"Did I Stutter?" is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of The Office and the 69th episode overall.  It was written by Brent Forrester and Justin Spitzer and directed by Randall Einhorn. It first aired May 1, 2008. It was viewed by 7.67 million people.

Cold open

Michael bursts into the office excited and asks for ideas quickly. When Pam asks him to clarify, he explains that there is wet cement drying outside and he wants ideas on what to write. Kevin suggests that Michael write his initials, but he shoots it down claiming someone with the same initials could claim credit. Phyllis tries to suggest something but can't remember what she wrote with her friends as a kid, while Andy suggests drawing a picture. Kelly then excitedly mentions how she saw Will Smith on TV, which Pam translates for Michael as a suggestion to put his handprint in the cement. Jim then tells Michael that a real star would put his whole face in the cement which Michael excitedly accepts. The scene cuts to the office staff surrounding Michael as Dwight lubricates his face, with Jim giving a sarcastic speech. Dwight then shoves Michael's face into the cement, who mutters a muffled "that's what she said" after Dwight tells him to "force it in as deep as you can." Michael then narrates how when he is 100, he can point out the cement impression he made with his face to his grandkids.

Plot

When in a meeting Michael tries to persuade Stanley to participate. Stanley doesn't really want to; he just wants to work on his crossword puzzles. After much nagging, Stanley finally interrupts Michael with the phrase, 'Did I stutter?' much to Michael's shock. Michael then leaves the conference room in disbelief and embarrassment. Toby heads into Michael's office trying to convince him to have a talk with Stanley. Toby's efforts fail as Michael claims that he and Stanley were simply joking.

Dwight discovers that Andy is selling his car and decides to buy it from him, after convincing him to lower the price. Pam is shown at reception wearing a pair of glasses instead of her usual contacts. Pam then explains that after spending the night at the house of “a friend”, implied to be Jim, she forgot her contact solution and must use glasses.

Michael walks over to Stanley and tries to make up with him. Stanley explains to the camera that he doesn't apologize unless he thinks that he's wrong.

Ryan shows up to the office in order to give Jim a formal warning regarding his job performance, stating that he spends far too much time pranking Dwight and hanging out at reception rather than selling paper. Jim asks if the warning has to do with his discussion with David Wallace about Ryan's website, but Ryan immediately becomes defensive. In a talking head, Toby gloats that all of Jim's time spent talking with Pam has “finally caught up to him”.

Andy discovers that Dwight has put the car that he bought from him for sale on eBay. Dwight feels that he can sell the car for more money and reveals that the car is currently in a three-way bidding war. Kevin tells Pam that he loves her glasses because all the girls he's ever dated have had glasses. After he reveals that glasses and librarians are a turn-on for him, however, Pam decides to sacrifice her good vision by taking her glasses off.

Michael then decides that he can slap some sense into Stanley by fake-firing him, when he does so Stanley threatens to file a lawsuit against him.  Michael tells Stanley that the firing was fake, but that only makes Stanley outraged, telling Michael that he is a professional idiot. Michael is hurt by this and loudly tells Stanley to stop it, he then makes everyone leave the room and has a conversation with Stanley, bluntly telling him that he is his boss and won't be talked to that way. Stanley then agrees that even though he has no respect for Michael, he will not talk to him the way he did anymore. Michael asks Stanley's opinion on a new idea of his, to which Stanley replies "It has potential to be your best idea yet".

