The Office: Prince Family Paper, 5.13

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Prince Family Paper

Writer: B.J. Novak, Director: Asaad Kelada

Summary (NBC): Michael and Dwight go undercover to spy on a paper company competitor. The rest of the office settles the question: is Hilary Swank hot?

The Office Prince Family Paper rating

In a poll conducted Jan. 22-26, Tallyheads rated this episode: 6.98/10

See all The Office Season 5 ratings.

The Office Prince Family Paper quotes

Jim: Looks like a red wire.

Jim: Oh, he’ll be fine. I made it up there.

Michael: Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Wallace?

Michael: Fax? Why don’t you just send it over on a dinosaur?

Dwight: Michael, please. Can I seduce her?

Dwight: You know how I feel about IHOP! Are you a socialist?

Michael: You will have pancakes and you’ll like it.

Michael: Clouds in the sky. That means it’s going to rain. Bad for business.

Dwight: Michael, get your clouds right.

Michael: All right. Here come the sharks.

Michael: Replace sharks with paper companies, and that is all you need to know about business.

Michael: Ooh, Vietnam. I hear it’s lovely.

Kevin: A painting can be beautiful, but I don’t want to bang a painting.

Michael: Laughter is my job. Tears are my game. Law is my profession.

Dwight: I’m your son now. You can visit him on holidays.

Kevin: It’s “is she hot?” Not “would you do her?” Respect the game.

Angela: Hot is a temperature, people.

Angela: Yes, she’s hot. She’s hot as heck. She’s a female Boris Becker.

Pam: We don’t even give him full Internet access.

Michael: Ah, coffee. That’s too much … nice.

Dwight: Goodbye, Prince Family! Should be called the Sucker Family …

Dwight: Have you ever seen a raccoon devour a squirrel?

Dwight: Save your heart for love and use your brain for business.

Dwight: If Frodo hadn’t destroyed the ring, then goodness itself might have died.

David: You are a titan of industry, pal.

Dwight: Guess whose stock just went up, golden boy?

Michael: I slightly destroyed a wonderful little family.

Icon provided by pessimistreader.


  1. I thought the “spy” storyline would be the bad one (shades of “Branch Wars”) and the Hilary Swank storyline would be the good one, but it was the other way around. Michael & Dwight’s infiltration was well-handled, with the camera staying outside the whole time (though it wasn’t exactly hilarious). Unfortunately, the office workers’ conversations about Hilary Swank just didn’t feel natural to me at all. Since natural, conversational dialogue has always been one of the show’s primary strengths, this really hurt the episode for me.

  2. That episode was a lot funnier than I expected. The cold open alone made it worth watching. And Jim’s face at Oscar’s blow-up dissection of Hilary Swank’s face? Bwahaha.

  3. I really liked this episode =) It was heart-wrenching (bittersweet, as Michael said) while at the same time hilarious. From the emergency signal to Oscar’s reasoning about Hilary Swank not being hot to how Dwight feels about IHOP… one of my favorite so far of Season 5 :3 I’m pretty sure. Haha xD

    … although a part of me sort of wishes that they wouldn’t just have life in the office go on without ever referencing/acknowledging the whole Angela/Dwight/Andy thing from last week. That’s sort of weird. :/ Not that I want them to really dwell on it or anything, but… no one really seemed all that affected.

  4. Wow I really liked it. I hope this continues. There were a few shaky episodes in the middle but this season is shaping into something great.

  5. 9/10
    I thought it was great. The Hilary Swank debate was fun, but I thought the Michael and Dwight interaction was great. It was hot!

  6. I enjoyed this episode. I was glad to see all of the office cast involved in this episode. I loved Kevin in this episode and also enjoyed Oscar’s argument for why Hilary Swank is not hot. I was not expecting Michael and Dwight to pull off their plan.

  7. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish. I haven’t laughed that hard at an episode this season. The lip licking?! Stanley’s speech?! Angela’s “She’s hot. She’s hot like heck”.

    Oh and I’m sorry but how does Pam get ANYTHING done during the day, knowing when she gets home she gets to hear that gorgeous, low, throaty whisper in her ear whenever she wants? I mean seriously.

  8. Even if it was pretty predicable, I still enjoyed the episode tonight. My only problem was, Jim seemed a little off; the Office Olympics Jim wouldn’t have been annoyed by a Hilary Swank debate. Also, Kevin is awesome. And so is Stanley.

  9. I didn’t really like this episode as much as any of the other episodes.

    Bob Vance – I noticed that as well. It was his mug.

  10. Oh, there should really be a poll on here so we can all vote on whether Hilary is hot or not…in the spirit of the episode! :)

  11. I thought the episode was okay. Michael and Dwight were definitely the highlight of the show. The Hilary Swank thing didn’t make much sense to me though. I know the group loves to have games and debates when Michael is absent from The Office, but was that the best they could do? Definitely not one of my favorites, not terrible – but not great.

    Michael and Dwight as usual stole the show for me. They are always fantastic together.

  12. #44: The mug on Mr Prince’s desk said “World’s Best Dad”, which was really cute. I thought that Michael was going to see it and then be able to relate to Mr. Prince, but I guess it was just the props department doing a thorough job.

    Thought this was a really great episode, although I was saddened that Michael didn’t do the right thing in the end.

