least for the moment- in season 9 he DOES become the permanent Regional Manager).
      • Nice foreshadowing here: When Dwight's revolver first appears in a display case on his desk, it's fully cocked. When he starts carrying it around the office in a holster, the hammer is still on full cock. Viewers who are familiar with revolvers can tell something bad is going to happen here.
  • The Reveal: The Scranton Strangler is the person originally convicted for the crime back in season 7. This reveal was so low-key that quite a few fans didn't notice it, even after the series had ended.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • In "Drug Testing" Dwight says "I like the people I work with, generally, with four exceptions," but never elaborates, leading to lots of fan theories on who the four people are. On the Office Ladies podcast Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey speculate that it's Jim, Toby (because Dwight is sycophantically following Michael's lead in disliking him), Creed (who just seems disliked in general) and maybe Kelly or Ryan as the fourth.
    • Office Ladies also mentioned that it's not clear who began working at Dunder Mifflin first, Jim or Pam. In "The Secret" Jim says he was working there when Pam was hired, while in "Launch Party" he says Pam was already there when he was hired. Fischer says she consulted the "show bible" issued to the writers and cast, but it didn't specify any answer to the question, leaving it officially up in the air.
  • Ridiculously Long Phone Hold: Downplayed in an episode where Dwight and Jim team up to make a sale. At the beginning the meeting, Dwight uses the client's phone to make a call while Jim speaks to the client directly. After working through an extension directory Dwight places the phone on the desk as it plays hold music. Once Jim finishes the pitch, he reveals that Dwight's phone call was to the client's current paper vendor and they have been on hold for the entire time. They then call up Kelly (their customer service) to show that Dunder-Mifflin has superior service when she answers the call immediately.
  • Road Apples: Andy: "Why is that in the kitchen?!?"
  • The Roast: Michael has his employees roast him. He does not take it very well.
  • Robot War:
    • Being a big fan of Battlestar Galactica, Dwight is well aware that all sentient machines will eventually be Turned Against Their Masters. This is why he keeps a diary to keep secrets from his computer and suggests that Ed Truck's robot statue should only be five feet tall and have a short power cord.
    • While having started out as a benevolent alien visitor, Recyclops gradually turned into a polluting, earth destroying monster.
  • Romantic False Lead: Roy. Karen. Gabe. Jessica.
    Gabe: [to interviewer] Yes, Erin and I are still dating. Why do you ask me so often if we're still dating?
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Holly's Nashua boyfriend A.J. and Dwight's late Season 9 girlfriend Esther are both attractive, decent people, but only exist on the show to be the ones who ultimately get rejected for Michael and Angela, respectively.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-universe example. While watching The Devil Wears Prada, Michael cheered for Meryl Streep's character until the end when he finally realized she was the villain.
  • Running Gag:
    • In season 4, Michael keeps forgetting that Jim is dating Pam and is surprised every time he's reminded of it.
    • Dwight claiming to be the Assistant Regional Manager and being corrected that he's Assistant to the Regional Manager.
    • Phyllis and Michael are the same age. They went to High School together, remember?
    • Trends making it to Scranton way after they've passed their prime elsewhere.
      • After even that, Michael keeps parading them around like Bernie after he starts to smell.
        Michael: WASUUUUUUUUUUUUP!
        Jim: Wow, seven years later it's still funny.
      • Not to mention Parkour, the internet sensation of 2004.
    • People thinking Jim says "dude" a lot and acts like a slacker and stoner.
    • Michael's love of the phrase "That's what she said!". The show regularly mixes it up (like having Dwight say it once, annoying Michael). Jim seems to find it amusing most of the time, leading to one scenario where after Michael declares that he isn't allowed to make racy jokes anymore, Jim prods him with multiple innuendos to tempt him into saying it again, or another time where after Dwight says something that would qualify, Jim chuckles, clearly waiting for Michael to say it, only to be a little annoyed when Michael doesn't seem to catch it. It was even Michael's last words before leaving the show. And his first words to Dwight when he appears at Dwight's wedding.
    • Andy, we get it, you went to Cornell University, and was in Here Comes Treble. That's great and please move on.
  • Runs with Scissors: Played with when Michael calls out Erin to "Scissor me!" and she throws him a pair blades first. Pam reacts with alarm the first time and then tries to shout, "No, don't!" the second.

  • Sadistic Choice: In order to cover its ass after the altercation between Michael and his nephew which ended with Michael spanking him, Sabre claims that Michael had a "stress-induced outburst". Gabe tells him that he will need to attend counselling sessions. With Toby. Or lose his job. From the look on his face, Michael seems to be seriously considering the latter as the episode ends.
  • Safe Word: The fact that Jan pretended to "forget" what it was ("foliage", for anyone who's curious) is the first sign that it's exploitative and that Michael should get out of his relationship with her.
  • Same Language Dub: Technically same language subtitle, a Japanese warehouse worker is given subtitles when he tells his story of being a surgeon asked to perform an operation on a Yakuza boss. His accent is thick but he is still speaking English.
  • Save Our Students: Michael tries and fails spectacularly to do this in Scott's Tots where he promised a class of mostly African-American eight year olds that in ten years he will pay their college tuitions. Of course when the ten year mark arrives Michael is in no way financially capable of fulfilling such a promise. He now has to disappoint the group of now high school seniors that it was all a pipe dream. Interestingly enough, he does wind up doing some good for them:
    Erin: The principal told me that 90% of Scott's Tots are on track to graduate, and that's 35% higher than the rest of the school. So I think if you hadn't made that promise, a lot of them would've dropped out. Which is something to think about, I think.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Ryan and Kelly in the first 3 seasons.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Ryan is very intimidated by Daryl and the other warehouse workers. Even getting yelled at by Stanley (Kelly falsely told him that Ryan was hitting on his 13-year-old daughter) was enough to send him hiding, trembling with fear.
    • Charles is something of this to Jim when they work together, although it's largely due to the fact that Jim can't catch a break whenever they're in the same room together. He gets past this when he learns that Charles is himself a suck up.
    • Stanley's Game Face had the same effect on Jim during the inflatable sumo suit duel.
      Jim: I've never seen anyone coming at me like that. I thought I might die. On beach day.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Pam accidentally downloads a virus (and potentially gets her ID stolen) after attempting to buy a celebrity sex tape from her office computer.
    • A key component of several of Jim's pranks on Dwight.
    • In "Christmas Wishes", Andy threatens to cancel Jim or Dwight's Christmas's bonus and give it to the other if one pranks the other. What follows is Jim and Dwight deliberately leaving themselves completely open to pranking to egg the other on (Dwight by leaving things like his wallet and keys at his desk and leaving his computer and e-mail accessible, Jim by openly advertising his credit card information with Dwight obviously in earshot).
