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"Lice" is the tenth episode of the ninth season of the American television comedy series The Office and is the show's 186th overall. It was written by Niki Schwartz-Wright and directed by Rodman Flender. It aired on January 10, 2013. It was viewed by 4.54 million people.


In the intro, Jim is talking about sports with Kevin and Darryl when he accidentally bites his lip. Jim tries not to let it affect him but after biting his lip twice more he storms out of the break room. On camera, he's trying to blow it off as not a big deal, until he bites his lip again, at which point he gives up and decides to take the rest of the day off.

Pam comes into the office looking so tired and disheveled that Erin mistakes her for Meredith. Pam explains that Jim has been spending a few days a week in Philadelphia working on his new company and that she has been taking care of the kids. She also explains that Cece recently got lice and she was awake all night disinfecting everything in the house.

Meanwhile, Jim is in Philadelphia and is very excited as he is about to meet Julius Erving, also known as Dr. J, a famous former NBA player. He doesn't tell any of this to Pam on the phone as he feels it would just stress her out to know he is having fun while she is working.

Meanwhile, Darryl and Val have just broken up. While he is with Val, Darryl appears to be quite saddened by the breakup, but during his interview he reveals that he manipulated Val into breaking up with him because their relationship wasn't going anywhere and he wanted his freedom if he was going to be working at Jim's company in Philadelphia.

When Pam asks Meredith to fill out a form she notices Meredith furiously scratching her head and worries that she might have brought lice into the office. Erin notices Meredith scratching and, after searching her scalp, she confirms that Meredith has lice, having become familiar with lice while in a foster home. Erin then proceeds to check everyone in the office and finds everyone infected except Dwight, Phyllis, Nellie, Kevin, and Darryl. Pam looks furtively at the camera but continues with the deception, not revealing that she is really to blame for the lice.

Meanwhile, Jim has been picked up by a limo and is confused when he is dropped off at a basketball court but the driver reveals that Dr. J asked that Jim be dropped off at his private basketball court, exciting Jim.

Dwight comes in wearing a hazmat suit and orders that the people without lice continue their work in the warehouse instead of the office and deals with the rest of the lice-infested people.

Pam decides that she is going to tell Meredith that she was the one who infested her with lice, but when she goes into the kitchen she is shocked to find Meredith shaving her head. Too embarrassed and nervous to say anything Pam allows Meredith to continue shaving off her hair.

In the warehouse, Darryl warns no one to say anything to Val while they are down there since they just broke up. He feigns sadness whenever he sees her, leading Nellie, Kevin, and Phyllis to believe that Darryl is heartbroken by their breakup and they resolve that they should get the two back together.

Jim meets Dr. J and plays basketball with him, still not believing how amazing his day is turning out to be.

Bald Meredith in the conference room.

Dwight and Erin discuss lice and how to get rid of them. Dwight believes everyone should shave their head and Erin says that they can use mayonnaise to kill the lice easily. They go with the mayonnaise plan, and Pam makes a trip to the store for it. When she gets back to the office and starts unloading her car, she calls Jim. He asks Dr. J if he can take the call from his wife and Dr. J encourages him to take it. They have a short conversation during which Pam drops two jars of mayonnaise on the ground and they spill everywhere.

Everyone except Dwight partners up to apply mayonnaise to each other's heads. The partners are: Pete and Erin, Oscar and Angela, Meredith and Stanley, leaving Pam to partner with Creed. Creed ironically complains that he's left with the weird one in the office.

While putting mayo in Oscar's hair, Angela becomes subtly aggressive: slapping him in the face while putting on the mayo, letting excess mayonnaise run down his face and neck, and hitting him in the head with a coffee pot while rinsing out the water. In the annex Pete and Erin have fun together as they put on their mayonnaise, laughing and imitating different characters, and after Creed abandons Pam she is forced to put it on by herself.

Phyllis, Kevin, and Nellie convince Val to give Darryl another chance. Val finally agrees that maybe they should continue their relationship, much to Darryl's chagrin and he sadly tells the cameras that he and Val are back together.

Back in the office Dwight announces that he has bought a "insecticidal grenade" which he plans to detonate in the office, but as he is talking to the group he fumbles it and the bomb instantly detonates in his closed office. Dwight then says the exploded bomb seems to have hallucinogenic effects and, after speaking nonsensically, he faints.

As Erin readies herself to rinse the mayo off of Pete's head he removes his shirt, revealing a toned body beneath his undershirt, and draws Erin's attention, although she looks quickly away. She begins washing the mayonnaise out of his hair affectionately and asks if it's too cold. He says no and they both give a small smile.

When Pam is spreading mayonnaise into her hair by herself she receives a phone call and, as her hands are covered in mayo, she is unable to answer it and puts the phone on speaker instead. On the other end it is Helene who tells her that she has just picked up Cece after she was sent home from school because she still has lice. As the phone is on speaker everyone in the office hears the call and they furiously shout at Pam for bringing in the lice and letting Meredith take the blame. Meredith angrily demands Pam shave her head.

Pam and Meredith singing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

When Pete stops by Erin's desk he finds it empty and Oscar tells him that she has already gone home for the day. Pete looks visibly saddened by the news, but Erin is actually standing by the supply shelves and sees his reaction. In the parking lot Dwight tells the camera he is ready to deal with lice and accidentally drops another lice bomb, which detonates in his car.

