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File:The-office-small 9170.jpg

British Mockumentary Work Com (2001-3) in the style of a fly on the wall, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

The main setting is the administrative office of paper supplies company Wernham Hogg, presided over by Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist David Brent. His Number Two, Gareth Keenan, is an unpleasant, pathetic loser with a military obsession. The most sympathetic character is Tim Canterbury, the witty clerk (see Tough Room) whose relationship with receptionist Dawn Tinsley seems to be an example of Star-Crossed Lovers. The series was met with great critical acclaim and won several awards, hailed for its original style and subtle, insightful humour.

One inspired departure from the usual Mockumentary formula: the characters are very aware of the cameras being on them, all the time. Brent in particular is given to preening and showing off for the camera, and Gareth explicitly notes that he's only behaving a certain way because "they're filming".

An American version of this series, starring Steve Carell and John Krasinski, premiered in Spring of 2005. It started out as a fairly poor Cultural Translation (the pilot was simply the British pilot with the word "jelly" changed to "jell-o" and with 8 minutes and all of the funny cut out) but has since come into its own as it has moved away from the original's cringe-inducing awkwardness format and towards more of an absurdist style. Quite notably, the American version has focused on the rest of the office workers to a far greater degree than the original. In the UK (where it's subtitled An American Workplace to avoid confusion with the original) it has, shaky start notwithstanding, been much better received than most American remakes and become one of the most acclaimed comedies on TV today, winning accolades in particular for the performances of Carell and the rest of the cast. The US version also spawned Parks and Recreation, a Quietly Performing Sister Show set in the public sector rather than the private.

Also highly successful is the German remake Stromberg, wherein the main protagonist Bernd Stromberg (the German version of David Brent) works for an insurance company.

Came twenty-fifth in Britains Best Sitcom.


The British version provides examples of: Edit

  • Agree to Disagree: "Motivation"
  • Amusing Injuries: David Brent headbutting his new receptionist.
  • Aside Glance: Tim and David both do it constantly.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Trope Namer. The bad news is the Slough branch is being closed. The good news is that David's been promoted. The staff don't see it this way, describing it as "bad news and irrelevant news".
  • Belated Happy Ending: Tim and Dawn in the Christmas Special.
  • British Brevity: Fourteen episodes (two six-episode seasons and a concluding two-part Christmas Special). Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant felt that as it is supposed to be a 'fly on the wall' documentary (rather than a work-com) it would stretch belief that the crew are still there months or years later. This is the biggest difference between it and the American version.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • Gareth is a particularly repulsive hence spot-on example. Contrast this with his American counterpart Dwight, who is apparently quite the Kavorka Man.
    • David Brent also, particularly with his new secretary in Series 1.
  • The Cast Showoff: Ladies and gentlemen, the blues rock stylings of Ricky Gervais!
  • Christmas Episode: which was also the Grand Finale.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gareth and Keith.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Given the nature of the series, it happens with alarming regularity. However, a particularly Egregious example is when David reads John Betjeman's "Slough" at the end of "New Girl".
    • Also notable is the Training episode, where Gareth somehow misses the point of every single exercise the instructor puts the staff through.
  • Comic Role Play: The training episode! "See, I fazed you."
  • Crapsack World: One of the themes of the series was the soul-destroying nature of working in an office for a paycheck and largely watching your dreams die horribly slow and painful deaths.
    • Talented artist/receptionist Dawn wanting to be an artist, but stuck working a dead-end job with a deadbeat lover who constantly belittles her talent, because he doesn't want her to give up the paycheck that supports the two.
    • Tim, who has dreams of going to University for Psychology, ends up abandoning them when he gets promoted. Even more alarming is in his rationalization to Dawn, he starts using management speak that is very similar to how David talks.
    • Keith says his job is just a stopgap and he wants to get into music.
    • David says he could have been successful in music, but gave it up for his job at Wernam-Hogg. When he actually tries to start a musical career, it doesn't go well. Apparently the people who actually enjoy their mundane jobs are talentless hacks.
  • Cringe Comedy: And how.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tim!
  • Death Faked for You: The tech support guy, Simon, is convinced that Bruce Lee's death was a cover-up to allow him to go Deep-Cover Agent and bust up the Triads.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: David Brent is constantly doing this, as part of his chronically misfiring sense of humour. He explains other peoples' jokes too, apparently just to prove that he gets it. In one instance, where he explains a misunderstanding involving Blue Peter star Peter Purves in an instructional video, it's actually helpful for US viewers.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Failure Knight: Gareth.
  • For the Funnyz: David.
  • Happily Ever After: Mocked in an after-the-fact (out of character) documentary. Dawn and Tim's actors think the two characters will go on to happy life together, only to be shot down by Ricky Gervais, who basically says, 'Only if it's funny.'
  • In Da Club: Deconstructed in the last ten or so minutes of "New Girl".
  • Jerkass: Chris Finch and Lee. Neil is also a bit of this, albeit more subtly.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • David standing up for Gareth when Donna insults him in "The New Girl."
    • Tim agreeing to go out for a drink with David when everyone else shuns him in the Christmas special.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: David
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Handbags and Gladrags", in a version similar to the cover by Welsh rock band Stereophonics.
  • Romantic False Lead: Lee, coming between Tim and Dawn.
  • Running Gag: Keith says something grossly inappropriate, before taking a huge bite from a scotch egg.
  • Separated by a Common Language: "Because fanny means your arse over there. (Beat) Not your minge."
  • Seven Minute Lull: David gets caught in the middle of a (lame) dirty joke in the Seven Minute Lull at the end of "The Party."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Used intentionally (and hilariously).
  • Star-Making Role: Take a bow, Ricky Gervais.
  • Stylistic Suck: David Brent's music, and particularly his cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now".
  • Ted Baxter: David.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The "Training" episode ends with David singing and playing "Handbags and Gladrags".
  • Trust-Building Blunder
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: David Brent walks a fine line, as he is so pathetic that it's increasingly difficult not to sympathize him. By the Christmas Special, he borders woobie territory.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Lee's proposal to Dawn was done by way of a small piece in a newspaper.

 Dawn: I think he had to pay for it by the word because all it said was, "Lee love Dawn. Marriage?" Which...I like, because it's not every day you get something that's both romantic and thrifty.

  • What Does She See in Him?: Lee and Dawn. Although they're engaged, Lee is never shown being nice to Dawn, and is instead seen being horrible to her on several occasions. Word of God concedes this, admitting that they had originally intended to make the Tim / Dawn / Lee triangle to be more of a match of equals, but since Tim by default ended up getting more screen-time he couldn't help becoming more likeable.
  • You Look Familiar: Stephen Merchant appears twice, first as a corporate rep and second as "Oggy" - Gareth's friend.

The US version contains examples of: Edit

  • Aborted Arc: Current showrunner Paul Lieberstein has admitted that Jim's demotion back to Assistant Regional Manager, after being promoted half a season earlier was a result of poor audience response to the change and Dwight's resulting plot to seriously get him fired. This meant that the Ryan-Dwight alliance established at the end of "Scott's Tots" lead to nothing, as the Jim plot ended four episodes later.
    • Similarly season 4 was clearly setting up a Jim-yearns-for-more arc (probably to mirror the major Character Development arc Pam had gone through the year before) but the season was cut short due to the writer's strike.
    • The romance between Dwight and Isabella is another example. The last episode she appeared in left it looking like they were simpatico.
  • Above the Influence: Pam would've done anything with Jim (and even kisses him before he can react) in "The Dundies," but Jim just makes sure she gets her ride home.
    • Jim also displays this in "After Hours" when Kathy makes unwelcome advances towards him: Avoiding her, inviting Stanley to join them, tricking Dwight into the room, gently rebuffing her, and finally asking her to leave outright.
  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Jan and Michael's sexual relationship is very clearly exploitive and would easily be Dude, Not Funny if their positions were reversed. However, we really only hear his side of things, and he appears to dish out as much as he gets in "The Dinner Party." In the end, while it's played for laughs, the abuse is not portrayed as "okay". They both spar verbally, but physically Jan is shown to clearly be the aggressor, starting with "forgetting" the Safe Word and culminating with Michael declining to press charges and police advising him to leave his condo to stay with Dwight after she breaks his prized flatscreen TV with one of his Dundee in a rage.
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: The documentary format can raise the question of just how long these people are going to keep filming before they have a finished product. And if it's a TV show in-universe as well, apparently none of the characters actually watch it. Fans tend to let it go for the sake of the jokes.
  • Accidental Marriage: Angela and Andy arrange to host their wedding at Dwight's farm. During a walk through, Dwight has a local German-speaking Amish minister perform a "mock" ceremony with himself as the groom. Subverted in that, until Dwight pulled this stunt, Angela was carrying on an affair with him and had finally decided to leave Andy.
  • Actor Allusion: When Michael thinks Dwight has betrayed him to Charles (Idris Elba), he checks him for a wire in the parking lot.
    • In "Money" Creed reveals that whenever he gets into debt he dumps it all on his alter ego, "William Charles Schneider": Creed Bratton's real life birth name.
      • Furthermore, in "A Benihana Christmas", Creed can be seen singing "Spinnin' and Reelin'", a song by Creed Bratton.
      • In a deleted scene from "Booze Cruise", Creed talks about being the lead guitarist of the 1960's folk group the Grass Roots (best known for their hit "Let's Live for Today"), which Creed Bratton actually was.
    • In the season 6 Christmas episode, Michael is annoyed that Phyllis is the Santa, so he dresses up as Jesus. This is not Steve Carell's first encounter with the Lord.
    • In "Cafe Disco", Michael lip-syncs to "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)", just like Steve Carrell did during the end credits of Evan Almighty.
  • Adorkable: Holly. This is the reason why Michael falls for her despite his notable hatred of all HR people.
    • And who can forget Andy?
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Dwight doesn't care for artificial intelligences. This allows Pam and Jim to trick him into thinking the sales website server has achieved self-awareness with the intent of destroying him (in terms of sales) in one episode. There's this exchange in a later episode:

 Michael: Why do you have a diary?

Dwight: To keep secrets from my computer.

  • Alcohol Is Poison: At Pam and Jim's wedding.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Subverted when Michael is describing his love life to the office women. At first, he seems to be suggesting that he wants Jan to act this out, but she is the one demanding that he wear the uniform.
    • Practically inverted by Jim in "Booze Cruise". When it comes up that his girlfriend Katy was a high school cheerleader, he briefly doesn't believe it and overall seems to see it as a negative, in preference to Pam the "art geek". He dumps her near the end of the episode.
  • All Women Are Lustful: This is probably the most aggressive portrayal of female sexuality on network TV. Nearly every female character has had sex in the office, and many of them are quite frank about themselves in the Confession Cam.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Karen, to Michael at least ("Wow, you look very exotic. Was your dad a GI?"). Her last name (Filipelli) and dialogue suggest she is Italian-American. Rashida Jones is actually half black and half white.
  • Ambulance Chaser: When Michael thinks he's about to be sued for sexual harrassment, he hires his own attorney, who takes the opportunity to advertise directly into the camera about specializing in motorcycle and diet pill lawsuits.
  • American Accents: Several Southern accents are attempted (poorly) in "Murder." The exception was Andy, who has an uncanny knack for dialects (and is played by an actor from Georgia).
  • Amusing Injuries :
    • When Michael hurt his foot by burning it on a George Foreman grill.
    • In the same episode, Dwight crashes his car trying to rescue Michael and receives a concussion. (This alters his personality and makes him more likable to his co-workers.)
    • Erin Hannon, being attacked by her literal "Twelve Days of Christmas" gifts certainly give merit to this trope.
    • Andy tearing his scrotum. It SOUNDS funny...
    • Meredith getting bit by a rabid bat. The rabies was diagnosed... after Michael hit her with his car and cracked her pelvis.
    • Andy's doing a Parkour high jump right on top of an empty carboard box.
    • Andy's bloody nipples during the rabies fundraising race.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Oscar described Ryan's illegal maneuvering as such:

 Oscar: Ryan's big project was the website, which wasn't doing so well. So to give the impression of sales Ryan had us record sales twice; once as office sales and once as website sales. This is called misleading the shareholders. Another word for this is fraud. The real crime, I think, was the beard.

  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Inverted in the season 4 premiere, Michael describes his flaws as singing in the shower, spending too much time volunteering, and occasionally hitting someone with his car.
  • Ascended Extra: Phyllis Smith (Phyllis) was originally a casting assistant who was rewarded with a part after making a good impression at a read-through. Mindy Kaling (Kelly), a member of the show's writing staff, was pressed into service in her first appearance because the director needed an Indian actress.
  • Ascended Meme:
  • As Himself: Creed Bratton has a pretty interesting history and is basically playing an exaggerated version of himself. In episode commentary, the actors say the real Creed is just like the character, except without the "creepy" tendencies of his onscreen persona.
  • Aside Glance: Characters who are "allowed" to shoot nonplussed or aside glances at the camera tend to be the most self-aware
    • Jim usually does this several times an episode, and it has become his trademark. Dwight and Karen have both pointed it out.
    • Dwight tends to do it whenever he says something that he feels is particularly meaningful and/or insightful.
    • A rare one by Andy when he immediately realizes that the flasher's wanted poster drawn by Pam is really Dwight with a mustache.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • Megadesk.
    • This was taken Up to Eleven with Jim's Quaddesk.
  • Bacon Addiction: Michael.
  • Badass Boast: Robert California delivers one to Andy in "Turf War":

 "I will not be blackmailed by some ineffectual, priviledged, effete, soft penis'd debutante. If you wanna start a street fight with me bring it on, but you're gonna be surprised by how ugly it gets. You don't even know my real name! I'm the fucking lizard king."

  • Bad Bad Acting:
    • "Threat Level Midnight".
    • "Slum-Dunder Mifflinaire".
    • Michael's Blair Witch style new hiree introduction video.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • How Pam manages to get a new job in the office in season seven.
    • Michael goading Dwight into using the information from the notes he stole into losing his biggest client to the Michael Scott Paper Company.
  • Beach Episode: ...sort of.
  • The Beard: Oscar's Gaydar helps him to realize that Angela is The Beard for her new politician boyfriend. Pam, meanwhile, denies that this trope even exists.
  • Benevolent Boss: Michael likes to think of himself as being one of these.
    • Jo Bennett also seems to qualify.
  • Benjamin Franklin: The episode "Ben Franklin"

 Dwight: I don't care what Jim said! I am 99% sure that is NOT the real Ben Franklin. (Beat) 98% sure.

