"The Fight" is the sixth episode of the second season of The Office and the 12th overall. It was written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and directed by Ken Kwapis. It first aired on November 1, 2005. It was viewed by 7.9 million people.

Cold Open

After getting to work, Dwight realizes that his desk is missing. Jim directs him all the way to the bathroom, where his desk is planted in the middle of the men's restroom.

Summary

At work Dwight calls his "sensei" to ask a question, leading Jim to question Dwight about the call. Dwight reveals he has joined a karate dojo (with all other students being young children) and has recently been promoted to purple belt and given the title of "senpai", which he claims is equivalent to sensei in respect and is translates to "assistant sensei", with Jim retorting it probably translates to "assistant to the sensei".

At reception Stanley gives Pam a stack of timecards and tells Pam he does not want to stay until 7pm that night. Pam states in an interview that Michael is required to sign certain documents at the end of the week, month and quarter, and that once a year all documents need to be signed on the same Friday, leading to Michael to procrastinate signing them until the last pickup for overnight shipments at 7pm. Pam repeatedly attempts to get Michael to sign the documents only for Michael to instead focus on assigning Ryan to update the staff's emergency contact information, obtaining Ryan's cellphone number in the process. Michael repeatedly prank calls Ryans cellphone and imitates famous celebrities during the call.

Jim pranks Dwight by stealing his purple belt and questioning him on his fighting experience. When Jim asks Dwight if he could defeat Michael, Michael overhears and states he could easily defeat Dwight, claiming he was a streetfighter who defeated numerous blackbelts. Michael continues to claim he could defeat Dwight, bragging about his fighting skills and putting Dwight in a chokehold after sneaking up behind him at his desk. Michael later asks Jim to punch him in the stomach to prove his toughness, but Jim instead suggests Dwight should punch Michael. Dwight initially refuses, but after Michael reveals that Dwight cried while watching Armageddon together Dwight accepts and punches Michael twice in the stomach. The punches clearly hurt Michael, who struggles back to his office and collapses onto his desk.

Dwight, emboldened by this display, begins teaching various office coworkers karate techniques, prompting Jim to ask Pam to provoke a fight between Michael and Dwight, promising to buy her a bag of chips if she does. When Pam asks Michael to order Dwight to walk her to her car after work, Michael argues Dwight could not protect Pam and goes to see Dwight. Pam and Jim accompany Michael as he confronts Dwight. Dwight challenges Michael to a fight at his dojo, and Michael accepts, extending everyone's lunches so they can attend.

At the dojo Pam and Jim engage in playful flirtatious grappling until Pam notices others looking at them questionably. Suddenly uncomfortable she angrily demands Jim let her go, leading him awkwardly trying to figure out what went wrong. Sensei Ira, Dwight's sensei, gives Michael and Dwight rules and tells them that a clean strike to the head or chest will win a point. After Dwight initially wins a point in a quick attack, Michael and Dwight engage in comedic fighting. After Dwight misses a kick, Michael dares him to try it again and catches Dwight's leg, repeatedly striking him with illegal blows despite Sensei Ira's instructions to break and stop fighting. After Michael claims victory, Dwight, enraged by Michael's illegal fighting, attacks Michael, only for Michael to get on top of Dwight and pin him down. Michael then begins to cough of phlegm, trying to spit it in Dwight's mouth, with Dwight begging Michael to stop.

Returning to the office, Michael feels empowered by his victory, while Dwight timidly goes back to work. After Dwight, in Michael's presence, asks Ryan to change his contact information from Michael to "The Hospital", Michael realizes he has hurt Dwight and jeopardized their friendship. Michael tells Ryan to disregard Dwight's instructions and leave him as Dwight's emergency contact, showing Michael cares for their friendship.

As the day ends, Jim says goodbye to Pam, leaving a bag of chips on the counter as a fulfillment of his earlier promise. She accepts the chips and smiles, healing their relationship. Later Michael summons Dwight to the conference room despite the staff's insistence Michael sign the documents so they can go home. Michael seems to suggest they should all help him sign the forms, leading to the remaining staff forging Michael's signatures on the forms so they can leave.

In the conference room Michael claims the day's events have been a test and Dwight passed, and that as a reward Michael is promoting Dwight from Assistant to the Regional Manager to Assistant Regional Manger. Dwight tries to claim the conference room as his office and states he'll inform the staff, but Michael states it is a clandestine promotion and will remain off the books. Dwight nonetheless is thrilled and thanks Michael deeply and honors him as his sensei, repairing their friendship.