    • In the garage sale episode, Jim tempts Dwight with a packet of magic beans. Dwight repeatedly scoffs at such obvious and poorly-disguised Schmuck Bait ... and still ends up trading Jim a $150 telescope for the beans. In a credits gag, we see Dwight planting the beans in pots outside the office with Jim waiting for Dwight to leave to replace the pots with fully-grown plants in them.
  • Screaming Birth: Pam, when she's delivering her and Jim's baby.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Stanley tends not to put up with the office's more ridiculous goings-on, and on a couple of occasions, just walks out when things start getting weird.
    • Done spectacularly by Jim in "Pool Party":
      Jim: And there's my talking point. (proceeds to plow through the driveway)
  • Series Fauxnale: "Goodbye Michael", even though it isn't even the season finale, has all the hallmarks of a series finale and functions as such for some fans.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Dwight, on a minor level. His family beet farm "Schrute Farms" is fairly successful and has utilized the land for other business opportunities such as agricultural vacations. He doesn't technically have to work for Dunder-Mifflin for the money, but does so because of his own (skewed) desire for power and authority. In season seven he actually bought the building they work at, owning the rented office space for the company he works as a salesman for.
  • Secret Relationship: Dwight and Angela, Pam and Jim (for one episode), Andy and Erin (also for one episode).
  • Second-Hand Storytelling: Characters sometimes describe unseen events during interviews with the filmmakers, though their descriptions are often skewed. Used especially when characters refer to events predating the documentary filmmakers coming to Scranton.
  • Self-Deprecation: A meta example. Ryan and Kelly are two of the least sympathetic characters on the show, and both of the actors who play them are also staff writers.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Dwight and Jim often engage in this.
  • Sensitivity Training:
    • Andy has to go to this after punching a hole in a wall in "The Return." He comes back to work five episodes later, far less likely to become angry than he was before.
    • Also seen in Season 1's "Diversity Day" wherein Michael does his best to undo anything positive that might have come of it by forcing the staff to act out racial stereotypes.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Pam's name has undergone multiple changes: Pam Beasley, Pam Beesley, Pamela Jean Beesly, the now-canon Pamela Morgan Beesly.
    • Pam also went from claiming PMS to get out of volleyball ("Job Fair" in season 4) to being an enthusiastic volleyball star/ringer in the company picnic episode.
    • Meredith changed from an accountant to supplier relations rep, and her birthday went from being about a month apart from everyone's in the spring in season 1 to being clumped in a group of fall ones in season 4. She has also had both one and two children, but this particular case is Subverted by the webisodes, where she states that she does have two children, but her ex-husband has taken custody of her daughter, leaving her with just her son.
    • Dwight's sister's son is one of the kids who visits Hay Place in season 7, but Dwight's sister doesn't show up until season 9, and her son and Dwight have seemingly never met each other.
    • In the penultimate episode of the series, Angela's son is revealed to be Dwight's, despite Dwight having run a DNA test on his diaper, and the test confirming that Dwight is not the father. Word of God is that they planned to explain it by planting hints and/or outright stating that Dwight submitted the wrong diaper to the DNA test, but didn't in order to avoid Continuity Lock-Out.
    • The show at some point seemed to forget that Erin's actual first name is Kelly, and that the other office employees only called her Erin out of convenience, since even characters like her foster brother are for some reason shown referring to her as Erin.
  • Serious Business:
    • Is Hillary Swank hot?
    • Ping pong, to the players' significant others. A mini-training camp may have been involved.
    • The Party Planning Committee, but only for its members. Angela's Control Freak tendencies really come out during these moments, and she utterly terrorizes the other members (when she kicks Karen out after her first meeting, no one makes eye contact with each other, bringing to mind extensive psychological abuse). When Phyllis takes over by blackmailing Angela about her affair with Dwight, the conflict turns Phyllis from an example of Beware the Nice Ones into a full-on Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. When Pam becomes office manager, one of the first things she does it to disband it, citing its toxic effect on the office.
  • Shared Universe: David Brent appears in two episodes, placing the show in the same universe as The Office (UK) and, by extension, the 2016 movie Life on the Road. The obvious (though unstated) implication is that the documentary itself is a sequel or spinoff of the original British Office documentary (also indicated by the In-Universe title of the documentary series, The Office: An American Workplace), but Brent himself never seems to mention or notice this.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Apparently, the camera crew. Jim and Pam asked in the ninth season premiere why they were still there collecting footage from a paper company, and one of the cameramen answers that they're interested in seeing how they turn out.
    • Michael tries to be this in "The Delivery" by setting up a date between Erin and Kevin. This instead provokes Andy to finally ask Erin out, but Michael still looks on to this development with a smile on his face.
    • Michael has been a major Jim and Pam fanboy since day one.
    • They, in turn, appear to be major Michael and Holly shippers.
    • Nellie actually tries to avoid being this when she notices that one of her projects is causing Erin and Pete to bond while Erin is still technically in a relationship with Andy. However, after Toby notes that Andy has been a terrible boyfriend to Erin, she actively embraces this role and actively pushes the two together more.
    • Pam acts as this in "Secret Santa" when she tries to get Oscar and Matt together.
    • She is also clearly this for Angela and Dwight in "Email Surveillance".
  • Shout-Out: So many that they have their own page. Some notable examples include:
    • Two toward The Lonely Island: in one episode, Dwight and Michael make an instructional video—a cringe-inducing music video featuring a lyric rewrite of "Lazy Sunday." Another episode has Michael wear a dick-in-a-box.
    • "Subtle Sexuality" also features Kelly wearing Lady Gaga's once-signature eye lightning bolt.
    • In Season 3, an episode about the power of art has Michael attempting to be inspirational to a room of straight-laced business students by ripping pages from a textbook.
    • In season 3's "Women's Appreciation", Michael throws some coins in a fountain, wishing for Pam to get courage, Angela a heart and Kelly a brain.
    • During the beach episode, Michael actually shouts out "Watch out for snakes!"
    • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in "Andy's Play."
    • In "Andy's Play," Dwight says "The last time I went to the theater, a man dressed like a cat sat in my lap."
    • "The 13-year-olds in this town have a monopoly. It's almost like a baby-sitter's club."
    • While demonstrating his wooden train whistle to one of the young visitors, Michael references The Jack Benny Program.
      Michael: Train leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc...camonga!
    • Dwight's attempt to start a Chain of Deals with one red thumbtack in the "Garage Sale" episode is a play on the Real Life project one red paperclip.
    • After the final credits of Threat Level Midnight Michael looks to the camera and says, "What are you still doing here? It's over, go home!"
    • Also in Threat Level Midnight, Creed's character is named Cherokee Jack.
    • Michael's (inaudible-to-the-audience) farewell exchange with Pam in "Goodbye, Michael" is reminiscent of the end of Lost in Translation.
    • In "Jury Duty", Andy slaps Jim in a show of punishment imitating King Baldwin slapping Raynald of Châtillon in Kingdom of Heaven.
    • An entire episode is named Survivorman, and Michael attempts to create his own scenario in the Pennsylvania wilderness in homage.