  13. Evan:

    Ryan is in Thailand (BJ Novak had to leave for a while to be in a movie), but he is supposed to be back later this season.

  14. It wasn’t bad, but not my favorite. The Hilary Swank thing was funny. The spy thing made me kinda sad. Haha. Now when are we going to have a Jim and Pam moment? A new one is long overdue :)

  15. The debate is “is she hot”, not “would you do her”.

    I was laughing hysterically when Kevin said that. And Stanley’s MLK-esque speech was funny also.

    This episode really surprised me. The preview description made it sound kinda bland, but there were a lot of good moments, both hilarious and bittersweet. I’ve missed the B.J. written episodes.

  16. I loved this episode, Dwight’s views on IHOP, hilarious. I was kinda upset with the ending i felt bad for the family, but a really funny episode. I thought it was a little weird though that angela/andy/dwight were just going on with their lives like nothing had happened.

  17. Wow. I rarely–if ever–say anything bad about the office. Never have posted a negative comment here.

    That was the worst episode I think I’ve seen in the series. The Hillary Swank debate felt painfully sitcomy and unnatural.

    Michael and Dwight could have done so much with their trip and didn’t.

    Job Fair got my lowest rating ever before for an office episode…7/10.

    This one was a 4 or 4.5 in my book.

  18. Honestly??? I really hated this episode. There was no real point to it, and we’d seen everything before. The cold open was brilliant, and I liked the final clip, but apart from that…very few laughs. And it appeared to have no place in the over-arching story. And what’s up with the complete lack of JAM in any form???

  19. I am very disappointed in this episode. It was by far the worst of this season. It simply didn’t have the same feel to it that the better episodes have had in the past. Even Jim’s cold opening prank was mediocre. I am really hoping that next week’s episode will more than compensate.

  20. Well, I actually laughed at this one, so that’s a good change from the last few. I thought it was hilarious.

  21. I am having a roller coaster relationship with this show right now. Every other week I love an episode, then I hate an episode. This was just another overly depressing and a mundane storyline. A debate over Hilary Swank? seriously? I didn’t find ANYTHING funny about it. Does anybody remember when these plots had realism and relateability? These don’t feel like the same characters to me anymore. It’s just depressing.

  22. So wait…

    This was an episode that BJ wrote that didn’t prominently feature Ryan? Or feature him at all?


    (Fantastic episode. More ensemble action, please!)


  23. Cute episode… I actually really appreciated that the cars in the parking lots were covered in road salt stains. That’s the northeast and Scranton in the winter for you. Good detail, though hopefully it’s fake because it’ll rust the cars :)

  24. Not one of my favorites, that’s for sure. The tongue licking thing was what I laughed most at. Maybe I’ll like it better the second time around.

  25. I really really thought Michael would do the RIGHT thing (not give away the list of names)….oh well…this was a very cute episode! For the record, Hilary Swank is pretty (not hot..haha)

    *One of the best cold opens too!!!

  26. I loved this episode. As far as in-between “average day” episodes this season go, I’d say this is my favorite. (Nothing so far has topped the PB&J proposal for me where drama/plot is concerned, but I see that as one of a different kind of episodes with different goals. Apples and oranges.)

    #10 – I COMPLETELY AGREE. I still perk up at every Blackberry Storm commercial just to take in that amazing JKras voice. Oh, to have been Kevin in that scene… well, and to have Jim not be talking about Hilary Swank. I’m in the “not” camp on that one.

    #11 – I miss Office Olympics Jim, too, but I think it’s important to acknowledge Jim’s growth as a character. He’s grown up a lot over the last few years, and for a lot of good reasons. He’s turned into a man who is ready to do real work (almost at the corporate level) and buy houses and provide for his wife/family – all things Office Olympics Jim wasn’t ready to do. I think that ultimately, I like this Jim much better, especially because of his realism.

  27. I think this was the best since Frame Toby (which I know was met w/ mixed reviews but one of my favs this season). This episode just had an overall good feel. The Hilary Swank stuff was hilarious. And Michael and Dwight actually pulling off the scheme! I figured it would fail for sure. I was a little disappointed in Michael at the end though. I think it would have been better to me if he would have done the wrong thing and been adamant about it than know what the right thing was and still do the wrong thing. Anyway, good episode.

  28. Anybody know if Hilary Swank knew about this beforehand? It would be hilarious if she didn’t…

  29. I miss when Dwight was a total suckup to Michael. This episode was okay. Definitely not a favorite. There’s just something about The Office now that is so different. I just can’t put my finger on it.

  30. I thought this was one of the better episodes of this season. It went back to that original Office feel. And the ending with Michael saying that Hilary Swank is hot was perfect.

  31. Fun, but forgettable. It’s not one I’ll rewatch on Hulu tomorrow. Overall I liked it, it just wasn’t strong enough to make it worth watching again and again.

    I think we should have a Hillary Swank Poll Post. I’d be voting “Not Hot.”

  32. This had some great one liners and I kind of like that there wasn’t a ton of (any) plot. When the show is too plot-heavy, folks complain & vice versa when ain’t. Oh well- I’ll take any funny where I can get it in 2009!

