The Office: Survivor Man, 4.11

The Office Survivor Man behind the scenes photos

A few behind-the-scenes photos, taken by a member of the production staff and generously shared with OfficeTally, on the next few pages.

The Office

Dwight takes Michael out into the forest to live in the wilderness.

288 comments

  1. I feel a little bad for Jim in this episode.
    But Michael singing happy birthday in high harmony alone was hysterical.

  2. God bless Steve Carell and his writing! Love it so far!

    But did anyone else pick up on the continuity error with regards to Meredith’s birthday from season one?

  3. Once again, The Office expertly combines good comedy, a little pathos, and good genuine relationships.

  4. Not going to lie, I was not thrilled with it. Some good funny moments, but overall it just didn’t work for me. I’m gonna chalk it up to NBC’s “Green” theme because there really isn’t anything to connect The Office with the theme, so the whole Survivor Man thing seemed forced. I’m hoping that after I rewatch it (on DVR of course, not from the website :-p) that I will enjoy it more.

  5. After the bad day I had, when I saw Dwight hit the blindfolded Michael with his shoe, while driving, it just totally made my day.

    I loved this episode…and ducktaping his pants BACK on? “It’s gotten colder now.”. Too fun.

  6. Meredith is lactose intolerant!

    Loved the capper. Definitely setting up Jim’s storyline, and I’m happy with the way it’s going. You could tell John was breaking a bit at the end.

  7. dwight running at michael screaming “NO!” reminded me of him saving stanley from the poisoned coffee last season…:]

  8. This episode felt so weird to me. I think it was too far of a stretch to connect the two plotlines. It didn’t make sense to me until the tagline, and even then, barely.

    I think I need to watch it again.

  9. Really liked this one. It pretty much answered any doubts about whether we’re going to see Jim have reservations about his future. And I do love it when he and Michael have little semi-bonding moments. Kudos to Steve Carell; both episodes he’s written have been winners.

  10. I am probably the lightest critic of the office. I have never disliked an episode. Until now. It was off. It wasn’t funny. They were very few funny bits. I did like the Michael and Jim stuff at the very end.

  11. OMG, I want the strike to end! I want to know what goes on with this Jim storyline–it seems like season 4 was an evolving/growing one for Jim.

  12. Wow. I have a new favorite Office quote.

    Michael- “Thats what she said”
    Jim- “Who said that”
    Michael- “I don’t know, I just say it”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

  13. Steve singing was my favorite part of the episode. Oh yeah, and Jim realizing he was turning into Michael. haha!

  14. Three ways to know Jim is turning into Michael

    1. Toby hate. Check

    2. Conference room. Check

    3. That’s what she said. Check.

    I hope we can continue to see the culmination of Jim’s journey this season. Iffy episode but the tag at the end really brought it home.

  15. I’m not sure if this was a “great episode” or not. I will have to re-watch it (not online… somewhere else to support the writers) and then decide. Honestly, the whole time I was wacthing it, I kept thinking about how The Office is shut down and there’s a good possibility of it being quite a long time before new episodes, and it just made be sad.

    But I love it when Michael sings – he’s such a good singer… in a corny way. =D

  16. The overkill killer! -That was the best part. I loved how the office’s green thing was subtle unlike the other shows, it was very well-weaved. Their writers are so talented.

  17. Yes, lew, I noticed the continuity error with Meredith’s birthday! That is not cool. Anyway, this is one of the best episodes ever in my opinion. The ending with Michael and Jim talking was just incredible. Steve Carrel has every right to strike as part of the WGA because his writing is brilliant.

  18. I’ve never disliked an episode yet… until now. What happened, Steve Carell? Everything else you’ve written has had me rolling on the floor in near hysterics. I barely chuckled for the entire half hour. It was all just kind of depressing.

  19. I think this episode really sets up the deeper side of the character of Jim. (Without the strike maybe we would have gotten to see that, him trying to break away. Maybe if it is resolved we will)
    I enjoyed this episode.
    I love the funny with a little of the sad. Jim taking on Michael’s hate or dislike of Toby was just too funny.

  20. That scene during the credits made the episode for me. So calm subtle, and well acted by Steve and John. I love love LOVE what they’re doing with Jim this season. Really putting him through some tough situations and making him question the decision he made. And it makes me kind of sad that we may not get to see what they had planned for him the rest of the season.

  21. I really did not like this episode.

    Once again we’ve hit a new low in season four. I have never disliked entire episodes until this season. The humor wasn’t there, the Michael storyline was once again forced and overdone. Jim was utterly horrible to watch in this episode. I understand that he is ‘evolving’ but this episode was so weak I’m kind of glad the writers are going on strike, maybe they can get their heads on right.

    I have to say Money is the only episode from this season that has been decent.

  22. Not gonna lie … wasn’t too impressed with this episode. I don’t remember really laughing out loud except for when Dwight hit Michael with his shoe but other than that, this episode seemed forced and out of place.

  23. I’ve been one of the biggest critics of Season 4 so far. And even though the surviving in the woods storyline was a bit of stretch, the rest of the episode with Jim and birthdays made this episode easily the best of Season 4.

    9.5 rating. Phew, I’m so relieved! Now if they’d only resolve this strike…

  24. I am loving Jim’s storyline, and I’m glad we get to see a different side of Jim/John Krasinksi’s acting which will hopefully get noticed more. Let’s hope this strike gets resolved, viva La Office!!

  25. Hmm…this season still feels a little weird to me, but I do love this whole Jim storyline. I’m just sad with the strike we won’t get to see where it’s going!

    P.S. I am so knit picky, but the whole continuity thing with Meridith’s birthday totally bugged me too! Supposedly no one is supposed to have a birthday within a month of Meridith’s (except Ryan that is)!

  26. I agree with some of the posted opinions… Kind of a weak episode, until the end. Which made the whole thing, really.
    Actually, on second thought, the birthday montage was doompity dawsome.
    But otherwise, a bit on the weak side. Can we write it off to the green week theme? Maybe?

  27. I love Steve Carell. What a great episode. Michael in the wilderness, loyal Dwight protecting him, Jim, the substitute teacher, learning that it’s not as easy as it looks. The ending was just so fine. Did I mention that I love Steve Carell?

  28. Despite the strike, I loved it. It’s great seeing Jim’s realization that Michael did everything that Jim would have done in his place (without someone to share it with … Pam). Other than that, I just got my birthday present from my sister, a debit card encased in Jello. I LOVE MY SISTER AND THE OFFICE!!!!

  29. I really liked it. I like how Steve as a writer has such a good understanding of the internal politics of the office and created the scenario of Jim turning into Michael when left alone for the day. Yay Steve.

    All the negativity about this season and I think it’s so far ahead of this time last year, when there seemed to be more love here. I hope to see the strike settled in the short term so we can see where things play out in Scranton.

  30. Really torn about this episode. I agree with #11, I feel like it was hard because they had to write around a theme which they have never had to do before, but even then it just felt awkward and off, and not in a good way. I understand what they are trying to do with Jim as a character and move him in different directions, but we have seen him be a strong leader in other episodes where he was “in charge” and everyone loved him. There were still some great laugh out loud moments, especially “Mr. A. Knife”, the birthday surprise sequence and the Dwight tackle but overall I was cringing and going, “hu?” more than I was laughing.

  31. I have to say that i really miss how they used to focus their episodes around the office itself. i ended up watching “health care” from Season one last night and there is a huge difference between the first three seasons and now. i’m still a fan and still laughed at tonights but i don’t think this season is the greatest.

  32. I died laughing when Jim walked out of Michael’s office and gathered the Office’s attention by saying ‘Hey hi hello hey…’ Total Michael move there!!

  33. I understand what they’re doing to try to explain Jim’s storyline and that he’s going to be the one who’s growing this season but that episode was a lot of highs and lows for me. Maybe when I watch it again on DVR it will be better. I did love the multiple shots of Michael surprising people and also Dwight once again showing all his weaponry in the office, my favorite, the chinese sword in the ceiling. I thought they could’ve done a better job of not making Jim look like a jerk though.. when you see him in Office olympics he’s an amazing motivator. I’ll see what I think when I watch it again.

  34. As much as I love Steve Carell and think he’s brillant, that episode was pretty weak. I didn’t laugh much at all. I did like the tag at the end with Jim and Michael. If the season continues, I have a feeling we’ll see Jim taking a different path with his life.

  35. Season 4 just isn’t clicking for me :( It has a different feel this time around. They sure are leaving the office a lot and it’s creating a lot of disjointed stories.

