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. It was viewed by 5.19 million viewers.
The bullpen is decorated for Valentine's Day like it's a kindergarten classroom rather than an office, when not one but two Halperts show up for the day. Yep, Pam's back from maternity leave. She barely gets to enjoy her moment before the entrance of none other than Angela, four days after having her baby (much to Dwight's consternation, although he seems to be a little more discreet than he was last week). Angela whips off her coat, revealing a perfect figure, and unveils the brownies and cookies she brought fro everyone. Of course this all makes Pam feel fat and useless and stupid (which of course is Angela's entire intent), but not enough to decline a brownie. Pam starts diving into her purse for some cash for everyone, but Jim wisely puts the kibosh on that.
Short credits, and then Andy has Dwight in his office, trying to draw out an exciting announcement. Dwight has no time for this game: "If you make me head of Sales one more time, I swear..." Instead, Andy breaks the news that Dwight has been chosen to go to Tallahassee to help launch a line of Sabre stores. Dwight does an entire karate routine of shouted Yeses, and a TH about how he's in a state of what the Schrutes call perfektenschlag, in which everything is working perfectly. It also translates to "perfect pork anus," but that's not what he means.
At Reception, Erin and Andy exchange a fax and some facts before Erin points out that they're wearing matching flashing heart pins. Of course, when Andy says his was from Jessica, Erin loses interest, and throws hers in the trash as soon as Andy steps away. Bitter Erin is a little off-putting.
Darryl enters his office to find knitted stocking cap on his desk, from Val. But as he says in a TH, he doesn't know whether it was a friend gift or a romantic one. So now, to clarify "the meaning of the beanie," Darryl plans to give her a really romantic gift. Hard to see how this could go wrong.
Dwight tells Pam she'll be joining him in Tallahassee, but Jim's not invited. "Does this have anything to do with what you were talking to Andy about?" Pam asks. Dwight: "God, you're such a spy!"
Down in the warehouse, Darryl presents himself to Val proudly wearing the beanie, only to look around and see that everyone in the warehouse is wearing one. "It's like the Nation of Islam down here," he says. Now Darryl is facing the issue of what to do with the silver-wrapped romantic gift he has in his hand. He ends up handing it off to the half-deaf warehouse guy, who I finally figured out is named Nate. He tells him to open it later, but Nate rips open a pair of cashmere gloves with a note, "I'm glad you're in my life." And now there's the issue of what to get Val. "Can't wait," she says.
Dwight is selecting his team, which still does not include Jim. And yet, while he's wandering the office taking cell phone pictures of his candidates, Jim gets a mysterious text from Robert California saying, "Bring your clubs to Florida." He's about to text back a pair of question marks, but Pam's getting her editor on, telling him to just send one. Jim gives us the look he used to give us when dealing with Michael.
Dwight has presented his list to Andy: Darryl, Phyllis, Toby, Angela and Oscar. Andy offers, "Someone less essential? Like a Creed or a Meredith perhaps?" Anyway, Andy assigns his own team: Darryl and Phyllis are fine, but Kathy, Kelly and Kevin are coming too. That's a lot of Ks, plus isn't Kathy just Pam's temporary replacement? For someone who has a made-up job in the first place? Dwight complains about having a chain with three weak links. "Have you ever tried to use a chain with three weak links? I have. And now I no longer own an Arctic Wolf."
We catch up with the Halperts in the break room, where Pam is micromanaging the text Jim's sending back to Robert. But then he thinks he should just call. "You're going to call someone that texted you?" Do you want to drive him away?" wails Kelly's entire pathology from the next table.
Darryl gets a call from a guy who wants to send his girlfriend in the warehouse flowers. Yep, that would be Val. Darryl takes this latest blow even more poorly than the earlier one.
Dwight stands up and brusquely summons his team into the conference room, and when he says it's for a business trip to Florida, the ones who aren't going don't take it well. "Why does [Kathy] even still work here?" Meredith asks, marking one of the very few times Meredith speaks for me. Dwight says that Andy (who is shut up in his office right now) had his own reasons for deciding who was most deserving of "this boondoggle of a lifetime," and knocks on Andy's door to have him come out and explain his picks. Andy tries to demur, and Angela calmly points out that the people chosen to go were obviously the least important to the office. We learn that Andy says "guys" a lot when he's nervous, and he says that he and Dwight picked them out. Dwight throws Andy right back under that bus, saying he had his own picks that Andy overruled. Stanley is still pissed about being passed over. "I'm the only person in this office who watches Burn Notice!" Yeah, even I don't watch that any more. Now that he knows so many people want to go, Andy announces that he's willing to hear them out. Dwight agrees that everyone should take five to six hours to come up with a statement, but Andy gets him down to thirty minutes. Which is a much more reasonable use of everyone's time.