Deleted Scenes

  • Talking heads where Stanley says that Michael crossed a line he had been warned not to cross, "so f—k him!", Jim sarcastically blames gangsta rap for the outburst, and Michael claims Stanley was like a child clamoring for his father's attention, as he had as a child.
  • Phyllis compliments Pam on her glasses, but when Pam returns the compliment, Phyllis reminds her that she's married, and that "boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses". Kelly disagrees, saying she likes the Tina Fey/Lisa Loeb vibe they gave off, but in a talking head declares herself the new "cutest girl in the office."
  • In a talking head, Michael calls Stanley one of his oldest friends, who he could not see for 50 years and still be as close with - all as the camera shows him walking down the stairs, outside the building, and into the annex to go to the bathroom so that he can avoid Stanley.
  • In the breakroom, Michael tells Jim, Pam and Kelly about all the nasty things Stanley has said to him about his co-workers. After Michael claims that Stanley had criticized her glasses, Pam challenges him and suggests that he simply tell Stanley he had been rude - but when asked by Jim to tell Andy to figure out whether or not he has a rash in private, and Kelly to remind Creed that "looking is as bad as touching", Michael walks away in disgust.
  • Michael makes a scene of putting a reprimand in Stanley's file, giving him every opportunity possible to apologize and the letter will go in the trash - and Stanley refuses.
  • A talking head where Pam gets the cameraman to leave his lens severely unfocused, showing what the rest of the day will be like for her, unable to see anything "disgusting" (Dwight trimming nose hair at his desk) "or ugly" (Creed at his desk, partially disrobed) "or... Michael. It's great!"
  • Michael sneaks up behind Stanley but can't bring himself to use fluffy fingers on him.
  • Ryan arrives with bagels. He shows Pam how to eat bagels, by scooping out the middle and only eating the shell. In a talking head, Pam says it's yet another reason she's okay with being essentially blind.
  • Jim confronts Toby about his warning. Toby brings up Dwight's complaints, which Jim reminds him are treated almost as a joke; Toby states it's a productivity issue, though Jim counters that his numbers are good. When Toby agrees, but mentions that Ryan thinks they can be even better, Jim knows once and for all the real explanation.
  • Ryan admits that, since Jim is a favorite of Wallace, going after him is risky, but sometimes, in business, the best move is to "get out on the open highway... with the top down", punctuating the statement by putting the top down on his car, which doesn't work.
  • Observing Dwight's auction of his old car, Andy wonders aloud who would buy a car on eBay. Meredith replies that she has had success on the site, actually using it to buy everything she is currently wearing, which leaves Andy sulking as a smirking Dwight looks on.
  • Oscar says that his grandmother would describe Michael vs. Stanley as a "Peruvian standoff", thanks to their ignorance or "backward" culture, neither will give in. Realizing how that sounds, he admits that she was a racist, "like most Bolivians".
  • Walking out to the car, after Pam says that she doesn't need to see to know something is bothering him, Jim straight up tells her that Ryan is attempting to run him out of the company. Pam is furious, offering to drive up to New York right then and there, since, if she wasn't wearing her glasses when she ran over him, it wouldn't be a crime.
  • As Michael leaves for the day, Toby compliments him on his handling of the situation, which of course is the last thing in the world he wants to hear.

Deleted scenes not on the DVD:

  • Extension of the Mad Libs scene in which Andy pretends to be a cat eating a hamburger, which Angela finds amusing.[1]:16:54
  • When Kevin talks to Pam about her glasses, he says, "You're basically in my league now."[1]:32:43
  • Andy and Angela walk into the parking lot, where Andy bids farewell to his Xterra as Dwight scrapes a Cornell sticker off the back window. Andy is upset that Dwight took advantage of his kindness. Angela corrects him: "You were bested." Andy tries to put his arm around Angela, but she rebuffs him, and then looks at Dwight lustily.[1]:47:09

Dwight's organizational chart

Dwight's organizational chart is quite detailed.[2] NBC made both the original chart and the emergency chart available online after the episode aired.

In the original chart:

  • At the top of the chart is Vice President, North East Region and Director of New Media Ryan Howard.
  • Reporting to Ryan Howard is Regional Manager Michael Scott.
  • Reporting to Michael Scott are Original Assistant Regional Manager Dwight K. Schrute, positioned slightly above Assistant Regional Manager Jim Halpert.
  • Accounting department: Senior Accountant Angela Martin.
  • Human Resources department: Human Resources Toby Flenderson has a blue Star of David with a question mark. Dwight suspects that Toby is Jewish, although Toby attended the Catholic Bishop O'Hara High School and was at one time a seminarian. Toby reports directly to Ryan Howard, but his box is rather low on the chart.
  • Quality Control department: Quality Assurance Rep "Creed Bratton", whose name is in quotation marks.
  • Customer Service department: Customer Service Rep Kelly Kapoor.
  • Supplier Relations department: Supplier Relations Meredith Palmer.
    • Reporting to Meredith is Supplier Relations Devon White, whose box has been crossed off. (Devon was fired in Halloween).
  • Reception department: Receptionist Pam Beesly.
  • Sales department: Regional Director in Charge of Sales Andy Bernard. His box contains a silhouette of a person wearing a mortarboard, referring to Andy's habit of reminding everyone that he went to Cornell.
  • Warehouse department: Warehouse Foreman Darryl Philbin has a "Black Power" fist.
  • All women have a pink "female" symbol (♀) and a menstrual cycle symbol, and they are all connected to each other by dotted lines. The menstrual cycle symbols have been crossed out for Meredith (referring to her hysterectomy, first mentioned in "Health Care") and Phyllis (whom Dwight assumes to be post-menopausal).
  • The Party Planning Committee consists of Angela, Pam, Phyllis, Meredith, and Kelly, although the line to Kelly is not as strong as the other lines.
  • The chart is labelled "Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch ORG. CHART By Dwight K. Schrute*" with the footnote "*Do Not Duplicate or Transmit. Intellectual Property of Dwight K. Schrute for 1,000 years."
  • Karen and the other former Stamford employees do not appear on the chart. Neither does Roy.

