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For the company, see The Michael Scott Paper Company.


"Michael Scott Paper Company" alternatively titled as "The Michael Scott Paper Company" is the twenty-third episode of the fifth season of The Office, and is the 95th episode overall. It was written by Justin Spitzer and directed by Gene Stupnitsky. It aired on April 9, 2009 after "Dream Team." It was viewed by 7.94 million people.

Cold open

Michael arrives back at the Scranton Business Park, but is forced to park his car in a compact spot and awkwardly climbs out of his car with a jar of cheese puffs. Pam and Ryan join him at the grand unveiling of the Michael Scott Paper Company office, standing around awkwardly as Michael reveals the small room.

Synopsis

Pam and Ryan wait to get calls from clients and Michael eagerly waits for his upcoming Pancake Luncheon.

Meanwhile, Kelly continues to be infatuated with Charles Miner. She tries to see him as much as she can by deliberately misinterpreting Charles as wanting her to come into his office every time he calls for the new receptionist, Kelly Hannon. Eventually, Charles tires of this and declares that he will call them by their last names instead. Kelly Hannon requests to be called Erin, her middle name. Kelly Kapoor then storms out.

When Michael gives Ryan and Pam a paper to copy, Pam asks Ryan to do it as she doesn't want to be the receptionist anymore. Pam says she misses making copies. Ryan continues to be a lazy employee of the company, and talks to his friends on his phone. Ryan calls Pam a "6 in New York and a 7 in Scranton" based on her looks. Pam looks to the camera, disgusted.

Andy and Dwight, once "sexual competitors" and enemies, become best friends and decide to go on a hunting trip. However, Dwight and Andy start to compete over Erin. Dwight plays a joke on Erin and talks to her. Andy briefly (and awkwardly) dances with Erin before she leaves the room. Dwight realizes that Andy is attracted to Erin, and admits that he is too. However, Andy and Dwight agree to not pursue a relationship with Erin, and instead continue to be friends.

Charles asks Jim to create a “run-down” of his clients. Jim accepts the task, but doesn't know what a run-down is. He stalls, and asks Charles about a run-down and awkwardly talks to him. Hours later, still unknowing of what a run-down is, Jim asks Oscar and Kevin for help, but they are unaware as well. Charles asks Jim if he has started the run-down, but becomes angry when he discovers Jim is doing something else. When Jim finally brings the run-down to Charles, he is told to send it to everyone on the “distribution list”. Jim gives the run-down to his dad, still unknowing of what in fact, a run-down really is.

Ryan spends his time watching videos on YouTube (specifically "It's Just Like a Mini Mall") . Pam and Ryan endlessly fight and Michael yells at them for fighting. Pam and Ryan remain bored and Pam yells at Ryan for putting a naked picture of Ryan's friend, Jasmine, on the computer. Ryan and Pam continue their feud. Michael has a talk with Pam and Ryan about disliking each other, and they talk about making a corner idea so that everyone can have a personal space. To Pam's sadness, her corner is the one with the copier.

Pam goes to Charles to ask for her job back. Charles refuses, but Pam desperately asks if she can be his personal shopper. Pam admits she misses Dunder Mifflin.

Phyllis and Stanley visit The Michael Scott Paper Company and tell Michael that Pam was seeing Charles. Michael starts to regret starting the company. Michael starts his pancake luncheon with Pam trying to get clients and Ryan not doing anything. Creed and Meredith take pancakes from Michael, which they don't like.

Andy and Dwight continue to bond as they play their instruments. They play "Take Me Home, Country Roads" when Erin comes in. Andy and Dwight try to outdo the other in an attempt to impress her by playing it fast, by singing, and in Dwight's case singing in German. Erin looks shocked at how well they are playing and laughs. Erin, amused, leaves the break room, and continuing to play, Dwight and Andy are finally stopped by Toby Flenderson.