  33. I really enjoyed this episode. It had an Office Olympics vibe. It was definitely a filler episode, but it was still hilarious. As realism goes, I think it was very real and relatable. Nothing was too over-the-top. In general, I have loved season 5. I think that it is great that this show can still be funny and real after five years.

  34. It was so upsetting that there was no JAM (PB&J if you prefer).

    It would have even been great if Pam had commented on Jim’s rather…intense exchange with Kevin. Something cute like that, but I don’t think you saw them say more than a sentence to each other in the entire episode.

    Nonetheless, it’s great to see the classic Jim/Dwight pranks back. The cold opens have been consistently good…hopefully they’ll stay that way.

  35. I’m mixed on the episode. Basically, I liked the whole thing except the result of the Michael storyline. Dwight was being such a jerk that it made me sick to my stomach.

    Otherwise, I loved the Hilary Swank (is so not hot) debate. Stuff like that happens at my job all the time. Angela’s “hot is a temperature people!” line was the best of the night! I want more Angela.

  36. This episode may have not been the funniest episode ever, but I’m glad they put it in the season but I love seeing the more raw version of what Michael is like.

    I have to agree with some of the others about the plot. It seems like a lot this season we have one episode that is very plot driven and then the next has no continuation of the plot at all. Don’t get me wrong, I like some episodes just being a day in the office but I think there at least needs to be SOME reference to what is going on in the workers’ personal lives. The episodes would feel more connected that way. Whatever happened with the Dwight/Andy/Angela fiasco? Did the writers forget about Jim and Pam? Is Jan just totally out of the picture? Is Michael still sad over Holly? I just want some closure to some of these plot lines.

  37. Dwight saves the show again!! Not a great episode for me. The Hllary Swank contest was almost clever, but too disjointed. And it’s time for some good old-fashioned Jim and Pam interaction!! Come on!!

  38. I didn’t really like the Hilary Swank plotline, but the Michael/Dwight plot was amazing. I thought Steve pulled it off awesomely (is that a word? sounds like one Michael would make up) and the cold open was brilliant.

  39. This was one of the most hilarious episodes I’ve seen in a while. Lot of hate for this show on the fan site, I’ve noticed. Jim and Pam aren’t the only people on the show.

  40. Agree with Anna #44

    I was waiting for more from Kevin (ala his talking head about Stacey in Season 4)but nothing happened…maybe a build up to something later?

    Michael and Dwight’s scenes were ok, some funny lines but nothing great.

    Worst episode of the season for me.

  41. Stanley was amazing in this episode. Easily the most he’s ever said?? I wouldn’t say it was the best of the season, but I definitely enjoyed it.

  42. The result of Michael’s story was not satisfying…in fact, it was quite upsetting. The Office really has been going down hill. I know that saying that on is like cursing the bible, but the show has defiantly lost its cute quirkiness. These episodes have not been consistent- they are either hit or miss every week now. The Office used to be a huge part of my week, but I have lost that special feeling every Thursday night. Call me a debbie downer, but after being blown away by LOST last night, this show really needs to improve its all around substance and quality. I will always be an avid viewer, but something must be done…fast!!!

  43. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. not every episode has to make me laugh the entire time for me to really like it. Yeah, I didn’t laugh as much as other episodes but I still had a smile on my face the entire time.

    Except of course, when Michael gave the numbers out. I really thought that he was going to do the right thing and follow his heart.

    The one scene that I loved was of Michael and Dwight not only running to the car but then running back to the office to get the keys. My sister and I could not stop laughing. There’s something very funny about seeing Steve Carell run. I don’t know why.

    Overall, good episode. Enjoyed it very much.

  44. Loved the episode! You know why?


    I’m one of those people that loves every episode for the sheer fact that it is an episode. It is the absolute highlight of my week. The worst episodes of the show are still better than 99% of the rest of television.

  45. ITA #43 – shut it

    It had a real Office Olympics feel, people not working at work and being so enthused about something so mundane!

    BJ gives everyone their moment to shine in his episodes and I love him for it. It’s like he has a special Office comedic recipe!

    Only way to make it better, a little bit of JAM :)

  46. Don’t forget that part of the uniqueness and quirkiness of this show is that it shows (and subtly makes fun of) what typical days at the office can be like. I loved the fact that this episode felt like a real day. I’ve actually gotten into dumb debates with co-workers over things like the “hotness of Hilary Swank,” so seeing them make fun of that delighted me.

    Oh, and any episode with a Jim/Dwight prank is fabulous!

  47. I thought this episode was decent, but it still left me feeling like something’s missing. Jim’s prank was funny, Michael and Dwight’s storyline was pretty good (so painfully awkward, that poor family!) and many lines said in the Hillary Swank part made me laugh. I agree with Bluizbelle’s comment about closure. The Office used to chug along at its own comfortable little pace…then suddenly a lot of big things happened fairly quickly and some of them need more closure, or at least more continuity. It feels so disjointed to me now…and just…off somehow. :\ I also don’t care much for Fancy New Beasley, I’m sorry to say.

  48. Office Olympics II! Dwight and Michael out of the office, and Jim leading the group in distraction. Nice change up with Jim trying at first to get people to work, which fits where his character is Season 5 vs. Season 2.

    I liked it. I liked how everyone had their moment to shine. The discussion in the office is type of thing that happens in an office, of course exaggerated a bit.