  36. I liked this episode very much!
    I guess it seemed a little rushed (probably better fleshed out in deleted scenes), but it really had the heart that makes The Office great. I love this kind of “Michael redeeming” episode because it always shows how much he really cares about his coworkers. It’s also interesting to see how he became who he is today.
    They’re definitely setting up a Jim storyline, which is why I’m so sad that we might have to wait a long time to see the whole arc :(

  37. I’ve never really complained about an episode, but this one was not good at all. The only time i laughed was when Dwight hit Michael in the head with the shoe.

    But it is nice to see Jim finally get some grief. He is pretty much a jerk to everyone but Pam.

  38. I had really low expectations going into this episode with the whole forced “green” thing…but I was pleasantly surprised.

    The green aspects did feel a bit forced, but I thought the scenes in the Office were great. I loved the Jim becoming Michael plotline, especially when he was annoyed by Toby.

    So far, I am enjoying Season 4 much more than Season 3. I am so depressed about this writer’s strike…bah.

  39. Wow, I loved this episode! “Conference room?” and ESPECIALLY Jim’s reaction to Toby. Also dug Andy cringing at Michael’s harmonizing and the amazing tag.

  40. 39: Despite my high rating of this episode, I agree that the storyline outside the office itself need to be toned down. The Office is best when it focuses on office politics and tensions, which is why the Jim birthday storyline was brilliant. And I am excited that it’s now Jim’s turn to grow and evolve.

  41. 65—-I disagree. I am not a Jim hater, but he is usually a jerk to everyone in the office except for Pam. Maybe add Stanley and Kevin in there. He pulls pranks on people, he makes fun of and talks about everyone, gossips about everyone, and is pretty arrogant. I think it is good that is he finally catching some of the grief that he is usually dishing out to others.

  42. Creed: Come on gang!(and no one budges-priceless!)
    Loved the Jim storyline, oh I hope this strike gets settled soon, these writers deserve the best! I love The Office.

  43. One of the few episodes where it seemed the time of 30 minutes was perfect. It got everything done in the required time without you going, “IS THAT IT?” I liked this episode, one of the better so far this season.

  44. Three Hole Punch–Why do you think Jim’s a jerk? When he saw people weren’t happy with his change, he brought it back to what they wanted.
    By the way, the scenes with Michael “surprising” people were some of the funniest of Office history

  45. I admit to not having read all the comments, so apologies if this has already been said…but come on, to say that the writers could not have come up with something better for the “green” theme…they work in an office with paper. What about conserving energy within the office, having the salespeople plant a tree for every 100 boxes of paper they sell, having people bike to work, or better yet, carpool. Think of the fights they could have in a carpool…!

    This episode was dull, dull, dull. And I am getting tired of over-the-top Michael…blech! And yes, I am a fan of the show, so no hating on me, please.

  46. that was a bad episode and i really did not laugh much at all. next week better be an improvement and the strike better end

  47. I really thought this episode was good. It was a little slow but I like where they are going with the Jim storyline. Some really classic office moments in this. Phyllis calling Jim Michael was awesome.

  48. jim has always been kind of arrogant, not on the same level as Ryan, but its there. It’s why he is so self-confident. Why do people always want a character that is perfect? This show is about realism. Jim is good-looking, funny and quick witted, but he’s also a little bit conceited. Everybody has their flaws, and I’m glad the writers are finally exploring Jim’s character a little bit more, beyond his love of Pam.
    You have to be really familiar with the first 3 seasons to really get this episode. The parallel between Jim and Michael has been setup by their relationship in the first 3 seasons.

  49. Perhaps this was said already but Michael had on a Battlestar Galactica Sweatshirt, when I saw that it may have been the only time I laughed in this episode though. Worst of the season in my opinion, not bad just not as good as the rest.

  50. I absolutely love what they’re doing with Jim this season. (TWSS!) I thought the tag was absolutely fantastic. I really commend those smart and underpaid writers for the way they are refusing to give into the idea that just because a character has settled into a happy relationship, everything about that character loses tension and becomes boring. Yay for those wonderful writers!

  51. One thing I hated, Meredith’s birthday being at the end of the month. Um, no Meredith’s birthday is in Spring and no one has a birthday a whoe month before hers. That just really bugged me.

  52. Hmm, it’s interesting to note that everyone here had mixed feelings about most of the episode but loved the tag with Jim and Michael’s conversation. And why do you think that is? It was a subtle, subdued, character-driven scene inside the office. That’s exactly what makes (made) this show so good, and exactly what season 4 has been missing.

    And the green week stuff. Blech. But did anyone see how Earl handled it? (“But it doesn’t fit with the rest of the story! I would just have to wedge it in.”) Hilarious! I was hoping that’s how The Office would have handled it.

  53. My favorite part was the end. It reminded me of Benihana Christmas when Jim and Michael were sitting on the couch.

    I think Pam knew that the combined birthday party was a bad idea, but she humored Jim and let him make this mistake on his own.

    Did Michael actually put poisonous mushrooms in his mouth? They looked like edible straw mushrooms (like in Chinese food), but I’m not a fungi expert!

  54. B+. Good episode, but not great. “Mr. A. Knife” was my favorite joke of the night…and Jim’s struggle to be liked while avoiding being Michael was entertaining.

    Did anyone else find Paul Feig’s directing to be kind of choppy? It seemed like the camera kept awkwardly going to whichever person spoke. That’s an odd approach for a single-camera show, and (especially since attention is called to the cameramen) gives the impression that there are two cameras on any given conversation. It didn’t kill the scene, but it was awkward.

  55. Not their best episode in my opinion, but they’re always better the second time to me. I think Pam didn’t disagree with Jim’s idea, she just knew what would happen if he tried to implement it. That was why she grinned at the camera. Laughed at the birthday montages, Dwight hitting Michael with his shoe, the Over-Kill Serial Killer, the duck taped pants, and the ending was great. I really like the exploration of Jim’s story.

  56. Creed “skipping around the room” had to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile! Good stuff, Mr. Carell.

  57. Wow, people are really killing this episode. I thought it was one of the best of the season. It was a great episode for Jim’s storyline. He wants to be more than a salesman, but he definitely doesn’t want to be Michael Scott. I love how Pam made him realize he was acting like Michael when she said “Five minutes?”, and then she smiled. Dwight hitting Michael with a shoe and then cooking bird eggs were the laugh out loud moments for me. This strike is coming at the absolute worst possible time for this show. Things are just starting to get interesting.

  58. 74-Laura
    I totally agree! Great ideas! They should have done something like that instead of yet another over-the-top Michael episode.

  59. This one, especially the already-discussed ending, gave me hope. Thank you, Steve Carell. Subtle, under control, yay.

  60. Best episode of the season!

    I was so happy when I saw Paul Feig directed this episode. The first half of the episode felt very Season 2ee, which was great, and maybe because the last episodes Paul Feig directed were in season 2.

    Also, can Steve Carell really do any wrong? How he finds time to write a great episode on top of all the movies, tv episodes, family responsibilities, etc. is unbelievable. He is my hero.

    I’m just sad that we only have one episode left until the strike gets settled. SUPPORT THE WRITERS!

  61. Not my favorite, but another delicious slice of Office pie . . . I mean, peach cobbler! Oh, Creed. :-) Loved Mr. A. Knife and the how Michael “tented” his pants, in addition to the birthday surprises.

  62. They seriously need to get back to the single camera setup. Every scene had like multiple views and things that look too sitcom-y and not possible for one person to do. That zooming out part when Michael was singing?!?! Was the cameraman in an airplane or a tree?

  63. Great episode, a contender for best since season 2. Carell needs to write more. I enjoyed Jim’s fumbling and anxiety, it reminded me of his earlier pursuit of Pam even though different of course. And I was grateful for a break from relationship oriented episodes.

    My only nitpick is the final tag scene should have been trimmed down a bit. When it drags on like that Steve stops seeming like Michael. Michael doesn’t have that long an attention span.

    To those calling Jim a jerk: he’s not being a jerk, he’s new at being a boss. He was confused and misguided, that’s all. Pam knew better because having been there longer she’d already seen Michael make the same mistake.

  64. I must object strongly to the opinion that Jim is mean to others in the office: singing “Islands in the Stream” with uninvited Michael at his party; helping Andy avoid big trouble in his high school girlfriend’s class and singing with him in the car to cheer him up; talking with Dwight in the stairwell about his own heartache over Pam and commiserating over Dwight’s love for Angela; the cool way Jim interacted with Stacey’s daughter when Kev brought her to work. I could go on and on. Jim is sweet and kind!

  65. I never thought that I would say anything negative about the office, but I didn’t laugh very much during this episode. It was disappointing. I loved the character-driven tag at the end, but that was really it.

  66. Pretty good episode. I loved the Jim storyline. Phyllis calling Jim Michael: Priceless. Here’s hoping the studios give the writers what they want soon, so we can see where this goes.

