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"After Hours" is the sixteenth episode of the eighth season of the American television comedy series The Office and is the show's 168th overall. It was directed by Brian Baumgartner and written by Halsted Sullivan & Warren Lieberstein. It originally aired on NBC on February 23, 2012.

"After Hours" received mixed to positive reviews from critics. According to the Nielsen Media Research, "After Hours" was viewed by an estimated 5.02 million viewers and received a 2.6 rating/7% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, marking a 16% rise in the ratings from the series low ratings of the previous episode, "Tallahassee". The episode also ranked as the highest-rated NBC program of the night.

Synopsis

Dwight and Todd Packer compete to become VP under Nellie Bertram by seducing her after work at the hotel bar. For most of the night, Packer seems to be the most successful. Dwight has to leave the bar momentarily and he enlists Gabe to keep an eye on Packer and Nellie. Gabe takes it upon himself to spike Packer's beer with his asthma inhaler, which causes Packer to vomit and leaves Dwight alone with Nellie. Dwight eventually succeeds in seducing Nellie as she asks for a key to his room. Dwight scratches off the magnetic strip on his hotel card before giving it to Nellie, stating the seduction was only to gain approval and that he doesn't intend to have sex with her.

Andy has everyone stay late to cover for their co-workers in Florida, which turns into an awkward situation when Val's boyfriend, Brandon, arrives and accuses Darryl of having an affair with her, after having read Darryl's text messages to her. Kelly demands that Darryl read them aloud since it provides something interesting to happen during the long night. They eventually agree that his text messages are suggestive of Darryl wanting to be with Val, but both of them brush it off as being ridiculous. Pam suggests that he try a bold step and he does, privately telling Val that a potential relationship is not ridiculous.

Erin confides in Ryan that she's intending to stay in Tallahassee. Ryan interprets this as an attempt to hook up with him so he attempts to seduce her by taking her to the kitchen to help her make a waffle. They end up hiding under a table when the chefs come back. After Ryan compliments Erin, she suggests that they could become roommates in Florida and possibly start dating in six months if things go well between them. Not wanting that long timeline, he resorts to saying he loves Kelly.

Meanwhile, Jim has started spending more time with Cathy because the adulterous and lecherous actions of Stanley made Jim uncomfortable begin around him. Things become awkward when Cathy wants to spend time with him in his room. When Jim gets really uncomfortable with her, he calls Dwight saying he has bed bugs and asks him for help. Dwight arrives and forces Cathy off the bed, making Jim think she will leave, but she steps into the bathroom to take a shower instead. Dwight leaves before Cathy gets out of the shower and she comes out wearing a bath robe.

After ordering some desserts from room service and showing off her legs to Jim, Jim finally says that he's happily married, and doesn't want to be with her. Cathy gets defensive and insists that she did not have any romantic intentions whatsoever, so Jim relents, and the two continue watching TV together, but Cathy seems to get uncomfortably close. After Jim goes to the bathroom, he comes out to find her in only her underwear under his blanket. Fed up, he demands that she leave. Suddenly, Dwight charges in with chemicals to spray bed bugs. Jim keeps asking him to squirt Cathy to scare her away, which he does. However, because of the chemicals, Dwight tells Jim to sleep in Cathy's room. Jim instead spends time with Dwight in his room, eating Cathy's desserts and watching TV, while a drunken Nellie is outside, trying unsuccessfully to get in.

Deleted scenes

  • An extended scene of the office calling Jim and Cathy. Watch it.
    • Pam and Andy disagree on whether Darryl should pursue Val. To break the tie, Pam calls Jim, and Cathy answers the phone. She gives the phone to Jim, who explains that something is wrong with the heating in Cathy's room. Kelly barges in and tells Jim, "Don't do it. Or do do it. Whatever it is. This is awesome." Pam asks Jim, "Is Einstein with you?" Jim confirms that Einstein is not there.
    • In a talking head interview, Pam explains that "Einstein" is their code for a home invasion.
    • Pam tells Jim, "You know she's lying about the heating," and Jim says, "Of course!" Pam teases him, and then says "I love you. I'll talk to you later. Have fun with that."