After a day with no success, Michael, Pam, and Ryan are sad that they have made no clients. However, Pam makes her first sale when a client from the luncheon calls. Ryan, Pam, and Michael are ecstatic. As they leave the building, Michael tells the documentary crew that they have the people with the biggest hearts.

Angela sees Dwight and Andy bonding, causing her to sarcastically roll her eyes.

Deleted scenes

On the Season 5 DVD there were many deleted scenes. Notable cuts include:

  • Pam and Jim ride to work together. Pam initially tries to hide her excitement about being in sales, but she eventually drops the act. Jim smiles, "I knew it."
  • Pam is excited about embarking on a new adventure. She took the road less traveled, the one with a sign that says "Those who pass shall die."
  • Ryan says he is apprehensive but will always be the youngest VP in Dunder Mifflin history.
  • Michael explains the origin of his company's name.
  • Michael tries to make an inspirational speech, but Pam and Ryan point out errors. Michael compares himself to Apple, but Ryan points out that Apple is a company with over 35,000 employees.
  • Andy and Dwight pretend to hunt while Jim is on the phone with a client. Jim tells the client he'll call back. Dwight and Andy pretend to shoot Jim and Jim falls on his face on his desk. Charles mockingly tells the office to "be quiet, Jim is taking a nap."
  • Andy says that he lost his high notes from depression after breaking up with Angela and explains that since his friendship with Dwight, he can sing better than ever.
  • Michael accidentally says Dunder Mifflin. Michael says he is "such a blonde," leaving Ryan offended. Pam rolls her eyes.
  • Ryan reads Pam's e-mails.
  • Charles becomes angry when Jim asks what a rundown is. Jim tells Charles he is kidding. Watch it.
  • Jim realizes that a rundown is a list of something. (In this case, clients.)
  • Pam points out that Ryan is watching street fight videos on the computer. Ryan condescendingly tells Pam that she doesn't need to preface every statement with "Hey." Pam tells Ryan, "Hey, screw you." Michael chimes in, "Hey hey hey, I'm Fat Albert." A delivery man enters and leaves some water bottles.
  • Michael feeds his fish.
  • Andy talks to Erin about sign language. Dwight gives Andy his coffee, calling him "Nard Dog." Dwight then talks to Erin and tells her to be careful when she is near the shredder.
  • In a talking head interview, Erin says that the office is like any other and asks the documentary crew if she has to do this every time she has a break.
  • In a talking head interview, Angela doesn't understand what Dwight and Andy have in common, then realizes that it is her.
  • Michael compares himself to the founders of McDonalds and Pfizer.
  • In a talking head interview, Michael rhetorically asks if this place is worse to work in than Dunder Mifflin. From off-screen, Ryan says, "yup," but tells Michael that Pam said it.
  • Ryan gives Michael his inhaler. Pam doesn't think that's a good idea.
  • Andy and Dwight prepare to go hunting. They talk about what position to stand in. Dwight brings up Andy's anger management problem.

Deleted scenes not on the DVD:

  • In a talking head interview, Erin notes that at most places, the chairs are uncomfortable, but the chairs here are great. She hopes things work out at this job.

Connections to other episodes

  • Michael stole the jar of cheese puffs from Dunder Mifflin in a deleted scene from "Two Weeks".
  • Michael told his mom about Pam. Pam and Michael's mom have not talked to each other since, "The Injury."
  • Pam doesn't like being a receptionist and has felt unmotivated in her job since the pilot episode when she said, "It's not many girls' dream to be a receptionist." This is a continuing plot point on the show.
  • Michael uses e-vites to invite prospective clients to the pancake luncheon. Jim previously used e-vites in "Email Surveillance".
  • Spoiler: The plant that Pam brings on the first day is the same plant that she finds dead when she returns from her maternity leave in "Secretary's Day".
  • Dwight explains that he and Andy used to be "sexual competitors" but have become friends now. Their rivalry over Angela first began in "Launch Party" and ended in "The Duel".
  • Andy plays the banjo while singing with Dwight. Andy previously demonstrated his banjo talent in "The Convict".
  • Andy and Dwight forget about impressing Erin and instead bond over their penchant for music. Andy similarly is elated when Jim sings along with him in "Diwali" and "Product Recall".