    • In the Halloween Episode "Here Comes Treble", Erin is dressed as Peanut from the webcomic Housepets!.
    • In "Business School", Dwight pushes open the ceiling tile to come face to face with a bat, just as Michael Biehn did with the Xenomorphs in Aliens.
    • Darryl claims to have been a member of The Warriors and the Film/Newsies when Michael talks to him in "Did I Stutter?"
    • Angela refuses to go to Kelly's Diwali celebration because she thinks the hosts will serve monkey brains.
    • Dwight compares meeting the warehouse workers with meeting The Others, and one of his questions during Ryan's hazing/initiation is "What is the Dharma Initiative?"
    • In "Grief Counseling" Michael asks the staff to tell stories about deceased loved ones. This leads to them telling stories based on scenes from Million Dollar Baby (Pam), The Lion King (1994) (Ryan), and Weekend at Bernie's (Kevin). note 
    • Dwight has a whole bunch of reluctant caterers reenact The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci to impress some dinner guests.
    • In "Two Weeks," when Pam decides to join Michael after he leaves Dunder-Mifflin, they are initially beaming and excited as they walk away, but as the walk goes on, their smiles fall and they begin to look nervous, referencing the famous scene from The Graduate.
    • Michael says, "Dwight, you ignorant slut!" referencing the famous line from the Point/Counterpoint segment of early Saturday Night Live.
  • Shown Their Work: This show put insane detail into actually making the set feel like a Scranton, Pennsylvania office. They even went through the trouble of importing snacks exclusive to the area.
  • Show Within a Show: Fundle Bundle, a kids show that a five year old Michael Scott appeared on.
  • Side Bet: An entire episode's worth.
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Jan in "Threat Level Midnight".
  • Skewed Priorities:
    Gabe: I should probably get involved in this but, I think my energy is better spent on the Cookie Monster issue.
  • Sleep Cute: Pam nods off on Jim's shoulder in first season episode "Diversity Day".
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Mostly on the cynical end but has its fair share of heartwarming moments.
  • Smelly Feet Gag: Kevin. At Jim and Pam's wedding, he leaves his shoes outside his room to be waxed but their smell overpowers the employee in charge of this service. So the hotel has them destroyed.
    Kevin: You threw out my shoes?
    Manager: I had them incinerated. It was the best decision of my entire career.
  • Smug Snake: Angela "It's not my taste" Martin, Charles Miner.
  • So Bad, It's Good: invoked What the members of the office see Michael's movie Threat Level: Midnight as, though Michael wants it to be taken seriously. He eventually accepts the fact that he doesn't need to make a great movie so he lets them enjoy it as they want to.
  • Soaperizing: The show indulged in quite a few extended dramatic character arcs, particularly in seasons 4 and 5 when it was juggling the Dwight/Angela/Andy Love Triangle and Jim and Pam finally becoming an Official Couple. Michael renewing his relationship with Holly and ultimately leaving Scranton in seasons 5-7 also counts. In fact, you can make the case that by season 9 it had become a full comedic Soap Opera using a Mockumentary format. There were lots of continuing storylines in that final year, with Andy's misadventures and Jim/Pam tension as the major themes.
  • Sommelier Speak: In the episode "Pool Party", Oscar mistakenly thinks Toby is a wine connoisseur. Toby tries to keep up the charade:
    Oscar: What's compelling about this is the note of persimmon. Right?
    Toby: Note? It's...a symphony.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The upbeat, drums-and-guitar rocking tune is played over several completely mundane shots of a typical day at the office.
  • Special Edition Title: In the credits for the first episode after Michael starts The Michael Scott Paper Company, Michael's Pam's and Ryan's opening credit shots reflect their new surroundings.
    • The episodes following Michael's departure in season 7 each feature the various replacement managers doing a variation of his "placing a figurine on the desk" at the end of the credits.
  • Spinoff: In 2012 it was announced that a spinoff show set at Schrute Farms and centered around Dwight was being planned, complete with a Poorly-Disguised Pilot episode on The Office itself. It was not picked up. Most of the footage was repurposed into the season 9 episode "The Farm". It introduces Dwight's sister and brother.
    • Several years earlier, the show that eventually became Parks and Recreation was initially conceived as an Office spinoff.
  • Spinoff Babies: The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary, a children's book reimagining the cast as grade schoolers.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To the original UK series in many regards.
    • The original series was created as a "fly on the wall" mockumentary that was always intended to end after two seasons as the creators felt that it would be unbelievable that the camera crew would be filming the office staff indefinitely. The American version of the show, once it found its own footing, evolved into Work Com framed as a documentary, with the camera crew's years long presence handwaved away as them simply being enthralled by the antics of the Scranton branch. The UK show humor is also relatively grounded in reality while the American show is much more absurdist in nature.
    • A major theme of the UK series was the soul crushing nature of office work and having to give up your dreams in exchange for a steady paycheck. The American show in much more idealistic, with many members of the Scranton branch learning how to balance work and life enough to be able to pursue personal happiness.
  • Stable Time Loop: One of Jim's pranks involves sending Dwight faxes .... from "Future Dwight".
  • Standard Office Setting: The series shows off the full range of the setting, from the open workspace filled with desks where the regular office workers sit to the private office with a door for the office manager.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Michael and Holly, the most adorably dorky pair of "soup snakes" (soulmates) that you ever did see, cruelly separated by Dunder-Mifflin corporate for business reasons (he's the Scranton office manager, she's in HR). Michael fully intends on waiting for her as long as it takes. Awwwww. After reuniting, and some strain because she was seeing someone else initially, they decide to get together anyway, get engaged, and when Holly moves back to Colorado to take care of her family, Michael decides to go with her. The finale reveals they are now married with children, and supplementary material reveals they have three children with one on the way- and they "couldn't be happier". DOUBLE awwwww.
    • Andy and Erin. During Erin's first year at the company, she and Andy awkwardly dance around each other. By the time something comes out of it, Erin enters a loveless relationship with Gabe. As soon as Erin dumps Gabe and asks Andy out, he reveals he already has a girlfriend. Eventually, Andy dumps her and starts dating Erin, but between his newfound confidence and family issues, Erin starts realizing Andy is too childish and self-absorbed for her liking. After Andy leaves Scranton for three months, Erin starts hanging out with a new coworker named Pete and gives up on Andy completely. Suffice to say, They Don't, and are Amicable Exes by the finale.
  • The Starscream: After Michael quits and is rehired, Dwight stops hero-worshiping him and begins viewing him as weak.
    • His admiration of Michael more-or-less seems to be on-and-off throughout the series. However he is a very straight Starscream towards Jim in Season 6.
    • His attempt to convince Jan to give him control of the Scranton branch from Michael is definitely befitting of this trope as well.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Dwight feels this way about anything that "elevates" women to the status of men.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: Michael, who just came back from a trip to Sandals, Jamaica with his girlfriend Jan, is reminiscing in his office playing the titular riff from The Merrymen's "Feeling Hot Hot Hot" on a steel drum.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Dwight tries to test Ryan with these, but of course he's heard them all. Ryan quickly starts belting out the answers before Dwight is even finished asking them.
