"Sex Ed" is the fourth episode of Season 7 of The Office, and the show's 130th episode overall. Written and directed by Paul Lieberstein, the episode aired on NBC in the United States on October 14, 2010. This episode got mostly positive reviews. It was viewed by 7.36 million people.
Dwight comes to a stop in his car in front of a group of migrant workers and tells them he needs workers, but they refuse to enter his car. In an interview with the documentary crew, one of the migrant workers explains that every worker that has gone with Dwight has disappeared. Dwight explains in a talking head that he hires day laborers for work, at the end of the day Mose poses as an I.N.S agent and puts them into a van that drops them off in Harrisburg while telling them that they have been deported to Canada. A Caucasian worker, Nate, then converses with Dwight, who learns that he is a native of Scranton as well, and is hired by Dwight. Back in the office, Dwight announces that he has hired Nate to be a maintenance worker for the building. Nate's first job is to dispose of a hornets nest in front of the building using various tools that Dwight has provided. As the office members watch through the conference room window, Nate picks up a baseball bat and hits the hornets nest, releasing a swarm of hornets that sting him as the Scranton branch watch in horror.
Michael arrives at the office with a fake mustache to hide what he thinks is a pimple over his mouth. Everyone at work discovers the blemish by accident and they discuss how it looks like a cold sore, which is herpes. Pam quickly attempts to quell the idea that the blemish may be cancerous, stating during a talking head interview that it's best to stop a "Michael train of thought early before it derails and destroys the entire town." During the discussion, Meredith also reveals to everyone that she has genital herpes, much to the discomfort of her co-workers.
After the office ridicules Meredith behind her back, Andy uses the opportunity to impress Erin by defending her. With some prodding from Dwight, Michael decides to tell his former lovers he has herpes, despite not yet having gone to a doctor. He calls Donna first, abruptly telling her to get tested. Michael then calls Holly, joking around with her before they have a more serious discussion about how Holly has been with her boyfriend A.J. for a year and a half. Michael voices his belief that he and Holly would have started a family had she stayed in Scranton; Holly disagrees, and much to Michael's dismay, she reveals her belief that he over-romanticized their relationship. They end the call soon after and Dwight mentions that Michael forgot to inform her about his herpes. Michael and Dwight drive out to meet Michael's former lovers in person.
After bribing the office with free pizza, Andy hosts a sex education class, which is actually a vague attempt to subtly find out if Gabe and Erin are having sex. Distraught after realizing that they are having sex, he uses a pencil to show how to apply a condom, to everyone's laughter. Andy throws a tantrum and ends up smacking a box of pizza against the wall, hitting and staining a hanging picture, before storming out of the conference room.
Michael and Dwight meet up with Jan, who is growing to be a fairly successful office manager for a hospital and single mother. After Jan gives Michael a brutal description of why their relationship failed and he watches her play with her daughter Astrid, Michael reveals he has herpes. He states afterwards that he questions his own judgment, because he thought Jan was "The One" or "at least one of The Ones" and now he cannot believe he once thought that. He meets up with Helene, Pam's mother, at a playground and after an awkward conversation where she also points out his skewed sense of memory, he insults her and walks off. He meets up with his former Realtor Carol while she is conducting an open house, who after attempting to be polite, also becomes abrupt and points out his faults too.
Gabe takes Andy to his cubicle and admonishes him for his behavior, revealing he is aware of why Andy hosted the sex ed class. He also points out to Andy that the only reason he asked Erin out was because Andy gave his blessing, which Andy reveals was just a result of his difficulty saying no to how politely Gabe asked him. Gabe tells Andy that he needs to drop the matter. Afterward, Andy walks into Darryl's office and cries, where an uncomfortable Darryl cheers him up by giving him vague supportive advice (which he reveals in a talking-head cutaway that he gives everyone).
Michael calls Holly only to get her voicemail. He leaves her a heartfelt message that what she said hurt him, and when seeing all his exes that day, he hadn't been happy to see any of them. But when he talked to her, he was happy talking to her as much as she was happy to hear from him. He doesn't understand why she wants to downplay what they had, but he remembers the time he spent with her perfectly and considers what they had as special. Before hanging up, he awkwardly adds "Oh and you might - you should talk to a doctor, because you might have herpes. Bye!"
The final scene is a confrontation between Dwight, Michael, and Oscar. Michael and Dwight want all of the names of Oscar's former lovers since Michael once kissed him, even though Dwight confirms that the "cold sore" was most likely an ingrown moustache hair. In disgust, Oscar walks out of Michael's office as they begin listing stereotypes of places where homosexual intercourse occurs.
- Kelly asks Jim to help her open a jar of marshmallow fluff. While Pam quietly enjoys watching Jim struggle with the jar, Kelly talks about her relationship with Ryan. Jim eventually gives up, and Kelly says, "You're just going to hand it back to me?"
- In the car on their way to meet Jan, Michael calls the Winnipeg Sheraton and asks for the concierge. When she asks, "How may I help you?", Michael shouts, "By going to the doctor and getting tested for herpes." The voice is not that of Concierge Marie.
- As they return to the office, Dwight offers to introduce Michael to his cousin Shirley. Michael tells Dwight to stop trying to set him up with his cousin. Dwight tells Michael, "If you put your mind to it, you could date a newscaster." In a talking head interview, Dwight says, "Shirley is a newscaster."
In its original American broadcast on October 14, 2010, "Sex Ed" was viewed by an estimated 7.36 million viewers and received a 3.8 rating/10% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 increasing in viewers from the previous episode. This episode received mostly positive reviews.
