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"Two Weeks" is the twenty-first episode of the fifth season of the television series The Office, and the show's 93rd episode overall. It was written by Aaron Shure and directed by Paul Lieberstein. The episode aired in the United States on March 26, 2009, on NBC at 9:00 p.m. EST. It was viewed by 8.45 million people.

Cold open

The Scranton branch gathers around Michael as he tells the story of how he quit in excruciating detail; including being on the highway, the revolving door being broken, having to take another door and being in the wrong building. Pam then exclaims in a talking head that this is the first time Michael has a story everyone wants to listen to: "and he knows it." Pam urges Michael to tell the story quicker and Michael describes how he quit in the last scene of the previous episode. The Scranton branch then asks him if he didn't instead insult David Wallace with names, suggesting that it was what they would have said to Michael if they had quit. Oscar then reveals in a talking head how he finds the stories of other people quitting inspiring, as he hopes they may one day inspire him to quit himself, but notes that he can only dream.

Synopsis

Having submitted his two weeks notice to Dunder Mifflin, Michael begins goofing off and drinking around the office, while new company vice president Charles Miner plans to hire the new regional manager from the outside, for "obvious reasons." The employees suggest that Michael start looking for another job. Michael is unworried at first, until he learns how poorly the economy is performing. He first tries Prince Paper, but they have been run out of business by Dunder Mifflin. After finding no available work, Michael decides to start his own paper company and unsuccessfully tries to convince others around the office to join him. When Charles catches Michael labeling Dunder Mifflin customer lists with his new company's name, he orders security guard Hank to escort Michael from the building. Michael drives out of the parking lot, but sneaks back into the building.

Meanwhile, the office has received a new copy machine, but it is not assembled, so Pam spends the day putting it together as the rest of the employees hassle and tease her. Angela and Kelly continue to flirt with Charles, who in a talking head interview acknowledges the effect he has on women.

Michael sneaks back into the office, crawling on the floor so that Charles, who is sitting in the conference room, will not notice him. Michael grabs his customer list and makes a final desperate offer for the other employees to join him. Charles notices Michael and physically threatens him, prompting Michael to leave without the customer list. After Charles angrily closes the conference room door, Pam follows Michael out of the building, announcing that she's leaving with him. However, she tells Michael she wants to be a salesperson at his new company, not a receptionist. Michael agrees, and the two leave together, feeling both exhilarated and apprehensive.

At the end of the episode, Charles, who still knows very little about the employees at the Scranton branch, decides to make Kevin the temporary receptionist and make Stanley the office's "Productivity Czar," much to the surprise of the whole office. As everyone leaves the conference room, the two men remain in their seats with a bewildered expression on their faces.

Trivia

  • B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard) is credited but does not appear in this episode.
  • This is the last episode where Pam is the receptionist.
  • No explanation is given for Prince Family Paper going out of business but it is likely that their demise is the result of Dwight and Michael stealing their customers. (It is unlikely that the owner retired, because his son was poised to take over the business, and the going-away message was sad.)
  • When Michael is asking the office to leave with him, Pam can hear him from across the room, but Charles doesn't hear anything from the other side of the wall.
  • Toby missed his opportunity to conduct Michael's exit interview (a role-reversal from "Goodbye, Toby") because Charles kicked Michael out first.

Connections to previous episodes

  • Michael drinks "Scotch and Splenda", a drink he accidentally invented in Cocktails.
  • The new copy machine is probably a replacement for the one damaged in Stress Relief. In “The Surplus”, the office chose to get new chairs instead of a new copier.
  • Michael had hoped to join Prince Paper, a company he regretted destroying in Prince Family Paper.
  • Angela's cat Bandit is seen chewing on the cable of the old copier. It is previously revealed that she keeps Bandit in the office in "Stress Relief".
  • Michael asks Pam, after she asks for time to get her things, if the office members are watching as the camera pans to reveal that the entire branch is watching them from the conference room. This is reminiscent of "Lecture Circuit" where the Nashua branch watches Michael and Pam leave after Michael breaks down during the lecture.

Goofs

  • In this episode, people in the conference room cannot hear Michael shouting. However, in "The Duel", people in the conference room can hear the shouting between Dwight and Andy. Spoiler: In "The Lover", Michael can hear Pam's frustrated screaming in the parking lot from his office.
  • Michael's PT Cruiser is a company car, but he takes it with him when he quits. Writer Aaron Shure hadn't considered this, but figured that Charles Miner would gladly let Michael take the car just to be rid of him.[1]