  • Stupid Boss
  • Straight Man: Jim, Pam, and Oscar.
    • Not to forget the straightest of all straight men, Toby. Stanley counts as well.
    • Lampshaded by Oscar in "Mafia" where he refers to Jim, Pam, Toby, and himself as the "Coalition for Reason."
  • Straight Gay: Oscar. As he says himself, the gayest thing about him (besides sex with men) is forming a casual art/literature appreciation club with Pam and Toby.
  • Straw Fan: In the finale, the characters answers questions from fans of the documentary. It's mostly a easy going, lighthearted parody of the criticism for the final season.
  • Stylistic Suck: Surprisingly averted at the end of "Local Ad" when the Scranton branch's ad. Despite Michael's lack of technical expertise and blatant attempts at pulling the viewer's heartstrings, it's actually pretty cool.
    • Michael's movie, Threat Level: Midnight.
    • Any video produced by Michael qualifies as this. His office training and/or sensitivity videos especially.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: The episode "Happy Hour" takes place at a Dave & Buster's knockoff called Sid & Dexter's.
  • Super Gullible: Michael and Dwight will both believe anything they're told if it fits their odd view of life. This makes them easy targets for pranks: Dwight for Jim's various attempts at Gaslighting, Michael for Darryl's ridiculous list of "things us Negroes say."
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Dwight returns to working at the office and sees a party already in progress, he joyfully asks, "You did this for me?" Michael just decides to say yes, as the camera pans to the "Welcome Back Oscar" sign.
  • Tableau: In "Garden Party", Dwight interrupts some heartfelt toasts to do a live tableau reenactment of The Last Supper with Dwight as Jesus.
  • Take a Third Option: When Dwight was hiring a stripper for Bob Vance's bachelor party, he asks Jim which he prefers, brunette or redhead, while Karen and Pam are looking on. Jim wisely picks blonde.
    • Also in the episode "The Fire," when it's Jim's turn at "Who would you do", instead of picking Pam and risking revealing his feelings, or picking any other woman instead of Pam, Jim jokingly picks Kevin.
    • In "", Michael picks a third option regarding Ryan's failing company that he and several other people in the office had invested in. Rather than blindly stand by Ryan, as he had initially planned to do, or immediately sell off the company, as everyone else wanted him to do, he gives Ryan a strict ultimatum to get the company back on track, or he'll sell the company then. Particularly impressive is the speech he gives detailing why he's doing it:
      Michael: I'm not blind! I know exactly who he is. He is selfish, and lazy, and image obsessed, and he's a bad friend. He's also clever, and he aims very high, and he just might make it.
    • In "The Surplus," Oscar informs Michael the business has a surplus of $4,300 & Michael is torn between A) using it on a new copier as Oscar suggests or B) replacing the chairs as persuaded by others like Pam. When Michael calls David for advice, David reveals C) - return the surplus & take an employer bonus of $645. Michael swiftly used that $645 to buy a fur coat. Thus Michael screws everyone & leaves them to decide on which items to replace, although judging by the large fake blood stain on his new coat, Michael's choice wasn't without consequence.
  • Take Our Word for It: Creed tells everyone to check out his blog,\creedthoughts. You can read it here. Ryan explains:
    Ryan: Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog... Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer, and put an address at the top. I've read some of it... Even for the Internet, it's pretty shocking.
  • Take That!:
    • In "Nepotism," Creed complains about Betty White's new surge in popularity.
    • Michael's obnoxious nephew Luke says that one of his favorite films is The Boondock Saints, a dig against that movie for being beloved by obnoxious college guys.
    • An in-universe example can be found in Threat Level Midnight.
      Goldenface (played by Jim): Now, I will show you all how really serious I am! (*executes hostage, played by Toby, whose head exploding is shown from multiple angles)
      Michael (*as a talking out): That was far and away the most expensive shot of the movie. But it was integral to the plot. I really think it was worth it.
      Goldenface: Sorry about your little friend, Scarn!
      Michael Scarn: The joke's on you Goldenface! That man was actually a wanted animal rapist.
  • Theme Tune Extended: The Instrumental Theme Tune actually has a full version that is extended to a little over two minutes long
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: When Holly returns in season 7, Michael prepares two contingency kits to react on whether she's engaged or not. She has no ring, so he breaks out the "Happy" kit and launches a pre-recorded message on his computer, resulting with Michael talking to himself as the recording acts as Only Sane Man to happy partying Michael.
    Recorded Michael: I know you're happy right now, but you need to calm down. Is that music? Are you dancing?
  • Team Mom: Jim and Pam, occasionally.
  • Temporary Scrappy: Deangelo Vickers is introduced in "Training Day" as the first replacement for Michael. He is consistently written to be a horrible person in general with apparently no experience in business. Many fans cried Replacement Scrappy, but he was only intended to last one episode past Michael's exit anyway. Also, according to his actor, the entire point of Deangelo is to briefly bring in a big-name actor as a bit of Stunt Casting so that people wouldn't immediately abandon the show once Steve Carell (Michael) left.
  • Tempting Fate: In the episode "Sexual Harassment," Michael tells the office staff that he can no longer say "That's what she said". Jim responds with a barrage of comments deliberately made to invoke that phrase("Wow, that's really hard." "Can you really go all day long?", "Well, you always leave me satisfied and smiling."). Predictable results ensue.
    • Discussed when Pam and Ryan are constantly reminding Michael not to reveal that the Michael Scott Company is going broke in front of David Wallace, and when they enter the elevator Michael is saying something along the lines of "There is no way I'm gonna say it!". Cue him leaving the elevator, moaning "Aww... I'm really worried I'm gonna say it!" At the end of the meeting, he does blurt out that his company is worth nothing but manages to spin it as it's only personally worthless and he has no problem making more and more companies just to be a thorn in Wallace's side until they cave and hire him back.
  • That's What She Said: Michael Scott is physically incapable of resisting an opportunity to use this joke. Even in the midst of a legal deposition.
    • Shortly after he first meets Holly, they have this exchange while riding a Ferris wheel together:
      Holly: They kept hiring from the outside. It was easy to get in, but impossible to rise up.
      Michael: That's what she—
      [catches himself]
      Michael: A lot of places are like that.
    • It's spread to other members of the office now, too. For example, Pam excitedly contributes this over the phone — using a super small headset that her coworkers don't know about so she and Jim can be in touch all day.
    • It's even infected Jan to some degree as of "Cocktails", a prospect which horrifies her.
    • Michael tries learning how to say this trope in Spanish, only to find he's been saying "That's What He Said", much to his chagrin.
    • Dwight tries this in "The Injury" and "Traveling Salesmen". Michael angrily shoots it down both times.