  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not pretend to fire Stanley.
    • Or actually fire Devon, particularly if Creed actually deserves to be fired.
    • If you're Pam's boss, don't date her mom.
    • Don't call Pam "Pammy."
    • Do not cut in or save a spot for anyone in line on Pretzel Day! One of the few things Michael and Stanley agree on.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Jim with Pam and Karen.
    • Also Pam with Jim and Roy.
    • Erin with Andy and Gabe.
    • In a weird way, Angela with Andy and Dwight.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Erin Hannon. Holy shit.
  • Big Applesauce: Guess where Corporate Headquarters is located?
  • Big Eater: Dwight, during a meeting with Jan he orders enough food for 2 (maybe 3) people for himself.
  • Big No:
    • Michael, after learning that Toby has returned from Costa Rica.
    • And an offscreen one when Pam learns that Michael's dating her mother. It continues through a commercial break!
  • Billing Displacement:
    • B.J. Novak as Ryan - He's in the opening titles & is on the front of the DVD packaging, but has increasingly decreased in prominence as the show has gone on. This has largely been due to the increasing role he's played behind the scenes of the show.
    • Arguably, Ed Helms' Andy as of season 8. Thanks to The Hangover movies Helms is probably the biggest "name" on the show post-Carell, and his character is now the office manager, but (perhaps for contractual reasons) he's still billed behind Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Novak. Even newcomer James Spader, whose role is only a recurring one, bests him with an And Starring credit.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jim and Pam, Michael and Holly, Andy and Erin
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Phyllis. In "Happy Hour," she revealed that she dresses provocatively in bars so her husband will beat up men who flirt with her.
    • Kathy, Pam's rarely seen/heard from replacement, as well. Apparently her goal is to seduce Jim while they are in Tallahassee.
  • Black Best Friend:
    • Subverted. Michael thinks this way about Stanley.
    • Also with Darryl, who takes it upon himself to teach Michael some "black man phrases," such as "pippity-poppity, give me the zoppity" because he "just can't help himself." He also schools Michael on the inner workings of gang warfare, such as the use of "Fluffy Fingers," in which gangs tickle one another to the point of surrender.
    • On the other hand Andy and Darryl have become best friends even depending on each other for advice and support.
  • The Blair Witch Project: Jim recalls that his induction video to Scranton was in the form of a parody of the movie.
  • Blatant Lies: Among many others, Michael's claim that when he was in college, the professors were invited to the many parties he went to. As if it weren't blatant enough already, everyone knows Michael never went to college.
    • Again Michael, this time when being counseled for the public spanking of his nephew. He was apparently probed by Alf and raised by wolves. He was twenty-five years old before he saw his first human being.
  • Board Game: An old Board Game adaptation of the CBS show Dallas is sold by Kevin to Andy in "Garage Sale", and leads to a subplot in the episode.
  • Bonus Material: There are a number of webisodes and extra scenes offered online on the NBC website or Hulu.
    • Interesting example, as deleted scenes are still considered canon by the cast and creators. This is more common now, what with the rise of "webisodes" and freely available online content, but The Office premiered at a time when deleted scenes were largely only available on DVD releases.
  • Booby Trap: When Dwight is in Tallahassee and looks like he's about to be promoted and stay, the office decides to find out what's in the box he left marked "treasure". Fearing it might be booby trapped they get the most insane person in the office(Creed) to open it. When he does the only thing that seems to be inside is a picture of everyone there. At first they're touched but then a dart suddenly shoots out and up into the ceiling. Dwight TH's innocently that he had no idea it was rigged with a poison dart!
  • Book Ends: Holly Flax first appears in the episode "Goodbye, Toby". Her last appearance (to date) is in "Goodbye, Michael".
  • Bowling for Ratings: Where Ryan is recruited for The Michael Scott Paper Company.
  • Brainless Beauty: Beautiful but dumb Erin is a textbook case. Kelly has some elements but is a bit too devious to be a genuine Brainless Beauty.
    • Earlier episodes suggest Kelly isn't as dumb as she acts, given the winks and eyebrow-raises she makes to the camera after particularly clueless statements.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: An actual food-related example with Dwight's machine during "Secret Santa."
  • Break the Cutie: Erin Hannon in "Secretary's Day." So apparently you can pretend to fire her, make fun of her behind her back, and smuggle a flock of geese into her car, but tell her that her boyfriend used to date another co-worker and you're Deader Than Dead.
    • Some of those other events did seem to upset her. But what probably sent her over the edge was that it was Angela, the antithesis of Erin.
  • Brick Joke: In "Casual Friday," Dwight sends out an innocuous looking memo with a secret message. He gleefully reveals to the camera that the invisible ink is actually urine. When Michael asks him to send a second one around, we see Dwight preparing the second memo by using Ryan's coffee mug.
    • "The Lover" has Dwight giving Jim a wooden mallard that is an Incredibly Obvious Bug. During the scene, he awkwardly returns a pen he borrowed from Jim. At the very end of the episode, by which time the mallard has been thrown away and everyone else has gone home, Dwight sneaks back into Jim's office and takes out the pen, which is his true listening device. "Do you really think I'd put my primary listening device in a wooden mallard?"
      • And then in "Scott's Tots", the pen comes back.
    • In "Traveling Salesman," there is a small bit where Dwight is doing Michael's laundry. This is a callback to when Dwight attempts to betray Michael and become the boss in the episode "The Coup".
    • In "Prince Family Paper," Michael is tasked with investigating a small, family-owned rival paper company. When the owner gives Michael a copy of his client list, Michael has an attack of conscience, realizing that this will allow Dunder-Mifflin to undercut them and drive the family out of business. Dwight has to physically wrestle the list out of Michael's hands. Several episodes later, Michael has put in his two weeks notice with Dunder-Mifflin, and tries to call Prince Paper for a job, only to be informed that DM has, in fact, run them into bankruptcy.
    • In "Ben Franklin", Ryan wants to know if the Foreman grill that Michael is grilling steaks on is the same one that he burned his foot on. Michael admits it is, but assures Ryan "I got all the foot off."
    • When recapping some of the weird people who interviewed for Michael Scott's job after Michael leaves, Jim mentions one guy who kept talking about the Finger Lakes, although the audience never saw the interview. At the end of the episode, there's a quick series of talking heads from each interviewee. The Finger Lakes guy is unexpectedly revealed. It's Jim Carrey.
    • During the women in the workplace meeting organized by Jan, each of the women is asked to list one of their strong points. Meredith mentions being very good at supplier relations. Then in the ethics meeting, she reveals she's been having sex with a supplier for months in exchange for rebates on supplies and coupons for free steak.
    • In Florida, Stanley's co-workers try to wake him up by telling him it's Pretzel Day.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Jim.
    • Once news of impending bankruptcy surfaced he matter-of-factly tells the camera that he only screws around when things are going well.
  • Broken Aesop: One of the things that Pam learns during her Character Development arc in Season Three is the importance of taking risks when you're unsatisfied with the current state of your career...except that the risks she takes, such as art school, joining the Michael Scott Paper Company, trying to be a salesperson, keep turning out not to be worth it and get her disliked by other members of the cast. She does as badly as people say she will. And with the addition of Erin, who makes the best of the receptionist job that Pam doesn't think much of it's starting to look like the best option would have been to adjust perspective on the whole thing. Arguably justified since teaching life lessons is probably way down on the show's list of priorities; it's all about comedy.
    • YMMV. This is all part and parcel with her larger lesson about taking risks, which works out pretty well for her.
    • Arguably, the old Pam wouldn't have been able to do things like con her way into her job as Office Manager without having pushed herself to go through those experiences.
  • Brother Chuck:
    • Jordan vanishes without a trace between Seasons 7 and 8, even getting a Suspiciously Similar Substitute several episodes into the next season. Danny Cordray gets one mention after his two appearances and then vanishes as well, though his absence is easily justified by the character's role as a traveling salesman.
  • Brooklyn Rage: On Pam's first day of art school in New York City, she accidentally sits in the wrong classroom. When she gets up to leave and explains herself, the Professor angrily orders her to sit back down for no reason at all.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: A variation on this trope occurs when Pam breastfeeds the wrong baby(!) while spending the night in the delivery room.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Dwight, Michael, and Jim (to a lesser extent) are only tolerated by management because of their sales records.
    • Jim's rapport with customers was implied to be the main reason Dunder Mifflin keep promoting him.
  • The Bus Came Back: For several characters. Roy, Karen, Todd Packer...one entire episode was focused on Michael revisiting all his old girlfriends.
  • Butt Monkey: Dwight, re: his relationship with Jim. Jim has next to no respect for Dwight, so Mr. Schrute routinely finds himself to be the go-to guy when Jim is bored and in a pranking mood. Dwight does, on rare occasion, get his own back.
    • Toby, and to a lesser extent Dwight, get ridiculous abuse from Michael.
    • Andy is certainly becoming this (undeservingly).
    • Gabe, in the last couple seasons.
  • The Butler Did It: Inverted by Dwight. When he ends up as the Butler character in a murder mystery dinner party game, he immediately turns into the Munchkin hardass detective and starts Perp Sweating every other character.
  • Buxom Is Better: When comparing Pam and Karen, Kevin explicitly notes that Pam has bigger breasts.
    • In that same episode ("The Job"), Jan, previously dumped by Michael on the advice of Pam and the other office women, has returned to win him back. The office women tell Michael to be strong, and he confronts Jan--only to see that she has a brand-new and very big set of breast implants. They immediately get back together.

 Michael: So, I guess we're getting back together.

Pam: What happened?

Michael: Your advice was good, but Jan's was bigger.

    • Several seasons later, Erin the new receptionist makes a new friend out of an old lady she meets in Florida. Erin tells the old lady that her boyfriend Andy rejected her, and the old lady answers with "With those gazongas?".
  • California Doubling
    • Particularly Egregious example in "Goodbye, Michael" - Deangelo and Andy are seen driving down a typical Southern California boulevard and California-style street signs are clearly visible.
  • Call Back: "Christmas Party" ends with a Minor Moment of Heartwarming when Michael is invited to drinks at Poor Richard's with his co-workers; "E-Mail Surveillance" had focused on how much everyone in the office (and even everyone in Michael's improv class) would lie to avoid Michael following them to social events outside work.
    • In season 2's "The Client", we learn Michael has written the screenplay for a film called Threat Level Midnight. The screenplay is referenced in several later episodes, and the completed movie is finally seen in the season 7 episode of the same title.
      • Though the finished movie seems to occur in a later timeline than the screenplay from season 2. In the screenplay, Catherine Zeta Jones is merely a secretary to Scarn with a Subordinate Excuse, and Scarn and Goldenface have a somewhat friendly conversation at one point. In the movie, Catherine Zeta Scarn has been murdered some time ago, by Goldenface, making him Scarn's most hated adversary.
    • In season 3's "Women's Appreciation", we learn that Creed uses the women's rest room "for number two". In season 7's "Goodbye, Michael", we see he's still doing so.
    • In season 5's "Casual Friday", Michael calls Pam into his office and tells her that she's given Ryan the sales job instead of her, then reveals that he was just kidding, and that the job is, in fact, hers. This harkens back to the pilot episode, in which he called Pam into his office and pretended to her fire her. Lampshaded when Pam admonishes Michael to stop fake-firing people.
    • In Season 7, Toby is visibly reluctant to enter the church where Cici Halpert is being baptized. At first glance, it appears he's just upset about seeing his crush's baby. But then he talking heads that "He and the big guy have a lot of catching up to do." It's actually a reference to a much earlier sequence where Toby admits dropping out of seminary to date his now ex-wife.
    • In Season 8's "Pam's Replacement", after spending the entire trying to make Jim admit that a very pregnant Pam's new replacement is hot, which included a lie detector test, they found out he has high blood pressure just like his father. This was first mention in Season's 6, "The Mafia".
    • Nellie Bertram, first seen applying for the Scranton manager position in Season 7 finale "Search Committee", pops up again in Season 8 working at the Sabre HQ in Florida.
  • Calvin Ball: When Andy, Darryl, and Kevin play the Dallas board game without any instructions to consult, the first two just make up the rules as they go, to Kevin's great displeasure.
  • The Cameo: "The Seminar" has Michael meeting his British counterpart David Brent (Ricky Gervais) outside an elevator.
    • Gervais pops up again in the "Search Committee" episode, along with Jim Carrey, Catherine Tate, Ray Romano, James Spader, Will Arnett, and Warren Buffett.
    • In "The Convention" Michael meets NFL star Jerome Bettis.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Jim and Pam are in love but can't vocalize it for the first three seasons, Andy and Erin's relationship lives off this and Michael is in love with Holly but can't say so during her relationship with AJ (which is the middle of season 5 to season 7). Toby likes Pam but never quite works up the nerve to tell her.
    • During "Casino Night", Jim tells Pam how he feels.
    • Recently, Andy has gotten over this and actually flew back to Florida when he heard that Erin was planning on staying there after the business trip was over. They have since gotten together officially and have been a couple ever since.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Michael.
    • Not necessarily. "The Client" proves that he can tell a joke pretty well(especially since it's implied that jokes are a key part of his sales pitch). Michael's problem is that he's terrible with situational jokes and coming up with his own material.
      • Not just situational. He's proven time and again that even with prepared material, he is a terrible public speaker and a horrid stand-up comedian. He can tell correctly a joke when Pam goes over it carefully (as "The Client" proves) but if he prepares his own, every characters knows that This Is Going to Suck. This is lampshaded repeatedly every time Michael opens with "Good Morning Vietnam!" which gets met with a room-wide groan.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Despite showing up a good while after Michael buys booze for the party in the Christmas episode, Todd Packer is the only one to pass out.
    • To be fair, he is somewhat implied to have been drunk upon arrival, probably from another party.
      • Probably driving himself, explaining his DWI arrest later in the series.
    • And there were twenty handles of vodka. For eleven people.
  • Captain Oblivious: Stanley tunes out everything that goes on around him. The entire office spends a cold open trying to challenge his oblivious sense and he fails to notice Kevin dressed as Phyllis, naked Andy, the fake computer monitor Jim slips on the real one, the "everyone sits backwards" meeting where Michael proclaims 8000 percent profits for the Jupiter branch, mustache Pam or Dwight's pony.

 Jim: Stanley just took a sip of my orange juice instead of his hot coffee and didn't notice, so the question begs to be asked: Is there a limit to what he won't notice?