  67. I was a little disappointed with this episode. It seemed to just build up to Jim’s realization. The moment at the end between Michael and Jim was sweet and it sorta saved the episode for me. Last season it was all about Pam and I can’t wait to see where they take it with Jim.

  68. didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it. it worries me that Jim was such a jerk in this one. i really hope that doesn’t continue. i agree that the survivor man part was a little weak, although it had it’s fun moments (e.g. the duct taped pants, dwight with the rifle). i’m chalking that up to being forced to do the whole green thing…i don’t know, maybe my depression over the office closing down clouded my judgement…it’s all i could think about…completely supporting the strike but hoping for a quick end

  69. I really liked the bit when Jim was recapping the office birthdays. It seemed to stray from the documentary style though, with all the flashbacks. I guess the documentary “producers” could have file footage of that though from the years they have been filming. Michael’s pants-tent was hilarious! Loved the ending too, at first Jim seemed horrified that he was basically on the Michael Scott fast-track to middle-management, but by the end he had kind of resigned himself to that fact (I’m assuming that from his brilliant twss).

  70. This was a pretty weak episode.

    I’d blame it on the ‘green theme,’ but 30 Rock right before it hit it outta the park, so…what can I say? The last 2 minutes of the episode were really good, though.

  71. 94. Two thumbs

    Your comment is my favorite of the night.

    It wasn’t my favorite episode, but I still think that one bad episode of The Office is still better than the best of any other comedy on TV right now.

  72. This was not my favorite episode in terms of laugh-out-loud moments…but I LOVED the development of Jim’s character. I think John is doing an amazing job–there is never a dull scene with him in it. I especially love the Jim/Michael moments. The ending was perfect, and I agree that John (and maybe Steve, too?) was/were breaking…but that was great because the moment seemed so genuine.

    I think Pam knew Jim’s idea was going to backfire but wanted him to figure it out, which was very real and well played. The sequence of birthday surprises was hilarious. I, too, appreciated the break from all the relationship developments…but I was glad to see that Jim and Pam continue to seem happy and real together.

    Praying that the strike ends ASAP…I can’t live without more new episodes!

  73. Like others, I’m really enjoying and looking forward to learning more about Jim. He has what he’s been wanting for so long; he is now out of reasons to stay at Dunder Mifflin Scranton (I think at this point Pam would probably come with him, don’t you?), other than just staying because it’s comfortable. He’s struggling with that balance we all have to struggle with: trying to just get through and enjoy life, versus really trying to live up to your full potential. As someone currently facing leaving school and getting a career, I can really appreciate this storyline and how they’re handling it. Mind you, I don’t want him to leave Scranton! :)

  74. Man, I really liked this episode — it’s too bad not many people were feeling it..
    I laughed at a ton of the things that went on! This group of people are genius! Everything about the show is perfect, which makes it even more depressing that there is only 1 more episode. :(

  75. Sometimes it takes a few viewings for me to become a fan of an episode. To catch the little things that I missed the first time around. I’ll have to watch this one again I think. It was a good character developing episode for Jim, for sure. I agree with the comments about looking forward to seeing his story develop this season.

    Also, my tape cut out right at the end when Jim and Michael were discussing things – can anyone transpose their conversation?

    Thanks!
    Kristin

  76. I had the most laugh out loud moments in this episode than any other this season. I am confused by the hate for the episode. The birthday surprises (it looked like Phyllis was cracking up), Mr. A. Knife, Michael yelling things into the forest, the birthday controversy. I especially loved the direction with Jim, and the end scene between him and Michael. Jim can’t always be Mr. Happy-go-lucky, it was good to see him try to fill Michael’s shoes.

  77. After watching it again, I liked it much better. Andy’s face as Michael is singing in his high pitched voice…priceless! The birthday surprises were hysterical, especially Oscars.

  78. I enjoyed this episode. Michael’s attempts at birthday surprises killed me, as did Creed’s approach to getting cobbler for his party. I enjoyed the parallels of Jim and Michael, and this set up for a future storyline. Jim and Michael’s conversation at the end really made the episode for me.

  79. I really liked this episode. Like last week’s mustaches, I was really worried about Michael in the woods, but I thought it was a great episode. I laughed a lot (tented pants, anyone?), and I LOVED the flashbacks to old bday parties (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!). I thought it was great.

  80. Tonights episode was one of the funniest ever!!!! Michael and Dwight’s interaction is the best in the world. I love that Jim is really questioning his place at Dunder Mifflin.

    The Best Future for Jim and Pam:

    Jim: Sports writer
    Pam: amazing artist

    New Hometown: Philly

    House: with a terrace

  81. 2 Thumbs up!! Great episode, had everyone in the office for a part or 2. Loved the ending part, very well written. Can’t wait til next weeks

  82. Probably like others, I’ve been a pretty big critic of this season, but I REALLY loved this episode and it confuses me that others did not like it so much. Yes, the Meredith continuity was upsetting and some of the multiple camera angles made it feel a little less like a documentary, but I was really excited when I saw Paul Feig was directing. He always does a great job and definitely knows the basic documentary style. Although I don’t think Michael would know to properly use the word “cathartic”.

    Steve’s writing was brilliant. With all the complaints of Michael being over the top this season, Michael was put in a very over the top situation and Steve wrote and portrayed Michael very in character. Plus, tented pants! The line about the log potentially ending up as paper was funny for the “green” theme. And I LOVE where Jim’s storyline is going. The shocked pause on Jim’s face after Michael said Jim would know what to do in ten years was brilliant. This was the first time this season I was really excited after watching an episode. Sooo many great moments. More than 200 words worth!

  83. This episode made it clear to me that Jim is human, and he does make mistakes. Michael’s birthday surprises were hilarious! I’m laughing just thinking about it again. I’m really excited to see where this season leads Jim. It’s time to reach your potential, Halpert!

  84. Simply the best.
    This is The Office that I love. This is what drives me to buy the dvds every season. This is what was missing all season long.
    This is the best episode of this season. Awesome. Great. Freakin’ amazing. I haven’t liked an episode this much since last season. The characters are finally the characters that made the show. Go Steve!!

  85. one more thing….finally.. finally.. this is the Office. I am so glad it’s back to it’s former self.

    I was so upset this season because the office was losing what made it great- it was becoming Grey’s Anatomy in a paper company. This show proved it is the most original show on TV. This episode was the best. More episode like this please!!! So glad that Steve Carell got up to the plate and b&&ched slapped the season. Wake up!! The Office is back!! Yeah!!!

  86. Jim was just trying to make things easier. I love how Pam knew what was gonna happen when she went up to him and asked about the plan and smiled at the camera.
    LOVED Michael surprising some of the staff and Jim not really liking Toby. :)

  87. I didn’t think so many people would dislike this one. Only complaint I had-the goof re Meredith’s birthday.

    Loved the Jim storyline. Haha he hates Toby :D

    And OMG Angela showing a little skin. Whoa…

    Good job Steve!!

    Hey is it just me or did the Universal logo at the end change?

  88. I love Creed’s line…something like “Tell her it’s for Creed…she’ll know what that means” lol That, plus Michael jumping out at people for their birthday’s was amazing!

    Loved the ending.

  89. i love that
    “i don’t think i’ll be working here in 10 years.”
    “tha’s what i said”

    It’s kind of scary seeing jim turning into michael and michael’s future, which i think scares him.

  90. Two enthusiastic thumbs up! I laughed out loud so much tonight–great writing by Steve Carell as usual.

    I can’t wait to see where the Jim storyline goes.

    Loved the scenes where Michael is scaring the begeezes out of everyone on their birthdays! LOL!!

  91. The Office provided the best 30 minutes of this night in hell. :)

    Last scene? Definitely my favorite. I love moments like that. And I just love the Jim storyline this year. But it also makes me scared. How much longer can Jim take working at DM?

    Also, the return of the BSG sweater! Hahahaha. I love how that kind of paralleled to The Return.

  92. I wish the Jim as boss storyline could have been more fleshed out. Damn NBC for making this green week thing, and damn them to hell for not paying the writers

  93. Some eps have to be average, and this was one. Not horrible, not great (but some great elements), but just average.

    I don’t think Jim is “turning into Michael”, or being a “green” boss (pun intended). Rather, I think that he is becoming even more real. He can’t always be cool, cute, funny, and assured, but Jim doesn’t have to be the social alien Michael generally is when he isn’t those things.

    I thought the best of the show (other than the bonding where it was Michael’s turn to become more real, and a great tip of the hat to Boston Legal) was Dwight and the knives in office. Very funny.

    As always, Creed was hilarious.