- When Michael's mustache falls off and he tells Phyllis that he has a pimple, he says that "Avril Lavigne gets them all the time". This is referencing Avril Lavigne's 2010 stint as a spokesperson for Proactiv.
- Jan sings fragments from a 1970's television commercial for Enjoli perfume. (The jingle is based on the song "I'm a Woman".)
- STD is short for sexually transmitted disease.
- RA stands for resident assistant (aka resident advisor), who is a trained peer leader that supervises those living in a residence hall or group housing facility. Andy says he was an RA in college.
- Abstinence is a self-enforced restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. In this episode, Andy is referring to sexual abstinence.
- Michael thought his relationship with Helene was like a quirky, weird indie movie about a May-December relationship. This is reminiscent of Harold and Maude, a 1971 film about a guy in his 20s who falls for a 79-year-old woman.
- Michael says that he and Jan were "like Jordan and Pippen". This is a reference to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls.
- As he brings pizza into the office, Andy sings a parody of the 1978 rock song "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner.
Connections to previous episodes
- Michael wears a fake mustache like he did in the episode "Branch Wars".
- When Michael is talking with Carol, she says that Michael proposed to her on their 4th date. This was referring to "Diwali". However, right after the proposal, Carol states that it was their 9th date, not 4th.
- Jim and Pam admit that their baby was a "surprise", referring to "Company Picnic" when they found out about their pregnancy.
- Michael and Dwight approach Oscar about the kiss that took place in "Gay Witch Hunt".
- Ryan wears the exact same outfit he wore in the previous episode.
- In "A Benihana Christmas", when Michael is inviting Carol to Jamaica, she appears to have a cold sore on her lower lip.
- Stanley mentions that Andy kept announcing the scores during the World Cup. Andy seems to have taken a liking to soccer after he was pretending to do so in "Dream Team".
- Michael thinks herpes is spelled "Hirpees", so when he tells Donna and spells it out letter by letter, Donna is extremely worried because she thought he was gonna say HIV, a much more serious disease.
- Dwight shakes his head with disbelief and looks at Michael with disdain when he mispronounces herpes in his call with Donna.
- Dwight similarly is bemused during the banter between Holly and Michael, he is then visibly concerned when Holly jokes about there having been a car accident. As they continue to joke with each other, Dwight rolls his eyes and mouths "Herpes" impatiently.
- Jan still works in office supplies.
- Michael visits a hospital and still doesn't get his "herpes" checked out.
- Angela rolls her eyes when Phyllis says sex is a magical experience.
- Michael mistakes Helene for an elderly woman, even though when they were in a relationship he didn't seem to notice her age.
- When Andy arrives at the office with pizza and invites everyone into the conference room for an "honest discussion of the sexual mores and taboos of modern society" he pronounces mores as /môrs/, instead of how it should be pronounced which is /ˈmôrāz/, showing that he either hasn't heard the word before or doesn't realize that that is the correct way to say it.
- Pam can be heard shouting "Whoa!" after Andy flips a pizza onto a painting in the conference room.
- An entire story line was deleted from the episode. In the C-story, Jim and Pam had a fight, but the documentary crew cannot find out what they were fighting about. This explains why Darryl was sitting between them in the conference room.
- When Meredith mentions having herpes, Creed replies that he's never seen it on her. Meredith then scolds that it's because the herpes are on her genitals. This is interesting because in the previous season, when Creed asks Meredith why they've never had sex, Meredith replies, "We have."
Behind the scenes
- Nate, the new building assistant, is played by Mark Proksch, better known as his alter ego Kenny Strasser, a.k.a K-Strass. In early 2010, Proksch appeared as Strasser on local television shows claiming to be a yo-yo expert. Once on the show, it would become apparent that he knew nothing about yo-yo. The writers saw his performances and contacted him. He is scheduled to appear in "a handful of episodes".
- The original cut of the episode ran over 44 minutes and had to be cut down to 21½.
- Steve Carell as Michael Scott
- Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
- John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
- Jenna Fischer as Pam Halpert
- B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard
- Ed Helms as Andy Bernard
- Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
- Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
- Creed Bratton as Creed Bratton
- Kate Flannery as Meredith Palmer
- Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor
- Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon
- Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin
- Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez
- Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin
- Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance
- Zach Woods as Gabe Lewis
- and Amy Ryan as Holly Flax (voice only)
Special guest star
- Nancy Walls as Carol Stills
- Linda Purl as Helene Beesly
- Amy Pietz as Donna (voice only)
- Mark Proksch as Nate Nickerson
- Abraham Chaidez as Felipe
- Oscar Blanco as Hispanic Boy
- Travis Seaborn as Jan's Assistant
|"The Mentor"||The Office: Season 7||The Office: Season 8|
|#01||Nepotism||#07||Christening||#13||The Ultimatum||#19||Garage Sale||#25||Search Committee Part 1|
|#02||Counseling||#08||Viewing Party||#14||The Seminar||#20||Training Day||#26||Search Committee Part 2|
|#03||Andy's Play||#09||WUPHF.com||#15||The Search||#21||Michael's Last Dundies|
|#04||Sex Ed||#10||China||#16||PDA||#22||Goodbye, Michael|
|#05||The Sting||#11||Classy Christmas Part 1||#17||Threat Level Midnight||#23||The Inner Circle|
|#06||Costume Contest||#12||Classy Christmas Part 2||#18||Todd Packer||#24||Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager|
- Harris, Will. "A chat with Paul Lieberstein". Bullz-eye.com, November 19, 2010.