    • Creed suffers from this as well. During a round of side betting amongst the staff, they switch Creed's apple with an old potato they found behind the fridge. Creed doesn't notice even after biting into it.
  • Car Fu: Andy does this with stealth by using his hybrid's electric engine to sneak up on Dwight and pin him to a hedge.
  • Carpet of Virility: Jim. Who knew?
  • Cast the Expert: Andy Buckley, who plays former-CFO David Wallace, is a Real Life stock-broker.
  • Cast Showoff: We get it. Ed Helms can sing. Doesn't mean he has to do it once every three episodes.
    • This really seems to come off as a parody of this trope, considering how often he does it for no particular reason and how even the rest of the cast tends to see it as extremely annoying. In one episode when Andy plays a part in a musical, Jim and Pam point out that it's enjoyable listening to him sing... in a setting that's actually appropriate for it.
    • In-universe, in Michael's movie Threat Level: Midnight, he writes the plot to center around a hockey game seemingly to give himself a chance to show off his ice skating skills.
  • Catch Phrase: Michael's "That's what she said!"
    • Dwight: "Idiot."
    • Also Michael's unconvincing deflection of "Mmmm...no." whenever someone accuses him of something that he indeed did.
  • Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: Is Hilary Swank hot or not?
  • Caught in the Rain: Jim and Pam, when he proposes.
    • Mirrored when Michael proposes to Holly while the two are being drenched by fire sprinklers. Considering there was a discussion earlier in the episode about Jim and Pam's example above, one has to wonder whether or not that was intentional.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In the season 4 episode "Money," Michael Scott critiques the film Live Free or Die Hard. In season seven, his newest hire is a hotshot traveling salesman played by Timothy Olyphant, who was the villain in that film. Speaking of Olyphant, see next entry.
    • Michael also mentions watching The Wire a season or two before they started taking notes from that show's casting director.
    • With Will Ferrell's guest run in season 7, who in the Office-verse stars in Michael's beloved A Night at the Roxbury?
    • In season 3's "Back from Vacation", everyone's making fun of Dwight for tape-recording and transcribing a meeting in Michael's absence by inventing all kinds of outlandish occurances. At one point Phyllis tells him, "Jim Carrey just walked in! Dwight, get his autograph for Michael!" Carrey appears in season 7's "Search Committee" as the Finger Lakes Guy.
    • In a deleted scene from the season 2 "Christmas Party" episode, Dwight is shown angrily firing paintballs at a poster for The 40-Year-Old Virgin featuring Steve Carell's character from that film.
    • This one will blow your mind. In Season 1 - "Diversity Day", Ryan and Jim are watching Chappelle Show on Pam's computer. Jim reluctantly agrees that the girl in the Chappelle sketch they are watching is kind of cute. Rashida Jones (aka. Karen) was a female actor used in several of Chappelle's the earlier sketches of his show. Therefore, there is a chance that Jim is actually reluctantly commenting on his attractiveness of his future-to-be reluctant girlfriend
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In "The Sting," Kelly comments that Timmy Olyphant's Danny Cordray looks a lot like Josh Duhmael. Also an Ascended Meme as this comparison comes up a lot in real life as well.
  • Chain of Corrections
  • Chandler's Law: Michael lives by this trope, and only this trope, at his improv nights. Much to the annoyance of the other performers.
  • Chaos Architecture: a minor example: right after Jim got promoted to co-regional manager, a new office appeared out of nowhere behind Creed's desk. It's Darryl's now.
  • Character Blog: Though Creed's doesn't live up to Ryan's description (see Take Our Word for It).
  • Character Development: Phyllis and Pam are quite different in later seasons than their shrinking violet behavior in the early ones.
    • Nearly the entire support cast has this. Creed went from being the quiet guy to being the weird guy. Kelly went from being the traditional Indian girl to being a cheerleader who hasn't grown up. Erin went from the oddly strict secretary to the girl who doesn't quite get it. Even Dwight's unique view of the world went from being geeky, paramilitary and a little too serious to full fledge paranoid.
    • Pam and Jim can both be argued in the sense that each started with dreams of leaving the Scranton workplace; they saw their jobs as menial, and the only thing that kept them there was each other. Now, though, all their dreams of going beyond Dunder-Mifflin have gone, and it's been hinted many times that Jim is following Michael's path to management despite his apathy for a career in paper. They're content to just stay there, although still will complain about the job often.
    • Ryan started as sort of an Only Sane Man outsider perspective character but became increasingly Jerkass as he rose in the company becoming Corrupt Corporate Executive, falling from grace, and ending up just as messed up as anyone else in the office.
    • Dwight. Going from the character everyone in the office is either annoyed or perplexed by, into...well, still perplexing, but damn golden-hearted. Also, realizing that his boss is grossly unfair to him and learning to stop hero-worshipping Michael.
  • Character Filibuster: Used in the literal sense by Dwight to stall for time at the volleyball game while waiting for Pam to get back from the ER.
  • Characterization Marches On: When he was first introduced Andy Bernard was a douchebag fratboy asshole with anger management problems and a sleazy, predatory attitude towards women. He went to an anger management class after punching a wall, but the rest of his early character does not mesh well with the later portrayal of Andy as a good-hearted, wimpy guy who wrote a response to The Vagina Monologues called "The Penis Apologies".
    • Justified as in those predatory moments, he seems to be trying to impress Jim more than anything. And his anger management training time and relationship with Angela seem to have hammered out most of the douchebag confidence he once had.
    • Mindy Kaling was originally a writer who was pressed into service in "Diversity Day" because of her Indian ethnicity. The businesslike Kelly who slaps Michael in that episode does not match up well with the flighty, shallow Kelly of later seasons (as Mindy Kaling admitted on a DVD commentary).
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: Michael puts five Golden Tickets worth 10% each off for a year's supply of paper into packs of Dunder-Mifflin paper. Unfortunately they all end up at Dunder Mifflin's biggest client, Blue Cross. Even worse, he forgets to write "one per customer" on the tickets.
    • But then after he tries to bully Dwight into taking the fall, it turns out that Blue Cross was ecstatic over the promotion and makes Dunder Mifflin its exclusive provider of office supplies out of gratitude, making it a public relations and sales bonus. So Michael tries to reclaim credit.
  • The Chew Toy: Meredith, oh Meredith...
    • Erin also plays this role sometimes, having her Twelve Days of Christmas "presents" pluck out her hair, scratching her face and attacking her in other ways. Also, while riding in a shopping cart, being pushed by Kelly, she falls out and hurts her leg while Kelly and Ryan make out.
    • Andy too, tearing his scrotum, and falling into an empty box while doing Parkour.
  • Christmas Episode: Several. So far the only seasons not to have Christmas episodes were one (only six episodes long) and four (interrupted by the 2007 writer's strike).
  • Chronic Pet Killer: Dwight Schrute.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jordan Garfield in Season 8, mirroring her rather abrupt addition to the cast in the previous season.
  • Clip Show: "The Banker."
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kelly.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dwight, sometimes Andy, occasionally Kevin, but most especially Creed.
    • Michael. For example, after pressing his face into wet cement, he beams that "in a hundred years, I'll be able to visit this spot with my great-grandchildren, and say "That's me."."
    • Erin Hannon. Her Flanderization escalated her character from simply The Ditz to a full-out example of this trope.
    • Although in the most recent season, she's actually been relegated to being more normal again.
    • Holly Flax is a somewhat milder one.
  • Cold Open
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: An inversion. Michael color-codes the back of his saleslead rolodex card entries with information about his clients. However, he admits that every color he uses is a warning to not bring up that info during a conversation with that particular client.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Michael is often guilty of this.

  "I don't care if Ryan murdered his family, he is like a son to me."

    • In "The Secret," Dwight investigates after Oscar takes a sick day. He sees Oscar get out of the car with his partner Gil, stroke his hair and...

 Dwight: I found out something very interesting about Oscar today. [beat] He was lying about being sick!

  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted in the season 7 Halloween special with Oscar complaining that the coupon book prize was stupid but he was the one to win the 15000 dollar coupon book after saying it costs more to get all the things in it. Usually in-universe with Michael's regards to Toby.
  • Concussions Get You High: Dwight starts acting uncharacteristically nice after crashing his car. The others eventually realize that he has a concussion and take him to the hospital. During this bout of identity amnesia Dwight also shows absentmindedness and compulsive behavior not unlike fictional portrayals of being high on marijuana.
  • Continuity Nod: The pilot concerned possible downsizing of the company and the inability to "justify a Scranton branch and a Stamford branch" and that one branch would incorporate the other. The downsizing remains a part of the plot for the rest of the season, but the Stamford branch is not mentioned until season three, when Jim transfers to that branch. Shortly thereafter, the Scranton branch absorbs the Stamford branch.
    • At the end of "Niagara" (Jim and Pam's wedding episode) the final shot features Pam with her head on Jim's shoulder, similar to their Sleep Cute moment way back in season 1. Not a bad day indeed.
    • In "Secret Santa," Pam asks Jim if he bought the company to save his Christmas party - he responds by promising never to buy a company without telling her first, a reference to him buying a house without telling her in Season 5.
  • Contractual Immortality: It's the only possible explanation for why Michael was never fired (or arrested); although he is known to be an extremely good salesman (and in one episode, it's alluded to that he was in fact one of the most successful salesmen in the company's history), his management skills are... inferior.
    • Nearly averted (sort of): One early-season episode specified Scranton as bottom of the heap in sales for the branches that Jan oversaw. The Scranton branch was going to get closed and Michael was going to get laid off ("Branch Closing"). It was only after Josh, the Stamford manager, took a job at Staples that Scranton absorbed Stamford. And after all that went down Scranton had absorbed Stamford's clients while keeping only two employees (Karen and Andy).
      • After Karen takes a manager job in another branch, this leaves only Andy as the extra salary, trading for Devin's QA job (fired in the first Halloween episode) to rebalance the exact payroll of the first season staff while having the client base of two branches. Maybe David Wallace should have just looked at those numbers rather than ask Michael to New York to explain how he does it.
        • However, when David Wallace is meeting with Michael about his high sales numbers, he takes a moment to specifically congratulate Michael on not losing any clients over the course of the two mergers. Wallace has not been portrayed as an idiot, so one would think that if it was just that simple, he would've connected those two dots himself.
    • Justified by the fifth season, when it's revealed that the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin is, in fact, the most successful regional branch in the company much to the utter confusion of corporate.
    • Michael has repeatedly sexually harassed his employees (particularly Ryan, Pam, Oscar, Karen, Phyllis, Angela, and Stanley via the photo of his daughter) and put them in physical danger, and almost never actually works. It was indicated that he raped Ryan. He has kidnapped a delivery boy, knocked a ladder out from under another employee, causing him serious injury, forced a kiss on an employee, and attempted to get his HR representative sent to prison. And all that was BEFORE he lost new business leads that Sabre (which is a much more serious and successful company than Dunder Mifflin) spent $50,000 on in a failed attempt to get his sales staff to stop acting up, with no later reference to it from corporate. Is a complete douchebag to everyone in the office (except Erin), especially Toby.
      • Michael and Dwight both did things which absolutely would have gotten them terminated immediately during "Stress Relief" - legitimately threatening Stanley's life. David Wallace mentions that they're "not going to just let this one slide" - and then requires Dwight to 'formally apologize,' and the whole thing is promptly forgotten.
    • Dwight has, among other things: caused another employee to have a heart attack with his "fire drill" (using arson as a learning tool), had a duel with another employee during work hours, cut the face off of a CPR dummy (which had to be replaced by the company, costing them thousands), repeatedly abandoned fellow employees at remote locations under false pretenses, and fired a gun in the office injuring Andy. He keeps all kinds of other weapons in the office (which turned out to be useful, when he stopped Roy from attacking Jim). He looked at gay porn on his computer for "research". He made Holly think that Kevin was mentally disabled, and made Erin think that the office was haunted by the ghost of a 19th Century prostitute. He talked to Toby's 5-year old daughter about Nazi's. He brought a porcupine into the office in an attempt to set Jim up to get fired. He shot Jim repeatedly with paintballs. He locked Meredith in a closet with a rabid bat. He locked Ryan in a barn, with nobody but himself and Mose. He frequently has sex with Angela in the office. He tried to ban women from wearing pants in the office. He takes pride in verbally abusing his coworkers. He would definitely be fired if he wasn't the top salesman at the company.
    • Jim and Pam spend the vast majority of their work day flirting (and the crapload of unprofessional PDA they engage in) or pranking Dwight (often in extremely disruptive ways).
      • Although they probably only do this in the first place because they know their workplace isn't exactly a "professional" one and doing well in a place like that isn't exactly going to get them anywhere career-wise. They probably just do it for kicks since it's all they've really got, and if they were working in a more normal work environment, they'd be much more professional and serious about it.
      • Pam lied her way into a job with higher pay because she wasn't a good salesman.
    • Kelly at one point faked negative customer reviews (which affect the bonuses of other employees) as revenge against Jim and Dwight for not attending one of her parties.
    • Stanley has repeatedly and openly chewed out his own boss (though at times fairly reasonably), and does crosswords on company time.
    • Toby makes little to no attempt to actually control the constant disruptions in the office. He also has a potentially unhealthy infatuation with Pam
      • Actually, "Conflict Resolution" makes it clear that the conflicts in the office would be far worse if it weren't for Toby. Obviously he has to pick his battles to some extent, and a disruption in the office that is quickly dealt with by HR wouldn't exactly make for an exciting episode, would it?
    • Creed makes no attempt to do his job at all, to the point of needing to frame another employee when an obscene watermark makes it through his quality control responsibilities.
    • Meredith is frequently drunk at the office. She sexually harasses Michael, and has had sex at least once with Creed. In addition, her casual friday outfit gave a new meaning to the word nasty (an undersized tube top and shoes, nothing else).
    • Ryan has never made a sale and rarely seems to work. (And that was after he nearly burned the building down and before he defrauded the company.) He also sexually harasses Karen, Pam, and Erin.
    • Andy is a terrible salesman who hit Dwight with his car and punched a hole in the building's wall. (Though he did go to anger management for punching the wall, and has made several efforts to improve his sales abilities, even succeeding on a few occasions.)
    • Angela has shown a pattern of disrespectful behavior to the other women in the office, calling them 'hussies' and 'whores,' and has had sex on office property during work hours. Also a total homophobe, ironic as her husband is a closeted homosexual.
    • Phyllis has blackmailed a fellow employee.
    • Gabe's treatment of both Erin and Andy during their love triangle (assaulting Andy and attempting to deny him a promotion for being interested in Erin, making harassing phone calls to Erin) qualifies him as a sexual harasser.
    • Kevin isn't as bad off as the rest but it's been suggested he's really not that great an accountant. Also, he makes sexual remarks to/about his co-workers even after attending a seminar on sexual harassment. It also doesn't help that he looks at porn during work hours on office computers. And ruined the carpet by spilling a giant tub of chili on it. And commits insider trading (and somehow never gets caught). He applied for a warehouse position, but Michael "saw potential" in him, and put him in accounting.
    • That leaves Darryl, Oscar, and Erin as the only Dunder Mifflin employees who would conceivably be employed in the real world.
      • Didn't Dwight get enough evidence to at least get Darryl in hot water with the act of defrauding the company medical insurance plan by pretending his injury was work-related when in fact the warehouse staff were using the mechanical lift as an elevator against company safety procedures?
    • Ironicly Roy might have been the most competent of them all, since his being fired made Darryl request a raise to compensate for all the extra work he has to pick up in his absence.
      • Actually, it was stated that Darryl had already been trying to get a raise, and was using Roy's firing as extra leverage.
  • Control Freak: Gabe
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: After learning that Ryan told his business class that a paper company would inevitably fail against a computer company, Michael moves his desk next to Kelly's. (Toby wonders if it was a punishment for him, as Kelly and Ryan bicker constantly).
    • And then, to punish his insubordination, Jim moves his desk into the closet between the bathrooms.
    • When Dwight insults her about her baby weight, Pam and Jim learn morse code just to tap out messages about bombs and detonators, knowing paranoid Dwight will understand them and go crazy.
    • Karen tries to annoy Jim with the squeaking of the chair that he swapped with hers. Jim responds by repeatedly singing the chorus from "Lovefool" by The Cardigans (with Andy, of course, immediately joining in). Karen is begging him to stop in seconds.
  • Cool Hat: Ryan's trillby. Where'd he get it? He'd rather not say.
  • Conservation of Competence, taken to its logical conclusion: after Jim is promoted, he becomes just as gullible and gaffe-prone as Michael, even outside of work. Heavily Lampshaded.
    • Also, when Michael takes an entry-level telemarketing job, he becomes much sharper socially and relating to people, but can't make a sale, which is basically the opposite of his qualities when he is in his manager role at Dunder Mifflin.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Steve Carell announced before Season 7 began that he would be leaving the show by the end of it, so naturally that season saw the end of several subplots that had been running for years. Michael gets closure with several former love interests, finally acknowledges that he and Ryan will never be friends, completes Threat Level Midnight, realizes Packer for the Jerk he is, etc.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Angela. She has a motherly devotion to all of her cats, sometimes bringing one into work (keeping it in her filing cabinet!), while watching the rest of them on a Nanny Cam. Kevin, Meredith, and Oscar once actually caught her grooming a cat with her tongue. Not to mention that she coughs like a cat with a hairball...
  • Crazy Prepared: Dwight stashes weapons all over the office (most notably a knife he keeps in the filing cabinet under the file "A. Knife"), and is convinced that he's prepared to survive any eventuality.

  Pam: "There are two keys to the office. Dwight has both. When I asked him what would happen if he died, Dwight answered 'If I'm dead, you've all been dead for weeks.'"

    • When Ryan rattles off a list of excuses why he can't go to Benihana with Michael (including both food allergies and having just eaten there) Jim complains that he used all the good excuses and Ryan reveals that he keeps a list of excuses on his Blackberry.
  • Credits Gag: In the episode "Michael Scott Paper Company," the title sequence switches to show scenes from the titular company, as Michael has left Dunder-Mifflin.
    • When Deangelo takes over, the scene of Michael adjusting his Dundie Award statuette in the last shot of the credits is replaced by Deangelo adjusting a strange, brightly-colored figurine of his own. When Deangelo is injured and forced to leave, it's replaced in turn with a shogun statue for Dwight and a cartoonish sumo wrestler facing its butt to the door for Creed. Andy knocks his hippy doll over in season 8
  • Cringe Comedy: Used without mercy, especially with Michael. Any time Michael is speaking in front of a large group, prepare to cringe.
    • There was a tendency to do this with Jim and Pam a lot around the period in which Jim was a co-manager alongside Michael.
  • Crossover: The cold open of the episode "The Seminar" features the historic meeting of Michael Scott and David Brent.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being...out there, Michael's branch is consistently the top in sales.
  • The Cutie: Kelly and Erin.
    • Erin far more so. She's not just cute but also extremely naive and innocent.
  • The Danza: Phyllis, Angela and Oscar. Creed may be a Danza, but lives in As Himself and Adam Westing territory.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Cryptically hinted at; "No-one steals from Creed Bratton. The last man to do that... disappeared. And that man's name was Creed Bratton!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stanley's primary role in the office. Jim and Pam frequently fill this role too.
  • Defcon Five: Michael declares DEFCON 10 and DEFCON 20 in "The Job."
  • Deleted Scene / DVD Bonus Content: A crapload of canonical, extra features, and webisodes can be found online at NBC's Office website.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Erin was an orphan and raised in a foster home. We're given hints that the experience wasn't a particularly pleasant one for her.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:

 Phyllis: Michael wasn't invited on Ryan's camping trip. Toby went, but Michael didn't go. He wasn't invited.