  94. I really loved the ending of this episode. Those moments where Jim and Michael bond are always so well-written. And I liked the contrast between the ridiculous (Michael in the woods) and the mundane(but still funny) office politics. I had my doubts when looking at the synopsis beforehand, but once again, The Office does not disappoint.

    Oh, and Dwight’s weapons scattered around the office were hilarious. And if Rainn was really driving when at the part where Dwight hits Michael with the shoe – mad props for not crashing!

  95. I always love episodes written by Steve. This was no exception. And the end with Jim and Michael was so amazing and so depressing. Totally well written.

  96. I think that it’s very interesting that there have been very polarized opinions about every episode in S4 so far! I will admit that I have to watch each episode a couple of times and then I usually find the subtleties that I missed the first viewing, and usually raise my rating of each. I think someone mentioned it before that S4 is essentially the first season that for the most part has no similarities to the general story development from the BBC Office. I for one like the fact that they are creating new paths for our characters to travel and in the process are showing us the other layers of the characters. I liked that this episode continues what looks to be Jim’s journey and how Jim is realizing that his once simple answer to the question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” is now a little more complex. But at least, he still sees Pam is still in that answer! I especially loved the extended tag at the end.Good job Steve C!

  97. I too like that they are exploring Jim’s character more. I appreciate that the writers create storylines that really hit close to home for some viewers. Jim is totally reminding me of myself at this stage of his life. I’ve been really pondering about where my career is going and so I’m curious to see how Jim will be handling his future at Dunder Mifflin.

    And as others have said, I love the last scene. It’s wonderful to see glimpses of a sane Michael from time to time. It’s brilliant that they do it so subtly. Michael is so asinine all the time that they make you almost forget that he has a brain. Then the writers throw in a line that makes you remember why he is a manager and why he is a nice guy.

  98. Jim was not being a jerk this episode he thought he was doing what was best for the office. He thought that like him everyone could use less of Michael’s antics. He was simply wrong. He did try to make everyone happy by letting them have special cakes remember? Then when everyone decided to be honest with him he canceled the group party. Jim’s not perfect but he’s definitely not a jerk.

  99. I fall in the camp of: OK episode overall, but I LOVED the tag. I’ve always been a fan of Jim & Michael’s strange friendship – looking forward to seeing the rest of Jim’s journey this season (if we have a season, that is).

  100. The montage of Michael surprising employees with birthday cakes was hysterical. Ha ha ha–Michael: “I tented my pants!” The Jim and Michael interaction was great, especially the final clip. Loved this episode!

  101. I loved when Michael kept on using the word “Fashioned”. “I have Fashioned my pants into a hat” “i have fashioned my pants into a tent” hahaha, i dont know why that was funny to me, but it was.

  102. I loved this episode! I loved the part where Michael is in the wilderness and he’s trying to be smart by telling the time the way the sun is beating down, but he glances at his watch. My brother was the one to spot that out. I had to back it up. Haha, typical Michael. overall this season has been great. Although, I AM a Michael and Jan fan and I’m having withdrawals from their relationship. I can NOT wait until next week.

  103. It was good not great. I was liking the back at the office stuff, probably could have done a whole episode just about the birthday party. Lots of good little moments, the whole Michael going into the woods seemed pointless. Please can we have some in the office stories? What next they all go to the amusement park? (I work in an office and trust me there’s always something you can write about.)

  104. Great episode, per usual. I really enjoyed the B story this week. Last week’s Finer Things Club was great but having Jim slowly become into Michael was just too good. I love Steve Carell and Paul Feig. They are made of awesomeness. Bravo!

    9/10

  105. This episode was ok. Not great, just ok. I did laugh but the storyline just didn’t do it for me. I would like to see more episodes in the office. I did, however, love the scene at the end with Michael and Jim. I really like what they’re doing with Jim’s character this season, and I just hope this strike gets resolved so we can all see where this is going…

  106. The Office is funnier when it stays in the office. Jim’s attempt to revamp the birthday party: It’s funny because it’s true. Michael in the woods: Not so much.

  107. I think the best part was the conversation between Jim and Michael at the end. I think it gave good glimpses into who these people really are.

  108. This would be my least favorite. Funny, though, I got my favorite Office friends over for the first time, the HDTV antenna working without a problem… I think we laughed more at 30 Rock, which none of us are fans of.

    Though let me say, bad day at the Office beats a good day at 30 Rock. Or something :/

  109. dwight is quickly becoming my favorite character. ruthless, random, and obtuse, i want to be like that when/if i grow up. oh, wait…

  110. Did anyone else notice, They had said that Meredith’s birthday was at the end of the month following Kelly’s and Creed’s…but in the Alliance in season one, Michael wanted to throw a party so he picked the next one…which was Meredith’s, and her birthday wasn’t for another month.

  111. I was super excited to see Paul Feig directing again. Still bummed about the strike…

    Anyway…this episode was mediocre. I think they need to stay INSIDE the office more.

    Also, Jim is the new Michael.

  112. I agree that this episode was good but not great. It had a lot of funny moments, but that’s it. Casino Night I think was definitely a better episode. Is that the only other one that Steve has written? Knowing that, I’m kind of even more disappointed. Because Steve Carell is so great and every episode he writes should be just outstanding.

    I did, however, really enjoy watching Jim’s character grow through this episode. He can’t turn into Michael! It has been shown that Michael was still the same, unselfaware person before he became boss countless times. (sorry about the passive voice there)

  113. Ok, gave this episode another watch and realized how much I missed! Kudos to Steve on writing a great episode with a good mix of subtle and broad humor.

  114. I loved last night’s episode, but it wasn’t as amazing as some others this season. Didn’t get why they had to add the whole Michael in the woods-thing, although I did like how it got played out. Jim’s journey this season has been brilliant, but I’m scared to find out where it’ll take us, because I don’t see him working at Dunder Mifflin for years to come. Unfortunately. Some things this season have been a little over the top and therefore different from earlier seasons, but I really feel they compensate it by still adding lots of subtle things and I’m still loving every moment of it.

  115. 90% mediocrity, 10% pure brilliance. I thought the wilderness thing was just too long, too filled with little jokes to keep us amused, and only loosely connected to anything of substance. I tend to agree with the other opinions to try and keep The Office more in the office. This was, by far, my least favorite episode of the season.

    Two weeks in a row without any Angela/Dwight/Andy movement, either.

    But the ending – the last few minutes between Michael and Jim – were wonderful. These moments between them – Booze Cruise, The Convention, A Benihana Christmas – are done so well. They reflect off each other perfectly.

  116. It was an OK episode, but not great.

    I’m going to punish the writers by only watching The Office on-line….ensuring that they don’t get paid.

  117. After watching this episode I have come to this conclusion: Steve needs to write more episodes.

  118. This episode made me laugh (overkill killer, asbestos, surprise parties, etc) and made me cringe (Dwight with the bird eggs) like any good ol’ Office episode, but this episode was special cause we got to see more character development. I loved seeing that people actually enjoyed Michael’s craziness and it’s nice to see a little (non-Pam) emotion from Jim. Bravo!

  119. I’m often one to criticize an episode for not being just right, but I really liked this one. I thought it was believable and funny. I like that Michael and Dwight’s craziness was balanced by the more office-centric birthday stuff.
    (I CANNOT, however, forgive the Meredith birthday continuity error. How could they let that slip?!)

    My favorite part was the surprise birthday montage. I was LOLing the whole time.

    Lastly, BOYCOTT the NBC.com videos and WRITE them letters telling them what you’re doing and why! (See the Mike/Jen chat transcript for details.)

  120. I hate to say this, but I have started to care a little less about this show. When they were setting up the Jim turning into Michael storyline last night, I couldn’t help but realize that it wasn’t worth getting invested into it, since we wouldn’t see any conclusion to it for a long time.

  121. That tag was brilliant. Jim’s slow realization that he and Michael aren’t THAT different.

    “Ten years, you’ll figure it out”.
    “Well, I don’t think I’ll be here in ten years.”
    “That’s what I said.”

    Painfully beautiful.

  122. I’ve gotta watch this one again. I was falling asleep during it, and was disappointed that I didn’t laugh as much as usual.
    The Jim/Michael story was great though.

  123. Am I the only one who found it hilarious when Creed said he wanted peach cobbler for his birthday?

  124. I am surprised how many people thought that this was a weak episode. I think you have to have seen the show Survivorman to really appreciate this episode and all of Michael’s “survivor skills”. So to all the naysayers, watch an episode of “Survivorman” then rewatch this episode to really get the hilarity.

    Also, all of Dwight’s weapons hidden around The Office was hilarious and him actually putting his lips on the blow dart weapon he hid in the toilet tank was great.