    Yes, I would agree this episode didn’t move along plot lines too much. But it came after a somewhat intense episode. Just like The Injury came after Booze Cruise. The story lines build up, then then need to back off with an episode that is just there to make us laugh.

    Well done.

  49. The cold open wasn’t as strong, and the plots were sort of stagnant. And I LOVE when they focus on the mundane alongside the continual plots, so I was conceptually into the debate over Hillary (and I loved Kelly). But the Michael storyline wasn’t true to his character, and they could’ve had more fun with the family.

  50. I would like to echo #59, Matt Bennett. Ditto that, my brother!

    I see that there are mixed opinions about this episode, but I really enjoyed it! It was simple but funny, sweet but sad. I laughed out loud many, many times. My favorite part may have been Kelly running out of the Hilary Swank discussion in tears, but there were so many great moments that it’s hard to choose. Nice work, B.J.! :)

  51. Agreed with Karis #35, I feel bad because I laughed only once. I can’t help but think about the real family businesses being destroyed right now and people losing everything.

  52. Michael’s storyline is really what made me love this episode. Even though he didn’t do the right thing in the end, him being pressured into it and then giving in is the most realistic thing Michael would do. If he hadn’t given in, people would be annoyed with that too because they would claim it was inconsistent of his character. As for the rest, I thought that was pretty good too. I feel really bad for Hilary Swank but I swear she is like THE most debatedly hot actress ever. The cold open sucked though.

  53. Last week’s was better, but tonight’s was still a solid episode. MVP of the episode goes to Kevin. Also liked Oscar dissecting Hilary Swank’s face & Jim’s reaction to it. Michael helping the girl w/her math was cute.

    Did anyone catch John Krasinski break during the scene where Stanley’s speech?

  54. Why is nobody mentioning Stanley’s amazing speech? And Dwight high fiving himself? There were all these great moments in the episode that really made it funny. It’s wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t terrible at all.
    And Angela looks really great :)

  55. Matt Bennett – I completely agree!! I love every Office episode because it stars my favorite actors on television and because it’s written by my favorite writers. No matter what, Thursdays from 9-9:30 will always be my favorite time of the week.

  56. Meh…It wasn’t the greatest episode, plot wise. But it still had some good laughs. I am loving that we are getting to see a lot more of David Wallace! Andy Buckley, I heart you.

    I will say this though – having read the synopsis for ‘Stress relief’ I already have my doubts. It seems a little too far fetched even for that particular character. I hope they pull this off.

  57. I can’t believe some of the things I’m reading about this episode. I think a lot of the people on here don’t really even notice the subtle jokes that are featured in the episodes.

    On a somewhat related note, I really liked this episode. I love the part where Kelly starts crying. Haha.

  58. This was by far one of the best episodes of the season thus far. The story lines were really good, and actually I found everything funny. I also appreciated them using the full cast for the episode. Also, this was the first time in a long time Michael didn’t simply annoy me, if anything I really felt for him in the end. Great episode and writing.

  59. A couple people mentioned that Stanley’s speech made the episode. In my mind, things like Stanley’s speech are what’s ruining the show.

    In the past, if his coworkers had been arguing about whether some actress was hot or not, Stanley would have rolled his eyes and gone back to his crossword puzzle.

    But now he’s giving some crazy, impassioned speech. It’s almost as if they needed something funny at that moment and so they put his speech there, even though it was completely out of character.

    Previously the brilliant writers were able to draw humor out of who the characters are. It now seems like they are forcing humor in without regard to who the characters are.

  60. NO DRAMA! Finally. No JAM, No Michael/Jan/Holly, No Dwangelandy. Just pure office shananigans! LOVE LOVE LOVED IT!

  61. This was a CLASSIC Office episode — from the cold open all the way to the end ;) Classic Dwight and Michael stuff. One of the best eps this season!

  62. I think the only hotness in this episode was Jim whispering to Kevin as Hilary Swank. The rest was… meh. But I guess I expect more than meh from this show.

    The underdog vibe of this office is changing. I used to root for Michael and Dwight, but I now feel they are becoming the bad guys, despite Michael’s change of heart. I’m also really missing the Jim and Pam interaction. Let’s get back to this because it’s like the tie that binds the heart of the show together has stepped out to lunch.

    Can the powers that be please CGI those trees in the background to look wintry? It’s been bad ass cold here in the northeast, with nary a green leaf to be found anywhere. Scranton is feeling more like Van Nuys and it takes me out of the fantasy.

    And sadly, a co-worker who is a fellow fan just walked by my desk as I typed this and said..”Horrible episode last night”. Such sadness. Please “Office” come back.

  63. Wasn’t a laugh out loud episode, but still had its moments. Was very strange that the Angela/Dwight/Andy saga wasn’t even acknowledged in the least. This is the third time now Michael has been given special recognition from DaviD Wallace (trip to Winnepeg, meeting last week’s meeting in NYC and now this project. Wonder if Michael will be up for a promotion?

    BTW – What you talkin bout Wallace was one of my favorite lines this year.

  64. I just wanted to ditto everything #10 It’sOnlyMeredith said! When Michael said “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Wallace?”, I was surprised that he hadn’t said that before because it’s so perfect. There were so many little moments to love, and the Hilary Swank debate was nice and light after last week’s drama.