  • Derailed for Details: When asked which five books he would want on a deserted island, Dwight acts like a Munchkin (see below), Completely Missing the Point of the game and asking whether there is any firewood on the island or whether he lost his shoes before he got there.
  • Description Cut: In "PDA", Holly has a talking head in which she gives a description of Michael Scott basically exudes sex. As she's talking, a montage is shown of Michael being anything but sexy, culminating in a shot of him slouched in a chair with his face and bits of his suit smeared with Cheese Puff dust.
  • The Determinator: Dwight in "Tallahasee" tries to make it through a Sabre seminar even though he's in pain from an appendicitis. Later in the day he still tries to give a presentation just a few hours after having an emergency appendectomy.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Michael's knowledge on any given topic is inversely proportional to his willingness to lecture on it.
    • "There are four kinds of business: tourism, food service, railroads, and sales... and hospitals/manufacturing... and air travel."
    • When Michael correctly states that China has 56 cities with over a million residents as opposed to the United States with nine, the whole office goes crazy trying to find the exact figure. They are all stunned that he got both numbers right.
    • "We do not know how many offices are robbed every second... because there is no Wikipedia entry for office break-ins."
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's unclear exactly what happened between Jan and Michael in "The Client." Michael attempts not to talk about it to the camera the next day, then claims they went to a hotel, made out, talked, and then fell asleep. Starting with the next episode, and in numerous episodes afterward, various claims are made by Michael and through co-worker gossip.
  • Dinner and a Show: Jan and Michael's titular gathering in "Dinner Party" descends into utter chaos, with each of them berating the other and breaking their possessions, much to the simultaneous entertainment/horror of their guests.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Paul Lieberstein, 7 episodes ("Money", "Two Weeks", "Gossip", "Whistleblower", "Sex Ed", "Training Day", "The Incentive")
    • Steve Carell, 3 episodes ("Broke", "Secretary's Day", "Garage Sale")
    • B.J. Novak, 3 episodes ("Scott's Tots", "The Seminar", "The List")
    • Rainn Wilson, 2 episodes ("The Cover Up", "Classy Christmas")
    • Mindy Kaling, 2 episodes ("Body Language", "Michael's Last Dundies")
    • John Krasinski, 2 episodes ("Sabre", "Lotto")
    • Ed Helms, 1 episode ("Christmas Wishes")
    • Lieberstein has also been the showrunner since season 5, and many additional episodes have been written by various cast members.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Karen in the Stamford office in Season 3.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jim hits Dwight with a snowball. Dwight traps Jim and pelts him relentlessly with a barrage of snowballs while he's defenseless on the ground. Multiple times.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Holly, to Michael.
  • The Ditz: Kelly. Erin too, perhaps to a greater extent as she lacks the occasional flashes of manipulative cunning Kelly shows.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Michael: "If you have a problem with that, then you can talk to our complaint department." He holds up the wastebasket. Pauses for a tick... "It's a trashcan!"
    • Michael's massive ego refuses to believe he could be a bad comedian, so he assumes anyone not laughing at his jokes must probably be incapable of getting them.
    • Creed shares this trait in the NBC version of his Creed Thoughts

 Creed Thoughts - Jan 24 2012 Buying a zoo in this economy is a pretty crappy idea, but it's a lot better than buying the farm. (Cause that means you're dead).

  • Double Entendre: Michael finds it extremely hard to go all day without using "That's what she said."
    • His jokes always left Jim satisfied.
  • The Dragon: Dwight often seems to like seeing himself as this to Michael.
  • Dress Code: Averted, naturally, in the "Casual Friday" episode.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Deangelo Vickers ends up in a coma after the basketball-hoop accident in "The Inner Circle".
  • Dug in Deeper: In "Benjamin Franklin", Michael notices that his acronym for "Guys' Afternoon In" spells "gay" (sort of). Each attempt to rephrase makes it sound even more gay.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Stopped clocks are right twice a day, and even Michael Scott stumbles into some legitimate points one or twice a season. Witness:
    • His advice to Jim on the Booze Cruise: "BFD. Engaged ain't married. Never, ever, ever give up."
    • His response to Andy's anger about having told Erin about his former engagement to Angela: "You didn't tell her you were engaged to someone who sits six feet from her? That's, like, Mr. and Mrs. Smith crap."
    • His attempt (in deleted scenes) to claim that Meredith was drunk when he hit her with his car actually turns out to be a reasonable argument.
    • His speech to Stanley at the end of "Did I Stutter?", when he reasonably points out that however little Stanley thinks of him, he has to treat him with the respect due a boss.
    • Everyone attacks Michael's obsessions with the idea that Donna wants him to kiss her again, and later that she's cheating on him - both of which turn out to be correct.
    • Meta example - As it turns out, both Dwight and Michael are correct in "The Secret" to assume that Oscar is faking sick to get out of work. Dwight is just so excited about this that he misses The Reveal - that Oscar is gay.
    • When Dwight gets bad performance reviews, he's convinced that Kelly has it in for him and is falsifying his data. Jim discovers that he's right, she is sabotaging both Jim and Dwight's reviews as payback for not coming to her America's Got Talent finale party.
  • Edited for Syndication: In the TBS version of "Performance Review" Dwight wonders if the suggestion "Dont Sleep with your Boss" refers to "You boning Jan". In the syndicated version he says "You doing Jan".
  • Elevator Failure: Induced by Pam as a prank on Dwight.
  • Embarrassing Slide: Michael Scott does this intentionally to show off who he's been dating. He oversells it with a smiling "Whoops! How did that get in there?" while no one else is amused.
  • Enemy Mine: In "The Merger," Michael tries to invoke this by letting the air out of everyone's tires, blaming Vance refrigeration, but achieves it by accident when everyone realizes it was him.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Kevin thinks that mummies are fictitious monsters from the horror genre, and expresses surprise and fear when people tell him that they exist and there are some in a local museum.
  • Eureka Moment: When Pam is trying to bluff her way into an office administrator job, and Gabe is trying to call her bluff, she realizes he's incapable of actual confrontation.

 Pam: Say that I'm lying or say I have the job. Make a definitive statement, Gabe.

Pam: (in talking heads) One thing I learned from watching Tournament Poker at two in the morning: you don't play your cards, you play your opponent.

  • Even Jerk Asses Have Standards: In "Branch Closing", where Jim Halpert is disgusted at another manager's disloyalty, he admits begrudgingly, "Say what you will about Michael Scott, but he would never do that."
    • And when Toby is framed for having drugs in his desk, Michael decides it's too far when the police arrive and begin to arrest Toby, and reveals that he placed the "drugs" in the desk. It was caprese salad.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ryan apparently. Michael Scott has a sublimated crush on him, and Angela's closeted fiancee was looking at Ryan's Facebook photos at 3 in the morning. Ryan used to be squicked out by this but has slowly gotten used to it.
  • Everyone Can See It: Jim and Pam for three seasons. It's kind of hard to miss.
    • Well, unless you're Michael.
    • Or Roy. Although to be fair, Roy thought Jim was gay for a while.
  • Everything Is Worse With Bears: Dwight is well aware of this.
  • Evil Roy
  • Exact Words: When Andy asks Creed to read what it says on a chinese bottle, he does exactly that. In chinese. With no translation.
  • Executive Meddling: The reason why the pilot episode is an Americanized version of the British pilot episode.
    • Going into the 8th season, there was some meddling with Michael/Deangelo's replacement. NBC apparently wanted Catherine Tate to replace them, and James Spader to replace Jo Bennet, with more frequent appearances. Only the second one went through.
  • Extended Disarming: Played for laughs in episode "E-mail Surveillance", where Michael is made to surrender all his imaginary guns at improv class. Also the many occasions upon which Dwight is forced to surrender his in-office arsenal.
  • Eye Take
  • Face Heel Turn: Ryan's transfer to Corporate can be seen as this. While up until then he's portrayed as a sympathetic character, during the fourth season, he becomes arrogant and thoroughly unsympathetic, somewhat playing the role of Big Bad for that season.
    • Dwight's Earth Day alterego, Recyclops, in the cold opening of "Shareholders Meeting".
  • Failed Attempt At Drama: Michael as he walks to his car with Andy in "The Duel"
  • Failure Knight: Andy and Dwight.
  • Fake American: Idris Elba (Charles) is actually British.
  • Fat Idiot: Kevin.
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off: A deleted scene from Threat Level Midnight shows Michael Scarn parodying/ripping off the "Why are you still here?" scene from Ferris.
    • Also Michael's sleeping dummy with the string connecting the door to the arm so that someone entering the office triggers a snoring tape. It's not fooling Stanley who lampshades how pointless the whole scheme is anyway.

 Stanley: How is this better than you not being there?

  • Flanderization: So many. Many characters, such as Meredith and Creed, show up every episode now to make either a gross-out joke about sex and/or alcohol and a non sequitur, respectively. Perhaps the most egregious offender is Erin, though, who started off as a sweet and innocent girl, not the brightest bulb in the world, especially when it comes to older pop culture (such as not knowing who Marlon Brando is), but still competent. Nowadays, she thinks that if your boss asks you out, you have to accept, that disposable cameras are supposed to be thrown away immediately after taking a picture with them, and, when asked to follow Phyllis's lead in a conversation, takes that to mean repeat every word that she says exactly.
    • A perfect example would be Jan. In her last appearance in season 5, she sang an inappropriate song to her daughter in front of the office. Her next appearance in season 7 had her singing every other line.
    • Andy, after becoming regional manager started to come off more like Michael Scott. Then came "The Garden Party" and his actions are more understandable. Also averted since Andy's clueless (as opposed to Michael's childish buffoonery), but is capable and willing to learn. Michael would rarely defend his employees' integrity against an imposing boss as Andy did, would never go through with actually getting that tattoo as Andy did, and would never be able to handle the Darryl/warehouse situation as exceptionally as Andy did.
  • Flipping the Bird: Done regularly by various people. Always pixelated out.
  • Force Feeding: In "Ultimatum", Michael forces Kevin to eat a large piece of broccoli after he makes a New Year's resolution to eat more vegetables.
  • For the Funnyz: No matter what the situation, Michael will always try to interject, "That's what she said!"
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Pam is Melancholic, Jim is Phlegmatic, and Michael and Dwight crank up the most dysfunctional aspects of Sanguine and Choleric respectively.
  • Freak-Out: Ryan.
  • The Gambling Addict: Kevin.
  • Garage Sale: In the "Garage Sale" episode, Dwight stages one of these in the company warehouse.
  • Gary Stu: Michael's Threat Level Midnight features the very blatant "Michael Scarn".
    • In any sort of role-playing exercise, Michael will always give himself the role of "the heroic (something)" or a highly respected historical figure, especially if such roles aren't even required or can be detrimental to the entire exercise.
  • Genius Ditz: Michael Scott's knack for sales.
  • Genki Girl: Erin.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Erin Hannon and her cake.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Parodied in a recent episode where Dwight attempts to look more refined in order to get back at a store that refused to serve him. When he's trying to get opinions on how to do so, a couple people mention that he should try not wearing the glasses, at which point Dwight immediately rips off his glasses, hurls them to the floor, and stomps on them. Then a couple more people pipe up that they preferred him with the glasses. And now Dwight can't see.
    • This trope was discussed by Michael in episode "Job Fair".
  • The Glomp: Michael does this to Jim after he learns of Jim's engagement.
  • Go Look At the Distraction: "Hey, did you get a shot of Pam's art over there?"
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Ryan grows a Beard of Evil after being promoted. Michael grows one out of adulation (as Dwight does likewise for him).
  • Gone Horribly Right: Darryl's prank on Andy to convince him that Sabre printers really are catching on fire and that the company has a huge cover-up going on to prevent loss of business. When Andy's printer test does confirm that this is in fact exactly what is going on, Darryl realize that he's in over his head.
  • Gratuitous French: When tagging along to the Winnipeg business trip, Andy brushes up on his French which he practices profusely before leaving. There is virtually no one in Winnipeg who actually speaks French, most of the French-speaking Canadian population being concentrated in the eastern portion of Canada.
  • Gratuitous Japanese/Did Not Do the Research: "Sempai" (先輩) does not mean a person is an assistant (to the) sensei. It is a term of respect used to refer to a superior or person of higher rank. The title is accurate given Dwight's rather high ranking in the dojo, however.
  • Groin Attack: Andy manages to do this to himself when he tears his scrotum doing a split in "Niagara, Part 1."
  • Gun Twirling: When Dwight is told that he can't wear a gun in a holster in the office, he twirls the gun and it discharges putting a hole in the floor and deafening Andy in one ear.
  • Halloween Episode: Several.
  • A Handful for An Eye: During a prank on the Utica branch, Dwight's plan is to blow chalk dust in the guard's eyes if caught.
  • Hands Go Down: In Michael's improv class, the other students are happy to take part in a scene... until Michael is chosen to be in it.
  • Happily Married: Phyllis and Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    • Jim and Pam Halpert
    • Seems to be likely for Michael and Holly.
  • Has Two Thumbs And: Jim hates Todd Packer.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Pam and Katy, the titular Hot Girl played by Amy Adams. Subverted with Meredith; she Really Gets Around but none of the men on the show want her.
    • Erin, whom Gabe and Andy are fighting over, recently changed from to brunette to redhead. She even won the "Cutest Redhead" award at Michael's last Dundees, much to Meredith's chagrin.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The documentary film crew. They've never been seen, although there was a point where, during "Stress Relief", someone knocks down the cameraman during the fire drill.
    • They have occasionally been referenced to and in "Dunder Mifflin Infinity" Michael takes the time to rescue the cameraman from the car. They also actually affect the plot in "E-Mail Surveillance" when they help Pam try and figure out if Dwight and Angela are dating.
    • They are very good at avoiding reflections. Not once have they ever been caught in a mirror, no matter how many times they've followed a character in a bathroom or highly reflective glass.
  • Hidden Supplies: Dwight has weapons stashed all around the office. Knives in the filing cabinet (labeled under A. Knife), sais behind the water cooler, jians in the sub ceiling, blowdart gun out of the toilet tank...
    • Fridge Horror settles in after you think that while the tank of the toilet would probably have the cleanest water of the entire system and thus be safe for Dwight to touch the blowdart gun with his lips, this is the office where Todd Packer has taken a dump in the manager's office (twice with the implied incident Ed Truck recalls), so Todd Packer would probably be the type to consider it hilarious to perform an upper decker...
  • Hide Your Pregnancy
    • Angela Kinsey (who plays Angela Martin) had a baby in May 2008, forcing the writers to do this. It's noticable late in Season 4 if you notice the face of normally-superthin Angela is a little larger than usual. You also pretty much never see her from the shoulders down. It was originally intended for her pregnancy to become part of a story arc, with the baby being Dwight's. However, the Writers' Strike killed that idea.
    • Averted in Season 8, when Jenna Fischer and Pam were both pregnant.
  • His Code Name was "Marty Stu": Michael's character in his screenplay... and in his improv comedy.
  • Hollywood History: The Ben Franklin impersonator tells the girls about his key-on-a-kitestring experiment.
  • Hollywood Law (as well as Hollywood Finance): There is almost no onscreen fallout from Ryan's fraud indictment beyond him simply being fired from Dunder-Mifflin. This should have led to serious consequences for David Wallace (as his supervisor) and virtually all of the cast (who were material witnesses). However, between seasons 4 and 5 the prosecution simply evaporates and is barely mentioned again. This is partially an aversion of Cerebus Syndrome and partially a Rule of Funny, but it's jarring nonetheless.
    • Michael spanking his nephew, while constituting assault in a legal sense, is brushed off in exchange of a mere 6 hours of counseling which he burns off in a single sitting with Toby (arguably worse than a real court imposed sentence, seeing how this is Michael and he despises Toby)
  • Hope Spot: There are a number of scenes in which it seems like Michael is finally being mature for once, only for him to turn it completely around seconds later. For example, his improv class where it briefly looks like he finally abandon Chandler's Law for a bit, only for him to attempt to hold his acting partner at imaginary gunpoint in secret. Another is when it sounds like he's expressing confidence in Angela's party-planning abilities by asking her "Who else could do this?", only for him to point out in his next breath that it wasn't a rhetorical question.
    • A different example is in the beginning of the "Classy Christmas" two-parter, where Michael goes around making a concerted effort to make sure that no one had any latent issues or emotional baggage to bring to the ensuing Christmas party, with even Stanley being genuinely cheerful for once. It seems like there's going to be a Christmas party without any crazy drama this time... and then Michael finds out that Holly's coming back. He promptly throws out everything for the Christmas party that was about to happen, and sets up a new one that goes to Hell in a hand basket faster than you can say "Scranton Strangler".
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Michael...
    • Michael does have one instance of being an excellent judge of character. When choosing who should get a sales position between Ryan and Pam, Michael wants to give the job to Ryan because Pam doesn't follow through. He eventually gives Pam the job, but sure enough, Pam tricks her way into becoming an office administrator because she can't handle being a saleswoman.
      • On the other hand, Ryan had already proven to be a lousy salesman, so that was kind of a lose-lose decision either way. In addition, Pam's actions could be interpreted as going to the effort of finding an important yet unfilled position that she could do, rather than sticking to a job in which she'll be contributing pretty much nothing to the company, something that Ryan has yet to even attempt.
      • Michael keeps insisting on bringing in Ryan back, so it's his own fault for setting that up in the first place.
  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Jan when she was a Dunder Mifflin executive. Pam when she becomes a salesperson.
    • Don't forget Karen. Lampshaded when Michael suggests she invest in a dress or skirt for Phyllis's wedding.
    • Jo Benett's suit certainly qualifies, and she terrorizes everyone into the late night overtime on St-Patrick's day.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Dwight and Angela.
  • Hypocrite: Angela openly mocks the other female employees for being "too whoreish" and such, but she has affairs with Dwight and Andy (at the same time!).
    • And in one episode, she implies that this wasn't even the first time she's pulled this.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Michael dates Pam's mother for awhile, much to Pam's chagrin.
  • Idiot Ball: Jim picks up the idiot ball when he becomes a manager, ultimately culminating with him outing Pam's pregnancy to her overly-traditional grandmother.
    • Being a manager or higher-up at DM in general seems to make someone an easier target for having the idiot ball lobbed at them.
  • Idiot Houdini: Michael has incredibly poor judgment, even considering his skill as a salesman, it's surprising he's as successful as he is.
    • Michael also provides a literal example when he tries the straightjacket escape trick.