  125. Yikes. I have to disagree with some of the comments. I just don’t care to see “Jim’s journey.” I’m really tired of the emotionally-charged story arcs. I know characters change, but I really just enjoyed watching a look into an anonymous office with crazy characters and a hint of angst every here and again. I’m super tired of watching these character “journeys.” I find them unfunny and, more than that, just plain boring. I really hope the writer’s strike gives them time to find the funny again and fix the show.

  126. I liked this episode a lot better than Branch Wars. Felt that Michael returned back to his normal silliness level (and not over the top like pushing photocopiers down stairwells or turning a car into a lake)

  127. Like others, I definitely have to watch each episode multiple times to fully appreciate each. As I read the comments about Jim’s “journey,” I kept thinking back on his comment to Pam earlier in the season–I guess it would have been in Launch Party. When Pam balked at pranking the heart-broken Dwight (before finally relenting after hearing the “bear horn”), Jim said, “I’m not a perfect person.” Now I think that that was the set up for his story arc. We’ve previously seen his insecurities with regard to Pam but not really extended beyond that. He’s always been portrayed as the well-liked, cool guy. Just a thought.

  128. I absolutely loved it when Jim got annoyed of Toby in Michael’s office. His talking head reminded me a lot like Michael’s talking head about Toby. That was awesome.

  129. Last night’s episode was one of my favorites of all four seasons thus far. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so loud and hard while watching “The Office.” It was definitely a bittersweet thirty minutes (what with the strike-induced halt on the production of new episodes and all).

  130. I again haven’t read all the comments, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the Meredith’s birthday thing. We really should all be hired as continuity supervisors or something.

    As for the episode as a whole… I thought it was sooo much better than last week’s. It felt more like old Office. I normally don’t like outside the office plots, but Steve and Rainn in the woods was too funny. I thought it was great.

    And man, is this Jim’s (half) season or what? I wonder what will happen with his character development if the strike continues. Sigh…

  131. Loved the final scene with Michael and Jim. I was especially stoked when Michael said my chat name :)

    Michael’s ‘surprise’ cake presentations were h-i-larious.

  132. Maybe it’s just me, but I have to wonder if the people who didn’t like the Michael woods scenes have never seen Survivorman. That guy is seriously nuts! I was laughing at everything that Michael did and I too loved how he kept saying “fashioned”. I also loved Dwight, and Mr. A Knife had me giggling so much that I know I missed stuff after that.

    I think considering that NBC made the writers go along with the whole “Green Week” thing, they did a really good job doing something really original as opposed to some sort of Ryan/Corporate imposed carpooling or recycling, because that would have just been dull, dull, dull. I’m also glad we are getting a bit of a break from Ryan.

    Also, about Michael being too over-the-top, he’s always been, and he always will be. I know some people are tired of it, but how do you think all the employees of Scranton feel??? Exactly! Steve Carell wrote this episode and who would know better than him how Michael is? This episode will go down as one of my favorite Michael ones, especially him surprising everyone on their birthdays. Hilarious!

  133. The survivor man story was a little silly but man did that final scene between Jim and Michael just make that episode.

  134. I agree with the previous posters. There were some really funny moments, but mostly I loved the B story.

    Part of the show’s attraction, on some level, is that it hits a nerve with those of us in jobs we don’t love (or hate), but fall into a trap of work in order to maintain our lifestyle. In Jim’s case, his work dream gets pushed to the side for his relationship and we’ve seen a peak into that this season. Personally, I love this. It hits home for many of us.

  135. I didn’t really enjoy this episode. It made me sad for Jim. I am sure it was meant to be slightly funny. But he is such a good character and JAM is finally together. I just hope this show keeps things upbeat. In a world where drama is all around us, it is nice to have something to look forward to.

  136. Just adding that I thought tonight’s episode had some great funny scenes, which I definitely expected since Steve Carell wrote it. I loved the montage of birthday parties and especially Michael surprising people and nearly scaring them to death! I also really loved the storyline of Jim turning into Michael since he was in charge for the day. The tag at the end definitely was great – I love Jim and Michael just talking together. When Steve and John play scenes like that they are just so genuine, it’s wonderful to watch.

  137. This was one of my favorite episodes this season. The Jim/Michael comparison was very, very weird to see, but I think that they laid that down as a foundation for the big problem that Jim is going to have this season. My favorite part was the part with Michael popping out with the birthday cakes – I wish Steve would write more episodes (I still love all of the other writers, it would just be cool to see him write more).

  138. The thing that MADE this episode for me was the last 30 seconds. That little chat between Jim and Michael was great. Left me satisfied and smiling.

    I agree with a lot of people on this one. The stuff in the woods was just okay. The best parts of the episode were the birthday shenanigans in the office.

    However you look at it, though, it’s still the best show on TV!

    (Damn the Man [Michael Eisner]. Pay the writers!)

  139. Solid episode. I loved the parallel story lines of Jim and Michael. Both had to deal with “surviving” in a dangerous place: Michael in the woods, Jim as boss. Both had guides (Dwight & Pam) who tried to steer them in the right direction.

    And both failed miserably and hilariously.

    I love Jim’s story arc this season. End the strike already!

  140. I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. The woods stuff wasn’t the greatest but I loved the birthday stuff. As usual the show is always awesome. Now this strike just needs to end so we can see what happens next with Jim! Grrrrr.

  141. I enjoyed this episode a great deal. A few highlights for me were the TWSS talk between Jim and Michael, and how Michael’s “I don’t need fresh air, I’ve got the freshest air of all – A/C” and “I don’t need wide open spaces…” lines worked with/against NBC’s forced green week theme.

  142. Not a bad episode but far far from my favorites. There were two things that really pulled me out:

    Meredith’s birthday. Ugh. I am a HUGE continuity buff and for any show, especially one of this caliber and with as big a fan base as it has, it is completely inexcusable. And it’s not like her birthday was just mentioned in passing one episode, ala “Who worked there first? Jim or Pam?” Her birthday was the plotline of an entire episode! Unacceptable.

    Phyllis calling Jim “Michael.” In an episode referencing overkill this is ironic. It really felt like they were spelling it out. “Okay, folks, now if you don’t get it yet, Jim is turning into Michael. See? She just called him Michael!” They were underestimating the intelligence level of their audience. If Phyllis was just half-listening and said Michael out of habit, or intended it as a dig at Jim it would have been fine. But they played it off like she blatantly stared at Jim and called him Michael by mistake.

    I did enjoy it, especially Jim mocking Toby and Michael’s “pants tent,” but not as much as I could have.

  143. Did anyone else refuse to watch “The Office” until the strike is over? Or was it just silly old me?

  144. I liked this episode. It wasn’t my favorite, but there still hasn’t been an episode I haven’t liked. I loved the Jim/Michael story. But I hope Jim doesn’t leave to go follow his dreams!! :)

  145. Haha, I just had to type up some stuff at work in an editorial calendar about Paper awards, and all I could think about was “Dundies!” oh how I will miss this show. :)

  146. #65: Jim is not a jerk. He is going through a changing period just like Pam did last season. He struggling when determining what he wants to do in the next 10 years. He has Pam, not he has to do something for himself.

  147. I’ve really liked every episode this S4. Polarity among we fans is expected, and is actually good for the show’s ratings – those who love the latest ep will watch next week, and those that hated the latest ep will watch next week hoping it’s better or will seek validation of their opinion that the show has indeed peaked. I don’t really care too much about docu-continuity or whether or not this is better than S2; I just want to be entertained, and to me The Office always delivers whether it’s the slapstick stuff, JAM, the GREAT one-liners, or the heartfelt stuff (ie Michael baring his true feelings to whomever. Whoever?).

    What this season is REALLY showing us is great acting by everyone – the writing quality can be argued until the end of time, but each and every one of those actors this season has really embodied their character and deliver their lines or gestures with perfection. I’d watch The Office cast read the proverbial “phonebook” in character before I switch over to Grey’s (note: if the writer’s strike forces producers to use my idea, I will work for scale).

  148. The episode was not very funny. It had a few moments, but that was it. It will be interesting to see what Jim does with his mini-revelation that he better do something soon or he will be stuck in Scranton (I thought he already was). He seemed pretty depressed with the thought that he could be there in ten years.

  149. i liked all the weapon hiding places that Dwight had–especially the file folder labeled Mr. A. Knife!

  150. Love the Jim arc, love the Michael parallels. Dwight in all his outdoorsman glory, was so good in the episode. Did anyone else think that Michael was going to end up tripping out on the mushrooms? Yikes, Michael Scott and mushrooms… a very dangerous combination.

  151. Ok i am sure that people have already said this but I just want to comment that I love how Jim all of a sudden started not liking Toby! I think it is a curse that anyone who has Michael’s office hates Toby or anyone in HR for that fact.

