"Nepotism" is the first episode of Season 7 and the 127th episode of The Office overall. It was written by Daniel Chun and directed by Jeffrey Blitz. The episode originally aired on September 23, 2010. It was viewed by 8.40 million people.

Cold open

The opening begins with various members of the office participating in a lip dub of The Human Beinz's version of Nobody But Me. Despite their best efforts they are unable to execute a perfect lip dub, unaided by Ryan's attempts to advertise his new website WUPHF.com. Darryl and Angela also insist on being left out of the video. At the end of the lip dub, things begin to go a little out of control as Dwight begins brandishing a knife maniacally, to the horror of the office members. Andy asks Toby, who is recording the lip dub, how they did, and Toby replies that it was their best take so far, to their delight.

Synopsis

The office members reminisce over what they did during the summer. Michael recollects how he contracted West Nile virus and lost some weight. After recovering he returns to the lake, only to cut his foot on a piece of glass in the parking lot, which got infected after he peed on it. Gabe reveals that he started dating Erin over the summer, and both parties agree that they are enjoying the experience (although Erin admits she only agreed to the first date as she was afraid Gabe would have her fired if she didn't). Andy tries to remain calm at the prospect, but it is obvious he is mad at Gabe for stealing his girlfriend. He tries to calm himself by picturing himself at a calm beach, where he sees a whale in the ocean eating Gabe.

Dwight discloses that he became the owner of the building over the summer and carries a key ring everywhere he goes. Kelly participated in the executive training program at Yale, which she claims has made her smarter.

The new assistant, Luke Cooper, arrives late with the employees' coffee and accidentally mixed up Darryl's order. Darryl begins to talk about his summer but expresses his dislike for Luke instead. In the break room, Oscar and Phyllis complain that they gave Luke packages to deliver to clients, none of which arrived at their destination. Michael defends Luke, however, much to the displeasure to the rest of the office.

Jim tries to play a prank on Dwight by adding more keys to his key ring, but Pam laughs and exposes Jim's plan. Pam says she is sorry, but Jim is upset that he was unable to prank Dwight.

As everyone in the office becomes increasingly annoyed with Luke, Michael continues to defend him. In a talking head, Michael reveals that "One more thing I did over the summer... I hired my nephew." Michael tries to justify hiring Luke by explaining that he had an ulterior motive; namely, he hoped that doing so would end hostilities between him and his half-sister (Luke's mother). He also reveals the cause of said hostilities, explaining that he has been cut off from that side of his family for fifteen years, after he lost Luke in a forest.

The rest of the office still persists in their demands for Michael to fire Luke, but he once again refuses. He holds a meeting for the purpose of telling everyone, "Don't not bother Luke," and gets frustrated when his use of a double negative is pointed out. When asked why he is defending Luke, he claims he does not want corporate to hear that an assistant is being mistreated, only for everyone (including Gabe) to laugh and point out no one would report this to corporate anyway. Left with no option, Michael confesses that Luke is his nephew, to the outrage of the office. Oscar points out that giving Luke special treatment is nepotism and unfair to everyone. Michael then compares himself to how God "hired" his son Jesus to be a religious figure, asking "why does God get to do something that I don't?" Oscar continues to point out the flaws in Michael's logic, and asks Michael why he would have hidden this from them if he himself did not think there was something wrong. Michael claims he was actually hoping that Luke would be doing a great job to the point of receiving praise, upon which he would have revealed their relation.

Pam, trying to make it up to Jim, decides to come up with a plan to prank Dwight. She explains that she feels horrible for ruining Jim's prank, and "Dwight hasn't been messed with in a while, so he's become a monster." In the parking lot, members of the office discover the packages that were never delivered all sitting in Luke's car. Meredith is able to break into the car so they retrieve the packages. With Luke now costing the office clients, Gabe reports the matter to Sabre CEO Jo Bennett, who sternly tells Michael to deal with the issue.