 Michael: (in talking heads, still in straightjacket and hair is a mess) On a related topic, if anyone has found a small brass key...

  • Idiot Savant: Michael is shown to be an extremely talented salesman, which is odd given his utter lack of social skills in all other situations. His existence as an office manager is a critique of how offices will always promote someone one level above their best level of competency.
  • If It's You It's Okay: Michael seems to feel this way about Ryan.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Michael loves this trope, especially when it's inappropriate.
    • Phyllis' wedding to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration-

 Michael: If you lay a finger on Phyllis, I'll kill you.

Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration: If you lay a finger on Phyllis, I'll kill you."

    • After Stanley accepts a job at Karen's Utica branch.

  Michael: "If you so much as harm a hair on Stanley's head, we'll burn Utica to the ground."

    • Micheal to Gabe about Erin after the Glee party.
  • I Have Boobs - You Must Obey!: Jan played this quite obviously with Michael. Michael was equally obvious about the effect it had on him.
  • The Informant: Andy is this is when it is revealed in "Whistleblower" that he is the one who leaked to the press that the Sabre printers Dunder-Mifflin are selling are prone to catching on fire. He becomes the office pariah afterwards. Which kind of sucks, considering that there were three other whistleblowers in the office as well.
  • Informed Ability: Despite Michael being a very poor manager, and the office staff slacking off constantly the Scranton Branch is the most successful branch. Even David Wallace and other leadership is baffled by this.
    • Also Dwight Schrute is hailed as their number one salesman and apparently has the numbers to back it up, early in the show he wins an award. Yet whenever we see him at a meeting or over the phone, his usual abrasive and arrogant nature persists and drive away the sale. This is especially obvious in the episode where he quits and goes to work for Staples. He immediately breaks records by selling two printers in his first day (off screen) but when we see him, he's chasing off a customer by insulting their printer paper choice. In contrast Michael, likewise touted as an excellent salesman, has been repeatedly shown winning over customers on-screen.
      • Ultimately, it probably comes down to the makers of the documentary obeying the Rule of Funny. Dwight's persistence likely gets him plenty of sales, but why waste time showing those (the exception being when it becomes especially ridiculous, like when he forces Andy to sell him his car by repeatedly counting down to zero and saying "NOW!" over and over. This likely doesn't work on anyone but Andy)? He's often shown talking normally to clients over the phone (usually right before Jim interrupts him with a prank), but when he goes too far, that's when they put it in the episode.
    • Word of God says that the UK show's idiots had to actually be good at their jobs for the transition to a US audience to work; it's a fair bit easier to get fired in America. However, Dwight is just a freak...basically They Just Didn't Care.
      • Well it may be that Dwight makes up for chasing off customers with an equal amount of scary "I will skin you alive if you don't buy from me" looks he gives other ones.
      • It's also worth noting that in many cases where Dwight is apparently being rude to a customer, he is distressed by something else that is going on.
      • Certain sales prospects actually respond favorably to an aggressive sales pitch; some people apparently need to be bullied into making a decision. Dwight also has some clever tricks, such as calling up the company's biggest competitor and letting the "on hold music" play throughout a sales presentation, to prove that Dunder Mifflin has better customer service.
      • There's also the simple fact that Dwight is ridiculously dedicated.
      • When Jim helps Dwight get over Angela announcing her engagement to Andy, we see regular dedicated Dwight get back on the phone and make a sales call where he is courteous, efficient and clearly this is the Dwight we don't normally see that gets the highest Dunder-Mifflin sales numbers year after year.
  • Insistent Terminology: Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    • "So, uh, what line of work are you in, Bob?"
    • Dwight's "Assistant Regional Manager" and Pam and Jim's correction of "Assistant to the Regional Manager" which is the correct, if unofficial, title.
      • Dwight's position at his karate dojo:

 Dwight: A Sempai is the assistant Sensei.

Jim: Assistant to the Sensei.

 Michael: [scoffing] I know a ton of 14-year-old girls who could kick his ass.

Jim: You know a ton of 14-year-old girls?

  • Ironic Echo: Judging from a remark during Jim's interview, David Wallace apparently has the same relationship with Corporate's HR officer Kendel that Michael has with Toby.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Ryan's photography
    • A photo of a topless Kelly:

 Explicit? Indecent? Erotic? Or commentary about the way in which women are treated in the workplace? Here's a woman, hard at work, pulled herself up by the bootstraps despite her ethnic heritage, but all you see is that she's topless. It's sad, but the saddest part is that the woman was willing to pose for this photograph without a single question as to the artist's intent. What happened to integrity?

    • Also comes up in one of the deleted scenes from the episode "Goodbye Michael" when Michael catches one of his employees with some erotic drawings:

  Stanley: It's called Hentai... and it's art.

  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Averted with Ryan: "Maybe we weren't right together, but...it's weird. I'd rather she(Kelly) be alone than with somebody. Is that love?"
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Averted. Andy went to Cornell, but it was because his dad is filthy rich and made a donation to the university. Ryan appears to have gone to Dartmouth, but the rest of the cast doesn't really seem the Ivy League type; Michael is specifically mentioned as not having gone to college at all.
    • The ironic praise of Cornell within the show is probably born of the Ivy league grads working on the show; developer of the American version of the show, Greg Daniels, is a Harvard grad, as is B.J. Novak (writer and actor). Actor John Krasinski (Brown alum), writer/actress Mindy Kaling (Dartmouth), and actress Ellie Kemper (Princeton) also play less elite characters.
    • I don't know about his undergrad, but at least for his MNB, Word of God has Ryan graduating from the Kania School of Management at the U of Scranton.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Jim's plan to celebrate all the office birthdays on one day.
  • The Jack Benny Show: While demonstrating his wooden train whistle to one of the young visitors, Michael references the show.

 Michael: Train leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc...camunda!

  • Jerkass: A lot of people at various times, but especially Dwight, Angela, and, less consistently, Michael.
    • Todd Packer does not have a single redeeming characteristic.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Michael Scott. He may be a Jerkass, but when you consider his horrid relationship with the bitchy Jan and his depression after his roast over how much fun he'd have instead of what really happens at a roast and his short lived romance with Holly and he stil holds a torch for her. Also in general his lack of social skills can be a downer sometimes.
    • Even further than that, throughout the show, it's clear that most of Michael's decisions (becoming a salesman being a big one) are made with the intent of either making friends or finding romance. Unfortunately, failure seems to be the only option for him, as bad luck tends to break up any chance at either that Michael's own thoughtlessness, childishness, oblivity, or generally self-centered nature doesn't drive away first. It gets really woobieish at the brief points where Michael actually realizes this, such as in "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day".
      • The "Fundle Bundle" tape with young Michael qualifies as Mood Whiplash.
    • Pam's this way now. Interesting in that she started off as the Woobie, and developed Jerkass tendencies. Examples include: Mocking how the senator proposed to Angela; Manipulating Dwight, claiming they've been great friends when she knows that's not true, so that he can take care of her daughter for a night, so she (Pam) could sleep; Lying and manipulating her way into a nonexistent job where she created her own higher salary because she couldn't cut it as a salesman.
      • Don't forget she also considers half of the people in the office losers. Though that might be because she was being moody from her pregnancy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Andy, who was initially introduced as a overconfident sycophant with rage issues has evolved into one of these. He's still largely clueless but seems like a nice enough guy.
    • Jim as well. Most of his pranks on Dwight are genuinely mean-spirited, but most would agree he's a nice guy.
      • Lampshaded in one episode where several of said pranks are mentioned in quick succession; Jim himself notes that they don't sound nearly as funny that way.
    • Dwight fits this now as well. Though his compassion isn't seen by any characters (just the audience), its effects are obvious.
      • When Pam is at the hospital giving birth, Dwight comes by her house to look for Pam's iPod at her request. He notices mold under the kitchen sink and spends the next few days rebuilding the entire kitchen of his own initiative.
    • Michael goes back and forth between this and regular ol' Jerkass depending on the episode or the season. Much more likely to be a complete Jerkass in earlier episodes. He seems even worse during the co-managers period and early Sabre buyout.
    • Roy was a Jerk Jock for the first two seasons but showed a softer side throughout season three when he tries to get back with Pam and even apologizes for trying to beat up Jim when he learned he kissed her.
  • Kavorka Man: Dwight, who manages a one night stand with one of Pam's friends at her and Jim's wedding and handles it with a level of expertise that suggests experience in the field and when Pam's friend approaches Dwight at the wedding, he's doing well while chatting with another girl. He also appears on the verge of picking up at least one girl in a club in NYC, but he abruptly runs off to help Michael without a second thought. He also brings a woman to Michael's dinner party, when Jim learns that she was his babysitter, Dwight cuts them off with:

  Dwight: "It's purely carnal, and that's all you need to know."

    • And this is despite having to have Toby explain female anatomy to him in the "Sexual Harrassment" episode.
      • Then again, it was only after that episode that he started dating Angela and becoming more successful so perhaps Toby's lecture helped him out more than we realize.
    • Todd Packer. However, since all the information we have about his conquests come from Michael or himself, it might be an Informed Ability.
      • Or possibly he just made it all up. There is no evidence to support any of it, and his seduction technique when shown onscreen is less than stellar.
  • Kick the Dog: Jim's getting a few of late, like trying to give bonuses to the sales department without considering that it looks like a transparent attempt to reward his wife, or moving specifically to allow Michael to fall into a fish pond.
    • In "Casual Friday" the Dunder Mifflin salespeople are presented as the victims with right on their side and the opposing Michael Scott Paper Company employees are presented as the ones in the wrong, which is exactly the case. Then Michael, Pam and Ryan took Dwight, Andy, Phylis and Stanley's lunches out of the fridge and ate them in front of them...in revenge for nothing more than saying very true things about them in a secret meeting in the warehouse.
      • And then lying to him about it.
    • In the pilot, Michael fires Pam as a practical joke, making her cry.
      • Michael really needs to stop fake-firing people.
    • Pam's getting in on these now: Mocking how the senator proposed to Angela; Manipulating Dwight, claiming they've been great friends when she knows that's not true, so that he can take care of her daughter for a night, so she (Pam) could sleep; Lying her way into a nonexistent job where she created her own higher salary because she couldn't cut it as a salesman.
      • In fairness, the Office Administrator job wasn't nonexistent so much as it was simply unfilled, and she did check with Oscar to make sure her salary was reasonable; thus far, she has been shown to take it seriously. As for Dwight, they may not be great friends, but considering such times as Dwight's breakup with Angela and when Dwight almost takes over the office in "The Job", she probably cares about and respects him more than just about anyone else in the Office. And Angela, can you really blame Pam considering how Angela regularly treats her?
    • Andy in "The Garden Party." He threw the aforementioned party to get a So Proud of You from his father, and is instead belittled by him and just about everybody else.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Like a bad penny, the obnoxious womanizing pea-brained Jerkass Todd Packer turns up once again, Only to be the Sacrificial Lamb when Robert torpedoes the retail store initiative.
  • Kubrick Stare: Dwight in episode "E-mail Surveillance".
  • Lady Drunk: Meredith
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Done to get Michael, Dwight, and Ryan into a club.
  • Lame Excuse: "Ryan's... um... dead."
    • "He's in the shower."
    • Inverted (arguably) with Michael's excuse of "trapped in an oil painting".
    • "I was never given a name." Why didn't he just hang up?
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Aside from a majority of Michael's dialogue, at the "Charity" Auction, where employees offer up a particular skill, the card with Creed's contribution just says... Creed.

 That's all inclusive [wink]

  • Lampshade Hanging / Medium Awareness: Well, of course, given that this is supposed to be a documentary. But, apart from the omnipresent "character talking head" moments, we occasionally get subtler instances of this. One of the more notable examples: Prior to getting on the plane in his last episode, Michael asks the unseen videographers, "Hey, will you guys let me know if this ever airs?"

  (removing a microphone pack from under his jacket) "It's gonna feel so good getting this thing off my chest." (inaudibly mouthing to the camera) "That's What She Said."

    • Earlier in the "Goodbye, Michael" episode, a jealous Gabe confronts Andy in the restroom and threatens to make him regret it if he goes near Erin. After Gabe leaves, Jim exits one of the stalls, having apparently heard everything. Cut to a talking head segment with Jim where we expect to hear his opinion on the Gabe/Andy thing. Instead, Jim asks if they're really filming people in the bathroom now.
  • Large Ham Title: "Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration" (who even has the second part used at his wedding).
  • Last-Episode New Character: Robert California is introduced in the season 7 finale.
  • Lawful Stupid: Dwight would make an excellent Paladin.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the UK version.
    • Not always. The Season four episode "Dinner Party" was very, very dark for US network TV and Jan's relationship with Micheal got dark quickly.
  • Like a Weasel: Andy in season three.
  • Literal Metaphor: "Gay Witch Hunt".

 Toby: Oscar’s really gay.

Michael: Exactly.

Toby: I mean for real.

Michael: Yeah, I know.

Toby: No, he’s attracted to other men.

Michael: Okay, little too far, crossed the line.

Toby: Okay, I am telling you Oscar is an actual homosexual.

  • Living Prop: A number of the minor characters in the early episodes, especially the pilot, before they were really fleshed out. Most of the background cast from the different branches and the warehouse still qualify.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • You Fail Logic Forever: After Meredith is hospitalized (Michael hit her with his car), Angela's cat dies (Dwight murdered it because it was "weak"), and Pam's computer crashes (she was downloading porn), Michael comes to the honest conclusion that Toby is Satan, and has placed a curse upon The Office.
    • It's pretty safe to say that 90-99% of Michael's thought process falls under this trope.

 Jim: I've been studying Michael for years and I've condensed what I've learned into this chart. (holds up pie chart) "How Michael Spends His Time." You can see we have "procrastinating," and "distracting others," and this tiny sliver here, (points to a pencil thick line) is "critical thinking." I made it bigger. So that you could see it.

