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For other uses, see Dunder Mifflin Infinity (disambiguation).


"Dunder Mifflin Infinity" is the third and fourth episode of the fourth season of The Office and is the 56th and 57th episode overall. It was written by Michael Schur and directed by Craig Zisk. It first aired on October 4, 2007. It was viewed by 8.49 million people.

Synopsis

Toby sees Jim and Pam kiss secretly in the break room, and fires off an unsolicited memo warning about public displays of affection within the office. The entire office immediately speculates on the reason for the notice. Toby (whose crush on Pam has been previously established) tells everyone it's because of Jim and Pam, apparently in an attempt to shame them. This effectively forces them to confirm their relationship, and to Toby's surprise, all of the other workers are ecstatic. Jim and Pam later ask Toby whether they need to file the same paperwork Michael and Jan once had, but Toby tries to put it off, hoping the relationship won't last.

Ryan Howard returns to the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin for the first time since his promotion, sporting a much more urbane look and attitude (which does not prevent him from receiving a noogie from Kevin). He convenes a meeting to inform the staff about "Dunder Mifflin Infinity," his initiative to revitalize the company with new technology. Michael is initially excited about the prospect of getting a BlackBerry, but is warned by Creed that the purpose of the program is really to get rid of older workers.

Kelly tries to restart her relationship with Ryan, an effort he ignores until she (untruly) tells him she's pregnant. He agrees to discuss the situation over dinner that night. Jim informs Pam that Dwight and Angela are secretly dating, only to discover that she has known this for quite some time. Meanwhile, Dwight attempts to make amends for the death of Angela's cat Sprinkles by giving her a stray cat he found in his barn. Dwight's cousin Mose named the cat Garbage because that's what it eats. Angela rejects the gift, and Dwight attempts to dump the cat into the office of Vance Refrigeration.

Creed dyes his hair jet-black (using ink cartridges) in an attempt to convince everyone that he's much younger. After a conversation with Jan, Michael decides to formally challenge Dunder Mifflin Infinity by claiming that Ryan is being ageist. Michael brings the octogenarian co-founder of Dunder Mifflin into a meeting to make his point about old things still being useful, but shoves Dunder out after tiring of his rambling stories. Angela asks Dwight out to dinner, where she breaks up with him, saying that she can't look into Dwight's eyes without seeing Sprinkles' corpse.

To show that personal interaction is more effective than new technology, Michael decides to go out and win back the clients they lost in the past year with gift baskets. Dwight insists on going with him. Each manager they encounter refuses to consider returning to Dunder Mifflin unless the company improves its technology.

Michael pretends to misinterpret his rental car's GPS map system's directions and intentionally drives into Lake Scranton. He uses this as further "proof" that new technology is useless because it "tried to kill him". After the lake incident, he and Dwight walk back to one of the former clients to awkwardly get back their gift basket, causing a scene.

Ryan learned during the previous night's dinner that Kelly's pregnancy claim was a lie. Back at the office, Ryan asks Pam to create a logo for Dunder Mifflin Infinity. Pam is excited about the opportunity to use her art background, but Ryan uses the logo as an excuse to ask her out, which he does in front of Jim. Pam responds that she's dating Jim, which leaves the new boss thoroughly embarrassed.

Deleted scenes

  • While driving, Michael explains that he has a rental car because his Sebring is in the shop to repair the damage when he hit Meredith ("Fun Run"). He shows off the car navigation system and notes that he finds the voice soothing. He takes a phone call from Jan, who is furious that he allegedly ate her Grape-Nuts. After hanging up, Michael parks the car and listens as the voice calmly repeats "You have arrived."
  • Alternate talking heads of different people reacting to Jim and Pam dating.
  • Michael talking head about looking forward to Ryan's visit.
  • Kelly has vandalized Ryan's welcome banner, so Michael takes it down. Ryan insists that Michael get him a water. After a brief standoff, Michael agrees. In a talking head, Michael concludes that Ryan is under the mistaken belief that there is a special "boss water". This is also a callback to "The Job", where Michael asks Ryan to get him a coffee although he says he does not do that anymore.
  • Michael asks Kelly for tips on how to deal with Ryan.
  • Jan joins Michael for lunch in his office. She scolds him for doing email during lunch. Michael explains that he's not doing email. He's playing Solitaire.
  • In his presentation, Michael talks about the contributions of his generation. Then he talks about Confucius, but uses fake pun quotes instead. He explains that he searched on Google, skipped all the boring stuff, and went straight to the joke page.
  • Michael makes fun of fruit-named technologies.
  • Michael asks Pam to BlackBerry him a message. In a talking head, Pam explains that Michael doesn't know how to use his BlackBerry. She writes the message on a Post-It note and sticks it on his BlackBerry.
  • Ryan asks who will attend his BlackBerry tutorial. He notices that Michael does not raise his hand.
  • Jim and Dwight talk about technology. Dwight rejects the BlackBerry as pointless. The only inventions that matter are "Printing press. Tractor. Mechanical thresher. Telephone. Airplane." Dwight classifies cars as flightless airplanes and also dismisses vaccines as "for chumps."
  • In a talking head, Dwight brags that he got smallpox the old-fashioned way.
  • Michael gives a rambling speech about how he is both neither too old nor too young. Creed uses a toaster as a mirror and touches up his hair with a Sharpie pen.
  • Creed skateboards into the kitchen and suggests that Oscar and Kevin take steps to look younger: Oscar should get Botox, and Kevin should get a wig.
  • Angela confides in Pam about the situation with Dwight. Pam suggests that she and Dwight go to dinner.
  • Toby brings his girlfriend to the office and kisses her way too long.
  • Ryan explains the system to the accountants and after they realize it will make their jobs obsolete, Kevin tries to charm Ryan to keep his job.
  • Dwight calls Angela while he and Michael walk back to the law firm.

