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"Chair Model" (originally titled "Michael Dating"[1]:03:56, "Parking" and "The Chair Model") is the 14th episode of the 4th season of The Office and the 67th episode overall. It was written by B.J. Novak and directed by Jeffrey Blitz. It first aired on April 17, 2008. It was viewed by 9.81 million people.

Cold open[]

A tenant in the Scranton Business Park is having renovation work done which causes parking issues for the office staff. Pam and Jim describe the five minute walk they now have to take to get to work, whilst Oscar and Andy voice their frustration at the long walk they have to take. Kevin, sitting on the sidewalk and rubbing his feet, threatens to quit unless the issue is resolved.


Michael's fascination with a woman modeling a chair in an office supply catalog makes him feel things he hasn't felt in a while. With Michael distracted, Kevin and Andy team up to win back Dunder Mifflin's stolen parking spaces, forcing them into a showdown with the bosses of the five businesses of the office park.

Deleted scenes[]

  • Michael has been staying at Dwight's beet farm house for the past six weeks, letting Jan stay in his condo. Now that Jan is staying with her sister in Scottsdale, Michael can return home. Dwight tallies up Michael's bill for staying in the Americana Room for six weeks. Michael is hurt by the gesture but hands Dwight his credit card, explaining that everything that happened between them for the past six weeks (such as slumber parties) was strictly business and not personal. Moved by Michael's words, Dwight tears up the bill. He tells the documentary camera, "We don't take debit cards anyway."
  • Kevin sits at the couch in reception, soaking his feet in a footbath. The noise from the footbath is so loud, Pam has trouble answering the phones.[1]:25:17
  • Michael asks Angela if she has any single friends, maybe a religious type in uniform. Angela asks, "A Catholic school girl?" Michael clarifies: "Older." Angela asks, "A nun?"
  • In a talking head interview, Michael muses on the schoolyard taunt, "Love, marriage, baby carriage." He explains that he had love with Jan, no marriage, but he did buy her a baby carriage to carry groceries after her DUI.
  • Michael sits at Kelly's desk. Kelly arrives and Michael asks if she can set him up with one of her friends. Kelly says, "Oh all my friends are crazy, like Brianna." Michael asks for Brianna's number, but she's only 23. Kelly then volunteers that she knows "a ton of people." She begins talking about her friends' divorced parents, but Michael walks out on her.
  • In a talking head interview, Toby explains that there is no explicit company rule against Michael forcing employees to set him up on a date. Then again, there is no explicit company rule against forcing employees to take part in a shot-by-shot remake of Indiana Jones. "How do you make a rule book like that?"
  • Michael comes to the break room and asks everyone for their index cards. When Pam comes up empty, Michael explains that he's not looking for "a perfect ten", but all his suggestions involve models or former models. Jim offers to set up Michael with a sex model. "She's blind. Is that a problem?" And she's not actually a model; she's a toll booth attendant. In a talking head interview, Michael holds two index cards. "A blind toll booth operator and a 1200-pound catcher".

Connection to other episodes[]

  • Andy previously performed the moonwalk in "Money" while trying to impress Angela.


  • B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard) is credited but does not appear in this episode.
  • This is the second episode in which a character named Deborah is introduced, and in both cases, she meets an unfortunate fate. In the episode "Product Recall," Creed framed Debbie Brown and forced her dismissal.
  • The "Five Families" meeting is Bob Vance's only appearance independent of his relationship with Phyllis.
  • Deborah Shoshlefski is played by April Eden, who also appears on Parks and Recreation as the Miss Pawnee pageant winner Trish Ianetta.
  • This episode begins a trend for later episodes of Jim pretending to propose to Pam, only to be talking about something irrelevant.


  • Both Kevin and Michael are dealing with the consequences of a nasty break-up, but they handle them in very different ways.
  • This episode provides another example of Michael unwittingly providing emotional assistance to another character. His refusal to help Kevin resolve the parking problem (selfishly motivated) forces Kevin to address the problem himself, allowing Kevin to enjoy the much-needed satisfaction of having taken control of his life back from those who had made it miserable.