 Dwight: Jim is my enemy. But it turns out that Jim is also his own worst enemy. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So Jim...is actually my friend. ...But. Because he is his own worst enemy, the enemy of my friend is my enemy, so actually Jim is my enemy... But.

  • Lonely At the Top: Jim felt it during his stint as manager.
    • We got hints that Darryl got a bit of this after being moved from the warehouse to the office.
    • This was also Jan's problem early on, leading her to finally settle for Michael.
    • Michael himself may suffer from this a bit, making him even more desperate to be friends with his employees.
    • Ed Truck tells Michael that this is to be expected, because he will always be seen as a manager first by his employees. Michael could have prevented a lot of suffering to himself and the Office if he'd listened.
  • Lord Error-Prone: If corporate executives are modern aristocrats, then Michael fits this one to a T.
  • Loud of War: Jim steals Karen's desk chair because his squeaks. So Karen (not realizing who she's dealing with) tries to get back at him by squeaking the chair. He sings the chorus for "Lovefool" by The Cardigans repeatedly to get it stuck in her head. She's begging him to stop in seconds.
  • Love Triangle: Oh boy...Andy/Erin/Gabe, Jim/Pam/Roy, Pam/Jim/Karen, Dwight/Angela/Andy, Jan/Michael/Carol, Jan/Michael/Holly, Michael/Holly/AJ, Ryan/Kelly/Darryl, Toby/Pam/Jim, Dwight/Erin/Andy (for one episode), Angela/Dwight/Isabel.
    • Mocked in "The Duel":

 Angela: "My worst breakup was actually two breakups. Two different men. I was in love with both of them and when things went bad they had a duel over me."

Oscar: "Yeah, Dwight and Andy. We were here."

Angela: "No, this was years ago when I was living in Ohio. John Mark and John David."

Oscar: "Angela, you had two sets of different men actually duel over you?"

 Pam: That's as close as I ever want to get to being Pamela Anderson.

    • But when marrying Jim, she's more than happy to change it, and Squees with delight when Kevin hands her a check made out to "Mrs. Pam Halpert".
  • Man Vs Machine: In "Launch Party" Dwight tries to outsell the Dunder Mifflin website. He does.
  • Marathon Running: When cable channel TBS secured the rerun rights to the show, they made a habit of airing four or six episodes in a row one day a week, instead of one episode a day. This lead to a lampshading on an episode of Futurama... the Planet Express ship is converted to a passenger ship. When one passenger gets upset at the inflight entertainment provided by Dr Zoiberg, she yells "Turn down the lights and put on four episodes of The Office!"
    • That joke could also reflect the fact that many airlines show Office episodes as in-flight entertainment.
  • Man Child: Michael most often comes across as this.
    • Kevin perhaps more so. Holly mistook him for a mentally handicapped person after Dwight told her that Kevin was hired under from a work program for the mentally challenged.
  • Meaningful Echo: Michael gets fired from Dunder-Mifflin for trying to found the Michael Scott Paper Company under their nose. When he tries to give one last speech, Charles cuts him off with "No, no. You're done." When Michael forces Dunder-Mifflin's hand to get re-hired, Charles tries to give one last speech and Michael cuts him off with the same phrase.
  • Meganekko: Erin, when Dwight has her wear glasses and pretend to be a hipster to get a line started at the first Sabre store in Tallahassee.
    • Also Pam when she forgets her contact lenses and has to wear her glasses to work.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Played straight by the ones who like sports, Jim (his short-lived Finer Things membership), Roy (his comments at the art gallery, though he did try), and Kevin (he takes the life-size picture of Jan because he "[does]n't have a lot of art.") Subverted by Toby and Oscar in the Finer Things club, and Oscar and Gil at Pam's art exhibit. Andy also subverts it (knowledgeably critiquing an opera among other instances), presumably because of his upbringing. Gabe appears to be something of a Movie Buff, albeit with a decided preference for horror flicks.

  Oscar: Besides having sex with men, I would say that the Finer Things Club is the gayest thing about me.

  • Metaphorgotten: Michael does this all the time. For example: "What happens to a company if somebody takes a boss away? It's like what happens to a chicken when you take its head away. It dies... unless you find a new head. I need to see which one of these people have the skills to be a chicken head."
    • "Business is like a jungle. And I am like a tiger, and Dwight is like a monkey that stabs the tiger in the back with a stick. Does the tiger fire the monkey? Does the tiger transfer the monkey to another branch? ...Pun! There is no way of knowing what goes on inside the tiger's head. We don't have the technology."
    • "So Ryan got promoted to corporate, where he is a little fish in a big pond. Whereas back here in Scranton, I am still top dog in a fairly large pond. So who is the real boss? The dog or a fish?"
    • "At first, we were talking about introducing a line of toilet paper. And what part of the human body does one use toilet paper upon? So you draw a line from there to the other planets, and I think by the end, we learned a little bit about how small we are."
  • Mexican Standoff: With fingerguns/fingercross-bows at the end of "Murder." Naturally, it ends in a Blast Out.
  • Mockumentary
  • Munchkin: Dwight pretty much applies this philosophy to everything including secret santa.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: (From Michael's final episode) The Dream Team! ...And Meredith.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Hey, Big Tuna!
    • (Similarly... "D! W! I! G! H! T!")
  • My Own Private I Do: Jim and Pam, of the 'Plan First, Then Elope' variety, coupled with a Married At Sea.
  • Mythology Gag: In "Whistleblower", we learn that Dunder Mifflin's address is 1725 Slough Avenue. The fictional Scranton street is a nod to the UK show's setting of Slough, England.
    • Ricky Gervais' cameos as David Brent in "The Seminar" and "Search Committee".
    • In "Dwight Shrute, Acting Manager," Dwight begins wearing a six-shooter in a hip holster. Phyllis suggests that he carry his cell phone in it instead. Dwight's spiritual predecessor, Gareth, carried his cell phone in a shoulder holster.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Angela, of all people, during "Costume Contest."
  • Nazi Grandpa: Dwight alludes to this more than once.

 Dwight: My grandpa Manheim is 103, and still puttering around in Argentina. I tried to go visit him once, but my travel visa was protested by the Shoah Foundation.

Dwight: My maternal grandfather was the toughest guy I ever knew. World War Two veteran, killed twenty men and spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp.

  • Nepotism: In the episode of the same name (season seven premiere), the new office assistant is shown to be too apathetic to do any work right, and it turns out he was hired because he was Michael's nephew whom he was trying to reconnect with. But the rest of the office can't stand him, which eventually leads to Michael reaching his breaking point and abruptly spanking him, at which point he leaves.
  • Nice Hat: Kevin has a stylish fedora that turns up from time to time, first seen when he gets his picture taken for his ID badge in season 2.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Andy and Angela
  • No Bisexuals: The instant the members of the office find evidence that Angela's senator boyfriend is attracted to men, they conclude that he's purely gay and his relationship with Angela is a sham. The possibility of bisexuality is never even mentioned.
  • Noob: Jim, at Call of Duty. It makes Josh and Andy crazy.

  You don't snipe on Carentan!

  Jim: It's about this guy named Dumbledore Calrissian who has to return a ring to Mordor.

  • Non Sequitur: Basically anything Creed says or does.
  • Noodle Incident: In the Christmas episode, Jim intends to give Pam a teapot filled with several mementos linked to inside jokes the two of them share. After explaining the stories for a couple of the items, Jim pulls out an unsharpened pencil, and simply states that "'it would take too long to explain."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Pam occasionally takes pity on Michael and reaches out to him as a friend. He invariably repays her by doing or saying something characteristically inappropriate, and sometimes getting the both of them into trouble.
    • Pam is constantly on the receiving end of this. On many occasions, she makes an attempt to do something nice or otherwise helpful for the office, only for it to be either ignored, taken as an opportunity to mock her, or thrown back in her face.
  • No Such Thing as HR: Technically there is in the form of Toby and Holly, but in keeping with the theme of the show, they're pretty useless at resolving the office hijinks.
    • It's suggested in one episode that Toby is actually good at keeping the internal office conflicts to a dull roar. Unfortunately when Michael finds this out he decides they need to be fixed HIS way, which ends up making many of them worse.
  • Not So Harmless/The Dog Bites Back: Phyllis has been blackmailing Angela into letting her run the party comittee. When Angela gets fed up with her abuse...

 Angela: Shut up.

Phyllis: Excuse me?

Angela: I'm not moving the tree. Face it. The only power you have over me is this big secret that I know you're not going to tell. And you want to know how I know that? Because then you won't be able to plan your stupid, tacky parties anymore. So you move the tree.

Phyllis: Okay. [starts to walk away, then turns around] Angela's having sex with Dwight! I caught them doing it after Toby's going away party!

  • Number Two
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: One of the workers is flashed by a pervert. Pam is asked to draw up a description of the man in order to make wanted posters. Pam ends up drawing Dwight with a moustache and asks him to put the posters up. Dwight does so, even mentioning happily that he wants the "pervert" to be caught.
  • Oblivious to Love: Subverted. Although it was never explicitly stated until Jim and Pam's other relationships ended and they had to deal with the situation, Pam gave very subtle indications that she was aware of Jim's feelings, but didn't want to deal with the situation.
    • It's not clear if she's on to Toby, however.
    • Erin and Andy might count as this. They clearly know that there's an attraction between the two, but are both terrified that the feelings are one way, so neither one of them is willing to make a move.
      • Erin is also completely oblivious to her foster brother.
  • Odd Friendship: While in no way blind to his faults Pam has a definite soft spot for Michael that seems to go beyond the pity Jim feels for him (though pity is clearly a part of it). She followed him into the Michael Scott Paper Company and tried to set him up with a friend on two different occasions. They had a huge falling out when he began seeing her mother but Pam seems to have forgiven him.
  • Office, The.
  • Office Sports: A whole Olympics in fact.
  • Oh Crap: Jim has some good ones, given his tendency to look into the camera frequently. Probably his best ones are when his pranks cause Andy to lose his temper.
    • Also when Jim is wearing the tuxedo and hears that Charles is visiting that day.
    • Kevin gets a moment when he talks with the identity theft department for Jim's credit card, while Jim's on his honeymoon.
      • And on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, where he talks to the camera about how he has to make sure none of the young girls see the porn on his computer, then realizes they could be doing that right now.
    • Vikram realising that joining the Michael Scott Paper Company was probably a mistake.

 Vikram: What kind of name is Nana?

Pam: It means grandmother.

Vikram: Oh sweet Jesus.

    • You can see the tiniest glimmer of Oh Crap in Stanley's eyes in Did I Stutter when Michael orders everyone but him out of the office (before Michael bursts into tears).
    • Jim realizing that he had to resolve the conflict between Dwight and Andy after they challenged each other to a duel over Angela.

 Jim: (to the camera) I have two choices. I could get more involved. Or I could just take the afternoon off. Leaving Dwight in charge. Oh god.

    • At the end of "Goodbye, Michael" there was a rare moment where Jim & Dwight share this reaction, as Deangelo starts screaming at a cake.

 Dwight: Uh-oh.

[Jim mournfully nods in agreement]

    • After Michael leaves, Jim turns down an offer at being Acting Manager. A minute later Dwight's phone rings and Dwight accepts the offer. Jim is speechless that he did not see that coming while Pam is much more vocal.

  Pam: What have you done?!

    • During one of Pam's interviews when she realizes a concussion has made Dwight her friend.
  • One-Scene Wonder: In-universe example. Karen's role as the slutty cheerleader in Threat Level Midnight. She seems pissed off that the documentary crew tracked her down years later for that one bad line of dialogue.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted and then exploited by Kelly the CSR. She has a crush on Charles, so she hangs out near his office in the hopes that he will call for Kelly the receptionist. She then runs in and says "Charles, you wanted me?" in the hopes that it will subliminally make it so.
    • Then played invoked by Charles when he decides to avert Kelly's aversion by calling the other Kelly by her middle name, Erin, which sticks well enough that it's hard to remember it's not actually her real first name.
      • Actually, Charles wanted to call them Kelly and Kapoor, but Erin requested the name change to her middle name. Apparently she always wanted to.
    • We now have Robert California and Robert Lipton.
  • Only Sane Man: Jim, of course.
    • No longer the case as most of the other characters are built up and believable enough that the need for a sane man is all but gone. That the writers are still trying to make Jim seem like this (count how many times the camera zooms in on Jim giving his "look") actually makes him seem arrogant.
    • But if there is one, it's probably Darryl--he manages to maintain an observer status in most of the insane office hijinks.

 Phyllis: Darryl's the coolest kid in school.

Stanley: It used to be Jim. It hasn't been Jim in a looong time.

    • Ryan, in the early seasons.
    • Toby, albeit an excessively hapless one.
    • Oscar and Pam also have traits. Oscar once points out that with Jim and Pam gone, he feels that the crazies are out numbering him, and actually tries to convince Jim and Pam to cut their honeymoon short to support him.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Apparently Erin went through one bad enough in a foster home that she refers to hiding behind her hair whenever she's upset as her room.
  • The Other Darrin: Two different actresses have played Pam's mom.
  • The Other Wiki: "The best thing ever," according to Michael.
    • In one episode, Phyllis uses it to obtain advice on dealing with difficult people(i.e. Angela). Angela proved too much for any of the methods obtained this way.
  • Out of Focus: Ryan. He might remain in the opening credits but he is clearly a less prominent character than Andy these days.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Jim turns into this when Pam goes into labor in "The Delivery."
    • Although, to be fair, he didn't start panicking until she refused to go to the hospital even when her contractions were getting close together.
  • Parental Substitute: Michael learns Erin, an orphan, thinks of him as a father figure in "Viewing Party."
  • Le Parkour: Mocked in the season six premiere, when Andy, Dwight, and Michael "parkour" through the office. It's basically them jumping on furniture and kicking things over while shouting "parkour!"
  • Party Scheduling Gambit: In "A Benihana Christmas" Angela's overbearing unpleasantness as head of the Party Planning Committee lead Karen and Pam to form the Committee for Planning Parties and plan a more fun party.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: The server password bigboobz is figured out when Michael recalls that when the IT guy told it to him, Michael laughed, but Pam got upset.
  • The Peter Principle: Michael is the living embodiment of this. He used to be a great salesman; because of this, he was promoted, and ended up in a position for which he's absolutely unqualified.
  • Pet the Dog: Michael and Dwight get these moments every now and then, in order to balance out their Jerkass personalities. And everyone in the office has had at least one, except for Creed.
  • Pixellation: Used to hilarious effect in Benjamin Franklin, when Michael visits a sex shop and everything in the background is pixellated.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Jan, Ryan, Charles, Deangelo. Double subverted with Michael. He seems like this at first, but it's later made clear that he's not only a very good salesman, he's the best salesman in the company's history. It is then almost immediately made obvious that, despite his sales acumen, he is an absolutely terrible manager.
  • Poirot Speak: Michael adopts the ridiculous "How you say?" mannerisms when speaking English to an English-speaking Canadian.
  • The Pollyanna: Erin, the new receptionist. She actually seems to like working for Michael!
  • Popcultural Osmosis: The production of the musical Sweeney Todd that Andy is in is clearly based more on the movie version than the actual stage versions. Though they get points for performing the opening ballad, which is not in the film version, and by having costumes that look more like the original stage version than the movie.
  • Pop Cultural Osmosis Failure: Invoked intentionally by Jim when he's trying to goad Dwight in a non-work related discussion to prove that he does "steal time" from the company.
  • Positive Discrimination: Plenty of examples. Michael especially, when his trying too hard doesn't simply fail, it usually ends up here. For example, when Oscar was accidentally outed by him, he tried to prove he was comfortable with gay people by pulling up gay porn at work and kissing Oscar.
  • Product Placement: Trip Advisor. Check out Schrute Farms's stellar rating.
    • Michael does this a lot, though it's arguably justified in that it's completely in character for him to do so.
    • One episode has Kevin gushing over his shredder. The very first commercial of the next break was for the exact same shredder.
    • Dwight and Jim both play Second Life in one episode. Reasonably accurate game footage is shown.
    • "Dwight, do you want an Altoid?"
    • Jim sucks at Call of Duty.
    • Countchoculitis.
    • The 2005 Dundies Award Show is held at Chili's. Michael and Jan later take an important client there to work out a big sale.
      • Dwight abhors IHOP.
    • Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman grill.
    • Michael eats a Cup O'Noodles as he tries to get himself invited to Jim's party.
    • Michael wants Pam to rub Country Crock Spread on his foot.
    • Charles stays at "The Scranton Radisson" (which IRL would be the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, Scranton)
    • This is also subverted: Staples and Office Depot are mentioned repeatedly, but they are the antagonists and ultimately drive Dunder-Mifflin under.
    • Utz potato chips and pretzle snacks can often be seen in the breakroom's vending machine. As Utz is a Lancover PA based company whose products are largly distributed in the NY/NJ/WV/Penn area, this is realistic for a Scranton PA workplace.
    • When Michael goes to New York, he likes to enjoy the authentic New York pizza at Sbarro.
    • Try to count all the close-ups on the back of their monitors to show the HP logo.
    • Every phone in their company is provided by Cisco, although the logo is only shown on close ups of the phones which are relatively rare.
    • Michael's Chrysler and later PT Cruiser.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Ellie Kemper was originally signed on to do one or two episodes as Erin Hannon. However, as the popularity of her character increased, she was (thankfully) worked into the script as Andy's love interest.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: A likely reason Michael was made regional manager; Jan gives him every single unpopular assignment possible, from deciding on layoff victims to slashing down healthcare benefits.
    • YMMV. These assignments would be pretty standard for anyone in his position in a failing company.
      • Though it would seem odd that benefit plans would be decided on a branch-by-branch basis, especially for a decision that would be more suited to HR such as health benefit plans. This one was given to Michael with the obvious intent of shielding Jan from being the bad guy.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Ed Helms (in season 6), James Spader (in season 8).
  • Proud Warrior Race: Invoked. In one episode, Dwight reads a speech by Mussolini shouting WE ARE WARRIORS!, apparently claiming that paper salesmen are a Proud Warrior Race.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dwight.
  • Punch a Wall: Andy's reaction to one of Jim's pranks, leading to his Anger Management.
  • Put on a Bus: Roy, Karen, Jan, Charles, David.
    • The Bus Came Back (via new "old" footage) for all these characters except Charles in "Threat Level Midnight". (David Wallace's scenes are deleted.) We also take the bus to Utica to visit Karen in a couple Season 4 and 5 episodes.
    • As of the Season 8 premiere, Jo Bennett.
    • And, of course, season 7 sees Michael and Holly moving to Boulder, Colorado to get married and care for her aging parents.
    • Robert California finds a new job at the end of Season 8, so we won't be seeing him next season. It also looks like Kelly won't be coming back since her actress, Mindy Kaling, has had Fox pick up a new series for her this fall, which is going to become her primary focus, not leaving her enough time for The Office. Plus, producer Paul Lieberstein is going to be leaving to start producing the planned Dwight spin-off The Farm, so this could potentially be Toby's fate as well.
  • Race For Your Love: Erin chases down Andy as he's driving away in "Get the Girl".
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Kathy pulls this on Jim at the end of After Hours. Jim tells her to get out.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jenna Fischer's real life pregnancy was written in during season eight. She was noticeably more pregnant than she was during Pam's first pregnancy.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After his brief stay as office IT, Nick delievers one to the entire office before leaving while Flipping the Bird to everyone.
    • Also Michael with his quickfire "Boom, roasted!"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: David Wallace.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: In "Survivor Man," Dwight is observing Michael through the scope of his hunting rifle.