Connections to other episodes

  • Dwight mentions Sensei Ira in future episode "Livin' the Dream. Spoiler: Dwight had spent $150,000 over 20 years studying under Sensei Ira.

Trivia

  • Kevin comes out of the bathroom stall holding a scented candle. In a previous episode, "The Dundies", Kevin won a Dundie award in honor of the horrid smell he leaves behind after using the bathroom.
  • Spoilers: Dwight tells Kevin to wash his hands in the cold open, however later in the series when he waters down the soap and is criticized for it, he says, "Why do you even need to wash your hands? Are you really that bad at going to the bathroom?" And when Pam tries to place hand sanitizing stations all over the office, Dwight advocates for placing hand "de-sanitizing" stations around instead, insisting that the human immune system shouldn't be coddled.
  • Michael didn't actually win his fight with Dwight. halfway through, he broke the rule of no holding and scored his three points illegally. Thus, Dwight won, and Michael would have been disqualified. However, Michael, refusing to obey the sensei, and unable to accept the fact that Dwight is better, still claims he won and gloats about it for the rest of the episode. 
  • Jim has a sister named Larisa as he has her listed as his emergency contact. Spoilers: Larisa's name is spelled with one "s" on the wedding program in the episode "Niagara".
  • Spoilers: In a talking head interview, Michael talks about friends who come to work late "having dentist appointments that aren't dentist appointments." This hypothetical situation comes to pass in the future episode "The Coup".
  • Dwight botches the phrase "tit for tat" by saying "tit for tit" instead. He made the same mistake in a previous episode, "Diversity Day", where Jim corrects him.
  • According to the logos on Dwight's Dojo, the school is not supposed to be teaching Karate, but Tae Kwon Do, due to the World Taekwondo Federation logos (See picture). Additionally, the sparring gear that the training dummy adorned in the background is actually Tae Kwon Do sparring gear, not Karate, as the user usually isn't supposed to wear any gear, in Kumite, or "full body contact", although Shiai/Jyu Kumite, "free sparring", has the users wearing gear (gloves, mouthguards, leg padding, optional headguard).
  • The actor who plays Sensei Ira, Lance Krall, is an actual martial art expert: He holds a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo, and in 1992, he was ranked the sixth best in the nation for his weight class.
  • Rainn Wilson, studied martial arts in college and has a yellow belt. The writers did not know that Rainn Wilson or Lance Krall had martial arts experience when they wrote and cast the episode.[1]
  • In the episode's closing scene, not only is the staff laughing at Michael beating up Dwight but so is Dwight's Sensei.
  • Dwight's use of "senpai" is (purposely) incorrect, it is an honorific to indicate someone of a higher rank. When talking to someone who is a higher rank than you (in this case, sensei), you do not call yourself "senpai".
  • Spoilers: The address that Jim provides for his emergency contact who is presumably his mother is different from the address of when he purchases his parents home.
  • A sign in Dwight's dojo lists the 10 rules of karate. The rules were created by writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. It is apparent from the rules that this is a children's martial arts school. Lee Eisenberg kept the poster.[1]
    1. Obey your parents.
    2. No junk food.
    3. Do your homework.
    4. Keep your room clean.
    5. Maintain an indomitable spirit.
    6. Don't fight with your siblings.
    7. Practice, practice, practice.
    8. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
    9. Be loyal to your country.
    10. Have fun!
  • The 2nd Michael Scott absent in cold open.

Deleted scenes

Notable cut scenes include:

  • At the dojo, Dwight's attempt at a kick fails miserably. Dwight is disciplined by sensei Ira when his pager goes off during class.
  • In a talking head interview, Dwight explains that he has not bonded with his classmates. "I'm not there to make friends. I'm here to attack people."
  • An alternate take of the scene in which Jim asks Dwight whom he could take on in a fight.
  • Angela accuses Oscar of eating her pudding snacks. Oscar denies it, as does Kevin. (Kevin snickers to the camera.)
  • Kelly invites Meredith to Happy Hour. Meredith is unsure. "I'm still recovering from last night... but maybe."
  • Scenes at the dojo of Michael and Dwight putting on equipment, trying to psych each other out, and ultimately fighting like idiots.
  • Ira introduces his young senpai Alyssa. In a talking head interview at the dojo, Dwight explains that Alyssa may technically be the senpai, but "the only reason she got into regionals was because her competition was a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls."
  • Michael brags about the fight to Stanley, who is more interested in Michael signing the purchase orders. Pam pointedly puts the forms on Michael's chair.
  • In a talking head interview, Dwight explains that Michael has no honor and would be an outcast in Japan. "Well, that's not totally true, because Asians worship chest hair."
  • Michael delivers Pam "part one" of the forms, but it is just the emergency contact information.

