"The Sting" is the fifth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Office, and the show's 131st episode overall. Written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Randall Einhorn, the episode aired on NBC in the United States on October 21, 2010. This episode has received positive reviews. It was viewed by 6.87 million people.

Cold open

The Scranton branch arrive at work in the parking lot and admire Oscar's new bike. Oscar reveals that he purchased the same model that Lance Armstrong used, and now rides to work everyday, as Michael falls down after trying to ride it. Jim and Pam try to help Michael steady the bike as he insists that he knows how, before revealing that he always used training wheels. They try to teach Michael how to ride a bike, as the office members cheer him on. Jim and Pam then let go of the bicycle as Michael begins to ride successfully in the parking lot to the applause of the office, only to not steer properly and crash into a parked car. Regardless, Michael stands up and proudly proclaims "You never forget!"


Synopsis

Jim and Dwight are sent on assignment to make a sales pitch to a client named Steve Nash, and are eager to land the sale. However their eagerness is short-lived, as they see Danny Cordray, a rival and very successful paper salesman who is known as the best in the Scranton Wilkes-Barre area, has also arrived for a sales pitch. In desperation, Jim and Dwight call in Michael, who is ecstatic at getting a chance to make a sale. However, the company ends up taking Danny's offer, even after Michael promises at-cost paper sales and weekend delivery. The trio leaves the client's office and head back to the Scranton branch in defeat. It is also revealed by Dwight that Danny had a romantic history with Pam (while Jim was dating Karen), a fact which Pam tries to reiterate to Jim that it was only a brief relationship.

During a brainstorm session, Michael, Jim, and Dwight decide to set up a sting operation to see how Danny is stealing all of their clients and observe his sales techniques. They set up Meredith as the CEO of Solartech (a fictional company), in Dwight's office that has been fitted with security cameras, and watch from another room. Danny is then sent in to try to make a sale. All starts well until Meredith attempts to seduce him, forcing Dwight and Jim to send in Oscar and then Ryan to save the sting. When Meredith strong arms both of them, a grossed out Michael rushes in to call the whole thing off. Danny is infuriated and walks off, but before he leaves the building, Michael offers him a job. Michael points out how much money Danny would make as a traveling salesman for Dunder Mifflin, as they do have better prices and services than his current company, "can you imagine how well you would do selling our stuff?" Danny accepts the offer, and Michael introduces him as the new salesman to the office. The rest of the sales staff (minus a distracted Andy) confront Michael about this decision in his office, worried that Danny will take their clients. Michael tells them sales numbers will go up with Danny a part of the branch now, and that just because they are threatened by him being a better salesman, does not mean he should be turned away. Before Dwight leaves for the day he viciously insults Danny, then near immediately changes his tone and welcomes him to the company, scoffing at Jim's confusion by replying "It's after 5:00 Jim, I'm not gonna take this home."

In a final interview with the documentary crew, Michael boasts of his coup of stealing Danny, bragging that Dunder Mifflin didn't even need another traveling salesman since they have Todd Packer in the field, before immediately lamenting that he "forgot about Packer."

Meanwhile, Andy starts a band after reading about how well one of his friends is doing in the music business. He manages to get Darryl and Kevin to join him in writing a song, with Andy singing from the perspective of a little girl in a falsetto. The song is poorly received by the rest of the office, and Andy returns to the drawing board. Seeing that Andy is dejected, Kevin and Darryl offer to stay and jam with him for a little extra time, and the trio come up with another, much better song. The episode ends with the trio singing a novelty song about frogs, just as Andy promised to do with Kevin.

Amusing details

  • Pam groans "okay" when Oscar excitedly says he feels like a tourist in his own city after adopting his new morning routine.
  • Dwight calls Jim a "jock hipster", which is a big contradiction: jock is a term for athletes, while hipsters are known for their dislike of organized sports.
  • Andy is more concerned with the news that Broccoli Rob was recognized musically than he is about an old friend who died in a mountain climbing incident.
  • Dwight tells Jim "Go tell her we're here, you're good with receptionists" when they arrive at Steve Cordray's office.
  • Michael answers the phone in the middle of a meeting and says he's not busy, to the outrage of Oscar and Angela.
  • Jim tells Dwight that Michael did the "big gun thing" when Dwight asks what Michael says, implying this is a frequent response whenever one of them asks Michael for help during a sale.
  • Darryl turns down being paid sixty dollars an hour to play in Andy's band, claiming "that's crazy money."
  • Dwight claims the sale failed as "Jim talked too much", even though Jim did not say a word during the sale.
  • Michael's desk is missing all of his items at the end of the episode because they were used for the desk Meredith was using while posing as the CEO of Solartech.
  • None of the office staff have anything positive to say for Andy's song, except Creed. A fact that Andy insists "really bums (him) out."
  • Dwight and Jim are eating oranges while watching Danny Cordray sell to Meredith.
  • Michael believes Danny has a similar appearance to himself, to which Oscar comments "it's hard to judge ourselves accurately isn't it?"
  • Darryl insists that he only plays his keyboard with friends, only agreeing to play with Andy after the latter pays him. By the end of the episode, to Andy's delight, Darryl plays for free: signifying he sees Andy as a friend now.
  • Dwight insults and compliments Pam while she walks in from the break room behind him. One of his backhanded compliments is that Pam doesn't wear make up, upon which a confused Pam looks to the camera and mouths "I wear make up."