Amusing details

  • Michael is carrying a large container of cheese balls as he's climbing out of the back of his convertible PT Cruiser stating, "They can take away my parking space, but they can't take away my pride."
  • Starting with this episode, there is a different goldfish on Michael's desk each week. The joke is that Michael couldn't keep the fish alive and had to keep replacing it. Every week, the fish would be given to a crew member who wanted it, and the show would get a new fish for the next episode.[2]:27:24
  • The Michael Scott Paper Company copier is the bad copier from "The Surplus" which was eventually replaced in "Two Weeks".
  • Pam says that she doesn't want to make the copies, because she'd just be a receptionist again. She is the one closest to the phone, so she is halfway there already.
  • Stanley gives Dwight a look when he asks asks Andy if blood rushed into his penis.
  • When Michael says that the room has four corners, Pam and Ryan have suspicious expressions because the room is oddly-shaped with many nooks and crannies.
  • When Pam is in a talking head interview in the Dunder Mifflin office, she mentions that the seats are comfortable. They are most likely the seats she fought for in "The Surplus".
  • The whiteboard reads, "'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky' - Michael Scott".
  • Michael has placed four clocks on the wall, each representing a different time zone, as if the Michael Scott Paper Company were a multinational company with clients around the world. From left to right, the clocks are "Paris", "London", "Beijing", and "USA". (The United States spans multiple time zones, so it is ambiguous to label the last clock simply as "USA".)
  • Ryan still hasn't made a sale.
  • According to the e-vite, the pancake luncheon is on a Saturday.
First Annual Michael Scott Paper Company Pancake Luncheon
Host: Michael Scott Paper Company
Scranton, PA USA
When: Saturday
  • Michael does not understand that people who saw his e-vite but still did not respond are most likely ignoring him.
  • Michael seems to enjoy listening to people in the bathroom through the vent. However, when we hear Toby's conversation while in the bathroom through the vent, this seems to particularly annoy Michael and emphasize how bad the office is.
  • Stanley looks up in surprise and disgust in the background as Dwight asks Andy if he got an erection while talking to Erin.
  • When Pam asks if her corner is the one with the copier, Michael says, "Pam, I don't make the rules," even though Michael is the boss who can make the rules and came up with the corner idea.
  • At the pancake luncheon, Pam gives her information to a potential client on a scrap of paper torn off the certificate that neither she nor Ryan wanted to copy earlier in the episode.
  • At the pancake luncheon, Creed still calls Michael "boss".
  • Ryan attempts to help with Pam's sale, only for Michael and Pam to wave him away. Ryan is previously mentioned to be an incompetent salesman and as of this episode, Pam has made more sales than Ryan.
  • Near the end of the episode after Pam makes Michael Scott Paper Company's first sale, Michael tapes a dollar bill to the wall of the company's office. It's a common practice for small businesses to showcase the first dollar bill that they've earned on their walls. It's unlikely that the dollar bill Michael showcases was earned from the sale.
  • In the closing scene, Oscar is using his mug from Kelly's America's Got Talent party, mentioned in the episode "Customer Survey."

Trivia

  • New credits were used for the episode to focus on the Michael Scott Paper Company.
  • This is the first appearance of Erin Hannon.
  • In some releases of this episode, it is titled "The Michael Scott Paper Company".
  • This episode aired the same day as "Dream Team", with the premiere of Parks and Recreation in between.
  • In conjunction with the airing of this episode, NBC unveiled a Michael Scott Paper Company web site.
  • Rundown means "a rough outline or summary", but it wasn't clear what information Jim was expected to include with his list of clients. (Sales volume? Revenue? Contract dates?) This confusion may reflect a cultural difference between Corporate and the regional branches: At Corporate, it may have been well-understood what a rundown should include, but it is apparent that it is not something that the regional branches did.
  • Google searches for "rundown definition" and "What is a rundown?" spiked immediately after this episode aired.
  • The distribution list Charles asked Jim to send the rundown to, is most likely referring to the other branches and warehouses of Dunder Mifflin in the region.
  • The shooting script of this episode was included in the original Season 5 DVD set. Unsurprisingly, the shooting script differs from the final version in a number of respects. Most notably, the new receptionist's middle name is Mary, not Erin.
  • This episode is the only instance where Dwight shows any romantic interest in Erin.
  • Pam makes her first sale, which is also the Michael Scott Paper Company's first sale. She has officially made more sales than Ryan as of this episode.

