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"Heavy Competition" is the twenty-fourth episode of the fifth season of The Office and the 96th episode overall. It was written by Ryan Koh and directed by Ken Whittingham. It first aired on April 16, 2009. It was viewed by 8.24 million people.

Cold open

The episode opens with Michael perfectly tossing a cheese ball into Ryan's mouth. Pam explains that things have been slow as there is a limit to the number of cold calls that they can make a day. Instead they have spent the time practicing throwing cheese balls into each other's mouths, claiming "we've gotten really good at it" as Michael tosses a cheese ball into her mouth from across the room. The 3 members of the company then demonstrate their cheese ball tossing abilities to the camera crew. As Pam opens her mouth to yawn at the end of the sequence, Ryan and Michael mistakenly throw cheese balls at her, which land in her hair.


Michael and Dwight have been having secret meetings in the parking lot, where Dwight provides information about Dunder Mifflin so Michael can undercut the company. However, Dwight's loyalty is put to the test as Charles Miner seems to show more respect for Dwight than Michael did. Dwight brings Charles to the parking lot during one of the secret meetings, where Charles orders Michael to stop pestering Dwight. This begins a rivalry between Michael and Dwight, and Michael begins to steal Dwight's clients. Dwight asks for a truce and offers to take Michael and his employees out to lunch; Dwight does not go to the restaurant and instead sneaks into the empty Michael Scott Paper Company office and steals everything on Michael's desk, including his Rolodex contact list, and places a dead fish in the air conditioning vent.

Meanwhile, Jim and Pam are attempting to get bargain deals on wedding plans from Andy. When Pam turns down his ideas, Andy suspects that Pam might be acting controlling and cruelly to Jim, in the same way Angela treated Andy. Andy warns Jim, who tries to convince Andy that he and Pam are really happy. Andy remains convinced that Pam will betray him, so Jim asks Andy to provide for his emotional needs as a prank. After Jim feigns crying on Andy's shoulder, Andy blames the office for Jim's emotional troubles and asks them to apologize. Phyllis tells Andy that Jim is just messing with him. Andy does not believe her until he sees Jim grinning through the kitchen window. When Andy confronts Jim, Jim assures him that he and Pam are really happy and that Andy will find someone else one day.

Michael, Pam, and Ryan return to their office and believe they have been robbed. Dwight calls and reveals his treachery. Michael calls Dwight on the phone and tells him that he is going to steal his biggest client while he listens. Dwight races to the Harper Collins office, where Michael and Dwight start fighting over the client. The client asks for both of their offers via email, and they agree to do so. Before leaving, Dwight then looks at the client's personal information from Michael's Rolodex card and asks him about his "gay son", which seemingly perturbs the client. Michael reveals his unusual system where he color codes personal information about his contacts so he knows what not to talk about. Michael is seen laughing with the client in the parking lot as Dwight returns to his car alone.

The episode ends with the members of the Michael Scott Paper Company trying to put as many cheese balls as possible into their mouths. As Ryan puts one final cheese ball into his mouth, they give a muffled exclamation as Michael writes the number 32 on the whiteboard. As the phone rings, Michael answers it with cheese balls in his mouth to the amusement of Ryan and Pam.

Deleted scenes

The Season 5 DVD contains these deleted scenes:

  • Andy fails to convince Pam and Jim to buy his cross-shaped wedding cake.
  • In a talking head interview, Michael explains that Dwight gives him leads, and in exchange, Michael gives him a good feeling. "And if a friend can't make you feel good, then I don't want any friends. Except Dwight, because he's our only source of fertile leads."
  • Michael tells Ryan and Pam that Dwight got the Ryan Family Dry Cleaners account. Ryan is upset. "Uncle Dave?" Ryan says, "When you mess with my family, I can't be responsible for my actions." Pam challenges him, "When are you ever responsible for your actions?" Ryan angrily replies, "Get off my ass, you hag." Michael stops Ryan because "Something about that seems inappropriate."
  • In a talking head interview, Michael says, "Betrayal isn't just a river in Egypt."
  • In a talking head interview, Dwight says that there's nothing wrong with not having a backbone. He lists other things without a backbone, including E. coli and bacterial diarrhea. "And when it comes to Michael, I am his bacterial diarrhea."
  • In a talking head interview, Pam shows some other signs: "Apologize and hang up." "They cannot see you wink." "Don't give SS# to strangers!"
  • In the kitchen, Jim continues to prank Andy by acting paranoid.
  • In the conference room, Andy tries to sell his unused wedding party supplies to the other employees (minus Angela).
    • Kelly and Erin are interested in the matching dresses and a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Andy suggests they make the relationship official with a church ceremony. They are turned off by this idea. Kevin says, "Girl on girl."
    • Meredith askes about red tablecloths to make pants.
    • Andy tries to sell Oscar 100 satchels of rice.
    • Andy tries to sell 60 flower centerpieces to Stanley, who decides to buy the rice.
    • Creed offers to buy just the pants from a tuxedo for his funeral. In a talking head interview, he says, "I want to go out the same way I came in: Shirtless."