Amusing details

  • After Michael recreates the scene of his quitting, Stanley, Angela, Kevin, and Meredith feel as though they would've said more. They all then say something that would be said towards Michael in this scenario, but Michael doesn't get this, and says "You guys have thought about this more than I have."
  • Michael describes his drink "Scotch with Splenda" as "Tastes like Splenda, gets you drunk like scotch." This means he added so much Splenda that you can't taste the scotch. For other examples of Michael's love of sweets, see Michael Scott's sweet tooth.
  • Michael tells Jim that someone in his position is usually head hunted, prompting Jim to ask if he has even called a head hunter. Michael then reveals that he assumes that any good head hunter would automatically know that he was available.
  • Dwight assumes the term head hunter to be about literally hunting human heads.
  • When Charles asks Michael to look over the client list, he glances at Jim's desk and sees Michael's "Scotch with Splenda" but says nothing. Steve Carell and Idris Elba improvised a funny exchange, but it was cut for time.[1]
  • Michael reads the diet book "Skinny Bitch" on the couch. Maybe he was bored and swiped it from Kelly's desk.
  • Charles Miner, in a talking head, reveals that he has decided to go with an outside hire for the new regional manager "for obvious reasons" as he looks to the camera as Jim does.
  • Kelly goes to Charles to ask for time to pick up her sisters from school. When Charles tells her that she could have asked Toby, she begins to say she does not like talking to Toby.
  • Charles reveals that he is aware that Angela and Kelly are infatuated with him.
  • The note in Oscar's sandwich says "Meet me in the parking lot before lunch. —M" How could Michael expect Oscar to see the note before lunch? (The note also has a bite taken out of it, from when Oscar bit into the sandwich.)
  • Dwight and Michael equally do not wish to have Dwight follow Michael into his new paper company.
  • After Michael gets Jim's attention while sneaking back into Dunder Mifflin, Jim keeps moving his head so the computer monitor blocks Michael's view of him.
  • Dwight tells Charles he has not seen the list Michael was working on and makes an effort to stand up and lean to block his view of Michael on the floor.
  • Pam chooses to go with Michael even though he hadn't asked her to.
  • In the closing scene, Kelly and Angela are sitting in the front row, due to their admiration of Charles.
  • Angela shakes her head when Charles appoints Kevin to be in charge of phones and winces when Kevin responds to Charles' request.

Behind the scenes

  • Before arriving on set, Idris Elba got word out that he is sensitive to the pronunciation of his name, and that the correct pronunciation is "EYE-dress EEL-buh".[1] The writers weren't sure if they were being pranked, so they were afraid to call him by name for the first week. It turns out that the common pronunciation is correct, and that Elba doesn't get mad if you mispronounce his name.
  • Writer Charles Grandy came up with the idea of Michael starting his own paper company.[1]
  • Andy's odd noises and accents in this episode were acting choices by Ed Helms, although the writers do pay attention to them and incorporate them into future episodes.[1]
  • According to writer Aaron Shure, Michael didn't want Dwight to join his paper company because that would discourage others from defecting. Dwight didn't want to join Michael because he has too much to lose and too little to gain by doing so.[1]
  • Aaron Shure suggested having Kelly say "We're like the Kardashians." He imagines that Kelly really does pick up her sisters from school, and then teases them about their outfits.[1]
  • Mindy Kaling wrote the line, "And just like that. As mysterious as he arrived, he was gone," intentionally referencing Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects.[1]
  • B.J. Novak wrote Toby's talking head comparing Michael to an in-flight movie. It shows that Toby doesn't view Michael as an enemy.[1]
  • Steve Carell scraped up his knees and elbows in the crawling scenes. He was offered knee and elbow pads, but he turned them down, at least for the first two takes.[1]
  • The writers were not intentionally referencing the resignation scene from Jerry Maguire in Michael and Pam's departure, but they knew that the comparisons were inevitable. Their goal was to have Michael try to recruit people to his own company in a typically-Michael dramatic way, and for Pam to be the only one to join him. They wondered if Michael should acknowledge the similarity in a talking head but time constraints led them to leave it out and just do it their own way.[1]
  • Pam's reactions to Charles rudely interrupting Michael's goodbye speech were an acting choice of Jenna Fischer.[1]
  • Pam's "Oh no" before announcing "I'm going" was intended to reflect that her decision was an impulsive one.[1]
  • At one point, there was a conversation between Pam and Jim about her decision to quit without consulting him. She brings up the fact that Jim bought a house without consulting her. The writers cut the scene because they felt it was a roundabout way of reaching the desired story result. Writer Aaron Shure felt that Jim was a supportive partner to Pam, and his easygoing personality allowed him to go along with her plan.[1]
  • It was director Paul Lieberstein's idea to have Pam and Michael walk away and slowly realize what they have done.[1]
  • Writer Aaron Shure wrote the tag the night before the script was due. He wanted Charles to make some rookie mistakes, and he found the idea of Kevin answering phones hilarious. (His second choice was Kelly.)[1]

Cultural references

  • On the couch, Michael reads "Skinny Bitch", a diet book for women which promotes a purely vegan diet.
  • Monster.com is an employment website, Michael incorrectly typed it as "monsters.com".
  • Kelly says that she and her sisters are very close, like the Kardashians. Keeping Up With The Kardashians is a reality television series about the ex-wife and children of late attorney Robert Kardashian. The show is popular among women ages 18 to 34. Kardashians are also famous for dating almost exclusively African-American men, mirroring Kelly's wish to date Charles.
  • As Michael drives away and turns the corner and parks, Oscar says, "And just like that. As mysterious as he arrived, he was gone." This parallels the final scene of The Usual Suspects: As the mysterious character of Verbal is driven away and turns the corner and parks, he says in a cutaway, "And just like that. Poof, he's gone."
  • Michael's final exit parallels the resignation scene from Jerry Maguire:[2] Michael gives a dramatic speech and tries to convince others to join him, but only one person does.
  • Pam and Michael's final scene echoes the widely-parodied conclusion of the 1967 film The Graduate. In the film, Ben barges into Elaine's wedding, and the two escape on a bus. Ben and Elaine's ecstatic smiles fade to apprehension as they sit silently. Pam and Michael’s similarly start out smiling as they walk away from Dunder Mifflin, but the smiles fade as they realize what they have done.

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Tan, Jennie. "The Office 'Two Weeks' Q&A with Aaron Shure", Office Tally blog, April 2, 2009.
  2. Greene, Alan. "Season Five." The Office: The Untold Story of the Great Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History. Dutton, 2020.
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