Goofs

  • The cameraman's image is reflected in Michael's sunglasses when he drives to work in the morning.[2]:21:29
  • In the episode "Goodbye Toby," Michael says every year he receives money from his grandmother for his birthday, and in recent years he has been receiving multiple checks a year from this grandmother. He believes this may be due to dementia of some sort, but if he was speaking of the same Nana that appears in this episode, it would seem to be an error. However, this could also be a different grandmother or his Nana's investment success has led her to be more generous towards Michael.
  • When Dwight tells Erin that there is a ghost in the office he stated that a prostitute was murdered on the floor of the building in 1816 but according to "New Boss", Scranton wasn't founded until 1866. Nevertheless, the Scranton area was settled by Europeans in 1778, and the building could have predated Scranton's incorporation as a borough.
  • When the e-vite information for the "Michael Scott Paper Company Pancake Luncheon" is shown on Michael's computer, it says the event is on Saturday - yet everyone in the building is at work.
  • The Paris, London, and Beijing clocks are correctly set relative to each other (Paris 8:46, London 7:46, Beijing 2:46), but the "USA" clock is set to Los Angeles time instead of Scranton. The crew didn't notice the error until halfway through shooting the episode, so it was too late to fix it.[2]:46:16
  • When Pam goes to sit in her corner, she takes her small black flip phone[2]:57:56 with her. Later in the same shot, the phone is gone.
  • Dwight and Andy incorrectly sing the chorus of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" as "Take me home, country roads, to the place, I belong," rather than the correct "Country roads, take me home, to the place, I belong."
  • When performing the German version of the song, Rainn Wilson glances at cue cards in which the the German lyrics were written phonetically.