Pam calls Jim again and leaves him a message as he does not see that she is calling him because he is busy playing basketball with Dr. J. Overhearing Pam's sad voicemail message for Jim, Meredith invites her out for a drink and Pam smiles and agrees, relieved. At the bar Pam admits she is impressed by Meredith's ability to have been a single mom all these years and the two look happy, the episode ending with Pam and Meredith singing karaoke at the bar and appearing to have a good time.

Deleted scenes

  • Pam, Darryl, Phyllis, Oscar and Toby discover a sheet of paper with crudely drawn symbols under Creed's desk. Pam realizes that it's a map of the office. Creed wanders around the annex, apparently lost, though he won't admit it. He asks, "Is anybody going back to the bullpen soon?" Pam takes pity on Creed and says that she's going back, and Creed offers to accompany her. Watch it.
  • A short scene with Jim at Athlead.
  • Kevin tries to talk Darryl through his breakup with Val, and recalls that when his ex-fiance, Stacy, broke up with him, he mostly sat around and ate double-stuffed oreo cookies, before saying that "it was... the best," and offering him a chocolate bar. Darryl is then pleasantly surprised in a talking head at how everyone's sympathizing with him, comparing it to when he would pretend to be sick so he wouldn't go to school, with the notable difference that this one actually worked.
  • Erin and Pete joke about a made up disease they call "Maynecornism." And they also wash the mayo out of each other's hair.
  • Angela scolds Pam for bringing lice into the office.
  • Phyllis, Nellie and Kevin gloat about Darryl and Val back together.

Connections to previous episodes

  • Nellie refers to her breakup from "Welcome Party."
  • Darryl's grandmother passed away in "PDA."


  • Despite no longer being on the show, the Gabe Lewis "Get Glue" sticker, was released with the episode.
  • In Creed's map of the office (shown in a deleted scene), he uses the following symbols:
    • Andy: Musical note
    • Erin: Rainbow
    • Angela: Skull and crossbones
    • Oscar: Garbage can (after "Oscar the Grouch")
    • Kevin: Stack of donuts
    • Jim: Tuna fish (after Andy's nickname for him, "Big Tuna")
    • Pam: Woman with large breasts
    • Dwight: Gnome
    • Meredith: Moonshine jug
    • Creed: Home plate
    • Darryl: Cheeseburger
    • Phyllis: Yarn and knitting needles
    • Stanley: Crossword puzzle
    • Nellie: Witch
    • Water cooler: Waves
    • Conference room: Birthday cake
    • Bathroom: Bucket
    • Kitchen: Leg of ham
    • Break room: Bag of chips
    • Toby: Toilet
    • Pete: Barbells
    • Clark: Baby in swaddling
  • In Creed's map, most of the symbols are in black ink. Erin's symbol is in red ink, Nellie's symbol is in green, and Pete and Clark's symbols are in blue ink. The different colored inks suggest that they were added at different times. Ryan, Kelly, and Michael are not on the map because they have left Dunder Mifflin.


  • Before Jim plays basketball with Dr. J (the game where Pam tries to call Jim), his shirt is untucked. In the next shots, his shirt is tucked in.

Cultural references

  • The episode opens with Kevin, Jim, and Darryl talking about NBA professional basketball.
    • Kevin says, "The Sixers are a five seed, tops." He means that the Philadelphia 76ers will finish the season no better than fifth place in their conference.
    • Jim calls player Andrew Bynum an "obvious monster" and mentions "three point shooting", referring to a type of scoring play in basketball.
    • Other teams mentioned are the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Atlanta Hawks.
  • Jim has a meeting with legendary basketball player Julius Irving, commonly nicknamed "Dr. J," who played for the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • John Stamos is an American actor.
  • Meredith complains, "Jeez. H in the morning." She cuts short the oath "Jesus H. Christ" and adds "in the morning" as a folksy suffix.
  • Lice (singular "louse") are a parasite that live in hair. The head louse is commonly transmitted among children. Pam's daughter Cece got it from school. Erin says that she got it 22 times from foster homes and the orphanage.
  • Meredith says, "I think these critters migrated from down south," meaning that she thinks they were originally Crab lice, which live in pubic hair.
  • Erin suggests using mayonnaise to suffocate the lice. The CDC "does not have clear scientific evidence to determine if suffocation of head lice with mayonnaise, olive oil, margarine, butter, or similar substances is an effective form of treatment."
  • Meredith asks for "a pack of Nicorette gum and a pack of Kools." Nicorette is a brand of nicotine gum, used as a substitute for cigarettes by people who are trying to quit smoking. She pairs it with a pack of Kool brand cigarettes, indicating that she is using it to provide additional nicotine, rather than try to stop smoking.
  • Kevin thinks that the thing Darryl wants the most is an Escalade, a luxury SUV.
  • Meredith calls Pam "Princess Fancypants" and calls herself "Jane 12-Pack", a pun on "Joe Six-Pack", an informal term for a hypothetical "average American".
  • Meredith admits that she "gave everybody pink eye" (colloquial term for conjunctivitis), "my ex keyed a few of their cars" (scratched the car with a set of keys), and "BM'd in the shredder" (short for "bowel movement", a euphemism for defecation).
  • Dwight sets an insecticidal grenade containing piperonyl butoxide, a chemical which improves the effectiveness of pesticides by interfering with the insect's ability to break down insecticides.
  • Oscar complains to Angela, "You're waterboarding me," referring to a form of water torture that triggers a gag reflex and induces the sensation of drowning. It rose to cultural awareness in 2004 when the CIA was accused of using the technique against some suspected terrorists.
  • Pam and Meredith sing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". The version by Cyndi Lauper became known as a feminist anthem.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Guest cast