References to other episodes

  • Kevin calls Ryan "Fire Guy" which is a reference to "The Fire." Andy tries to join, but Kevin points out he wasn't there for that.
  • Jim and Pam tell each other about Dwight and Angela's relationship. Pam found out in "Email Surveillance" and Jim found out in "The Negotiation." They keep the secret out of loyalty to Angela/Dwight.

Trivia

  • After the episode aired, NBC launched the Dunder Mifflin Infinity online game, where fans can join virtual Dunder Mifflin branches and participate in various tasks to earn Schrute Bucks.
  • The character of Amy, Toby's new girlfriend, is played by actor Paul Lieberstein's real-life then-girlfriend (now wife), Janine Poreba.
  • This is the final episode of the series in which Kate Flannery does not appear as Meredith Palmer.
  • Michael uses 'vis-a-vis' when talking to Ryan, a reflection of his British counterpart David Brent (Ricky Gervais).
  • When Phyllis talks to Pam and Jim in the break room, a yellow employee information poster with the Warner Brothers logo can be seen in the background.
  • This is the third time Ryan has tried to ask out Jim's girlfriend. In "Email Surveillance", he tried to ask out Katy, and in "Women's Appreciation", we learn that he asked out Karen.
  • When Robert Dunder is discussing Mifflin going out to dinner with Beverly, he recalls Beverly's husband's name as "Jerry Trupiano from South Jersey." Jerry Trupiano is a radio broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox. Episode writer Michael Schur is a lifelong baseball fan, and during this time also wrote for the baseball blog Fire Joe Morgan.

Interesting notes

  • Michael tries to read subtext into what Ryan said to him. Spoiler: Andy does the same thing with Daryll in Season 9.
  • The two founders of Dunder Mifflin have the same first name, Robert.
  • Dwight says that his grandfather's name is Manheim; in "Drug Testing", he said his grandfather's name was Dweide Schrude. Dweide Schrude is his father's father and Manheim his mother's father.
  • Spoiler: This is the first of two episodes where Michael ends up soaking wet. The other is "Koi Pond".
  • Dwight starts crying in the car when he mentions that ex-girlfriends can use the GPS to track his whereabouts. Michael does not react. This could be because Michael doesn't care, because Michael dismisses it as another of Dwight's freakish behaviors, or because Michael is preoccupied with his gift basket mission.
  • After Michael drives his car into the lake, he opens the back door so that the cameraman can get out.
  • The cameraman's shadow can be seen in the lake when they're all on shore safely.
  • When Michael tells Dwight to hang up the phone Dwight does so immediately and without question. This shows Dwight's loyalty and trust in Michael.

Amusing details

  • As Dwight talks to Angela at her desk, the white board calendar behind her shows some interesting entries: On the "10th" Ryan covers reception and Karen is included in flex time. Neither Ryan nor Karen are employees of the Scranton branch at this time.
  • On the same calendar, the writing on the "4th" reads: "In case you haven't noticed, there's a lot of colorful hooey on the board!" Each word is written in a different color.
  • One of the dates on the calendar says "Anger Management Appreciation Day."
  • The calendar also says there is a sales staff meeting with Michael at 8 AM, however it is stated multiple times in the series that work at Dunder Mifflin is from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • Michael's bad experience with the foreign exchange student who stole all his blue jeans may help explain why he covets his jeans so much in "The Client".
  • Jim points out that Michael uses the same photo from Big that he used in "The Injury."
  • When Michael notes all the ink in the printer is gone, Creed smiles, implying that he used the ink to dye his hair black.
  • As they are exiting the sinking rental car after Michael drives it into a lake, Dwight warns to "look out for leeches!" This is amusing on several levels: it is a non sequitur, as their most urgent priority is simply escaping the car; leeches are not life-threatening, and regardless are not commonly found in suburban lakes in the US; and both Michael and Dwight are fully clothed, making a successful leech "attack" improbable to begin with. It also calls into question the value and relevance of Dwight's "training" for emergencies of this sort, which he asserted moments before.
  • When Ryan and Kelly are arguing he claims that Karen sent him an email asking him out, and he turned her down because he's committed to their relationship. This is a lie. Ryan dumped Kelly immediately after receiving news of his promotion. It was revealed in the episode "Women's Appreciation" that he was the one to ask Karen out via email and be rejected.
  • Michal has a jar of his homemade "Great Scott" salad dressing on the table. In a deleted scene in Fun Run, he described it as "Half Newman's Italian, Half Newman's Ranch."
  • Ryan looks at the pictures of old people on the wall, slowly realizing from his time at the Scranton branch that Michael was about to do an appreciation seminar similar to the one from "The Injury."
  • Dwight mentions how he needs to win the clients back as the camera pans to Angela rolling her eyes at the camera crew.