Behind the scenes

  • This episode's credited director is Gene Stupnitsky, but in reality it was co-directed by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. However, the rules of the DGA did not permit co-directing credits, so the two took turns taking credit on the episodes they co-directed.[1]
  • The cold open for this episode was originally Kevin's chili, but that cold open was moved to "Casual Friday".[3]
  • The windowless room for the Michael Scott Paper Company was only 165 square feet,[2]:04:38 but the writers considered getting an even smaller room.[2]:02:45 Pam and Ryan somewhat unnaturally sit on the same side of the table because it was the only way to get them both in the shot.[2]:35:58 Filming in that room was difficult because the camera operators would keep getting in each other's shots.[4]
  • The Michael Scott Paper Company office was filmed in a storage closet on the bottom floor of the writers building. The closet had previously been used to store archived tape of the show. The pipes were real, but the shower was fake. The two bathrooms in the hallway just outside were real bathrooms, used by the cast and crew.[2]:06:45 Nobody could use those bathrooms during filming because the sound would be picked up by the microphones.[2]:35:58
  • The character of Erin Hannon had not been fully conceived at the time the episode was filmed. All of her scenes were filmed twice, once as a cheery, enthusiastic character, and again as a more serious, no-nonsense character. The "Do I have to do this on all my breaks?" talking head interview in the deleted scenes is from the no-nonsense version of Erin.[2]:13:48
  • The writers debated whether Michael should take off his sunglasses to deliver his lines at the start of the episode. They decided it would be better if he took them off, so he could be expressive with his face.[2]:21:50 They also considered using a different style of sunglasses popularized by rapper P. Diddy.
  • To avoid damaging the cars during Michael's failed attempt at parallel parking, padding was added to the rear bumper of the car, but shot in a way that hid it. The crunching sounds were added in post-production.[2]:22:41
  • The bloopers for this episode include a take in which Steve Carell ripped his pants trying to climb out of the back of the PT Cruiser.
  • It was Mindy Kaling's idea to create a new title sequence for the episode. Directors Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg enjoyed creating a new title sequence that matched the original.
  • The Michael Scott Paper Company has a Paper Pro stapler. It uses a spring to drive the staple, requiring very little force to operate. Jenna Fischer calls it "the greatest stapler you will ever use."[2]:28:32 The actors were obsessed with it and stapled papers just for fun. Michael plays with the stapler just as Stanley and Phyllis stop by.
  • The idea of Kelly and the new receptionist sharing the same name was a late addition to the script. It was not in the table draft.[2]:33:42
  • The writers had to scramble when Ellie Kemper arrived on the set for the first day of shooting with her natural reddish-brown hair, the same color as Pam's hair. The writers didn't intend to tell the story that Pam was replaced by a look-alike, and the shooting schedule was rearranged so that hair stylist Kim Ferry could color Kemper's hair brown.[2]:33:50
  • The rundown story line was a late addition to the script. Paul Lieberstein, Jennifer Celotta, and B.J. Novak came up with it during a two-hour brainstorming session. Justin Spitzer liked the idea because nobody in the writers room knew what a "rundown" was exactly.[2]:40:25
  • Writer Justin Spitzer liked the "a New York six" joke because you aren't sure who Ryan is talking about until he says "And my boss...", at which point you figure out he was talking about Pam. He describes it as "the joke comes before the set-up."[2]:43:08
  • Ryan's inhaler (seen on the table next to the laptop) is part of a minor story line which ended up deleted. At one point, Pam and Ryan get into a fight and Pam steals his inhaler. In another scene, Pam is concerned when Ryan lets Michael use the inhaler.[2]:45:44
  • In the DVD commentary, Gene and Lee joke that Paul Lieberstein was up in the ceiling to read his lines when Michael hears Toby's voice coming through the ventilation. In reality Lieberstein was off camera reading his lines, and his voice was altered to make it sound like it was coming through the ductwork.
  • Justin Spitzer wrote the visual gag of Michael having written "'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. —Wayne Gretzky' —Michael Scott". Directors Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg called it one of their favorite parts of the episode.[2]:51:36
  • In scenes with Dwight and Andy, directors Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg intentionally inserted Erin in the background between them whenever possible, highlighting that Erin is getting in the way of their budding friendship. This is most noticeable in the scene in which Dwight asks Andy if blood rushed into his penis.[2]:52:50 In that same scene, Jim is missing from his desk. John Krasinski had to leave early for an appearance on The Tonight Show[1] (March 13, 2009).
  • The script contained a talking head interview in which Michael says that he got a seven-year lease. Billy Merchant offered three years, but Michael countered with seven. He regrets not asking for ten.
  • There were many versions of the scene in which Pam goes to Charles to ask for her job back. In some of them, Charles is very abrupt with her, but the writers decided it was too harsh. They chose a version where he is merely disinterested.[2]:01:00:00 Jenna Fischer was nervous performing this scene because she was a huge fan of Idris Elba and The Wire. Some of Pam's nervousness was genuine.[2]:01:00:16
  • The grocery bags that Pam unloads at the pancake luncheon are actually made of fabric, so they won't make crinkly noises.[2]:01:06:46
  • On the day they shot the pancake luncheon, paparazzi snuck onto the set.[1] Jenna Fischer suspects that they were hoping to get pictures of John Krasinski, who had recently begun dating his future wife, British actress Emily Blunt.[2]:01:07:49
  • The man who comes to the pancake luncheon is played by Patrick Losasso, who was Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg's boxing trainer.[2]:01:12:49
  • The rectangular pancakes were made by a food stylist who had set up griddles in the warehouse. They were real pancakes.[2]:01:14:28
  • It cost $22,000 to license the song "Take Me Home, Country Road" for use in the episode.[2]:01:17:12
  • Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms rehearsed the "Take Me Home, Country Road" duet in Helms's trailer during their lunch break[5] on the day of filming.[2]:01:18:06 Wilson plays the guitar, drums, and bassoon, although by his own admission, his guitar is "just a hack" compared to Helms.[5]
  • Giant fans were used to generate the wind to add a sad atmosphere to the disappointing end of the pancake luncheon. Randall Einhorn spent "almost an hour" filming paper blowing across the parking lot, none of which ended up used.[2]:01:22:22