Dwight's "Emergency Powers" chart makes the following changes:

  • Next to Dwight's name is the symbol for radioactive materials and the note "Warnung vor radioaktiven Stoffen und ionisierenden Strahlen" ("Warning against radioactive substances and ionizing radiation"). It also cites DIN 4844 and 25430. DIN is the Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Standards Institute), and 4844 and 25430 are the standards related to warning signs and radiation warnings, respectively.
  • Andy's name is crossed out.
  • The Warehouse staff is under a "lockdown".
  • Dwight's family members are listed as members of the hierarchy as follows:
    • Mose reports directly to Dwight.
    • Vater (German for "father") reports to Mose, and Mutter ("mother") reports to Vater.
    • Two people noted as Shirley and Heindl also report to Mose. Shirley is most likely Dwight's Aunt Shirley who died in Season 9.

An extended version was included as a bonus in some copies of the Season 4 DVD.

  • Above Ryan Howard is Chief Financial Officer David Wallace.
  • Next to Ryan Howard is Vice President, North East Region Jan Levinson, crossed out.
  • Reporting to Jan is Assistant to the Vice President Hunter. His box contains a musical staff.
  • A section labeled Stamford Transfers "The Tailies" holds four employees, all crossed out.
  • Roy Anderson has been added to the Warehouse employees, crossed out. His box has a picture of a can of mace.

Trivia

  • After the episode aired, Andy's Nissan Xterra was placed for sale on eBay.[3] According to the auction listing, the car actually belongs to Kim M. Ferry, the key hair stylist for the show. Included with the car are autographed memorabilia donated by the actors. The car went to a couple in Oklahoma.[4]
  • Nobody in the office has changed their behavior toward Toby after he put his hand on Pam's leg in the previous episode "Night Out".
  • Years later, when Jenna Fischer began wearing glasses, fans commented on her photo with Michael's lines from this episode. "Those make you look so ugly. In order to get hotter, you take the glasses off. You're moving in the wrong direction. It's just noise coming out of an ugly scientist." Fischer was initially offended until she realized they were quoting the show.[1]:21:22

Amusing details

  • In the cold open, Angela Kinsey covers her mouth to avoid laughing and ruining the take.
  • Andy has had his Prius since "The Negotiation" in season 3, but he is just now selling his Xterra.
  • Andy's flyer reads: "For Sale / 2001 Nissan Xterra / (photo) / Air Bags, Anti-Lock Brakes, Air Conditioning, AM/FM Radio / Mirrors, Windows, Character / $8,700 / Contact / Andy Bernard / @ Ext 1022". Andy felt a need to point out in his flyer that his car has windows.
  • Dwight's flyer reads almost the same with the differences highlighted: "For Sale / 2001 Nissan Xterra / (photo) / Low Mileage - Pristine Transmission / Air Bags, Anti-Lock Brakes, Air Conditioning, AM/FM Radio / Mirrors, Windows, Character / $9,995.00 / Contact / Dwight Schrute / @ Ext 1015".
  • When Pam stands up during the conference room scene in a deleted scene, Toby is also wearing glasses.
  • Toby reported Jim to Ryan because he is jealous that Jim gets to be with Pam. Ryan, also jealous that Jim gets to be with Pam (likely because Pam rejects Ryan in "Dunder Mifflin Infinity"), along with feeling threatened by Jim's relationship with David Wallace, he decides to warn Jim for no apparent reason.
  • On Dwight's Org. Chart that has him taking over all of the office, many of Dwight's family members appear on the chart. One of those is a woman named Shirley, who is supposed to report to Mose. This likely refers to Dwight's Aunt Shirley, who owns a 1600-acre farm directly adjacent to Schrute Farms. She appears in season nine and will eventually die due to old age.
  • Dwight's Org. Chart in which he is in full control also has Andrew Bernard crossed out, indicating that Dwight would likely fire him if he was in control. It also shows "Mutter" reporting to "Vater", even though Dwight's mother is already dead, "buried out at the east field", as noted in "Fun Run".