    • Michael delivers a truly epic one in the finale.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Dwight listens to Heavy Metal to psyche himself up for sales calls and performance reviews. The shots of him air guitaring and punching Jim's car seats are priceless.
    • He also does it during his interview montage after being forced to quit from Andy's frame-up and in the staircase before his performance review with Michael and Jan.
  • Theme Naming: The three accountants have the surnames Malone, Martin and Martinez.
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: In "Traveling Salesmen", Jim and Dwight are on a sales call together. While Jim is talking to a prospective client, Dwight asks if he can use the phone and subsequently starts yelling numbers loudly into the phone. At first, this seems like Dwight's usual bizarre behavior, perhaps even more bizarre than usual. However, when the time comes for Jim to demonstrate Dunder Mifflin's phone customer service, we find out that Dwight has been demonstrating a rival company's phone customer service the whole time. Jim then proceeds to call Dunder Mifflin's customer service line, and has Kelly on the line within a couple seconds, thus successfully demonstrating the difference between a large impersonal company and a smaller company.
    • In the same episode, Phyllis and Karen's sales call. Phyllis takes them out to get incredibly gaudy makeovers... which just so happen to be fetish material for the specific client they were going to see. Successful sale.
  • This Is Reality: In their duel for Angela, Andy has Dwight pinned to the hedge, but he is refusing to yield.
    Dwight: You can't protect her! I can!
  • Time Skip: The series finale takes place one year after the events of the previous episode.
  • Token Black Friend: Subverted with Darryl, who takes it upon himself to teach Michael some "black man phrases," such as "pippity-poppity, give me the zoppity" because he "just can't help himself." He also schools Michael on the inner workings of gang warfare, such as the use of "Fluffy Fingers," in which gangs tickle one another to the point of surrender.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Michael tried to eat unidentified mushrooms he found in the woods once. Also, it is unclear whether the bouncy castle was part of his scheme to convince his employees he was actually going to jump off the roof or if he actually thought that falling onto it would save his life. Given the amount of testing he and Dwight did and that the castle was discovered by accident indicate the latter.
    Dwight: These things aren't built to stand the weight of an adult, try to land like an eight year old.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Ryan in Season four following his promotion. Also, most fans will agree the weaker episodes will elevate Michael from bumbling yet well-intentioned guy into this (the oft-cited episodes for this is usually "Phyllis' Wedding" and "The Double Date"). Also in Season 6, Dwight crosses here in his serious attempts to frame Jim for wrongdoing and get him fired; Ryan again joins this alliance.
    • Phyllis and arguably Pam went from Shrinking Violet to this.
    • Andy as well, and in his case it's somewhat cyclical. He seemed like a smarmy jerkass at first but over the next few seasons became more of a put-upon nice guy. Season nine, however, reduces his character to being neglectful at best toward supposed true love Erin, pettily vengeful, and mostly a disaster as manager.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent
  • Tricked into Signing: "Stress Relief": Dwight resorts to increasingly desperate tactics to get people to sign a letter of recognition that he paid due apologies for pretending there was a fire in the office, such as pretending they need to sign the paper for a delivery or need to sign in to a party.
  • Troperiffic: Michael's movie 'Threat Level: Midnight'.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Ryan's photo blog is an in-universe example; it exists as a means for him to sound deep so that he can talk women into doing erotic photography. It's Not Porn, It's Art, after all.
  • True Companions: By the sixth season, the office had truly become this.
    • The Michael Scott Paper Company were briefly shown as something like this after everything they went through together in that arc, but this faded away after the following episodes.
    • Taken to its apex when Michael proposed to Holly. After everything the staff has been through, you know their goodbye will be bittersweet.
  • Tuckerization: Jim Halpert and Andy Bernard are both named after lifelong friends of showrunner Greg Daniels, as was Hannah Smotrich-Barr, the nursing mother who briefly worked at the Scranton branch after the merger with Stamford. It's also widely suspected that David Wallace is named for David Foster Wallace; Michael Schur has often expressed admiration for Wallace, and John Krasinski directed the film Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, based on a series of Wallace stories.
  • Turn Off the Camera: At the end of "Customer Loyalty" after Pam's big fight with Jim. It was spoken by the soundman, who until then had been unseen and unheard and eventually gets fired for it.
  • Twice Shy: Andy and Erin
  • Two First Names:
    • Of course, Michael Scott. The naming convention was inherited from the UK original where his counterpart was named David Brent.
    • In Search Committee, it bordered on Theme Naming for characters who, behind the scenes, had the best chances of getting the job of regional manager: Fred Henry, Nellie Bertram and the one who got the job: Andy Bernard. David Brent was also among the interviewees.
    • Other characters as well: Ryan Howard, Angela Martin, David Wallace, Hank Tate, Gabe Lewis, Jo Bennett.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Dwight becomes acting manager, he forces everyone to use an antiquated and dangerous punch clock, staggers their lunches so everyone eats alone, changes everyone's title to Junior Employee and has everyone enter a twenty one digit code every time they use the photocopier. To reinforce the image, he keeps a piranha in an aquarium in his office and gets a new desk that is modeled on one used by Saddam Hussein's son.
    • Prior to that, Dwight has repeatedly shown a fondness and/or lobbied for Draconian policies in the office and whenever given any power he instantly imposes them. Which begs the question of who thinks it is a good idea to give him any in the first place.
    • Deangelo Vickers shows a bit of this during his extremely brief managerial reign.

  • Ungrateful Bastard: Michael is repeatedly shown to be completely unappreciative to anyone who saves his ass. Specific examples include:
    • In season 5, Jim helps Michael get his job back after his independent paper company failed hard. The next episode has Michael expecting the entire office to apologize to him for not joining his company. Especially stupid, since they warned him it would be a terrible idea.
    • Intentionally screwing Jim (and unintentionally himself) out of a promotion and then begging him for forgiveness and agreeing to become co-managers to make up for it. The next episode Michael reverts to a total jerk who viciously condescends to Jim and believes he never should have been made a manager
    • After a bankrupt Dunder Mifflin is bought by Sabre he shows his appreciation for saving his job by refusing to conform to any Sabre policies that differ from the previous ones, no matter how insignificant.
    • He is especially this toward Toby, who he expresses hate for... even when Toby is actively helping him.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: In one episode, someone tells Michael he's wearing a woman's suit. Michael denies it vehemently, but eventually admits that he bought the suit from a sale bin. Later, as he's complaining about his day, he says "Also, I accidentally crossdressed."
  • Universal Driver's License: Nellie apparently just stepped into a Formula 1 car with no preparation whatsoever and drove it for the slowest recorded lap time in history. In real life, just getting an F1 car going with no prep is quite unlikely, for example, Richard Hammond, then-presenter of the world's leading car show had significant trouble even right after he had just practiced on a Formula Renault car (which itself took multiple tries for him to be able to launch it).