Amusing details[]

  • We briefly see Michael's computer: It is the same wallpaper image that he changed it to in "Survivor Man."
  • Andy has a Cornell sticker on his windshield.
  • While sitting on the couch talking with Michael about Stacy, Kevin soaks his feet, presumably using the footbath he bought for himself in the episode "Christmas Party."
  • At the coffee shop, Michael ordered a large hot chocolate with caramel and peppermint. His sweet tooth continues unabated.
  • When Michael pays for his coffee we see that his wallet is decorated with rhinestones.
  • After Michael asks the office to provide the names of possible girlfriends Jim jokingly offers up Pam's mother, foreshadowing a real relationship between the two in Season 6.
  • The headstone on the grave of the chair model, Deborah Shoshlefski, indicates that she died in 2003. The catalog has used that photo for years and will probably use it again next year.
  • The phone number to call for a free consultation from W.B. Jones Heating & Air (1-800-984-3672) is the same number used in the episode "Women's Appreciation" for Dwight's Anti-Flashing Task Force. After the episode aired, the message changed to tips from W.B. Jones on using heating and cooling equipment. The message is no longer available. The phone number is now a sex chat phone number.[2]:01:03:47
  • Keeping with the mockumentary nature of the show, credits and citations are given when the bosses of Scranton Business Park are introduced.
  • At the end of the episode, Michael and Dwight literally dance on the grave of the chair model.
  • A huge drop of spit falls out of Kevin's mouth when he is rubbing his feet in the beginning of the episode.
  • When brushing his teeth before going on his blind date with Pam's landlord, Michael simply swallows the toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
  • At the meeting with the "Five Families", Andy says that Michael couldn't make it to the meeting due to an "unforeseen prior engagement", an oxymoron.
  • When Kevin is introducing the heads of the Scranton Business Park 5 families, Bob Vance appears holding a cigar that is neither lit nor cut, despite the tip being moist.
  • At the end of the episode, when Andy makes a comment about "Joe Sixpack," he says several things that don't make sense, including paying a mortgage on a rented apartment and paying orphanage bills one's own kids. This further perpetuates the image that Andy doesn't understand how the real world works.
  • The blue-collar worker Andy claims to be championing is in fact the construction worker he defeated. The construction worker now has to park far away and walk to the satellite lot multiple times a day, carrying heavy and bulky equipment.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The working title for this episode was "Michael Dating", but a more vague title was selected for public release in order to avoid giving away the ending of the episode "Dinner Party." The working title became "Parking" before the final title "Chair Model" was settled on.[3] The working title of "Parking" was used in a TV Guide article that teased future story lines.[4]
  • Kevin soaking his feet in a footbath is more clearly established in a deleted scene. In Kevin's scene with Michael, they found that including the footbath distracted from the dialogue, so they intentionally kept it out of frame.[3]
  • The establishing shot for the coffee shop is from The Coffee Gallery at 2029 Lake Ave in Altadena. The original coffee shop is no longer in business. (As of 2020, the location is a music venue, but kept the name "The Coffee Gallery".)
  • In the original British version of The Office, David Brent is extremely rude to his blind date when he sees that she is a bit overweight. Writer B.J. Novak was careful to make Michael's rudeness stem from disappointment due to unrealistically high expectations: He wears a rose to the date and mistakes the attractive young woman for his date, despite her not matching the description in any way.[3]
  • The character of Paul Faust is played by Paul Faust, who really is the owner of a company that sells disaster preparedness kits. See Paul Faust (actor) for details of how he got cast.
  • The idea for the "Five Families" was that most of the company representatives took the pomp of the meeting seriously, except for "Cool Guy Paul" who hates being there.[3]
  • Originally, the photo of "Cool Guy Paul" was supposed to be on the back deck of a house overlooking the ocean. However, they were running out of time, so instead they filmed in the front yard of Tom Melby, a crew member on the show who lived in the neighborhood right behind the studio. The motorcycle belonged to a crew member.[1]:35:40 Fans have identified the home as 7777 Cherrystone Ave, Panorama City. Spoiler: This same home would later be used as the exterior of Irene's home in "Get the Girl". (It's actually funnier this way: What makes "Paul" cool is not his fabulous wealth, which would be out of place in Scranton anyway, particularly given that there is no ocean, but the fact that he rides a motorcycle.)
  • Director Jeffrey Blitz came up with the novel composition of the shot where Dwight and Michael discuss "closure": The camera is low, and Michael's feet are up on the desk.[3]
  • Other improvised takes of Andy's "Joe Sixpack" monologue included "milking the cows" before going to his job at the factory.[3]
  • In the original script, Michael and Dwight sang "Candle in the Wind" in the cemetery, but the producers were unable to secure permission to use the song. The NBC comedy 30 Rock had previously requested permission to use the song, but Elton John was so offended by their parody that he flat-out refused even to consider the request from The Office.[5] John presumably reconsidered his position, for three years later, the song was parodied in the "Li'l Sebastian" episode of Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur.
  • Another song considered (but for which rights could not be obtained) was "Ruby Tuesday", sung as "Good-bye Deborah Shoshlefski".[5]
  • The show obtained permission to use American Pie and Legs. The intention was to begin with American Pie, and then time-jump late into the night with Michael and Dwight singing Legs. On the last late-night take, the producers let Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson go all-out with American Pie, and the performance was so compelling, they decided to use it instead.[3]
  • The original script had a subplot where Jim sends Dwight to fake management training, but it was abandoned when "the network pointed out ... that it felt like something we had already done." The writers considered other options, such as Jim and Pam moving in together, and then they realized, "Why wouldn't they just get engaged?"[6]

