Special Project is the fourteenth episode of the eighth season of the American television comedy series "The Office" and is the show's 166th overall. It was directed by David Rogers and written by Ameile Gillete. It originally aired on February 9, 2012.
"Special Project" introduced a six-episode arc which featured several of the office workers working on a special project for Sabre in Tallahassee, Florida. The episode received largely positive reviews from critics, with many reviewers looking forward to the "special projects" storyline. The ending scene featuring Cathy's phone conversation about Jim and Pam's marriage has also received significant attention from critics. According to Nielsen Media Research, "Special Project" drew 5.16 million viewers and received a 2.5 rating/6% share in the 18–49 demographic, marking a three-tenths drop in ratings from the previous episode, "Jury Duty," and becoming one of the lowest-rated episodes of the series. Despite this, it was the highest-rated NBC series of the night.
Just as Pam Halpert's (Jenna Fischer) maternity leave ends, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) is assigned with the task of forming a team and traveling down to Florida for three weeks to help Sabre launch a chain of retail stores. He and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) must select employees to accompany Dwight to Tallahassee. At first Dwight chooses Darryl (Craig Robinson), Phyllis (Phyllis Smith), Toby (Paul Lieberstein), Angela (Angela Kinsey), and Oscar (Oscar Nunez), but Andy refuses letting so many essential employees leave for three weeks. While letting Dwight have Darryl and Phyllis, Andy chooses Kelly (Mindy Kaling), Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) and Cathy (Lindsay Broad) to join the team instead, upsetting Dwight. After Dwight announces who will be leaving there is much argument in the office on who gets to go and who does not. Andy decides to let people convince him why they should go before making his final decision.
Meanwhile Jim (John Krasinski) receives a text from Robert California inviting him on the trip to Tallahassee. After unsuccessfully trying to back out via text, Jim and Pam both agree Jim should just go. The final team includes Cathy, Ryan (B. J. Novak), Stanley (Leslie David Baker), Erin (Ellie Kemper) and Jim, infuriating Dwight. At first he tries to convince the members to change their minds, but after realizing they all have excellent ideas for the project, he is content with the team. Erin expresses frustration that Andy is still with Jessica. After Andy and Dwight jointly choose her for the project team, she relates in a talking head that she is not going to return to Scranton once she arrives in Florida. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Cathy has ulterior motives for the trip, intending to seduce Jim while the two are in Florida together, stating, during a cell phone conversation to an unidentified friend, that "... Definitely we will. It's three weeks in Tallahassee. What else is there to do?"
Darryl discovers warehouse worker Val (Ameenah Kaplan) has knitted him a beanie. Unsure if she intended it as a romantic gift or simply one of friendship, Darryl decides to find out by giving her a Valentine's Day gift of an expensive pair of cashmere ladies' gloves with a romantic card. Upon discovering that Val had knitted a beanie for everyone in the warehouse, an embarrassed Darryl passes the gloves off to warehouse worker Nate (Mark Proksch), who's moved by the gift. Darryl is further disappointed when a man named Brandon calls asking for the address of the warehouse to send flowers to his girlfriend Val. He's intrigued, however, when she says the flowers were from her mother, despite him pointing out the caller had had a deep voice and gone by the name Brandon. Darryl decides the Val's gift was "a love beanie".
- Stanley says that he's the only one in the office who watches the television series, Burn Notice.
- Dwight says after finishing work on the special project in Florida, they will be able to go visit Cape Canaveral and go sea kayaking with Gloria Estefan.
- While attempting to convince his group not to go to Florida, pictures of Casey Anthony, Katherine Harris, Brooke Hogan and Tony Montana are used.
- Kevin says "Sometimes Batman's gotta take off his cape."
- Stanley says he has a lot of Tommy Bahama shirts.
- Toby suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Dwight callsDeliverance a documentary.
- Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
- John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
- B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard
- Ed Helms as Andy Bernard
- James Spader as Robert California
- Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
- Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
- Creed Bratton (actor) 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