    I was sad about the ending too, but I think unfortunately it happens WAY too frequently. Also, Dan Bakkedahl from The Daily Show played the Prince son. Big ups to TDS!

  65. I have to agree with 44. I was disappointed overall with this episode. The prank had great potential, but went nowhere. I wanted to see what the cable was connected to – something that would explode, or leave Dwight in a big mess.

    Also, the debate seemed extremely redundant and quite stupid. I know that’s semi-the point, but still.

    Finally, the ending was a HUGE crapfest. I can’t believe Michael actually went through with it and called David. He’s a better man than that.

  66. Did anyone else happen to wonder if Hilary Swank was slightly offended by the fact that her “hotness” was in question and cause for heated debate on a television show? That would bother me if I was her.

    Unless of course she’s a fan of the show and gave her ok…but it still seems kinda rude.

  67. I was very disappointed by last night’s episode. Dwight/Michael were funny as always but the Hillary Swank storyline was dumb and pointless. Great to see other characters but not in a satisfying way. Outside of a few episodes the season has yet again disappointed. The writers need to get it together.

  68. Did anyone notice that when Michael was talking about falling in love and it turning out badly he listed Ryan as one of his loves, right after Jan?

  69. Wow. It’s like the Dunder Mifflin gods heard all my bitching last week and decided to make it up to me in twenty-two minutes. Fantastic episode. Hilarious, touching, and believable (of course Jim acts differently than he did in Office Olympics…he wasn’t ARM then). This is exactly what I want from my Office: banal office moments that are hilarious because of how mundane they are, Michael and Dwight stretching the bounds of humanity during work-related activities. Thank you Mr Novak for restoring my faith.

    Best line: “Oh, that’s just too…much…nice…” Michael at an emotional crossroads equals win.
    Best little moment: Angela high-fiving Creed! In the background with no attention drawn to it, and that’s what makes it rule the world.

    Oh, and Hilary Swank is totally hot. That backless dress she wore to whatever it was? Awesome.

  70. I really did not like the ending. Michael knew the right thing to do and still let Dwight bully him into doing the wrong thing. I sort of hope this family storyline appears again, somehow; maybe the owner or son appears in a future episode so we know what actually happens to them. I feel there’s a loose thread there.

  71. hilarious episode! i like ensemble cast actions!
    check these stills i captured :)


  72. I loved this episode. Although the prince family storyline was a bit hard to swallow (would this family allow cameras in their place of business?), the hilary swank storyline was great, and stanley’s speech was by far my favorite moment of the season. Absolutely hilarious!

  73. What is most discouraging for me about this episode was that it was written by B.J. Novak, all of whose previous episodes were really funny. Last night’s? Not at all funny, just The Office lazily trying to repeat itself over and over again. Michael’s gone and the staff does some time-wasting thing? Check. Dwight mentions bears? Check. Jim prank? Check. Season Five started out strongly with the great Holly Flax, but every episode since she’s left has fallen more and more in quality, simply because it seems the show has run out of ideas. I want my show back!

  74. Not one of my favorite episodes, but I did laugh out loud a few times.

    Best moments:

    Cold open with the duct tape
    Jim telling Angela ‘Nobody cares’
    Mr. Prince duct taping the hood of Michael’s car
    Jim narrating a fantasy for Kevin

    Btw, did anyone else notice that Michael’s alias was Michael Scarn? I love subtle inside jokes like that.

  75. This episode was flat for me. Michael and Dwight’s research project was mildy interesting. I think the best acting was by the Prince family. They were charming. Why did Michael give in to Dwight? He’s resisted many times before. I kept looking for a paper shredder.

  76. It’s funny how some hate and some love an episode. It always happens.

    Anyway.. what was up with Angela’s makeup? It was bright.. like a fluzy. I’ll see if there is a deleted scene, where they show her stepping up the makeup ala loss of Dwight and Andy last week.

  77. This was the Office I’ve come to know and love. Forget storylines or plot twists or overdramatic love triangles. The Office is at its best when it plays off its characters, like Kevin and his Hilary Swank fantasy or Dwight chasing Michael for the list or Michael feeling guilty for destroying a family.

    These are the kind of eps that made Season 2 so memorable (minus the great Jim-Pam awkward moments).

    And Hilary Swank, not hot.

  78. One of the better episodes of the season. Wasn’t a half hour long relationship episode that is now the Office, unfortunately. Loved it.

  79. I feel that this episode is to season 5 what Initiation was to season 3: enjoyable throughout, yet not overly hilarious and without a complete laugh-out-loud moment to put it among the top episodes of the season. That said, Jim’s face during Oscar’s facial symmetry speech was PRICELESS.

  80. It’s really interesting what they’re doing with Michael’s character this season. From last year’s total meltdown to corporate star (but at what price). I view this as one of those “set-up” episodes that you need to watch in order for the rest of the season to make sense.

  81. I loved the episode, but after thinking about it I think it lacked a few things to make it great.
    1) They should have had a couple short things showing the awkwardness of the breaking up from last week. Even one or two short things would have done it.
    2) They should have made the Swank thing service that awkwardness. One thing the office is great at usually is taking these small mundane things and unsuspectingly make them service the bigger story arc. The Swank thing could have been the thing that broke the tension of the office. Something that could have been summed up in a talking head or something. I think that was the difference between this and Office Olympics. The Olympics were servicing Jim’s story. This was just there, they should have had it servicing the office sort of unifying again after the awkwardness of last week.