Jim's latest draft of the text to Robert is being sent, politely turning down the offer. "And we managed to kill the entire morning,'" Pam adds, one second before a response comes back from Robert. "LOL." Erin reacts like it was an instruction.
In Andy's office, Ryan's doing a slide presentation on how they need Ryan or Kelly there. Not both, only one, and preferably Ryan. Kevin explains that his gambling rehab is in a place where he can go to dog races again. Toby's speech about Seasonal Affective Disorder finds Dwight quite receptive, but not Andy. Stanley's dressed up like Don Johnson with a straw fedora, pitching "Florida Stanley." And Erin says she wants to get out of the office and "clear her head." Dwight correctly says that's the last thing Erin needs, but Andy remarks that it wouldn't be hard to find someone to fill in. Erin does her best to act like she wasn't just stabbed in the chest.
Now Jim and Pam are in the kitchen, trying to figure out their next response to Robert before deciding he's probably going to have to go to Florida. And for some reason, we see that Kathy overheard this exchange.
Jim presents himself in Andy's office, and they both immediately shut him down, Dwight because he doesn't want to bring Jim and Andy because he considers Jim too essential. Jim tries to trap Dwight into agreeing to Jim's essentialness on camera, but even thought it means Jim is on his team, Dwight can't do it. So Jim shows them the text from Robert, and informs Dwight that when they're roommates in Florida, he wants them to shower together to save water.
Later, Dwight and Jim emerge from Andy's office to announce the final-final team: Kathy, Stanley, Ryan, Erin and Jim, all of whom Dwight hates. "Welcome to the team," he manages to grit out after a torrent of cursing and before locking himself in the conference room to scream.
Dwight ushers his Florida team into the conference room for "orientation," which includes such hazards as hurricanes, alligators, cockroaches, Casey Anthony and hurricanes. He's got the heat and humidity cranked up in there to show them just how miserable they'll be there. He's giving them a chance to opt out right now by "ringing this bell." "Is that the buzzer from Taboo?" Jim asks mildly, prompting Dwight to scream into his face drill-sergeant style. He's also filled the room with mosquitoes (which, don't worry, he'll clear out with frogs later), and is yelling in people's faces until Jim finally reaches over and slaps him on the forehead, causing him to stagger back and involuntarily squeeze the buzzer. "What was that?" he asks, dazed. "Mosquito," Jim says. End of orientation.
Down in the warehouse, Nate presents Darryl with a pack of "Nate Coupons," which include such items as a tickle-monster attack or a stick of gum, any time or any place. After Nate moves on, Darryl notices the flowers that have just been delivered to Val, and she claims they're from her mom. "So I guess that was your mom who called me earlier looking for the address?" Darryl asks. But Val insists that not only was that her mom, but her mom's name is Brandon. That's good enough for Darryl, for now: "This is a love beanie," he THs. Yep, Val likes him enough to knit him a hat she knitted everyone else and lie to him about having a boyfriend. They're the next Jim and Pam.
Dwight calls his Florida team back into the conference room for an actual meeting. Passing by Andy's doorway, Erin exchanges a look with the boss. In a TH, she tells us, "I'm going to Florida. And I'm not coming back." And she's taking half of the show's remaining laughs with her.
Inside the conference room, Dwight finally tells the team that they're branching into retail, like Apple. Ryan and Erin immediately come up with some actual, valid ideas that Dwight likes enough to starts writing on the flip chart. Jim asks if this is a good time to go over Dwight's expectations for them. Rather than snapping at Jim for interrupting this flow of ideas, Dwight is apparently struck by this sign that Jim is going to recognize his authority. And furthermore, he seems to realize that he's got a good gig, and maybe these people don't all suck as much as he might have thought. In a TH, he concludes, "Under the right manager, that's not a bad team. Perfektenschlag!"
The airport shuttle is here to pick up everyone at the office, where Pam, Andy and Kelly are seeing everyone off. Ryan tells Kelly to put his suit coat on his chair, and insists when she promises to sleep with it. He's going to come home to a very wrinkled suit coat. Pam tells Jim to call her when he lands, and Erin tells Andy as she hugs him, "Goodbye for a very, very, very long time." And Kathy's outside, on her cell phone to someone, talking about the trip and the fact that Jim will be there. "Marriage is not good, nobody knows better than me... Definitely we will... Three weeks in Tallahassee, what else is there to do?" Besides launch an entire retail branch in three weeks? I'm sure they'll have loads of spare time. But I've said this about Kathy before and I'll say it again: Uh-oh.