Other deleted scenes not on the DVD:

  • Angela is sad that Andy is getting rid of the materials from their canceled wedding. She is embarrassed to admit that she had thought that he would save them in case she got married to someone else, and he could throw them a wedding.

Connections to previous episodes

  • Michael stole the jar of cheeseballs from Dunder Mifflin in a deleted scene from "Two Weeks."
  • Andy tries to sell the materials from his cancelled wedding to Jim and Pam. In "Phyllis' Wedding", Pam was upset that Phyllis reused the materials from Pam's cancelled wedding.
  • Dwight complains about Charles' new dress code. However, Dwight was the one concerned with the dress code when he sent Jim a memo about it in the episode "New Boss." Also in "The Return" Dwight wears a long sleeve shirt while working at Staples.
  • This is the second time that the Michael Scott Paper Company is compared to a computer giant. Michael tells Mr. Schofield that buying paper from him is like buying software from Bill Gates. In "Dream Team" Pam states they have an advantage over Apple because they are starting in a condo instead of a garage.
  • Pam reveals she once spent a month putting the information from Michael's Rolodex into Michael's BlackBerry. Ryan previously asked the Scranton branch to use BlackBerry smartphones for their business needs in "Dunder Mifflin Infinity".


  • After hanging up the phone Michael whispers "shit" and they don't censor it.

Amusing details

  • In the cold open, Pam yawns and has two cheese balls tossed at her, one of which gets caught in her hair. Pam doesn't notice and only flicks away the other one.
  • Charles continues to use his Saticoy Steel insulated coffee mug, despite no longer working there.
  • Michael asks, "Is it Mose? Did you put the cover on that well?", which suggests that Mose has fallen into the well in the past.
  • Michael asks Dwight to walk towards the sun at noon. Dwight stands by the dumpster and stares at the sun, blurring his vision temporarily to the point of confusing Madge with Michael.
  • Charles commends Dwight for his work ethic, promises to give him more responsibility and offers to hang out with Dwight. These are things that Dwight has actively sought from Michael throughout the series.
  • When Charles tells Dwight he admires how focused he is, Dwight compares himself to a wolf. After Dwight sabotaged the Michael Scott Paper Company's office he tells Michael, "you have unleashed the wolf."
  • Michael reveals that he got hit with a urine filled balloon as a prank in high school.
  • Stanley is notably amused that Dwight is anxious about losing his client to Michael.
  • Michael tells Dwight to walk "toward the sun" at noon. The joke is that at noon, the sun is directly overhead, so it is not possible to walk toward it. Given Scranton's time zone and latitude, the sun is not directly overhead at noon, but rather is south-southeast.
  • A rooster crows when Michael says, "If you want a truce, I will give you a truce." There was a house in the neighborhood that had a rooster, and the crowing often interrupted filming.[1]:57:31
  • Michael, Pam, and Ryan don't seem surprised or concerned that Dwight hit a bear. This must be normal for Dwight.
  • When Dwight parks his car to see Mr. Schofield, Michael's PT Cruiser is parked a few spaces away, framed in Dwight's driver-side window.
  • Dwight changes back into his signature short-sleeved mustard shirt prior to storming the meeting between Michael and Dwight's biggest client.
  • Dwight shouts "spin move" and spins on the spot as the secretary tells him not to enter the client's office.


  • Andy expects Jim and Pam to pay $9000 for his college a capella group to play at their wedding. Andy's unrealistic expectations of people's reception to his musical talent is a plot point in Season 9.
  • Pam sports a darker, bolder lipstick and eye shadow, reflecting her increasing confidence after making her first sale in "Michael Scott Paper Company".[1]:37:16
  • The footage of Andy yelling at the Scranton branch to be nicer to Jim is used for Ed Helms in future cold opens after he is promoted to main cast status.
  • Pam writes a note to tell Michael that Dwight is talking about their relationship in his hypothetical scenario. Michael brushes off the idea, until Ryan also nods and taps the note insistently. It's not clear how Pam and Ryan could hear Dwight's half of the phone conversation.
  • Michael's goldfish is now a dark color, continuing the running joke begun in "Michael Scott Paper Company" that Michael has to keep replacing the fish because he can't manage to keep it alive.