Connections to previous episodes

  • Michael fake-fired Pam in the "Pilot". It didn't go well then either.
  • When Jim questions Ryan's reasoning for giving him a formal warning, the salesman asks about his talk with Wallace about the website Ryan created. Ryan brings this up in the previous episode, "Night Out".
  • In one of the deleted scenes, Kelly advises Pam to continue wearing her glasses, but then tells the cameras, "Guess who just became the cutest girl in the office", echoing Andy's "Guess who just became the best looking single guy in the office?" from the episode "Dunder Mifflin Infinity".
  • Stanley believes the fake firing is real and responds to Michael with extreme anger. In an earlier episode, "Halloween", Michael sends Dwight to fire Stanley for real. Stanley thinks it is a joke and laughs it off.
  • This episode continues the recurring joke from "Chair Model" where Jim acts like he is going to propose to Pam, only to reveal he is joking and talking about something unrelated.

Behind the scenes

  • The episode was written by Justin Spitzer and Brent Forrester. The cancellation of several episode due to the writers strike forced the two to share an episode.
  • Forrester and Spitzer initially disagreed about what the episode's title should be. Forrester wanted to name it "Did I Stutter?", a phrase popularized by Judd Nelson's character Bender in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club. Spitzer wanted a name like "The Reprimand" or "Insubordination".
  • The episode was the fourth episode of the series directed by Randall Einhorn. Einhorn had previously directed the third season episodes "Initiation", "Ben Franklin" and "Product Recall", as well as the ten summer webisodes "The Accountants".
  • According to Randall Einhorn, the editor's cut of this episode was 41 minutes long, and he was able to cut it down to 31 minutes for his director's cut. The episode finally aired as a 22-minute episode.[5]
  • In the opening scene in which Michael puts his face in cement, the wet cement that was used was actually putty. The crew was planning to do only one take of Steve Carell putting his face in the putty, so he was instructed to hold his breath as long as he possibly could, because the writers wanted to start his voice-over over the end of the scene. But the crew forgot to tell the other actors about that, so during the filming of the scene, the actors thought he was actually stuck and there was a rush to pull him out.[6] K-Y Jelly was used instead of Vaseline, so that if needed multiple takes could be done quickly.
  • Michael's "that's what she said" in the cold open was improvised by Steve Carell.[1]:14:00
  • In the script, Jim speech was "We are gathered here today to immortalize not just a man, but an idea. Or maybe the idea of a man." The rest was improvised.[6]
  • Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg wrote the scenes featuring Andy and Angela playing Mad Libs. Justin Spitzer called the sequence "amazing".[6]
  • At the time the episode was filmed, Jenna Fischer did not wear glasses or contacts. The prop glasses have no prescription.[1]:05:55 Greg Daniels wanted a visual gag where the glasses made Pam's eyes look huge. In order for that to work, the glasses would have to have a true prescription, but that would make Jenna Fischer unable to see. Daniels suggested that she wear contacts that degraded her vision, for the glasses to correct. Everyone on the crew objected to this proposal, because the risk of permanent injury was too great.[1]:07:04
  • Jenna Fischer's invented backstory was Pam's glasses are an emergency pair from junior high school she keeps in the glove box of her car.[5]
  • Many fans viewed Toby's behavior in this episode as a turn toward being a jerk. This was not the writers' intentions. It was natural that HR would be present at a formal warning. Toby's talking head afterward was merely an observation and not meant to suggest that Toby was behind the reprimand.[6]
  • The writing staff put a lot of effort into cramming details into Dwight's org chart, thinking that they could sell posters of the chart in the NBC store. The poster was not the runaway bestseller they had hoped.[1]:31:01
  • Rainn Wilson improvised touching Michael face with the metal pointer.[6] Over several takes, the two laughed so much there was barely enough usable footage for the episode.[1]:31:55 The writers had debated whether Dwight would use a laser pointer or a metal pointer, and Justin Spitzer was "so happy we chose the one we did."[6]
  • It was director Randall Einhorn's idea to show the cameramen sneaking back into the office after Michael told everyone to leave. This aspect of the episode was praised by fans as well as the cast and crew. Brent Forrester, the co-writer of the episode, noted that Einhorn's "energy doubled when shooting that" scene.[6]
  • In the shooting script, as they go into the conference room, Jim says to Pam, "That's the price you pay for a night in heaven." Pam is horrified and pointedly remarks (for the camera's sake) that the movies they watched were really good. Jim replies, "You mean the movies that we made of us making love?" Pam panics and denies that they filmed themselves. Jim says to the camera, "Hi, Pam's grandma. Sorry you had to find out like this."[1]:22:35 This scene ended up not being filmed.