  82. And also, after reading what other people said. I also CANNOT wait to see where this Michael stuff is headed. The entire arc of the next 3 or 4 episodes are about this arc. Can’t wait to see where it’s headed.

  83. What a fantastic episode! From start to finish..! The good ol’ Michael/Dwight combo is back in action, and it was nice to get some Toby-time! I missed the scenes with the whole DM Scranton crew, so this was a real treat! Kudos!

  84. I’ve watched it a few more times and I like it a lot better. “We don’t even give him full Internet access.” LOL, poor Kev. Oh, and when Dwight gives himself a high-five.

  85. I loved when Michael and Dwight were running out of the store with the paper “omg.omg.omg.omg!” LMAO. And Michael trying to help the little girl with her homework, lol.
    I just knew as soon as the Hilary discussion started, how excited Kelly would be! :p
    I felt really bad for the family though. They were so nice. :(

  86. 78, Mike-

    But this was a new Stanley, as he himself said. I myself have rolled my eyes at things people do here at work only to take part in them a week later. It all depends on mindset. Remember his “fruity and delicious” line? Besides, Stanley himself started the argument with Phyllis so of course he should be the one to give the passionate speech.

    Also want to add two things: I cannot wait to see the outtakes of Dwight and Michael licking their lips at each other; you can see Steve holding himself from breaking after he turns away.

    A customer at work saw the mini Dwight bobblehead on my desk and asked, “How’d you get a bobblehead of yourself?” Should I take this as a compliment or insult?

  87. I thought that this was one of the best episodes this season. Hilarious! We got some Michael/Dwight mischief and the Hilary Swank debate was pretty funny. I loved how all of the characters got face time in this episode, it wasn’t just about certain characters. Loved Kevin! “It’s ‘is she hot?’ Not ‘would you do her?’ Respect the game”
    So many funny moments and quotes! Jim telling Angela “Nobody cares”, awesome! so funny! two thumbs up!!

    Hilary Swank definitely hot! Anyone see “P.S. I love you”? Gorgeous in that movie!

  88. Did anyone else notice John laughing through Leslie’s speech? Hilarious! or shall I say Hillary-ous….

    I figure this was a set up episode which makes everything in the upcoming episodes come together. Still funny, still good, and refreshing not to be talking about relationships.

    Hillary Swank… hot.

  89. Wonderful episode. Loved both the Hilary Swank debate (oh I miss the days when I had a less serious job and got to waste time at work debating with coworkers about things much lamer!!) and Michael’s sad realization. I especially love any episode where I get to see Dwight sucking up to Michael, riding shot gun!

  90. I loved this episode. The overwhelming drama of old was toned down to a simplified, realistic fashion that reminded me why i continue to love the office. It was a relief, i thought, to escape the usual relationship-based angles, just for a change. It was a little refreshing to see the Misrachian affairs be set aside for a bit, allowing the full cast to appear. I think the best line was Jim’s response to Angela’s refusal to participate in Swank Debate ’09. “no one cares”. or Kevins “bang a painting” line.

    and it may just be the fact that I’m a girl and Hilary Swank is quite androgynous, but my vote is for hot.

    oh, and Phyllis*farm, take it as a compliment. just try to lay off the mustard-colored shirts.

  91. Well, there’s no debate that Jim is hot. I did wish it was me he was whispering to and not Kevin ;)

    This was average Office for me, but average on The Office is an A++ compared to 99% of what’s on, especially comedies!

  92. I loved it! Dwight and Michael are always hilarious together. Though I was a little disappointed in the other half. It was a little.. blah? Like it was just filler or something.

    And how they handled the Dwight/Angela/Andy triangle.. You would think that at least Andy would have a quip toward Angela somewhere. Unless they cut it.

    I wonder what Hilary’s reaction is that she was a focus in half of the show.. lol Post-new bangs.

  93. Great episode! My favorite part was definitely when Oscar kind of scientifically analyzed Hillary Swank’s physique. Loved it. Oscar’s doing great this season!

  94. This episode was just okay. There were a couple of laughs sprinkled here and there. I just find Dwight to be more annoying and mean-spirited than ever. I used to like Dwight and his wacky demeanor but now I think the writers have made him very one-dimensional this season.

    To compare with past episodes, I thought “Office Olympics”–(same premise: Michael and Dwight off on a field trip somewhere; the rest of the Office left behind to play games)–was a much better written episode and definitely more entertaining. Oh well, there’s always next Thursday! :-)

  95. Ok. The Office is officially back! After The Surplus and this episode, I’m back on board. It was great to see a Jim/Dwight prank again, and some more crazy Michael/Dwight interactions.

    Also, the Hilary Swank hot/not hot debate brought back memories of the Office Olympics and the day they bet on everything like Kelly’s conversations about netflix. The only way to make it better would be to add more kelly.

    And Hilary Swank? NOT hot.