Behind the scenes

  • The Malibou Lake Mountain Club lodge was used for Dwight and Angela's dinner, and the lake itself was used for Michael and Dwight's driving adventure.[1]:01:03:25 Its scenic beauty combined with its convenient location (within the "30-mile zone" of Los Angeles) make it is a popular filming location.
  • In the scene in which Dwight offers a cat to Angela, the cat trainer used honey to rough up the cat's fur to make it look more feral. The cat did not want to be held, which is why its position changes throughout the scene.[1]:22:25
  • In the bloopers, Toby tries to hold Pam's hand at the end of their meeting. This was developed on set, but the scene exists only in the bloopers because the actors couldn't make it through with a straight face.[1]:26:30
  • Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg thought that Ryan should have a new corporate look. They pitched a goatee, but Greg Daniels said it was too "on the nose", so the settled for a close-cropped beard.[1]:28:47 The writers wanted Ryan to dress "obnoxious as possible. As much as black as possible."[2] One of the show's producers Ben Silverman had just taken over for Kevin Reilly as co-chair of NBC Entertainment, and Ryan's close-cropped beard and love of expensive suits was a good-natured parody of Silverman's grooming style.[3]
  • The hair department used a temporary vegetable dye for Creed's black hair. It washed out completely.[1]:55:20
  • Jennifer Celotta got the idea for Michael driving into the lake when she found the owner's manual to her parents' Honda Odyssey and saw that it included the warning not to drive into a body of water even if the GPS tells you to. She discovered many incidents of people following GPS instructions and driving into the water.[4]
  • A member of the production crew took pictures while the lake scene was being filmed. Photo 1 Photo 2

Cultural references

  • Michael celebrates Jim and Pam's relationship by saying, "This is a day which will live in infamy", misappropriating the memorable sentence from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Infamy Speech. Roosevelt was referring to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The speech triggered the entrance of the United States into World War II.
  • Ryan uses a BlackBerry and promotes its use. The BlackBerry was a mobile phone with a screen and a tiny keyboard, capable of sending and receiving email and text messages. It was very popular as a business tool for mobile workers before the widespread adoption of touch-screen smartphones.
  • Michael says they had a foreign exchange student when he was younger that returned to "what is now formerly Yugoslavia". In the early 1990s, Yugoslavia collapsed and broke up into a number of successor nations. Michael's phrasing is rather confused; a more conventional phrasing would be "what was formerly Yugoslavia". Michael may have been influenced by the country formally known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The awkward name was the result of a naming dispute that was finally resolved in 2019.
  • Jan wears a velour track suit to visit Michael. The Juicy Couture brand sweatsuit became wildly popular in 2001 when Jennifer Lopez wore it in the music video for her song "I'm Real (Remix)", peaking in 2008 as a luxury status symbol. The company suffered greatly during the 2008 recession and by 2013 was being sold a discount retailer Kohl's.
  • Dwight's grandfather lives in Argentina but Dwight's attempt to visit him was protested by the Shoah Foundation. Shoah foundations are organizations furthering the remembrance of the Holocaust. This follows the theme that Dwight's family has ex-Nazis in it. Josef Mengele, Adolf Eichmann and other high-ranking Nazis fled to Argentina following World War II; a popular myth is that Hitler also escaped to Argentina.
  • Michael has photos in reference to Titanic, "Where's the beef?", Big and Ben Kingsley.
  • Creed suggest that Oscar get Botox treatment, a brand name for botulinum toxin, used cosmetically to reduce facial wrinkles.
  • Andy tells Ryan, "You're so money, but you don't even know it." This is a catch phrase from the movie Swingers, starring actor Vince Vaughn, whom Ryan had just mentioned meeting. Andy adds, "But you do."
  • Pierce Brosnan is an Irish actor most famous for playing the part of James Bond.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Guest cast

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 58: Dunder Mifflin Infinity Part 1. "Office Ladies" podcast, December 16, 2020.
  2. Dansby, Andrew. "The temp label is permanent". Houston Chronicle, October 2, 2007.
  3. Greene, Alan. "Season Four." The Office: The Untold Story of the Great Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History. Dutton, 2020.
  4. Greene, Alan. "The Writers' Room." The Office: The Untold Story of the Great Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History. Dutton, 2020.
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