Amusing details and trivia

  • James Spader is credited, but does not appear.
  • Dwight continues his tactic of trying to insert his name to make Nellie think of Dwight as a good Vice President, by saying "Dwight, VP, Dwight, VP," over and over again. Nellie then comments she can not be hypnotized.
  • Nellie says that the last time she tried hypnosis, she "ended up smoking more," implying that she had previous tried hypnosis as a way to stop smoking.
  • When Cathy knocks on Jim's door, Stanley walks past Jim's hotel window with the blonde woman from the bar.
  • In Filipino slang, a "bed bug" is a woman who tries to steal another woman's husband.[1] In this episode, Cathy tries to seduce Jim, and Jim tells Dwight that he has bed bugs.
  • Gabe's middle name is Susan.
  • In a deleted scene, Pam calls Jim's hotel room. The way she calls is unusual for many reasons: (1) Hotel rooms generally cannot be dialed directly; you have to call the hotel operator and then enter the room number. (2) Pam dials about seven digits, but a phone call from Scranton to Tallahassee would be ten digits long just for the hotel operator. (3) Pam has committed the entire phone number to memory. This could be explained by Pam having pre-programmed the number into the office-wide speed dial, with pauses added to get through the switchboard. Her experience as a receptionist would likely have made her very familiar with the features of the office phone system. However, it also reflects poorly on Pam for being so insecure or controlling that she has to be able to call Jim's hotel at a moment's notice from anywhere in the office.

Analysis

This episode appears to have 4 romantic plot lines, with someone “going for it”.

  • Todd and Dwight “going for it” and seducing Nellie. Dwight ends up successfully doing so, but nothing comes of it.
  • Cathy “going for it” by seducing Jim and failing.
  • Brandon confronting Darryl about his relationship with Val, but Darryl eventually “going for it” with Val.
  • Erin and Ryan trying to find waffles as Ryan “goes for it.”

Behind the scenes

  • According to John Krasinski, there were plans to write a scene depicting Jim making out with Cathy in Jim's hotel room. Krasinski objected to the plan, even refusing outright to shoot the scene as he believed this would potentially drive away the audience's goodwill in terms of the character if this were to occur.[1]

Cultural references

  • Dwight says that the main use of English people is "judging American talent." English personality Simon Cowell was a long-serving judge on American talent competition show American Idol and at the time of the episode's airing was a judge on The X Factor. He would go on to be a judge on America's Got Talent.
  • Pam says that someone "dropped the ball", meaning "failed to do what was expected". Andy defends himself by saying that "ball droppings" can turn "an awkward soprano into a rich, full tenor". Andy is using the term "ball" as slang for testicles, referring to male puberty.
  • Packer and Nellie discuss a hypothetical fight between the fictitious characters of Jason Bourne and James Bond, who are a former CIA assassin, and a fictitious British Secret Service agent, respectively.
  • Dwight, on the other hand, thinks ruthless Mongol leader Genghis Khan could defeat them both.
  • Cathy complains that the temperature is "90 degrees" in her room. This is over 30 degrees Celsius.
  • Cathy asks if Jim is watching March Madness the nickname for the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. As its name suggests, it takes place in March. Jim explains that he's watching the NBA Miami Heat, an America professional basketball team. Cathy says "LeBron James", widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, who at the time was a member of the Miami Heat.
  • Darryl says he's "stranded on Shutter Island", a thriller about a hospital for the criminally insane.
  • Nellie says Packer looks like Ed Harris.
  • Cathy orders a Death by Chocolate and a Bananas Foster, both desserts.
  • Among other activities, Erin suggests that she and Ryan could "go to R-rated movies." In the Motion Picture Association film rating system, children may not watch "R" movies unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Andy invites the Dunder Mifflin staff to watch Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

References

  1. Mitchell, Alex. "The shocking storyline ‘The Office’ creators planned for Jim and Pam," The New York Post, November 16, 2021. Citing Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office by Brian Baumgartner.
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