  96. #78, I agree about Stanley’s speech being out of character, not just for him but for pretty much any human being. I’ve witnessed “hotness debates” before, and they’re never anything like what I saw last night. It was too scripted, too smart, and too well-spoken. “Office Olympics” is not among my favorite episodes, but at least in that one the time-wasting activity felt appropriately like a product of boredom and laziness.
    I was happy to see all of the characters involved, because that’s something that’s been missing from many recent episodes, but unfortunately they weren’t themselves anymore. And that really worries me. Will they ever be themselves again?

    #93, you actually missed one of the things they did right in this episode. The cameras never got inside the Prince building. We witnessed all of that through the windows, aided by Michael’s mic.

  97. @ kate: I think they want to show Dwight as more mean-spirited than usual because of the fact he no longer has Angela.

    I loved this episode and it is nice to know every once and a while that Michael has a big heart and didn’t want to do that to the family. I also loved the break from the relationship side of things. Brings me back to season 2.

    Hilary Swank… HOT.

  98. one of those classic season two-like episodes. i absolutely love it when the ensemble gets way too excited about absolutely nothing!

  99. This was such a funny episode. The lines were so subtle and funny. I’m sorry but, “You know how I feel about IHOP….Socialist!” Is one of the funniest lines I’ve heard on the show and you could barely hear it. This episode was full of those. It wasn’t a classic episode but every line made me laugh. And I loved the group interaction. Good work!

  100. When i was watching Stanley give his speech, I was laughing so hard, and then I see Jim (John) laughing too in the scene.
    Check it out at Hulu around the 17:29 mark.

  101. I was listening to a radio morning show on my way to school and they were having the Hilary Swank “Hot or Not” debate. They said not and sided with Kevin. I have to disagree. She’s HOT!

    Great episode! The part where Dwight and Michael lick their lips in the car killed me. It kept me laughing throughout the commercial break.

  102. For me, this was at the bottom of Season 5. Very heavy-handed throughout. The plot-lines felt bland and arbitrary (not in a good way) and most of the dialogue in the Hilary Swank debate felt forced and unnatural. IMO, the magic of The Office is when it utilizes the random and mundane IN CONTEXT and WHILST driving the plot. Past seasons seemed to slowly build at a steady pace. I agree that at times it seems the plot is all over the charts. This felt like a filler and there are few fillers in Office history.
    In regards to JAM, it’s like we either see them front and center, or not at all which is frustrating because before they consistently found the perfect way to incorporate them into every episode in a very natural way.
    Having said that, I deeply admire the writers! I think the problem is just a “nature of the beast” thing- that as seasons go on it just gets more challenging to write. Where there once was the freedom of a clean slate, the writers face more obstacles. At the end of the day, they still deliver the funniest, smartest, most clever show on TV!

  103. Sir Lemming, I think #93’s reference to cameras in the building was talking about Michael wanting to take a picture of Mrs. Prince and the map. That seemed odd to me and a little contrived.

    However, I really did enjoy this episode for the most part.

  104. LOVED this episode! Loved seeing Michael and Dwight on the road together…reminded me of that great episode when they staked out Wallace’s house…before we’d ever met Wallace. And loved the simplicity of the Hilary Swank debate…and the way that it featured everyone in the office. And, btw, Hilary Swank is definitely hot…

  105. -Loved this week’s episode. The Hilary Swank debate was hilarious…as someone mentioned earlier, she’s the perfect Hollywood actress to have as the subject of this debate.
    -I’m hoping Michael’s triumphs as of late will come to a head within the next couple of episodes (which will validate the ending which upset some people)
    Best moment:
    Oscar’s analytical “She’s not hot” presentation…or Jim’s face during Stanley’s speech…or Michael and Dwight fighting over IHOP…or…

  106. I’d say the Office is back to normal.

    Michael proves once again he has zero willpower..Jim once again expends great time and effort to prank on Dwight. The office staff once again gets sidetracked into a day-long screw-off fest…

    What’s not to love !

    It was swankalicious !

    btw.. she is medium hot ( cooking metaphor alert ) sort of in a sauce will thicken upon standing kind of way ( whatever that means ) .

  107. A good, not great, episode…

    I caught it the first time, but on a second watch the mug on Mr. Prince’s desk actually reads “World’s Best Dad.”

    And I never realized how symmetrical Hillary Swank’s face is. But I have to agree with Oscar – she’s attractive, but not hot.

  108. Wow, am i the only one that hated this episode? I actually gave a 1. A sad, sad 1. This episode was not funny…at all.

    To me, yes, they did take it back to their roots of not concentrating on a story and letting the office have fun like the ol season 2 days. But this episode felt bland and just unfunny. One of the worst.

  109. #94
    “The Office lazily trying to repeat itself over and over again. Michael’s gone and the staff does some time-wasting thing? Check. Dwight mentions bears? Check. Jim prank? Check…I want my show back!”

    You obviously have not watched seasons 1-2 and possibly even 3. The show ISSSS back!!!

  110. OMG this was such a funny episode! When Michael signaled Dwight to get out of Prince office, I was rolling on the floor. When he drove over the curb and then reversed off of it I almost peed myself. Seriously.
    The lack of Jam did not bother me. They can’t always have them the center of the episode. Jim and Pam having individual story lines is great!

  111. #129, I don’t think that’s what he meant… I mean, why would a nice family have a problem with a small camera?