Trivia

  • First appearance of Danny Corday, who joins Dunder Mifflin as a travelling salesman.
  • Oscar's bicycle is the same model ridden by cycling champion Lance Armstrong, whose "Livestrong" bracelet has appeared in Basketball and Michael's Birthday. Kelly has mixed feelings because "I'm on Cheryl Crow's side," referring to the couple's broken engagement in 2006.
  • The meeting Michael was conducting when Jim calls him for help is titled "Quarterlies: Crisis mode!"
  • Kelly and Angela are both visibly impressed by Danny's looks. They previously shared a similar reaction to Charles Miner in "New Boss".
  • It is left unspecified how Danny Cordray was tricked into coming to the fictional "Pennsylvania Solartech" for the sting.
  • Michael tells Danny Cordray that what the Scranton branch has done to spy on Danny Cordray is "the sincerest form of flattery." He misquotes the expression "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Cultural references

  • Steve Nash is a South African-born Canadian professional basketball player for the NBA. Unlike Jim, Dwight isn't familiar with him because he doesn't watch basketball religiously.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
  • Danny Cordray works for the Osprey Paper Company in Throop. Throop is a town not far from Scranton. Dwight mispronounces the town name, however. Throop is pronounced like the word "troop". (On the other side of Throop from Scranton is the town of Olyphant.)
  • Michael talks about swimmer Michael Phelps coming out of retirement and drowning in a pool. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time who retired 2 years after the episode aired.
  • Michael and Jim argue about the title of the 1973 movie The Sting.
  • Kevin says his voice is "unique like Bob Dylan", the American folk musician.
  • Dwight tries to make Oscar and Ryan pose as executives from Stark Industries, the fictitious company owned by character Tony Stark in the Iron Man comic book and movie.
  • Ryan wants to be the owner of Internet giant Google. He proposes a backstory in which "Larry and Sergey bought me a..." He mispronounces the name of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
  • Kelly and Angela agree that Danny Cordray looks like actor Josh Duhamel. The resemblance between Timothy Olyphant and Josh Duhamel has been noted by many, and people have even taken sides as to which actor they prefer. When Michael introduces Danny to the office staff Kelly utters an epithet that is censored audibly and visually, but was most likely "fuck me".
  • When Darryl rehearses with Andy, behind him taped to a cabinet is a calendar from Scranton Printing and its characteristic "SP" logo.
  • Meredith, posing as the CEO of Solartech, is referred to as "Ms. van Hellsing", which is possibly a reference to the anime Hellsing, in which a main character is called Ms. Hellsing. It may also be a pun at the expense of the Hellsing series, since the plot is based around a conflict between the British and the Germans, and a "van" is added to a main character's name. Dwight states that Van Hellsing was a professor prior to his more famous occupation which Jim references but never states outright. That occupation was a vampire hunter, portrayed recently by Hugh Jackman in the movie Van Helsing.
  • When Meredith is posing as the head of Solartech, she introduces Oscar as "Manuel, my cleaning man" and remarks that he "doesn't speak any English", which is possibly a reference to the character Manuel from the popular British sitcom "Fawlty Towers".

Connections to previous episodes

  • In the cold open, Michael fails in his attempt to ride Oscar's bike and while he denies it, it is implied that Michael cannot ride a bike. This contradicts a scene in "A Benihana Christmas" in which Michael brings his own bike to the office for a toy drive and rides (and crashes) it in the office. Michael also says in the episode "Double Date" that he can ride a bike.
  • Stanley gets offended when Michael "assumes" he has diabetes. This is strange because he has previously mentioned his diabetes.
  • Meredith says the meeting with Danny feels more like a third date, implying that she's ready to have sex with him. Michael and Holly discussed having sex on their third date in "Crime Aid" and later did so.
  • Danny is worried about having parked his car in a compact space, which is for smaller cars, as stated by Michael and Dwight in their "Lazy Scranton" skit from "The Merger".
  • Dwight objects to Danny joining the staff because of the lack of seats, despite the fact that there is plenty of space in the annex and as many as four extra employees occupied the office after the Scranton-Stamford merger.
  • Michael reasons that although Danny Cordray outsold him earlier, by convincing Danny to come work for him, he is the better salesman overall. He previously used a similar line of reasoning in "Dwight's Speech".

Cast

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

  • Kaily Smith as Kim the Receptionist
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