  • Unreliable Narrator: The characters offer their viewpoints during interviews with the camera, which may conflict with what is shown on-screen, or may lead to skewed Second-Hand Storytelling.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: All of the major Office romances not involving Michael are subject to this.
    • Jim pines for Pam in Seasons 1 and 2 as she’s engaged to Roy. Pam breaks up with Roy and pines for Jim as he starts seeing Karen in Season 3. They finally get together in Season 4 and remain so for the rest of the series.
    • Several times with Dwight and Angela in later seasons. S4/5: Dwight —> Angela. S6/7: Angela —> Dwight. S9: Dwight —> Angela then Angela —> Dwight. They finally click again at the very end, and get married in the series finale.
    • In early seasons, Kelly is obsessed with Ryan, who mostly seems standoffish and annoyed by her. In later seasons, Ryan is the one who is pursuing Kelly and is jealous of her other relationships more often than not. But after leaving in Season 9, they come back for the finale and leave off together (with Ryan abandoning his son to do so).
    • Andy and Erin. Late S5/Half of S6 and Late S6/Most of S7: Andy —> Erin. End of S7/S8: Erin —> Andy. S9: Andy —> Erin. They do get together, but it ultimately does not last. Erin ends up with Pete at the end of the series.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. Michael is one of the poster childs for this trope. The first season especially he was almost a villainous character, albeit one who had an overinflated opinion of how important he was to the other office workers. From the second season onward every handful of episodes would show him as at least pitiable, he had a Friendless Background and would demonstrate a sensitive side when things didn't go his way. By the end he's actually pretty likeable compared to his UK counterpart (who himself demonstrated to be a lot more sympathetic than first appearances might suggest).
  • Unwanted Harem: Charles immediately has Kelly and Angela competing for his affection.
    Charles: I am aware of my effect on women.
  • Urine Trouble: When Pam's prank of rigging the elevator controls fails and both she and Dwight end up trapped, it takes Dwight all of ten seconds to kick into survival mode and pee in the corner.
    Pam: [laughing] Ok, Dwight— Oh my god! [turns to see Dwight peeing in the corner]
    Dwight: Well don't look, freak!
    Pam: Dwight what are you doing! We've only been in here for like two seconds!
    Dwight: I've got fifty six ounces of fluid in my bladder, and we have to establish a pee corner!
  • Vanity License Plate: Todd Packer has one that reads "WL HUNG".
    Ryan: You a big William Hung fan?
    Packer: Why does everybody ask me that? Who the hell is that?
  • Victory Gloating: Erin annoyingly gloats and imitates a pig over her winning the paper airplane competition quarterfinals against Clark.
  • Villain Episode: In-Universe example with "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager"
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Both averted and confirmed by Dwight during Meredith's drinking intervention.
    Dwight: I don't care for Meredith, but I don't believe in this stuff. In the Shrute family, we believe in a five-fingered intervention: (raises his fist... then counts on his fingers) Awareness, education, control, acceptance and punching.
  • Virus-Victim Symptoms: Invoked for a prank.
  • Visual Pun: Jim's Halloween costume in "Koi Pond." "...Yes, I am the popular social networking site known as Bookface."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Jim and Dwight. Whether they care to admit it or not.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • In "Niagra", Dwight eats hard boiled eggs at his desk, intentionally ignoring Pam's request for her coworkers to avoid introducing harsh smells around her because of her pregnancy. She defiantly throws up into a garbage can.
    • In the cold open of "Murder" Michael can be heard retching in the men's room. When Kevin confronts him about it, he quickly denies it.
      Kevin: Michael, did you just throw up in here?
      Michael: Nah. Just poopin'. You know how I be.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • The same scene from "Niagra" in the previous trope leads to a chain reaction of this from Andy, Meredith, Erin, and Angela (meanwhile, Creed is calmly eating noodles).
    • Dwight vomits all over his car after he receives a concussion in "The Injury".
    • In "Fun Run", Michael demonstrates to the cameras why carbo loading on fettuccine alfredo before a marathon- and refusing water during it- is a bad idea.
    • In the extended Superfan version of "Booze Cruise", multiple characters (Michael, Meredith and Ryan) get sick during the episode. This partially mirrored real life, as Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer and David Denman suffered nausea during production of the episode.
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: The cold open of "Niagara Part One".
    Andy: Watching people get sick always makes me sick. And frankly, so does talking about it.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Michael's speculative methods for proposing to Holly in the "Garage Sale" episode fit this category: pouring gasoline on the office parking lot in the shape of a heart and setting it afire, tossing "a corpse dressed like me" from the office roof and decapitating it so he can tell her, "I lost my head when I fell for you", etc.
    • His actual proposal to her kind of straddles the line between this and Grand Romantic Gesture.
      • Which was his goal; he intentionally ruined Holly's small, sweet, in-the-moment proposal in the breakroom because he wanted something "people would admire, and talk about for ages to come".
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Threat Level Midnight: "Mop the ice."
  • We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: "Ryan Started the Fire".
  • Weirdness Coupon: See Karma Houdini above. The employees of the Scranton branch get a lot of leeway since they belong to the most successful branch, so they stay on in spite of some incredibly weird shenanigans.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!:
    • Played with twice with Dwight. Subverted the first time; he gets a concussion and is a lot more pleasant to be around. When they realize what's up, they have to take him to the hospital, and it's clear that everyone (and especially Pam) will miss "nice Dwight" when he's gone. The second time, he quits, and things are a lot less smooth at the office without him, until Michael convinces him to come back.
    • And for Michael when is he is replaced by Charles Miner in season five. This is most clearly shown when Charles shows himself as intolerant of Kevin and Stanley's more laidback tendencies, and of him favoring Dwight rather than Jim.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Booze Cruise": After constantly putting off their wedding, Roy decides that he finally wants to get married to Pam and re-proposes to her during the titular cruise. A heart-broken Jim breaks up with Katy and opens up about his feelings for Pam to Michael.
    • "Casino Night": With Pam getting married soon and Jim planning to leave to Stamford, it seems as if they will never end up together. However, the finale ends with Jim confessing his feelings to Pam, and the two kissing in the office. In the next episode, Pam decides to proceed with her engagement to Roy, only to end it after Jim leaves to Stamford.
    • "Branch Closing": The Stamford branch closes, causing Jim, Andy, Karen, and a few other characters to move to Scranton.
    • "Traveling Salesman": Dwight quits.
    • "Cocktails": Pam, having recently gotten back together with Roy, confesses what happened with Jim back in "Casino Night." Roy snaps, breaking a bar mirror and storms out. At the end Roy declares he will kill Jim (and attempts to in the following episode, only to be stopped by Dwight and pepper spray).
    • "The Job": There is a position open at Corporate, so Michael, Jim, and Karen all go to New York to get interviewed for the position. However, Michael learns that not only was he never considered for the position, but said position was actually Jan's old job, since she was just about to be fired. Meanwhile, Jim breaks up with Karen and returns to Stamford to be with Pam. The episode closes with Ryan getting the job.