  152. Did anyone else notice that Creed’s peach cobbler looked homemade? (It was in a pyrex dish) — wonder if Angela had to run home and bake it!

    Also, how long did Michael have to wait in the elevator with a cake for Kelly to get into the elevator so that he could yell SURPRISE!!

    ha ha, that stuff kills me…

  153. Some minor things that may not have been mentioned, but I laughed at a lot:

    1. Dwight = “Overkill killer”
    2. “Jan has plastic boobs!”
    3. Angela gave Andy both Fudgey the Whale AND Mushroom Caps. Things must be going well.
    4. Creed skipping around the room

    It’s the little things that count in life. And it’s the little things that count in the Office.

    Great episode, especially the end.

  154. #183 – When Phyllis called Jim “Michael” it wasn’t spelling it out for the audience, it was for Jim. He didn’t totally realize what was happening to himself until then. Although Pam’s “Conference Room?” comment did some of that as well.

  155. #184 I think it’s okay to watch the episodes on TV because, as I understand it, the writers get residuals for those. We would not watch any replacement shows. We would not watch anything on the web, but since we already have the dvds, we can watch those. Maybe they’ll come up with a contract that includes retroactive increased pay for dvds.

  156. I can’t understand people complaining that the show is losing it’s ‘documentary’ feel. Maybe I’m just slow, but I watched and fell in love with the show in season two, and I didn’t realize it was supposed to be a fake documentary until about 6 episodes in. This season has had SO many more realistic interactions with the camera. And also- The office has never EVER been a one camera show. There has ALWAYS been multiple camera coverage on the majority of the scenes. And the camera has always strangely anticipated reactions/ lines from the cast. Go back and watch season two again and realize that all those things are present.

  157. I hate to see people rip the show, but to see it happen here? That’s a little disheartening. so they forgot about a detail about merediths birthday and it’s ‘inexcusable’? like somehow the viewers were wronged because the writers slipped? it wasn’t even an important detail to this episode.

    The worst office episode, and this one was far from that, is better than 3/4’s of the crap on television today and I would like to see people appreciate that more especially now due to the strike.

    Speaking of which, not watching the show live or online until the strike is over is not going to have an effect on the negotiations. If anything, the more people watching it on nbc.com will be beneficial to the writers cause. They can point to the statistics and show nbc just how much they’re missing out on when no more episodes are aired. Nobody watching online gives nbc the power to say that it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

  158. Oh, did anyone else notice that look that Andy gave Michael when he was doing the high harmony during Jim’s voice over? That was easily one of my favorite moments of the episode. It’s the subtle things that make this show so brilliant.

  159. 196, JChan-

    Phyllis’ comment would have been for Jim’s sake if she intended it, but it was played off like an accident. It just felt, to me, like something that wouldn’t realistically happen. And Pam’s “Conference room?” line not only iterated the Jim-becoming-Michael point first, it did so in a subtle, funnier way.

  160. I thought I was going to have a heart attack I was laughing so hard at Michael surprising everyone – Oscar’s reaction killed me. I too thought this episode was filled with great “little moments” – Andy’s reaction to Michael’s singing, some great lines for Phyllis and her little smile on “Michael wasn’t invited” – priceless. Overall, I thought this was one of John K’s best episodes and Pam letting him sink was perfect. Oh, did I mention Dwight finding the eggs? “Lunch.” Loved it! Treasure these episodes, guys – they are the last we will see for a long while, it seems.

  161. Why do people react to Office criticism by saying, “Oh yeah, well even a bad Office episode is better than most everything on TV.” That doesn’t make the episode better. Those of us who are unhappy are unhappy because the show isn’t living up to its own standards. Don’t lower the bar by saying it’s okay because it doesn’t suck as bad as other stuff.

  162. There are basically two types of The Office episodes: contiguous and discontiguous. A contiguous episode is one which serves to advance the various plots, romances and breakups which have been in development since S1, while a discontiguous episode is more like an isolated snapshot of a day at the typical office; a show which is more or less independent of the story arc(s) and to some extent even the established characterizations. Survivor Man was the latter. You didn’t have to be up to the minute on Jam or Dwangela to enjoy it. The only requirement for relating to and enjoying this episode is at one time having worked in an office with other humans and possibly even having endured a clueless and maladjusted boss. This type of episode always ranks up there with my favorites because, for me, it is usually a breath of fresh air; a fun detour from the usual Office highway, if you will. I feel the show works best this way, and is perhaps more along the lines of how it was originally intended when the UK series was first conceived. I really enjoyed this one. Clips of Michael’s past birthday pranks were the outstanding moments for me.

    P.S. Whatever happened to Todd Packer? Was he laid off?

  163. 200, vince-

    I have too much respect for the writer’s to allow something like that to slip. Like I said before, Meredith’s birthday was one of two driving stories of an entire episode way back when. For something like that to be contradicted just shouldn’t happen, especially when it could have been rectified as easily as substituting Kevin, or Stanley or basically anybody else in the office for her.

    I’m not “ripping” the show. I’m pointing out flaws because it means so much to me and I hold it in higher regard, therefore errors and the like sting so much more when they do occur. And I come here with my criticism and praise because it’s a forum for me to voice my opinion and discuss with other intelligent, diehard fans what we love and, equally, what we hate.

  164. I absolutely loved the scene where Jim was talking about Toby. I thought that was the funniest part of the whole episode.

  165. Vince- Good point on not watching the episodes online. Now that I think about it, it would affect them negatively.

  166. I thought this was one of the best written episodes. It had great comedic wit as well as some more serious undertone. By that I’m talking about the last scene with Michael and Jim. I thought it was great, it made them both look very human without taking away from the comedic aspect of their characters. It wasn’t just Jim realizing he may be there in 10 years and feeling depressed or stunned but he was also somewhat OK with the fact. There was some comfort in it which is natural. He’s becoming more of a pal to Michael. I’ve liked it as well before in a few occasions where they show the Jim/Michael relationship as not just being as one-dimensional as his relationship with most other characters. Sure he thinks Michael’s actions and jokes are “loser-ish” but he also seems to respect Michael as a colleague, boss, and friend. This adds a lot more to the show than simply a one-dimensional comedic relationship.

  167. I loved the tag, but in there you can sort of see the seeds of what a possible finale would be. I don’t want Jim to leave Dunder Mifflin!

  168. #202

    I know! I haven’t watched the episode again (I refuse to go to NBC’s website) but I think I remember Michael singing or chanting and Creed immediately knew what was going on, which really makes me think it’s some sort of tradition or something…that makes it all the more funnier.

  169. This was the best episode of the season. I hadn’t liked S4 too much, but this brought it all back for me.

  170. I would just like to point out that I am lactose intolerant, AND I occasionally eat Devil’s Food cake. AND my birthday was last week, so it falls within birthday month. So maybe I was actually Meredith in a past life. Maybe I’m Hindu after all.

    Just saying.

  171. As for the documentary feel, I had a real problem with that huge zoom away from Michael while he was singing Happy Birthday. Why couldn’t it have been with his own camera?

    I loved Andy’s fist pump “yes!” More Andy, please.

  172. I enjoyed this one a lot. Steve Carell is a genius at writing comedy that is sometimes outrageous, sometimes subtle, but always touches the heart.

    Kudos to Steve for writing the “green” episode, and poking a subtle finger at NBC corporate for impinging on their creativity. The Office in reality imitates The Office in art.

    Michael patting the tree trunk and wistfully saying it could one day be Dunder Mifflin paper. Brilliant! His screen saver giving him all the space he needs. Michael stuffing his face with party treats after his sojourn in the barren wilderness. Finally, the whole Dwight plotline. The weirdo is the one perfectly comfortable in the woods, eating baby bird eggs! Normal people cannot live that way.

    Also loved Jim’s realization that Michael had tried to be the good boss ten years previous, but reality had slowly beaten down his ambitions and dreams.

    Jim is now experiencing Pam’s anguish of S2.

    Truly an Office classic.

  173. So I will solve the birthday argument right now. The birthdays the office staff are celebrating are not the actual birthdays of anyone. Angela says “we need a cake.” Jim then replys “didn’t we just celebrate a birthday?” Angela says it’s birthday month and then rattles off different days in which they celebrate a different staff memebers birthday. I don’t think it’s the actual date of anyones birthday, just a month they celebrate multiple birthdays.

  174. the simplest things make me laugh, dwight hitting michael with a shoe, creed skipping around the room and michael surprising everyone and of course scheduling toby’s party for 4:58 on a friday.