Now being accountable for Luke, Michael takes over his assistant duties, such as buying coffee, while Luke sits in Michael's office and plays with his computer. Pam seeks the help of Kevin to rewire the elevator, so the buttons will achieve different results. After text messaging Dwight, she boards the elevator to show him "something in the lobby," but the plan backfires when they become trapped in the elevator due to the rewiring. Dwight starts to urinate in the elevator, which he states is due to all the water he has been drinking.

When Luke continues to irritate the office, Michael gets fed up and repeatedly spanks him in front of the entire office. Luke runs away crying and quits his job, with the rest of the office satisfied that Luke will no longer be a problem to them.

People from building maintenance are called in to get Dwight and Pam out of the elevator. As it lowers to ground level, Jim is impressed with the prank Pam pulled on Dwight, even though it had the opposite effect that Pam intended.

In the final scene, Gabe informs Michael that because he spanked Luke (which was "physical assault" of an employee) he must either have a counseling session or be fired immediately. Michael takes the former option happily, but after finding out that the session will be with Toby, he pauses and reconsiders being fired instead.

Connections to other episodes

  • In "Body Language," Darryl drops out of the running for the Sabre Minority Executive Training Program because it would interfere with his softball schedule saying that he "only has about a year left in these knees." Unfortunately for Darryl, he had even less time than he thought.
  • Andy states in a talking head that Gabe stole Erin, however in "Sex Ed" we learn that Gabe asked Andy before he began to date Erin. We also see at the end of "Whistleblower" that Erin makes a move toward Andy suggesting he had a chance with Erin before Gabe but procrastinated and lost his shot.
  • Andy references his anger management training that he was sent to in "The Return".
  • Dwight asks sarcastically "Who's going to tell on us? Gabe?" which the whole office, including Gabe, laughs at. Gabe had previously tried to be an authority figure, but it is revealed to everyone that he has no authority and power in the office in "Secretary's Day".
  • Michael previously bought women's clothing for himself in "The Negotiation" and "Launch Party".

Goofs

  • Jim is able to put three keys on Dwight's key ring before Pam laughs and blows the prank. However, when Dwight grabs it back and throws the keys at Jim, he throws too many (one for every word; Ha. Ha. Not. funny. Jim). He would have actually thrown two of his own keys off of the ring. However, it's possible this isn't the first time Jim has done this and Dwight is removing and throwing all of the keys he doesn't recognize.

Trivia

  • Toby is the one filming the lip dub, on a lower quality camera than is typical for the show. This is presumably because the filming of the lip dub took place over the documentary crew's "summer break" when the production crew was not present at the office. It is unlikely the office staff would be allowed to use the documentary equipment for their own purposes anyway.
  • Stanley drinks out of a plastic water cup even though everyone is supposed to be using metal Sabre bottles.
  • A certificate from Sabre's "Print in All Colors" program is on the wall behind Kelly when she talks about attending the minority executive training program at Yale.
  • Angela remains in Darryl's office for the rest of the lip dub.
  • As of this episode, different footage is used for the main cast's opening credits.

Amusing details

  • Michael enthusiastically shows as much of his magic kit as he can during the lip dub.
  • Michael says he stepped on a piece of glass which, "Got infected, even though I peed on it." He was likely thinking of the common rule of peeing on a jellyfish sting
  • Kevin refers to the circuit board of the elevator as the "circus board".
  • Jo asks why Michael can't fire Luke and he says, "I love him." Jo solemnly asks, "Oh Michael. How far has it gone?" believing them to be in a romantic relationship.
  • Michael confuses capital punishment with corporal punishment.
  • The camera pans to Ryan shifting uncomfortably in his seat when Michael asks "Why aren't you bugging me to fire everyone who is bad?"
  • Kelly is not paying attention to the meeting but decides to say something from her corporate training, stating "I'd like to address what Darryl said about a level playing field, that is actually a zoning issue." She was unaware that Darryl was talking about a metaphorical playing field.
  • Michael appears to have accidentally bought female clothing for himself again, telling Erin to return a pair of pants to Talbots, saying, "I know they fit, that's not the issue."
  • Michael physically points to "account setup" just as he says "Luke, is going to use his laser pointer to point to account setup," negating the point of asking Luke to use his laser pointer.
  • As Pam and Dwight were trapped in the elevator when Michael spanked Luke, Phyllis and Andy reenact the scene for them.
  • After Gabe tells Michael they need to have a private chat about Michael physically assaulting Luke, Michael replies "Yes of course, what is this regarding?"