    • "Goodbye, Toby": With Toby leaving to Costa Rica, Michael meets his replacement, Holly. While he starts to develop a crush on Holly, he ends up returning to Jan when he learns that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, with Pam leaving to art school soon, Jim is planning to propose to her during Toby's goodbye party. However, Jim is unable to do so since Andy proposes to Angela and steals his thunder. Also, Ryan gets fired from Corporate, and Phyllis walks in on Dwight and Angela having an affair.
    • "New Boss": New DM exec Charles Miner arrives and starts changing things around. David Wallace ignores Michael's calls, and Michael quits in protest of the way he and the Scranton branch were treated.
    • "Company Picnic": Pam and Jim discover that she is pregnant.
    • "Garage Sale": Michael debates proposing to Holly, only to learn she wants to move home to Denver to take care of her elderly parents. He proposes anyway, she says yes, and he declares he will be moving with her.
    • "Company Loyalty": Jim's work with the sports agent start-up company puts pressure on both his job at Dunder Mifflin and his family life, leading to their first genuine argument in the series while talking over the phone. Alone in the office, Pam breaks down in tears and, also the first time in the series, the documentary crew is seen as Pam asks Brian, the boom mic operator and a friend of hers, for help.
    • "Vandalism": A warehouse worker vandalizes Pam's mural and when Pam fights back, he tries to attack her. She is saved by Brian, who hits him with the boom mic. Both Brian and the warehouse guy end up fired. Meanwhile, both Angela and Oscar realize that Robert, Angela's husband, was using them to further his political agenda, with Kevin giving him a verbal beatdown.
  • Wham Shot: The last scene of "Moving On" shows an ad on Oscar's computer for the premiere of the in-universe show of "The Office" that had been in the making for eight years.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    • Pam with regards to Roy, who is a bit of a Jerk Jock and isn't supportive of her artistic dreams (but then again, Roy was a lot nicer compared to his UK inspiration Lee).
    • When Jim and Pam are revealed to be dating, Dwight bluntly states in his interview, "I don't see it. I think they both could do better."
    • Erin's reaction to Michael and Holly.
      Erin: Her sense of humor is a 2. Her ears are like a 7... and a 4. Add it all up and what do you get? 16. And he treats her like she's a perfect 40. It's nuts!
    • Asked of Andy by Oscar, regarding his courting of Angela.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?
    • In one season 6 episode, Erin accidentally destroyed Pam's watercolor painting of the building when she was trying to be helpful and clean it. This subplot was written out of the episode (though left in the description thereof) and the painting was back by the end of the season, despite having been replaced with a poster for some time. Behind the scenes, Jenna Fischer was vehemently opposed to the destruction of the painting, as she considered it "the heart" of the show. She eventually had to make a request to the editors to drop the subplot during post production of the episode
    • Gabe only shows up once in Season 9, when Andy hires him back as a means to get back at Erin for breaking up with him and dating Pete. Gabe subsequently disappears after this episode and doesn't appear again for the rest of the show.
    • Nellie and Clark are not present in the last scene of the finale, with Nellie being last seen at Dwight and Angela’s wedding and Clark popping up for a final time at the warehouse party. This might have to do with how late into the series both were introduced (Nellie guest starred in Season 7 and then became a regular at the end of Season 8 while Clark was a Season 9 addition), with Clark’s fellow Season 9 addition Pete only being present because of his relationship with Erin.
  • What Have I Done:
    • Dwight's reaction when he realizes that his machinations to take the Sabre affirmative action management program away from Daryl and claim it for himself actually placed it squarely in Kelly's hands instead... and she makes a veiled threat that she'll remember what he's done.
    • Pam's reaction when Jim turns down the Office Manager job, and the role is subsequently given to Dwight.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Show Within a Show example. During Threat Level Midnight, Michael Scarn murders Oscar's character. The audience was visibly disturbed even with the bad acting.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Amusing in that Dwight would apply such a teaching to sales in the first place, but also subverted - Ryan is easily able to take the seed from Dwight's hand.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The series finale serves as this, taking place a year after the previous episode. The reunion panel that occurs in the episode serves as one for the documentary.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Dwight with Jim in the snowball fight. For the first time one of Jim's pranks backfires and in the rest of the episode Jim ends up being terrorized by Dwight in a series of surprise snowball attacks.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: For most of the show's original run, fans put a lot of effort into explaining exactly why a documentary crew had been filming the Scranton office for nine years, with no indication that the documentary ever airs (unlike the UK version). Theories included the documentary airing only in a far-away foreign country, or that it's an ongoing project assigned to filmmaking students at the local community college and never meant to be aired. (Which would explain why they never film during the summer.) Either way, the question was Serious Business to some. Then the final few episodes of Season 9 established that it was a production by Real Life Scranton public television station WVIA, ultimately assembled into a 9-part miniseries aired on PBS and exported to foreign countries (including Denmark). That still left some questions: Why was that particular office chosen? note  Did the Wernham Hogg documentary from the UK version exist In-Universe, and did anyone notice that two paper company branches on opposite sides of the Atlantic had people with similar personalities holding the exact same jobs? And why did filming drag out so long? (That question was actually answered on the show: they stuck around because Jim and Pam were interesting.)
    • Spoofed in this article in The Onion: "Sheffield said that the footage will be drastically cut down and used primarily as B-Roll for the planned 90-minute educational film about paper manufacture and production."
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Jim and Pam. They do, sometime between seasons 3 and 4).
    • Andy and Erin. They do... for a short while, until they permanently break up in the final season.
    • Michael and Holly also seemed poised to become this until they began going out a few episodes in (which Michael hilariously lampshades):
      Michael: "Why are you helping her? You're not even dating." She's my friend... and... ultimately my strategy is to merge this into a relationship... without her even knowing.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: It has a couch! And magazines!
  • Worth It: In the second episode "Diversity Day", Jim has a pretty rotten day as Michael's diversity meetings interrupts his sale with an important client (a slam-dunk big sale for him every year), then Dwight steals the client away from Jim in the meantime and winds up closing the client for himself. However, towards the end of the meeting, Pam falls asleep on Jim's shoulder, which leads to this in his talking head that closes the episode:
    Jim: [smiles] Not a bad day.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree:
    • Vikram, an admittedly good telemarketer, was a surgeon back in India. Michael references this trope, wondering what high status job he would have held in the old country, apparently assuming that the reason for high number of immigrants with these qualifications was that these professions are common abroad, rather than the reality of immigration laws heavily favoring highly skilled immigrants. Vikram gives him a look of disbelief.
    • A Japanese heart surgeon who works in the warehouse. However, this one is justified, as he is in hiding from the Yakuza after (apparently intentionally) botching a heart transplant operation for their boss.