  175. Yes, yes. That look Andy gave Michael when he was singing “Happy Birthday” was priceless. I agree…it’s the subtle things that make the show (#201), but it’s also the character development that makes this show so great. I feel like I know these people and care what happens to them. Is that too lame? :)

  176. I can’t help but feel like I’m watching a classic in the making every time I watch this show. For a long time I’ve felt like it is too good to be true — a true gem the likes of which hasn’t been seen on network tv since Mary Tyler Moore. What a pleasure it is. Please oh please do not go away!

  177. I didn’t laugh out loud once. I don’t know why either. Jim slowly acting like Michael was written extremely well though.

  178. I love this episode, despite the Meredith birthday error. The Office writers need us now more than ever!

  179. I loved this episode! So funny! Dwight and the weapons. The birthday montage. Everything! Come on NBC let’s give these writers some money, Baby! Momma likey new episodes.

  180. Anyone know what Michael yelled after “Jan has plastic boobs”? It was “I….am….[something]”

  181. 220, Elisabeth-

    The cameraman was probably just lying at the top of the hill filming him. To fill time he just did a slow zoom thinking it might look artsy and epic. In post they decided to use it over Michael singing to further emphasize his isolation, whether or not he was actually singing at that moment.

  182. I was not a big fan of this episode only because I felt like they’re turning jim into a heel where he’ll be hated by the office now but we shall see where it goes.I want to see more of the Toby love for pam and see him try to break jim and pam up

  183. 230: a lot of young men in their late 20s/early 30s may be with the love of their lives, but they also find something lacking in their jobs, which is the path they’re on which they’re putting Jim. It’s remarkably realistic.

  184. #209

    I call those the “in-between” episodes, but i like “contiguous” and “discontiguous” better.

  185. Does anyone else feel like there were hints at Jim leaving the Office? I know he won’t this season, but what if he moves to another job or something? I know I’m just really paranoid, but I just got this sinking feeling at the end of that episode.

  186. What a great episode! The episodes written by Steve Carell are a nice mix of outrageous behavior and truly touching moments.

    So many funny moments — Dwight’s hidden weapons and trying to knock Michael unconscious with his shoe, the past birthday surprises, Michael’s hours in the wilderness, Creed skipping around the room, Fudgy the Whale and peach cobbler, and of course, the last scene with Jim and Michael.

    We also got to see Jim attempt to flex his managerial muscle and get shot down in the process while Pam stood by and let him work his way through it — sweet.

  187. j – 82

    YES!!! thats all i thought about, the same type of conversation between jim and michael in benihana xmas.

  188. I loved this episode, although I was waiting for Michael to come back from his little outing with poison oak all over his body; that would have been funny!

    Laughed a lot at this one and enjoyed the end with Jim & Michael. Can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

  189. I was quite disappointed with this episode. Aside from the montage of Michael’s birthday surprises, there was nothing humorous about the communal birthday portion of the show.

    The final scene was the only saving grace of the show, and as good as it was, I was still left with a bitter taste in my mouth.

    I don’t know if the writers are running out of ideas or if they are having trouble matching a higher standard that they set in previous seasons, but this season it feels like I have been waiting for punch lines that just never arrive.

    And just when I started to feel like the writers were beginning to hit their stride again after watching Money and Branch Wars, I think they took a significant step back in Survivor Man.

    Grade:
    Without final scene: 3/10
    With final scene: 5/10

  190. overall this was a pretty darn good episode…and this is coming from some one who has been severely critical of the show this season.

    despite “suvivorman” probably being the best episode yet in season 4, two things made me sad:

    1. seeing jim fall on his butt two episodes in a row. i think i was expecting a fun, office olympics style jim when michael put him in charge. what we got was pretty much the opposite. regardless of that, i liked the jim/michael interaction at the end and still thought that the plot line was interesting.

    2. the birthday mix up! i think the writers should hire a fact checker to check their own writing from past episodes.

  191. Wow,it’s amazing how divided people are on this episode, more so it seems, than others this season. People either loved it or hated it. I’m in the “not so hot” category but I’ve only watched it once so far and they usually grow on me.

    Loved the surprise birthday montage (people falling down in shock!) and Dwight’s hidden weaponry montage. The way he took the blow dart out of the toilet tank then put it up to his mouth…ick!

    So yeah…I’ll have to watch this one again before I decide how I feel about it. Interesting to read all your comments, though!

  192. Interesting episode. Not sure it is my favorite. I don’t understand Jim’s journey right now. It’s as if the writers have a destination in mind for him and are in a hurry to get him there. I don’t think it’s unusual for guys in their late 20’s and early 30’s to still be searching for their life work. He’s with the love of his life — I don’t understand why he can’t enjoy where he is right now with Pam and and let his future develop naturally. After all, he is smart, capable, and people love him.

  193. The opening credits were cut short this week. Anyone know if that was just to accomodate a longer episode, or if that is going to be the norm from now on?

    This was the weakest episode this season for me, but it was still great. I absolutely loved all of the Jim scenes and it is so refreshing to tackle Jim’s character without having him attached to Pam. Toby was great and I’m loving Oscar more and more with each episode!

    I will admit that on second viewing, this episode made me cry. Overall, there was a very somber feel to it (especially with the thought that this could be the second to last episode). This whole season has such a different feel to it, and I love it.

    The episodes may not be as amazing as season 2, but I feel like there is so much growth from all of the characters and I am finally understanding who they are. I remember when I used to find Michael so incredibly annoying, whereas now, I see what a sweet guy he is and just how crucial he is to the company and his employees.

  194. Great episode! My favorite parts are Jim giving Toby a hard time and Jim and Michael’s moment at the very end.

  195. I loved the moments in where Jim was unintentionally becoming like Michael; calling a meeting in the conference room in exactly 5 minutes, disliking Toby, using “That’s what she said”, etc.

  196. Jim has been at Dunder Mifflin this long only because he couldn’t leave Pam. He has always known it wasn’t his life’s dream to sell paper, but it was good enough as long as he could be near Pam. Now that they are together and his personal life is finally on track, he is realizing that it is time to get his professional life in order, as well. However, it will take him some more time and dissatisfaction with this job to make him really go out and pursue whatever it is that he wants to do, because Jim is a creature of habit, and not often one to take chances.

  197. One of the reasons I so enjoy The Office is that you can laugh out loud one minute, almost cry another, and find yourself wishing these people really existed so you could make friends with them! So it is an excellent example of comedy AND drama…kind of like real life, huh?

  198. Some episodes the credits are shorter than others when they have a bit more episode to fit in. It wasn’t the first time they did the short version.

  199. #240
    I can’t imagine Jim actually leaving again. I mean, where would that leave things for this show? The dynamic is that in some form all of these people still work for Dunder Mifflin. As much as I’d like the Jim character to be happy, I think if he left, it would ruin the show. I can’t imagine how they would work him into another job and have anyone like it.

  200. This episode demonstrated to me that I am very dedicated to the minutiae of this show. I was visibily upset to hear that other birthdays immediately preceded Meredith’s (considering the plot in The Alliance in Season 1) while the person I watched with didn’t understand. After trying to explain it to them, and they still didn’t understand, I had an epiphany, I am a true fan of this show.

  201. Was Toby sporting a Ryan-inspired 5 o’clock shadow when he was telling the others about the trip?

  202. 56 | theinfamouschinaman
    you are right, i also thought about jim’s relationship with everyone in the office during office olympics. but then i thought about the fact that he transferred to a different branch and when he came back he never really came back- in his own words. he has been distant and is in this weird position of being assistant manager but not really caring. i think it is really realistic that his relationship with people in the office would have changed a lot since office olympics and then he would be struggling to find out where exactly he belongs.

  203. #254
    Maybe Jim could start submitting freelance articles to various publications…? No overwhelming success at first, so he has to keep his ‘day job’ until he’s more established. It would give him hope for his future and keep him there for us. :-)

  204. #259 brilliant! Jim the freelance writer… I love it. I hope they go that direction, and when (hopefully a long time from now) the show ends he finally gets his break, which is realistic.

  205. Vince – Thanks for the point about watching online. What do you think about continuing with Dunder Mifflin Infinity? I’ve seen a suggestion (not here) that the branches suspend until the strike is settled. I’m an RM, and I’m not sure if I should continue while the writers are on strike. NBC has ads on the site, so they’re making money from our traffic.
    I liked it so much better before the strike when I could just look forward to Thursday night.

  206. I enjoyed this ep a lot, but I am already REALLY looking forward to next week — The Deposition. As a lawyer, I can say confidently that there is a TON of comedic potential there, and I will be very disappointed if it isn’t tapped. And, as many have mentioned, it will be very bittersweet that it will be the last episode for a while!!

  207. I love the honesty/empathy with which Pam treats Jim when he expresses his bad idea- so realistic!

    My moments of fanatical laughter included the irony of Jim’s “I hate Toby” talking head and the blow dart in the toilet tank.