Cultural references

  • Jim plays the hotter/colder game with Dwight. In this children's game, warmer temperatures indicate that the player is closer to the target.
  • Arigato gozaimashita and Hai, loosely translated, mean "Thank you very much" and "Yes", respectively, in Japanese.
  • The Perfect Storm is a book and subsequent movie about a powerful storm that struck North America in 1991. It subsequently became used to refer to the disastrous effect of multiple events which coincide by chance.
  • Michael sings I don't want to work. I want to bang on this mug all day to the tune of Bang the Drum All Day.
  • Chillax is a slang term combining chill (meaning "to relax") and relax.
  • Pam-M-S'ing is a pun on PMS (known as PMT in British English).
  • Catch-22 is the title of a novel by Joseph Heller. The term refers to a no-win situation, although it is clear that Michael has no idea what it means.
  • Michael Jackson's Wonderland is Michael's mistaken reference to Jackson's property the Neverland Ranch.
  • Mike Tyson is a professional boxer with a high-pitched voice.
  • A Jet is a member of one of the rival street gangs in the musical West Side Story. "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way" is the opening line to The Jet Song. Jim snaps his fingers in the same way as the gang members.
  • Bedtime for Bonzo is a movie notable primarily for its star, future president Ronald Reagan. Michael's use is nonsensical.
  • You are the weakest link is the catchphrase from the game show Weakest Link.
  • Queer Eye (originally Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) is a make-over reality television program featuring five openly gay men dispensing fashion and style advice.
  • Armageddon is a 1998 science fiction action movie starring Bruce Willis.
  • Tit for tit is an incorrect version of tit for tat, an expression meaning that one can respond to an offense in the same manner as the original offense. Dwight first uses this incorrectly in the Season 1 episode, Diversity Day.
  • Michael's Two punches: me punching you and you hitting the floor is a botched quote from the classic 1985 movie The Breakfast Club. Actual quote: "Two hits; me hitting you, you hitting the floor."
  • Jim's "Bring it" is a challenge (short for "bring it on", a phrase used by Katy in Hot Girl).
  • Jim mocks Pam by doubting her status as an Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter is a reality television series in the form of a martial arts competition.
  • Kevin's advice to sweep the leg comes from the movie The Karate Kid.
  • Michael's "You talkin' to me?" is a line performed by Robert De Niro in the movie Taxi Driver. Michael misattributes it to Al Pacino in Raging Bull.
  • Phone tag is a term applied to the phenomenon of two people trying to reach each other by phone but always missing each other.
  • Although Dwight's martial arts style is Japanese Karate or "Gōjū-ryū" Karate, the dojo is obviously not Japanese, as the logos on the windows are actually logos belonging to the World Taekwondo Federation, which is in charge of hosting the Tae Kwon Do games of the Olympic games; Taekwondo itself is a Korean martial art.
  • Adding to the above, the scoring mechanism used in the episode (one point for a clean hit to the body) is more similar to the scoring system for "Jyu Kumite" (free sparring) used in multiple styles of Karate, while the Taekwondo's point system relies on how many hits the contestants can land on their opponents in two minutes.
  • Fudge packer is a rude term for a homosexual male.
  • The Karate Kid is a 1984 movie about a boy who becomes an accomplished karate fighter. The Hilary Swank version is The Next Karate Kid, the fourth movie in the Karate Kid series, starring Swank as the first female student of sensei Miyagi.
  • Michael suggests, "Let's gangbang this thing," unaware that gangbang refers to a single person having sex with multiple partners in rapid succession.
  • Michael poses a question at the end of the episode, about whether he would rather be feared or loved. This comes from Machiavelli's "The Prince", which poses the same question of leaders. Machiavelli explains, "It is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved."

Quotes

see The Fight Quotes

Cast

Main Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer, The Fight, Office Ladies podcast, January 22, 2020.
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