Cultural references

  • The episode opens with a lip dub to The Human Beinz's version of Nobody But Me. A lip dub is a type of video which became wildly popular starting in late 2009. Performers lip-sync to an existing song shot in a single take.
  • During the lip dub, Creed is shown "playing the guitar". It may be a reference to the fact that Creed Bratton (actor) played lead guitar for the band The Grass Roots.
  • Luke watches his computer monitor and says "Yay, strawberries are ripe." He is most likely playing FarmVille, a game on Facebook.
  • Meredith tells Luke to stop listening to Chumbawamba, a British band mainly known for their 1997 song "Tubthumping".
  • Michael talks about open auditions for the band Hanson ("What if no one named Hanson showed up?"), not realizing that it is a family band consisting of three brothers.
  • Creed says he follows Luke on Twitter because he doesn't talk about Betty White, the American actress who made a comeback in 2009. White is famous for her raunchy sense of humor and old age (she turned 90 in 2012).
  • Pam says, "They don't call me the Bart Simpson of Scranton for nothing!" Bart is the ten-year-old troublemaker on the long-running TV show The Simpsons.
  • Michael wonders how The Ringling Brothers manage to "still work with their family" every night all over America. The Ringling Brothers Circus was a circus founded in the United States in 1884. The company was active until 2017, but the last founding brother died back in 1936.
  • Michael saw the movie Inception, a 2010 film about a man who can infiltrate other people's dreams.
  • Orville Redenbacher was a businessman best known for his brand of unpopped popcorn. Erin confuses him with "the guy who invented the peanut", presumably thinking of George Washington Carver who developed peanut agricultural research.
  • Gabe tells Erin he's going to Siberia, a part of Russia known for its inhospitable climate and its use as a place of exile.
  • Andy imagines himself on Cape Cod, the easternmost portion of Massachusetts and known as the home to many upper-class families.
  • Erin finds the pants that Michael wanted to return to Talbot's, a chain of high-end women's clothing stores. The nearest Talbot's is at Montage Mountain. This scene refers to a previous episode "The Negotiation" when Michael wears a woman's suit.
  • Luke causes Phyllis to lose a potential sale to Lehigh Motors. Lehigh is the name of a town and a county not too far from Scranton, although there is no such company.
  • On the break room refrigerator is a magnet for Sheetz, a chain of gas station convenience stores.
  • When the office discovers their undelivered packages in Luke's car, Michael (trying to defend his nephew) says Luke might own an eBay store. This could be a reference to the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, in which Steve Carell (who portrays Michael) falls in love with a woman who owns an eBay store.
  • There are 3 references in this episode to the film Kill Bill:
    1. In the first scene with Evan Peters as Luke Cooper (Michael's nephew), Luke returns from a coffee run for the members of the office. When handing Darryl his order, Luke refers to him as "Darryl Hannah". Daryl Hannah is the name of the actress who plays Elle Driver, a character in Kill Bill.
    2. In the cold open, The Office is lip-syncing to "Nobody But Me" by The Human Beinz. This song is also played in the Showdown scene, with O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) facing off with The Bride (Uma Thurman).
    3. At the end of that same scene, The Bride, as an alternative to killing a younger boy who joined the Yakuza gang, instead spanks him a number of times, much like the way Michael Scott reprimands Luke towards the end of the episode.

Behind the Scenes

Cast

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

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