Cultural references

  • Michael announces, "It's Britney, bitch." This is the opening line of "Gimme More" from Britney Spears's album Blackout. The confrontational tone proclaimed her return to music after battling numerous personal problems. Similar to Spears using the song to announce a restart of her musical career, Michael is trying to restart his paper career. Michael's rebellion is undermined by the fact that the song he plays is not "Gimme More", but rather "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga.
  • Michael proclaims, "They took away my parking space but they can't take away my pride!" This is vaguely reminiscent of the line "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom" from the movie Braveheart. It is also reminiscent of the lyric "They took your life but they could not take your pride," from "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2. Michael names U2's lead singer, Bono, as one of his heroes but does not appear to know much about U2.
  • Kelly's middle name Rajnigandha is the name of a flower (known in English as tuberose) and is a traditional female name. Kevin is mistaken.
  • "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" is a notable quote from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, meaning "You will never succeed if you don't try." Michael attributes the quote to Gretzky, and then attributes the attribution to himself.
  • The video Ryan watches instead of doing work is an advertisement for Flea Market Montgomery which was virally popular on the Internet in early 2007. Watch it.
  • "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is a song by John Denver. By coincidence, the song is popular at Munich Oktoberfest, but it is sung in English, not German.
  • An e-vite is an online invitational card e-mailed to people alerting them of events like parties.
  • Damages is a legal thriller television show about a lawyer, her protegee, and her law firm. It aired on the FX channel. Toby says that "It's as good as anything on HBO," referring to another cable television channel.
  • Over the phone, Ryan tells a friend that he wishes that his iPod could make calls. When the person on the other line presumably tells him that an iPod that makes phone calls is an iPhone, he replies that he knows what an iPhone is, and he doesn't want one.
  • Ryan's sunglasses at the pancake luncheon are $400 Tom Ford sunglasses, worn by Joaquin Phoenix in his very strange 2009 appearance on The David Letterman Show.[2]:01:03:00 It later became apparent that the interview was a prank on Letterman: Phoenix appeared as the fictionalized version of himself in the as-yet unannounced movie I'm Still Here. Ryan is the sort of person who would be a Joaquin Phoenix fan and feel compelled to spend money to emulate him.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael says, "Hey hey hey, it's Fat Albert" in the style of the catch phrase of that show's title character.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael says that McDonald's was founded by "a guy named Ronald slinging burgers." Ronald McDonald is the mascot of the fast-food chain, not its founder. Michael also rhetorically asks about the difficulties faced by "Puh-Fizer", mispronouncing the name of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer (which was indeed co-founded by Charles Pfizer).

Quotes

For quotes see: Michael Scott Paper Co. Quotes.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Special guest star

Recurring cast

Guest cast

  • Patrick LoSasso as Russell
  • Cindy Drummond as Ryan's Mom

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DVD commentary, "Michael Scott Paper Company"
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 99: Michael Scott Paper Company. "Office Ladies" podcast, November 10, 2021.
  3. Gajjar, Saloni. “It’s a fine line between laughter and tears”: Behind the scenes of The Office’s messiest cold open. The AV Club, May 1, 2021.
  4. DVD commentary, "Dream Team".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tan, Jennie. "Rainn Wilson visits the OfficeTally Chat Room, Page 3", Office Tally web site, April 21, 2009.
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