Cultural references

  • Dwight says "Michael, I promise to give authority back to you when this crisis is over," in his pitch to gain full emergency authority. This is a reference to Chancellor Adolf Hitler gaining emergency powers to rule by decree in Germany 1933.
  • Kelly talks about watching actor Will Smith on E!, an American cable television channel focusing on popular entertainment. Pam explains that Kelly is talking about Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a Hollywood landmark known for signatures and handprints of notable entertainment figures in the cement sidewalk outside.
  • Andy and Angela play Mad Libs, a children's game consisting of an incomplete story. Players fill in the words without knowing the story; the result is intended to be humorous. Dwight mocks the game in a talking head interview later in the episode.
  • Jim goads Michael by saying an urban thing. The word urban is a euphemism for "black".
  • Andy talks about the blue book value of his car. The Kelley Blue Book is a guide to used car values.
  • Michael asks Darryl about the Crips and the Bloods, two well-known Los Angeles rival street gangs. Darryl adds the Latin Kings from Chicago, the fictitious Warriors from the 1979 movie The Warriors, and invents a gang called the Newsies, presumably named after the 1992 Disney movie.
  • Ryan asks Jim how he can support the Eagles, a local professional American football team. The 2007 season was particularly disappointing. Jim's response "on a wing and a prayer" is an idiom meaning that you're in a desperate situation and hoping that everything turns out all right.
  • Dwight's nonsense-syllable singing when he washes the Xterra is an example of scat singing.
  • Andy accuses Dwight of flipping his car, an informal term meaning to purchase something and immediately resell it at a profit.
  • Kevin describes the confrontation between Michael and Stanley as a Clash of the Titans, a 1981 stop-motion animated film depicting the myth of Perseus. The term has since been used to describe any conflict between formidable opponents.
  • Kevin describes Michael as in one corner and Stanley as in the other corner, terms used to describe the opponents in a boxing match.
  • In Michael's final talking head, he mimics the styles of a series of stand-up comedians, usually taking a well-known joke and messing it up.
    • Rodney Dangerfield: "I don't get no respect" coupled with collar tug.
    • Jerry Seinfeld: "If the black box is the only thing that survives the crash, why don't they make the whole plane out of the black box?"
    • Henny Youngman: "Take my wife, please" (itself another pun)
    • Jeff Foxworthy: "You might be a redneck if..."
    • Borat
    • Jerry Seinfeld again: "What's the deal with Grape Nuts? No grapes, no nuts!"
  • Michael initially proposes a summer sale-a-bration, a commonly-used pun on "celebration". He changes this to sales-a-lot, which is not a pun on anything. He may have confused it with Camelot or Sir Mix-a-Lot.
  • The adage Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses was coined by Dorothy Parker.
  • Lisa Loeb is a popular singer; Tina Fey is a writer and comic actor. Both are noted for wearing bold glasses.
  • Ryan brags about the bagels in New York City. New York City is indeed known for its bagels.
  • Ryan's remark "Fewer carbs" refers to the low-carbohydrate diet which was popular at the time the episode aired.

Cast

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

References

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