  Dwight (to camera): Nothing to worry about, the safety is (Beat) *click* on."

    • In "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager", Dwight brings a gun into the office and winds up accidentally discharging it. This winds up costing him any shot at the permanent position.
  • Road Apples: Andy: "Why is that in the kitchen?!?"
  • The Roast: Michael has his employees roast him. He did not take it very well.
  • Robot War: Being a big fan of Battlestar Galactica, Dwight is well aware that all sentient machines will eventually be Turned Against Their Masters. This is why he keeps a diary to keep secrets from his computer and suggests that Ed Truck's robot statue should only be five feet tall and have a short power cord.
    • While having started out as a benevolent alien visitor, Recyclops gradually turned into a polluting, earth destroying monster.
  • Romantic False Lead: Roy. Karen. Gabe. Jessica.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-universe example. While watching The Devil Wears Prada, Michael cheered for Meryl Streep's character until the end when he finally realized she was the villain.
  • Running Gag: In season 4, Michael keeps forgetting that Jim is dating Pam and is surprised every time he's reminded of it.
    • Also:

 Dwight: I'm Assistant Regional Manager.

Anyone Else: Assistant to the Regional Manager.

      • That gag ran all the way across the Atlantic, when it was Gareth protesting that he was Assistant Regional Manager.
      • Subverted when Jim (often the one mocking Dwight) calls himself the ARM and is mocked by the new boss for it. But in that case Jim did receive the corporate-recognized position of ARM when the Scranton and Stamford branches merged, and received a modest raise with the title. Dwight, on the other hand, was made ARM with no benefits when he and Michael got in a fight and Michael wanted to make him feel better.
      • A variation as Dwight talks about being made Purple Belt at his dojo.

 Dwight: ...in fact, I've been made Assistant Sensei.

Jim (immediately): Wow, assistant to the sensei, that's great!

    • Phyllis and Michael are the same age. They went to High School together, remember?
    • Trends making it to Scranton way after they've passed their prime elsewhere.

 Michael: WASUUUUUUUUUUUUP!

Jim: Wow, seven years later it's still funny.

    • A short one towards the end of season 7 after Steve Carell's departure: the shot with Michael adjusting the Dundie on his desk was reshot using the regional manager of the week. As an additional bonus, in the latter two scenes, the characters mess the scene up: Creed puts the figurine backwards, and Andy makes the trinket fall off the desk.
    • People thinking Jim says "dude" a lot and acts like a slacker.
  • Running With Scissors: Played with when Michael calls out Erin to "Scissor me!" and she throws him a pair blades first. Subverted because he doesn't cut himself on either catch and lampshaded by Pam's scared expression each time.
  • Sadistic Choice: In order to cover its ass after the altercation between Michael and his nephew which ended with Michael spanking him, Sabre claims that Michael had a "stress-induced outburst". Gabe tells him that he will need to attend counselling sessions. With Toby. Or lose his job. From the look on his face, Michael seems to be seriously considering the latter as the episode ends.
  • Safe Word: The fact that Jan pretended to "forget" what it was is the first sign that it's exploitive and that Michael should get out of his relationship with her.
  • Save Our Students: Michael tries and fails spectacularly to do this in Scott's Tots where he promised a class of mostly African-American eight year olds that in ten years he will pay their college tuitions. Of course when the ten year mark arrives Michael is in no way financially capable of fulfilling such a promise. He now has to disappoint the group of now high school seniors that it was all a pipe dream. Interestingly enough, he does wind up doing some good for them:

 Erin: The principal told me that 90% of Scott's Tots are on track to graduate, and that's 35% higher than the rest of the school. So I think if you hadn't made that promise, a lot of them would've dropped out. Which is something to think about, I think.

  • Scary Black Man: Ryan is very intimidated by Daryl and the other warehouse workers. Even getting yelled at by Stanley (Kelly falsely told him that Ryan was hitting on his 13-year-old daughter) was enough to send him hiding, trembling with fear.
    • Charles is something of this to Jim when they work together, although it's largely due to the fact that Jim can't catch a break whenever they're in the same room together. He gets past this when Charles leaves.
    • Stanley's Game Face had the same effect on Jim during the inflatable sumo suit duel.

 Jim: I've never seen anyone coming at me like that. I thought I might die. On beach day.

  • Schmuck Bait: Pam accidentally downloads a virus (and potentially gets her ID stolen) after attempting to buy a celebrity sex tape from her office computer.
    • A key component of several of Jim's pranks on Dwight.
    • In "Christmas Wishes", Andy threatens to cancel Jim or Dwight's Christmas's bonus and give it to the other if one pranks the other. What follows is Jim and Dwight deliberately leaving themselves completely open to pranking to egg the other on (Dwight by leaving things like his wallet and keys at his desk and leaving his computer and e-mail accessible, Jim by openly advertising his credit card information with Dwight obviously in earshot).
  • Screaming Birth: Pam, when she's delivering her and Jim's baby.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Stanley tends not to put up with the office's more ridiculous goings-on, and on a couple of occasions, just walks out when things start getting weird.
    • Done spectacularly by Jim in "Pool Party":

  Jim: And there's my talking point. (proceeds to plow through the driveway)

  • Secret Relationship: Dwight and Angela, Pam and Jim (for one episode), Andy and Erin (also for one episode).
  • Second Hand Storytelling: Characters sometimes describe unseen events during interviews with the filmmakers, though their descriptions are often skewed. Used especially when characters refer to events predating the documentary filmmakers coming to Scranton.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Dwight and Jim often engage in this.
  • Sensitivity Training: Andy has to go to this after punching a hole in a wall in "The Return." He comes back to work five episodes later, far less likely to become angry than he was before.
    • Also seen in Season 1's "Diversity Day" wherein Michael does his best to undo anything positive that might have come of it by forcing the staff to act out racial stereotypes.
  • Series Continuity Error: Pam's name has undergone multiple changes: Pam Beasley, Pam Beesley, Pamela Jean Beesly, the now-canon Pamela Morgan Beesly...
    • Meredith has had both one and two children, and changed from an accountant to supplier relations rep. Similarly her birthday went from being about a month apart from everyone's in the spring in season 1 to being clumped in a group of fall ones in season 4.
  • Serious Business: Is Hillary Swank hot?
    • Ping pong, to the players' significant others. A mini-training camp may have been involved...
  • Shout-Out: Two toward The Lonely Island: in one episode, Dwight and Michael make an instructional video--a cringe-inducing music video featuring a lyric rewrite of "Lazy Sunday." Another episode has Michael wear a dick-in-a-box.
  • The Show Must Go On: Andy's theater performance of Sweeney Todd.
  • Show Within a Show: Fundle Bundle, a kids show that a five year old Micheal Scott appeared on.
  • Side Bet: An entire episode's worth.
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Jan in "Threat Level Midnight".
  • Skewed Priorities:

 Gabe: I should probably get involved in this but, I think my energy is better spent on the Cookie Monster issue.

  • Sleep Cute: Pam nods off on Jim's shoulder in first season episode "Diversity Day".
  • Smelly Feet: Kevin. At Jim and Pam's wedding, he leaves them outside his room to be waxed but their smell overpowers the employee in charge of this service. So the hotel has them destroyed.

 Kevin: You threw out my shoes?

Manager: I had them incinerated. It was the best decision of my entire career.

  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The upbeat, drums-and-guitar rocking tune is played over several completely mundane shots of a typical day at the office.
  • Special Edition Title: In the credits for the first episode after Michael starts The Michael Scott Paper Company, Michael's Pam's and Ryan's opening credit shots reflect their new surroundings.
    • The episodes following Michael's departure in season 7 each feature the various replacement managers doing a variation of his "placing a figurine on the desk" at the end of the credits.
  • Smug Snake: Angela "It's not my taste" Martin, Charles Miner.
  • Spin-Off: In 2012 it was announced that a spinoff show set at Schrute Farms and centered around Dwight was being planned, complete with a Poorly-Disguised Pilot episode on The Office itself.
    • Several years earlier, the show that eventually became Parks and Recreation was initially conceived as an Office spinoff.
  • Stable Time Loop: One of Jim's pranks involves sending Dwight faxes .... from "Future Dwight".
  • Star-Crossed Lovers
  • The Starscream: After Michael quits and is rehired, Dwight stops hero-worshipping him and begins viewing him as weak.
    • His admiration of Michael more-or-less seems to be on-and-off throughout the series. However he is a very straight Starscream towards Jim in Season 6.
    • His attempt to convince Jan to give him control of the Scranton branch from Michael is definitely befitting of this trope as well.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Dwight feels this way about anything that "elevates" women to the status of men.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Dwight tries to test Ryan with these, but of course he's heard them all. Ryan quickly starts belting out the answers before Dwight is even finished asking them.
  • Stupid Boss
  • Straight Man: Jim, Pam, and Oscar.
    • Not to forget the straightest of all straight men, Toby. Stanley counts as well.
    • Lampshaded by Oscar in "Mafia" where he refers to Jim, Pam, Toby, and himself as the "Coalition for Reason."
  • Straight Gay: Oscar. As he says himself, the gayest thing about him (besides sex with men) is forming a casual art/literature appreciation club with Pam and Toby.
  • Stylistic Suck: Surprisingly averted at the end of "Local Ad" when the Scranton branch's ad. Despite Michael's lack of technical expertise and blatant attempts at multiple Crowning Moments of Heartwarming, it's actually pretty cool.
    • Michael's movie, Threat Level: Midnight.
    • Any video produced by Michael qualifies as this. His office training and/or sensitivity videos especially.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: The episode "Happy Hour" takes place at a Dave & Buster's knockoff called Sid & Dexter's.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Dwight returns to working at the office and sees a party already in progress, he joyfully asks, "You did this for me?" Michael just decides to say yes, as the camera pans to the "Welcome Back Oscar" sign.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial

 Jan: I tried calling, but I kept getting voice mail.

Michael: Weird. Yeah, I didn't get both of your messages.

  • Take a Third Option: When Dwight was hiring a stripper for Bob Vance's bachelor party, he asks Jim which he prefers, brunette or redhead, while Karen and Pam are looking on. Jim wisely picks blonde.
    • Also in the episode "The Fire," when it's Jim's turn at "Who would you do", instead of picking Pam and risking revealing his feelings, or picking any other woman instead of Pam, Jim jokingly picks Kevin.
    • In "WUPHF.com", Michael picks a third option regarding Ryan's failing company that he and several other people in the office had invested in. Rather than blindly stand by Ryan, as he had initially planned to do, or immediately sell off the company, as everyone else wanted him to do, he gives Ryan a strict ultimatum to get the company back on track, or he'll sell the company then. Particularly impressive is the speech he gives detailing why he's doing it:

 Michael: I'm not blind! I know exactly who he is. He is selfish, and lazy, and image obsessed, and he's a bad friend. He's also clever, and he aims very high, and he just might make it.

  • Take Our Word for It -- Creed tells everyone to check out his blog, www.creedthoughts.gov.www\creedthoughts. The camera cuts to a talking head interview with Ryan:

 Ryan: Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog... Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer, and put an address at the top. I've read some of it... Even for the Internet, it's pretty shocking.

 Recorded Michael: I know you're happy right now, but you need to calm down. Is that music? Are you dancing?

  • Team Mom: Jim and Pam, occasionally.
  • The Teaser
  • Technology Marches On: The Dunder-Mifflin Infinity Website.
    • Computron!
  • Tempting Fate: In the episode "Sexual Harassment," Michael tells the office staff that he can no longer say "That's what she said". Jim responds with a barrage of comments deliberately made to invoke that phrase("Wow, that's really hard." "Can you really go all day long?", "Well, you always leave me satisfied and smiling."). Predictable results ensue.
    • Also, arguably lampshaded and subverted when Pam and Ryan are constantly reminding Michael not to reveal that the Michael Scott Company is going broke in front of David Wallace, and when they enter the elevator Michael is saying something along the lines of "There is no way I'm gonna say it!". Cue him leaving the elevator, moaning "Aww... I'm really worried I'm gonna say it!"
      • At the end of the meeting, he is forced to admit that the company is broke; the real value it has is his years of experience in the paper industry (and an unlimited supply of corporate names).
  • That's What She Said: Michael Scott is physically incapable of resisting an opportunity to use this joke. Even in the midst of a legal deposition.
    • Shortly after he first meets Holly, they have this exchange while riding a ferris wheel together:

 Holly: They kept hiring from the outside. It was easy to get in, but impossible to rise up.

Michael: That's what she--

(catches himself)

Michael: A lot of places are like that.