    And as a former Girl Scout, I appreciate and want to emulate my own version of the Battlestar Gallactica sweatshirt in my car. You know, for emergency preparedness.

  208. Loved the episode. I like how they are exploring Jim’s character this season. Last season it was Pam’s “coming out” and becoming her own person. This season it looks like it is Jim’s. Very interesting as it is new territory from the UK show. Didn’t “jim” on the UK show become the branch manager?

  209. i just watched the episode again and it was SO WEIRD that every one was HAPPY when michael came back from the woods. that’s definitely a first for the office.

  210. 266–> Nope, the “Dwight” of the BBC version became branch manager and the “Jim” was virtually in the same position he was always in.

  211. #222-

    It was actually CReed’s birthday that day. The big birthday error is that in season 2, they were searching for a birthday to celebrate to lighten the mood. Meredith’s was the next one up, at about a month away. The way they have so many birthdays in a row here conflicts with that. Meredith’s wouldn’t have been the next birthday if they had this same sequence then.

  212. My prediction is that not only will “The Deposition” be the best of this season, but it will also be in the Top 5 of all time. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.

    Also, Creed ran away with it again last night. “Tell her it’s for Creed, she’ll know what that means.”

  213. Sorry, I don’t have time to scroll through all the comments, but just thought I would add…I enjoyed the episode, but just burst out in delight at the tag at the end. It was just…so real and so “Office.” I’m sure others have speculated that it was possibly ad-libbed…and I guess it just seemed like they were having a great time and enjoying the characters and the moment!

  214. #264|Nick1

    YES! I agree completely. That’s a great observation and totally valid. The man knows what he’s doing. It’s classic improv and sketch skill; more specifically Second City style and technique. He knows these characters and he sticks with them throughout the episode.

    I’m such a fan. Seriously. I think he’s wonderful.

  215. I was so skeptical when I heard this episode premise, but it was incredible! The whole Michael-in-the-woods thing actually played out very realistically and subtly, and I loved the birthday plot too.

    Favorite quote: “You are as creepy as a real serial killer.”

    I’m glad The Office is going into the strike with strong finishing episodes so the studios can cry their eyes out.

  216. Love, love, love, love this episode! Steve Carell does it once again! This was a totally realistic episode with tons of laugh out loud moments, my favorite having to be the part where Creed is skipping in a little circle and his expression?… Priceless! However, I couldn’t help but be a tiny bit sad knowing that there was only one more episode after this because of the writers strike but for pausing mid season, they are sure ending with a bang!

  217. Just a little Office detail – Did anybody notice that when everyone’s in the breakroom complaining about the new birthday party policy and Jim, Creed mentioned that it was “Jimmy’s” birthday three weeks ago hence he doesn’t care about grouping other people’s birthday celebrations together. John Krasinski’s b-day was October 20th (approx 3 weeks ago). Nice touch.

    I’m starting my letter to Jeff Zucker right now. I look forward to Thursday nights all week, but not after the 15th. I’m desolate.

  218. A beautifully scripted episode. I’m glad that we got a really amazing episode during the strike, it totally lightens the mood. I also loved the completely new concept of Jim and Michael bonding. The music during the credits after the party room scene made me feel all fuzzy inside :)

  219. I think that the difference between Office Olympics and this episode is that in Olympics, Jim was not #2 and the entire staff were playing games while Michael and Dwight were away. Now that Jim is #2 there is a bit of a divide between him and the rest of the Office. Oscar agreed that Jim’s idea about the party was good even though we could tell that Oscar didn’t think so. Most of us have probably agreed with our boss just to get along. Probably Pam knew all along that Jim’s idea wasn’t going to sit well with everyone but she let him find out on his own. Hope that if Jim does end up breaking away from DM they just end the show with him and Pam going off into the sunset together, instead of sending a camera crew to watch him be a sportswriter or whatever.

  220. Did anyone else notice the blooper that according to this episode, there were a bunch of birthdays before Meredith’s, even though in the Alliance, when Michael asks whose birthday is next, Meredith’s is the closest, and it’s a month away?

  221. Was there a boo-boo regarding continuity from Season 1?

    On the “The Alliance” episode from Season 1, Michael asks Pam which office staff has a birthday coming up. Pam replies the next one won’t be until next month, which is Meredith.

    But on this episode, Angela mentions that Oscar’s birthday was a week after Creed’s and that Meredith’s was at the end of the month.

    ???

    So did Pam just made a mistake and totally missed Oscar’s and Creed’s birthday?

    ???

    ???

  222. i thought this was THE best episode of the entire season. i laughed at plenty of the scenes, and my heart melted at the end. the jim/michael interaction was great. the office is the best show on television, and i’m kind of depressed that next week is going to be the only new episode for a long time. however, i fully support the writers. without them, the office wouldn’t exist!

  223. Did anyone else feel the intense mood shift when Michael entered the conference room while they were singing happy birthday to Creed? It was as if the entire room went from somber black and white to ebullient techni-color. Michael’s gift to the people who work in the Office is exactly that: he can lift their spirits in a nano-second with his ridiculous singing and commands for skipping. That’s what Jim needs to learn how to do in order to be a successful RM.

  224. 92 – I know this is late but after a rewatch I did notice that the camera was most likely on top of a steep hill looking down on Michael in a valley.

  225. Great episode. Really well written. But yeah, I couldn’t help but notice the birthday boner. That’s what she said!

  226. With the birthday deal. A lot of the people that work in the office could have easily just not told anyone their birthday dates…until later on.

  227. Am I the only one who noticed that the sex doll had a sign that said “Stacy” on her during Kevin’s bday party flashback? I just noticed this, and it added a whole new dimension of comedy to the scene.

  228. Great Ep. #283 & 284 – I noticed the same thing. It’s really cool, I bet the continuity guys didn’t give it a second though…it really speaks to the quality of the fan base that so many of us picked up on that so quick. Sometimes it’s as if we know that show better than they do :-)

  229. It’s taken me this long to watch the episode, and man was i missing out!!!
    This could very well be my absolute favourite episode ever! Pure genius.
    I have always said and will continue to say that Rainn Wilson is the best thing about that show.
    Mouthing: “Come on. Come. Stay Back. But come.”
    Michael broke my heart singing to Creed.
    It was just perfection.

  230. “Well if you take a look at this, I tented my pants..”

    Best line of the episode. Good for Steve for taking a stand with his fellow writers and respecting the picket line. As Neil Young once sung “I’m proud to be a union man, I make those meetings when I can.. I pay my dues ahead of time, when the benefits come I’m last in line!”

  231. #286 I agree with your comments. What a great show!! When Dwight was looking at Michael with the scope and didn’t have the safety on was pure Dwight. I really got a laugh out of Jim having a hard time with the “birthday crew”, and loved the way Jim and Michael bonded at the end. Jim was so very, very glad Michael was back. And when Phyllis called Jim “Michael” and Jim saying that he will always remember that was really cute!!

  232. Did anyone else notice how Dwight places the dart shooter on his lips AFTER he takes it out of the toilet!!! The funniest thing is, when he’s taking it out, he’s careful not to use his entire hand.
    Brilliant!

  233. why did this episode get such low ratings? I thought steve carell’s writing was GENIUS, and it reminded me of the injury in the way that MY PANTS WERE FILLED WITH PEE because I was laughing so hard. he got all the little moments right, like andy sliding his chair to talk to Jim, angela’s line about “party planning elves”, and creed’s aside to Jim about the cobbler. and him eating the cobbler alone. in a corner. Creed!! I also loved Michael in the wilderness “I have a wood desk…”

  234. I thought the episode was great as usual!!

    Pam making fun of “Boss Jim” was hilarious. Like when she said, “Conference room?” and gave that little smirk.

    I LOVED the end scene with Jim and Michael talking about how to be the boss. It reminded me of the scene at the end of Benihana Christmas where it really seemed like it was John and Steve talking to each other.

    Awesomeness.

  235. The only thing that bothered me about this episode was the obvious crane shot going into the first commercial break. How would the documentary crew achieve that shot? It took away from the perceived reality/rules of the show.

  236. A little daunting with Jim’s facial expression when everyone accidently called him Michael, I really hope this doesn’t mean Jim quits or leaves or anything tragic like that…oh no..

  237. Hahaha, when they are showing the sequence of surprise birthdays, you can tell that Phyllis was actually cracking up. I’m glad they kept it, though. It made me laugh so hard.

  238. Tanster, isn’t the car Behind-The-Scenes pictures from “Dunder Mifflin Infinity”?

    [from tanster: oops! moved. thanks!]

  239. Just watched the episode. VERY good! The interaction between Michael and Jim at the end was fantastic.

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