    • Michael mentions that one of the cleaners was a neurosurgeon in his home country, but it turns out he was kidding.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Frank, the warehouse guy who vandalized Pam's mural, attempts to severely injure her after she gets him back by doing the same to his truck. Fortunately Brian the boom mic guy, who had been forming a friendship with Pam during the past few episodes, steps in and saves her...only to get subsequently fired.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • Michael believes 47+9=53...after he goes through it on paper. Even worse in Stress Relief, when Michael learns that the destroyed CPR dummy costs "Thirty-Five Hundred Dollars" to replace, Micharl thinks that means $5,300. Even David Wallace becomes confused by Michael's gaff!
    • Kevin's mental math leading him to conclude Pam weighs over 200 pounds. Or any math he does, really. It explains a lot that Michael confesses to Erin in "Scott's Tots" that Kevin had applied to the warehouse, but Michael had a good feeling about Kevin as an accountant.
      • Kevin's spelling is equally bad as he proves in the Cookie Monster parody plot:
      Kevin: C is for suspension.
      • Everyone, when they sing "Seasons of Love" to Michael. They're close if they're calculating 19 years x 168 hours a week x 60 minutes = 9,959,040, and perhaps the other "minutes" were up to that exact point. But they're calculating 19 years at forty hours a week, the number is considerably lower.
      • It makes perfect sense if you take 525600 (the number of minutes in a year from the original song) and multiply it by 19 years to get 9,986,400 minutes. Take away 6 hours (as if they were 2 hours into the workday) and you have 9,986,000 minutes.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Both Michael and Dwight seem to operate under the assumption that they're the Gary Stu hero of their own Hollywood movie. In particular, Michael seems to think he's in a romantic comedy, while Dwight's living in an apocalyptic action movie.
    • Because Stanley is the only black employee at the office for the first five seasons (Darryl would join them after being promoted from the warehouse in the sixth), Michael thinks of him as his friend and street-smart mentor. He fails to pick up on the fact that Stanley can't stand him, and that he's even more solidly upper middle-class than the other employees.
    • Michael combines this with Horrible Judge of Character when assembling his basketball team. He first refuses Phyllis who turns out to be great at passing and dodging as well as Kevin who later proves himself a three-point shooting wonder. He insists on Stanley joining but is absolutely terrible at the game. He also grudgingly accepts Dwight, but only because he's unable to assemble a team after dismissing just about everyone who would have otherwise been a star player on the court. Dwight does prove to have good skill and unflinching determination to win.
  • Wrong Song Gag: For a CPR course, Michael is supposed to press on a dummy's chest at one hundred beats per minute. To help him stay on track, the instructor tells him to do it to the tune of 'Staying Alive'. Michael then proceeds to sing 'I Will Survive' by mistake, causing him to push down at an extremely slow rate.
  • X Days Since: Michael caused an accident, requiring the sign (which had a high number on it) to be reset.
    • In "A.A.R.M." there is a "X days since last nonsense" sign.
  • X Meets Y:
    • "Yankee Swap is like Machiavelli meets Christmas."
    • Under Charles' leadership, Dwight laments that The Office used to be a combination of "...the Roman Empire, the Wild West, war-torn Poland, and Poland."
  • Yes-Man:
    • Andy and Dwight were huge yes-men at first. After his anger-management, Andy toned it down, while Dwight seems to have become more contemptuous of Michael as time has gone on.
    • Everyone in the office has a tendency to become this whenever a new person takes a spot among management. Most notable are with Charles Miner(who turns out to be one himself), Deangelo Vickers, and Robert California. Well, all except Dwight.
    • Clark and Pete are this to Andy in the first episodes of season 9, expecting that sucking up will help them rise in the company. They start to worry when it becomes two-way and everything Andy does start to seem awesome and even they can't tell what's pretense.
  • You Are in Command Now: Dwight explaining to the office why they should obey him and stay at work despite no one else being there to force them to:
    Dwight: When Michael is not there, Jim is in charge. When Jim is not there, Andy and I are in charge. When Andy is not there, you have to listen to me.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: The "Full Disadulation."
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
    • The stripper at Bob Vance's warehouse bachelor party gets two of these when she tells Pam she's hot enough to strip and Angela that she loves her baby posters.
    • Michael does this to Ryan as a guest speaker to his business class when he claims that Ryan is better than all the other students despite having never made a sale, started a fire with his pita bread and "everybody thinking he's a tease". Also doubles as an unintentional "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • When Andy forms a band with Darryl and Kevin, he asks several people their opinion on the first song they create. Everybody hates it, but Andy perseveres in claiming it has potential for success. Then Creed says he loves it, which totally bums him out.
  • You Must Be Cold:
    • Inverted. Erin puts her coat on Andy in "New Leads." He kisses her right then and there.
    • Subverted when Dwight looks like he is comforting Pam after she helped Jim and Karen solve a dispute they were having. Dwight starts to take his jacket off, looking like he is about to offer it to her, then simply ties it around his waist, noting that "It's hot in here".
    • Played with in "Garden Party". Kelly remarks that she's cold, but Ryan just tells her she should have brought a jacket. He later gives his jacket to Robert California instead.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Dwight reacts this way once he realizes that Jim has dressed like him and adopted his speech patterns and mannerisms as a prank.
  • Your Favorite:
    • Michael REALLY likes crisp bacon.
    • Pam (and apparently Erin, despite knowing him for only a year) are able to prepare all of Michael's favorite things, food or otherwise, whenever they fear he'll come into work in a bad mood, such as post-breakup.
    • Jim says his favorite is soft shell crabs during the first Halloween episode.
    • Pam's favorite yogurt flavor is Mixed Berries.
  • Your Mom:
    Kelly: I don't talk trash, I talk smack. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like 'Your Mom is so fat, she could eat the internet.' But smack talk is all like 'You're ugly, and I've got the evidence right there.'
    Kelly [to Pam]: Your man is so skinny he needs steroids just to watch baseball.
    Kelly: Were Jim's parents first cousins who also sucked at ping pong?
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Jim pulls this on Dwight to prevent him from entering a meeting where Robert was planning to fire him. Jim manages to physically hold Dwight back just long enough for Todd Packer to unknowingly step up to get the axe instead.

"Dwight, you ignorant slut!"


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Alternative Title(s): The Office An American Workplace


McDonald's As Featured In Meal

McDonald's is so ubiquitous in pop culture that they can make commercials consisting of nothing but references to, parodies of, and product placements for the fast food corporation and its products. This August 2023 commercial is for their limited-time "As Featured In" meal based on these references and also serves as a cross-promotion with Loki's second season (note the "Streaming October 6 on Disney+" message) as well as Palace Skateboards, who started a collaboration with McDonald's at the same time. (Palace doesn't have a TV Tropes page; we don't cover lifestyle brands.) Note that, as of the uploading of this video, the 30 Rock episode "St. Valentine's Day" does not have a Recap page here yet. Also, the commercial doesn't mention the episode title for The Office (US) episode used in the ad ("Hot Girl").

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

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