Behind the scenes

  • In the first draft of the episode, Ryan Koh's cold open involved Ryan thinking that Pam had a crush on him. This was rejected by the other writers, and they couldn't come up with anything to replace it. Either Aaron Shure or Paul Lieberstein suggested, "I don't know, they're throwing cheese balls at each other?" The writers were exhausted from the Season 5 marathon and happily adopted it, since it meant that they didn't have to write anything.[1]:17:35
  • For the cold open, Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, and B.J. Novak really did throw cheese balls and catch them in their mouths. No computer graphics were required.[1]:21:46 The most difficult trick was where the three characters throw cheese balls into each other's mouths simultaneously.[1]:24:06
  • Jenna Fischer developed a talent for catching food in her mouth from tossing popcorn into her mouth while watching movies in high school. It served her well in this cold open.[1]:20:49
  • The script simply called for Michael and Ryan to toss cheese balls at Pam when she yawns. Having Pam not notice that one of the cheese balls is caught in her hair was an unplanned moment.[1]:24:33
  • The song performed by Here Comes Treble was arranged by John Michael Higgins, who reprised his role from "Launch Party" as an unnamed member of the group, performing the solo in the first part of the song. Ed Helms himself did the bass guitar solo, and a group of Helms's friends sang the backing vocals.[1]:27:47
  • After Andy tells Jim, "Let me be your traveling pants," the script called for them to do a fist bump and say "Knuckles." Ed Helms improvised Andy meeting Jim's knuckles with his cheek. John Krasinski was not expecting this, and his smile is genuine.[1]:46:54
  • In the shooting script, Michael asks Dwight, "Why are you dressed like that?" He then says to Charles Miner, "What about his attack readiness?" a callback to Dwight's earlier complaint.[1]:49:08
  • Production created a fake drop ceiling and vent for Dwight to throw the fish into. The fish, however, was real.[1]:1:05:59
  • Rainn Wilson is really driving the car when Dwight rushes to Mr. Schofield's office. The car had an off-screen police escort to avoid problems.[1]:1:11:39
  • Mr. Schofield's secretary was played by Angela Campolla-Sanders, who joined the show as a casting associate in Season 4.
  • The line "Spin move" was in the script and got a big laugh at the table read. During filming, Rainn Wilson did five different spin moves, and also did a somersault. Wilson thought he looked nimble, but after watching the video playback, Wilson admitted that he looked "like a manatee doing a ballet a Sea World."[2]
  • Michael's concluding talking head was not in the original script. It was recorded a few weeks after the rest of the episode.[1]:1:17:25
  • The episode tag originally consisted of Andy trying to sell his unused wedding supplies to the other employees. It is available on the DVD as a deleted scene.[1]:1:18:14 The competition to hold as many cheese balls in their mouths was originally part of the cold open, but it was moved to the tag.[1]:1:17:25

Cultural references

  • Straitjacket is a restraining garment.
  • Michael, Pam and Ryan have lunch at Alfredo's Pizza Café, a reference to the restaurant first referenced in the fourth season episode "Launch Party".
  • Andy presents a recording of his a cappella group singing Pachelbel's Canon segueing into the Paul Simon song "You Can Call Me Al".
  • Dwight said under Michael's leadership, the office was like the Roman Empire, the Wild West, war-torn Poland, and Poland all at once.
  • Dwight describes Charles as "Will Smith-esque", a reference to the American film actor.
  • Andy vows to be Jim's "traveling pants", a reference to the young adult novel series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The movie adaptation was directed by the Office's Ken Kwapis.
  • Michael and Dwight both court HarperCollins, an American publishing company, as a paper client. They have a branch office in nearby Moosic.
  • Michael invites Mr. Schofield to see the Wilkes-Barre Penguins, a nearby minor league hockey team.
  • In a deleted scene, one of Pam's signs says "Don't give SS# to strangers!" The Social Security number is a number assigned to every American which acts like a national identity number. Contrary to its original intent, the Social Security number is commonly accepted as authentication, not just identification. Knowing someone's Social Security number allows you to impersonate that person to carry out identity theft.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael says, "Betrayal isn't just a river in Egypt." He is misquoting the adage, "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt." The adage is a pun: "Denial" = "The Nile".
  • Andy's wedding cake is cross-shaped. Angela is a conservative Christian, and the cross is a central symbol of Christianity. It is unusual for the wedding cake to be cross-shaped, however. In a deleted scene, Andy also tries to sell matching dresses (presumably bridesmaid dresses), and satchels of rice (traditionally thrown at the married couple as they leave the venue).


For quotes see: Heavy Competition Quotes


Main cast

Supporting cast

Special guest star

Recurring cast

Guest cast

  • Bob Gebert as Mr. Schofield
  • Angela Campolla-Sanders as the Receptionist