Cultural references[]

  • A penny loafer is a style of shoe. It has no laces or buckles and has a strip of material with a slit that goes over the top of the foot. It got its name due to the fashion of putting a penny in the slit.
  • The type of chair Pam mimics in her talking head interview is one with a pneumatic height adjustment. Older chairs employed more complicated means for adjusting the seat height.
  • Michael tells Kevin, "You don't deserve her," inadvertently reversing the traditional consolatory words, "He/she doesn't deserve you."
  • Oscar Meyer is a company best known for its hot dogs, known as "Oscar Meyer Wieners". The term "wiener" is slang for penis, and Michael blends the two when he calls Oscar an Oscar Meyer Wiener lover.
  • Michael asks whether Phyllis's friend is a jolly, sassy, opera singer. The terms "jolly" and "sassy" are sometimes used euphemistically for people who are overweight. Opera singers are stereotypically overweight.
  • Michael asks whether Phyllis's friend plays catcher or infield. Catchers in softball are usually short and stout, while infielders are more graceful and thus skinnier.
  • Michael says that his employees are "hanging me out to dry". To "hang someone out to dry" is to abandon someone after taking advantage of him.
  • Michael says that he needs to get laid, a rather crude term for having sex.
  • Michael says, "I am a catch and I am not going to be the one who got away." These idioms are commonly used in discussing dating, relying on an analogy with fishing. A "catch" is a desirable mate, and one who "gets away" is a "catch" that one fails to get. The term is not used in the first person, as Michael does.
  • The term eligible is a common euphemism to indicate that the person is neither married nor has a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Joe Sixpack is one of various informal terms to refer to an average person, usually middle-class or working-class person. Andy's "Joe Sixpack" talking head is full of nonsense. His hypothetical person has a $400/month mortgage on his apartment. But an apartment is a rental, with the money paid to a landlord. A mortgage is a loan payment for a house or condominium. He also has to "fill his car up with oil", showing Andy's lack of knowledge of car mechanics. And he has to pay his kid's orphanage bills, which also makes no sense because an orphanage is an institution for children whose parents have died. (There are orphanages for children whose parents are unable to care for them, but in that case, the parent would not be responsible for the bills.)
  • Part of Andy's celebration dance is a Moonwalk, in which his legs suggest forward motion, but his body moves backward. The move was popularized by Michael Jackson.
  • Michael and Dwight sing American Pie at the chair model's grave, with altered lyrics. The meaning of the song's original lyrics is in dispute, but the singer Don McLean claims (and few dispute) that it was inspired by his memories of the death of singer Buddy Holly. The song is notable for its unusually long length: 8 and a half minutes.
  • The phrase Five Families could have been taken from the movie The Godfather.


See: Chair Model Quotes


Main cast[]

Supporting cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 70: Chair Model. "Office Ladies" podcast, March 31, 2021.
  2. Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 64: Revisited with Randall Einhorn. "Office Ladies" podcast, February 10, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 B.J. Novak answers 'Chair Model' questions, Office Tally.
  4. Skerry, Kath. "THE OFFICE's TV Guide Cover." Give Me My Remote web site, April 7, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Talking with 'Office' Star B.J. Novak, NPR, The Bryant Park Project, May 12, 2008.
  6. The Office's BJ Novak Uncut, NPR, The Bryant Park Project.