    • It's spread to other members of the office now, too. For example, Pam excitedly contributes this over the phone -- using a super small headset that her coworkers don't know about so she and Jim can be in touch all day.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Dwight listens to Heavy Metal to psyche himself up for sales calls and performance reviews. The shots of him air guitaring and punching Jim's car seats are priceless.
    • He also does it during his interview montage after being forced to quit from Andy's frame-up and in the staircase before his performance review with Michael and Jan.
  • They Do: Jim and Pam
    • Michael and Holly
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: In "Traveling Salesmen", Jim and Dwight are on a sales call together. While Jim is talking to a prospective client, Dwight asks if he can use the phone and subsequently starts yelling numbers loudly into the phone. At first, this seems like Dwight's usual bizarre behavior, perhaps even more bizarre than usual. However, when it comes time for Jim to demonstrate Dunder Mifflin's phone customer service, we find out that Dwight has been demonstrating a rival company's phone customer service the whole time. Jim then proceeds to call Dunder Mifflin's customer service line, and has Kelly on the line within a couple seconds, thus successfully demonstrating the difference between a large impersonal company and a smaller company.
    • In the same episode, Phyllis and Karen's sales call. Phyllis takes them out to get incredibly gaudy makeovers... which just so happen to be pure Fetish Fuel for the specific client they were going to see. Successful sale.
  • This Is Reality: In their duel for Angela, Andy has Dwight pinned to the hedge, but he is refusing to yield.

 Dwight: You can't protect her! I can!

Andy: PROTECT HER FROM WHAT, YOU IDIOT?! BEARS?!?!

  • This Is Sparta: "I...declare..........BANKRUPTCYYYYYYYYY!!!!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: Michael tried to eat unidentified mushrooms he found in the woods once. Also, it is unclear whether the bouncy castle was part of his scheme to convince his employees he was actually going to jump off the roof or if he actually thought that falling onto it would save his life.
    • Given the amount of testing he and Dwight did and that the castle was discovered by accident indicate the latter.

 Dwight: These things aren't built to stand the weight of an adult, try to land like an eight year old.

  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Ryan in Season four following his promotion. Also, most fans will agree the weaker episodes will elevate Michael from bumbling yet well-intentioned guy into this (the oft-cited episodes for this is usually "Phyllis' Wedding" and "The Double Date"). Also in Season 6, Dwight crosses here in his serious attempts to frame Jim for wrongdoing and get him fired; Ryan again joins this alliance.
  • Too Soon: Michael has a much more conservative view of this at most. He notes that the Abraham Lincoln assassination just became funny.

 Michael: I need to see this play like I need a hole in the head.

  • Trans Atlantic Equivalent
  • Troperiffic: Michael's movie 'Threat Level: Midnight'.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Ryan's photo blog is an in-universe example; it exists as a means for him to sound deep so that he can talk women into doing erotic photography. It's Not Porn, It's Art, afterall.
  • True Companions: By the sixth season, the office had truly become this.
    • The Michael Scott Paper Company were briefly shown as something like this after everything they went through together in that arc, but this faded away after the following episodes.
    • Taken to its apex when Michael proposed to Holly. After everything the staff has been through, you know their goodbye will be bittersweet.
  • Twice Shy: Andy and Erin
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Charles Miner. When he's introduced he bullies Michael for no reason, and to cement his position he gets on to Jim for dressing too formally (he was wearing a tux as part of a social experiment) and to Dwight for not dressing formally enough (making him wear a white shirt with full-length sleeves instead of a short-sleeved yellow one).
    • Deangelo Vickers shows a bit of this during his extremely brief managerial reign.
    • When Dwight becomes acting manager he forces everyone to use an antiquated and dangerous punch clock, staggers their lunches so everyone eats alone, changes everyone's title to Junior Employee and has everyone enter a twenty one digit code everytime they use the photocopier. To reinforce the image he keeps a piranha in an acquarium in his office and gets a new desk that is modeled on one used by Saddam Hussein's son.
      • Prior to that, Dwight has repeatedly shown a fondness and/or lobbied for Draconian policies in the office and whenever given any power he instantly imposes them. Which begs the question of who thinks it is a good idea to give him any in the first place.
  • Un Entendre: From Michael and Dwight, of all people

 Michael (carrying a plate of steaks): Who wants some man meat!

Dwight: I do! I want some man meat!

  • Ungrateful Bastard: Michael is repeatedly shown to be completely unappreciative to anyone who saves his ass. Specific examples include:
    • In season 5, Jim helps Michael get his job back after his independent paper company failed hard. The next episode has Michael expecting the entire office to apologize to him for not joining his company. Especially stupid, since they warned him it would be a terrible idea.
    • Intentionally screwing Jim (and unintentionally himself) out of a promotion and then begging him for forgiveness and aggreeing to become co-managers to make up for it. The next episode Michael reverts to a total jerk who viciously condescends to Jim and believes he never should have been made a manager
    • After a bankrupt Dunder Mifflin is bought by Sabre he shows his appreciation for saving his job by refusing to conform to any Sabre policies that differ from the previous ones, no matter how insignificant.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The characters offer their viewpoints during interviews with the camera, which may conflict with what is shown on-screen, or may lead to skewed Second Hand Storytelling.
    • Noted in the pilot's DVD commentary, the in-universe documentary crew may look down on the office workers, judging by a shot of Pam blowing on the wet ink of a printed page while the audio from her interview explains her love of watercolor painting.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Jim, Pam, and Karen. Angela and Dwight.
    • As of the Season 7 finale, Andy and Erin.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. Subverted on a few occasions where Michael is shown to have redeeming traits. He's actually pretty likeable compared to his UK counterpart (who himself is also eventually demonstrated to be a lot more sympathetic than first appearances might suggest).
    • No, he's not. Brent was never as rude and cruel to his co-workers as Michael is to Toby and occasionally to Dwight.
      • Though Garreth made it clear that David was censoring himself to look nice in front of the camera, whereas Michael doesn't seem to do so.
  • Unwanted Harem: Charles immediately has Kelly and Angela competing for his affection.

 Charles: I am aware of my effect on women.

  • Urine Trouble: When Pam's prank of rigging the elevator controls fails and both she and Dwight end up trapped, it takes Dwight all of ten seconds to kick into survival mode and pee in the corner.

 Jim: Why don't you just crawl out of there?

Pam: I can't, there's urine on the floor.

Jim: Of course there is.

 Ryan: You a big William Hung fan?

Packer: Why does everybody ask me that? Who the hell is that?

  • Virus Victim Symptoms: Invoked for a prank.
  • Visual Pun: Jim's Halloween costume in "Koi Pond." "...Yes, I am the popular social networking site known as Bookface."
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Dwight vomits all over his car when he recieves a concussion.
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: the cold open of "Niagara Part One".
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Michael's speculative methods for proposing to Holly in the "Garage Sale" episode fit this category: pouring gasoline on the office parking lot in the shape of a heart and setting it afire, tossing "a corpse dressed like me" from the office roof and decapitating it so he can tell her, "I lost my head when I fell for you", etc.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Threat Level Midnight: "Mop the ice."
  • Wedding Day: Phyllis's, in Season 3; Jim and Pam's, in Season 6.
  • We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: "Ryan Started the Fire".
  • Weirdness Coupon: See Contractual Immortality. The employees of the Scranton branch get a lot of leeway since they belong to the most successful branch, so they stay on in spite of some incredibly weird shenanigans.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Played with twice with Dwight. Subverted the first time; he gets a concussion and is a lot more pleasant to be around. When they realize what's up, they have to take him to the hospital, and it's clear that everyone (and especially Pam) will miss "nice Dwight" when he's gone. The second time, he quits, and things are a lot less smooth at the office without him, until Michael convinces him to come back.
    • And for Michael when is he is replaced by Charles Miner in Season five. This is most clearly shown when Charles shows himself as intolerant of Kevin and Stanley's more laidback tendencies, and of him favoring Dwight rather than Jim.
  • Wham! Episode: "New Boss"
    • "Special Project."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Symbolic?: In a Halloween episode, Dwight mentions that he is perfectly willing to leave Scranton to go wherever 'they value loyalty the most'. His costume? Sith Lord.
    • In a later Halloween episode, Ryan is dressed as Gordon Gekko, referencing his rise and fall in the corporate world.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: When Andy sings "There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance", Angela chastises him for singing about nudity and France at Christmas time.
  • What Does He See In Her?:
    • Erin's reaction to Michael and Holly.
    • Asked of Andy by Oscar, regarding his courting of Angela.
  • What Exactly Is His Job?: Creed works in Quality Assurance. Everyone knows this except Creed.
    • Ryan's job is extremely unclear once the Michael Scott Paper Company is absorbed by Dunder Mifflin. He is hired as a salesman but is demoted in favor of Pam. So...WhatExactlyIsHisJob
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In one season 6 episode, Erin accidentally destroyed Pam's watercolor painting of the building when she was trying to be helpful and clean it. This subplot was written out of the episode (though left in the description thereof) and the painting was back by the end of the season, despite having been replaced with a poster for some time.
  • What Have I Done: Dwight's reaction when he realizes that his machinations to take the Sabre affirmative action management program away from Daryl and claim it for himself actually placed it squarely in Kelly's hands instead... and she makes a veiled threat that she'll remember what he's done.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Amusing in that Dwight would apply such a teaching to sales in the first place, but also subverted - Ryan is easily able to take the seed from Dwight's hand.
  • Why Didn't You Just Say So?: "Meredith was hit by a car this morning, I took her to the hospital. The Doctors did everything they could do....and she's now recovering comfortably."
  • Wild Mass Guessing: Some fans have put a lot of effort into explaining exactly why a documentary crew has been filming the Scranton office for the past five years and counting, with no indication that the documentary ever airs (unlike the UK version). Theories include the documentary airing only in a far-away foreign country, or that it's an ongoing project assigned to filmmaking students at the local community college and never meant to be aired. (Which would explain why they never film during the summer.) Either way, the question is Serious Business to some.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jim and Pam. They did, sometime between seasons 3 and 4).
    • Andy and Erin.
    • Michael and Holly also seemed poised to become this until they began going out a few episodes in (which Michael hilariously lampshades):

 Michael: "Why are you helping her? You're not even dating." She's my friend... and... ultimately my strategy is to merge this into a relationship... without her even knowing.

They will.

    • Andy and Erin have finally gotten together too.
  • Work Com
  • Wondrous Ladies' Room: It has a couch! And magazines!
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Vikram, an admittedly good telemarketer, was a surgeon back in India.
    • There's also a Japanese heart surgeon working in the warehouse. However, this one is justified, as he is in hiding from the Yakuza after (apparently intentionally) botching a heart transplant operation for their boss.
    • Michael mentions that one of the cleaners was a neurosurgeon in his home country, but it turns out he was kidding.
    • Michael references this trope, wondering what high status job he would have held in the old country, apparently assuming that the reason for high number of immigrants with these qualifications was that these professions are common abroad, rather than the reality of immigration laws heavily favoring highly skilled immigrants. Vikram gives him a look of disbelief.
  • Written by Cast Member: Paul Liebestein, Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak were on the writing staff from the beginning. Steve Carrell later wrote "Survivor Man" and Season 2 finale "Casino Night".
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Both Michael and Dwight seem to operate under the assumption that they're the Gary Stu hero of their own Hollywood movie. In particular, Michael seems to think he's in a romantic comedy, while Dwight's living in an apocalyptic action movie.
    • Because Stanley is the only black employee at the office for the first five seasons (Darryl would join them after being promoted from the warehouse in the sixth), Michael thinks of him as his Black Best Friend and street-smart mentor. He fails to pick up on the fact that Stanley can't stand him, and that he's even more solidly upper middle-class that the other employees.
    • Michael combines this with Horrible Judge of Character when assembling his basketball team. He first refuses Phyllis who turns out to be great at passing and dodging as well as Kevin who later proves himself a three-point shooting wonder. He insists on Stanley joining but is absolutely terrible at the game.
  • X Called. They Want Their Y Back.
  • X Days Since...: Michael caused an accident, requiring the sign (which had a high number on it) to be reset.
  • X Meets Y: "Yankee Swap is like Machiavelli meets Christmas."
    • Under Charles' leadership, Dwight laments that The Office used to be a combination of "...the Roman Empire, the Wild West, war-torn Poland, and Poland."
  • Yes-Man: Andy and Dwight were huge yes-men at first. After his anger-management, Andy toned it down, while Dwight seems to have become more contemptuous of Michael as time has gone on.
    • Pretty much everyone in the office has a tendency to become this whenever a new person takes a spot among management. Most notable are with Charles Miner(who turns out to be one himself), Deangelo Vickers, and Robert California. Well, all except Dwight.
  • You Are in Command Now: Dwight explaining to the office why they should obey him and stay at work despite no one else being there to force them to:

 Dwight: When Michael is not there, Jim in in charge. When Jim is not there, Andy and I are in charge. When Andy is not there, you have to listen to me.

  • You Do NOT Want to Know: The "Full Disadulation."
  • You Fail Biology Forever: In the quote below, Dwight is predicting what will happen as a result of all the women in the office being in the same room for a "women in the workplace" seminar.

 Dwight: They stay in there too long, they’re gonna get on the same cycle. Wreak havoc on our plumbing.

    • Dwight, after using the Sheriff's Department computer to look up medical records.

 Dwight: There are an enormous amount of yeast infections in this county. (looks thoughtful) It must be because we're downriver of that old bread factory.

    • When he sees that Karen is pregnant, Michael immediately asks if it is Jim's kid, even though they broke up almost two years previously. When he finds out Pam is pregnant and is chewing her and Jim out for not telling him sooner, he asks, "How long have you known? A year? Two years?"
  • You Fail History Forever - Dwight: "I don't care what he says, that is not the real Ben Franklin. I'm 99% sure."
    • Pause..."98% sure"
      • In the same episode Michael refers to Ben Franklin as one of our most popular Presidents.
    • When Michael hides the Sabre leads from the sales teams and organizes a scavenger hunt to teach them a lesson, Jim's first clue is "look under the first american president." Jim looks in the parking lot and finds his next clue under a Ford Lincoln.
  • You Fail Mathematics Forever: Michael believes 47+9=53...after he goes through it on paper.
    • Kevin's mental math leading him to conclude Pam weighs 230 pounds. Or pretty much any math he does, really. It explains a lot that Michael confesses to Erin in "Scott's Tots" that Kevin had applied to the warehouse, but Michael had a good feeling about Kevin as an accountant.
      • Kevin's spelling is equally bad as he proves in the Cookie Monster parody plot:

 Kevin: C is for suspension.

  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The stripper at Bob Vance's warehouse bachelor party gets two of these when she tells Pam she's hot enough to strip and Angela that she loves her baby posters.
    • Michael does this to Ryan as a guest speaker to his business class when he claims that Ryan is better than all the other students despite having never made a sale, started a fire with his pita bread and "everybody thinking he's a tease". Also doubles as an unintentional "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • When Andy forms a band with Darryl and Kevin, he asks several people their opinion on the first song they create. Everybody hates it, but Andy perseveres in claiming it has potential for success. Then Creed says he loves it, which totally bums him out.
  • You Must Be Cold: Inverted. Erin puts her coat on Andy in "New Leads." He kisses her right then and there.
    • Subverted when Dwight looks like he is comforting Pam after she helped Jim and Karen solve a dispute they were having. Dwight starts to take his jacket off, looking like he is about to offer it to her, then simply ties it around his waist, noting that "It's hot in here".
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Dwight reacts this way once he realizes that Jim has dressed like him and adopted his speech patterns and mannerisms as a prank.
  • Your Favorite: Michael REALLY likes crisp bacon.
    • Pam (and apparently Erin, despite knowing him for only a year) are able to prepare all of Michael's favorite things, food or otherwise, whenever they fear he'll come into work in a bad mood, such as post-breakup.
    • Jim says his favorite is soft shell crabs during the first Halloween episode.
    • Pam's favorite yogurt flavor is Mixed Berries.
  • Your Mom:

 Kelly: "I don't talk trash, I talk smack. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like 'Your Mom is so fat, she could eat the internet.' But smack talk is all like 'You're ugly, and I've got the evidence right there.'"

Kelly (to Pam): "Your man is so skinny he needs steroids just to watch baseball."

Kelly: "Were Jim's parents first cousins who also sucked at ping pong?"

  • You Shall Not Pass: Jim pulls this on Dwight to prevent him from entering a meeting where Robert was planning to fire him. Jim manages to physically hold Dwight back just long enough for Todd Packer to unknowingly step up to get the axe instead.