  112. This was such a fantastic episode!! Possibly my favorite of the season. I thought it was so clever of the writers to have the Prince family fall right into Michael and Dwight’s hands, but I’m glad Michael tried to follow his heart. For all his inappropriateness (if that’s a word), he’s really a nice guy.
    I was confused about the mug at first, but I’m glad it says “World’s Best Dad.” It would have been too weird otherwise. And, Michael became the “World’s Best Boss” by destroying the “World’s Best Dad.”
    Great job, Office people on another great episode!!

  113. Okay, this office-ially (ha ha) is my favorite episode of the season. There are some episodes that have alot to do with the show’s story line, which are awesome, and then there are those random ones that are pointless that I still love!

    Hilary Swank: hot or not? classic office. And I died when Michael ran all the way upstairs to get his keys! Ha ha I love Dwight and Michael!

    Just for the record:
    Hilary Swank- hot.
    Ihop or Denny’s- Ihop.

  114. Sometimes I feel these poor writers can’t win. When they focus on pushing forward the plot, people complain it’s too dramatic or soap opera-y and not focusing enough on banal office life but the Hillary Swank debate is “pointless” or “boring”. People say they want the characters to be more developed and dimensional but then Stanley gives a speech not completely in line with our expectations he acting “out of character”; in real life people do unexpected things or occasionally compromise their principles or, like Michael did in the end, make bad choices.

  115. This is the first episode that I’ve liked since the season 4 premiere. : )

    It’s not quite back to the season 2 quality, but it’s definitely a lot better than what we’ve had to deal with recently. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that The Office is back.

  116. Not my favorite episode, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would after I read the episode synopsis a few weeks ago. Seeing Dwight climbing up the telephone pole out the window behind Jim in the cold open was priceless!

  117. I actually liked this one, which is surprising. That “lick your lips” thing was classic season two. Is the office back? We shall see.

  118. Not my fave of S5 but I definitely liked it a lot. Oddly enough, this episode has reminded me the most of Golden Age S2.

  119. For some odd reason, and please tell me if I’m the only one here, I had a pretty big WTH moment when Angela said a line that almost everyone in The Office has said before. That line being:

    “Oh my GOD!”

    See I’m a pretty religious guy, and I kinda get a little…just a little…defensive when I hear people say that. But hearing it from her, made me feel like I just heard someone swear on the radio. Not a bad thing, just an I can’t believe it moment.

    Great old school feel. Whatever the writers do EVERY week, keep doing it. 9/10

  120. Poor Hillary Swank. She is TOTALLY hot. She’s accomplished more in the last five years than I bet we all have combined. Plus, she made a movie with Gerard Butler….meow!!!

    The lip-licking rocked.

    And of course…Jim’s prank on Dwight goes into highlights!

  121. Great typical Dwight using a Lord of the Rings analogy to convince Michael to turn in the list. I thought it was also interesting that the analogy inspired Michael *not* to do it. The customer list was the Ring and it needed to be destroyed.

  122. #151
    “For some odd reason, and please tell me if I’m the only one here, I had a pretty big WTH moment when Angela said a line that almost everyone in The Office has said before. That line being:
    “Oh my GOD!””

    I agree, the old Angela would not have used God’s name that way, but when you consider the change in Angela’s behavior over the past season, her speech is just following the rest of her.

  123. I really did like this episode. Michael and Dwight’s plot was great and a great showing of the character of Michael. He wasn’t happy at all about what he did but he was manipulated by Dwight who used his pride and love for the company against him. And the Hillary Swank debate was great because it felt real and just like Office Season 2.

  124. IMO, “The Office” has never left and this episode proved it in spades. Sandwiched between a great cold open and closing we had laughter, awkwardness, heart, and the unexpected debates that pop up and pep up an otherwise dreary day at the office.

    I watched “The Office” and I liked it. :-)

  125. This was the worst episode of the series. It’s lost its focus on continuing the plotline. This episode has a office olympics-like feel and indeed it would be a fine episode
    if they had aired it in season 2, not season 5.

    It really feels like they’re starting to run out of show ideas. I do have high hopes for Paul’s episode. He has written some of my favorites in the series.

  126. I can’t believe that I am with the minority on this. I thought this was perhaps the worst episode ever. I was so sad at the end of the episode. Dunder Mifflin was destroying that nice family business. Yeah, maybe that’s business–as evil Dwight said, but you generally don’t get to have a person relationship with someone you’re going to crush in real business.

    I was very bored with this episode also. I had to stop myself from fast-forwarding through parts of the episode. And really–Hillary Swank?????

  127. great, great, episode. but they have got to stop using green screen!! drive around like you used to, fly to a city to film that shot (the one with holly and michael at the end a few episodes) LOSE THE GREEN SCREEN

  128. I didn’t really like this episode, though some parts of it were great, such as the cold open. I did LOL when in the beginning as the office is getting ready to vote, Angela interrupts Jim and says “I’m not voting” and Jim says “No one cares” and keeps his speech going.

    When Jim was trying to persuade Kevin to imagine Hilary Swank coming into the office, coming up to him and talking to him, I loved Jim’s voice. I could listen to that all day!

    I realize the writers can’t please everybody. But even a “bad” episode of The Office beats some of the dreck on tv that passes for comedy–and I didn’t think this was a bad episode. I thought it was heavy handed at times and it had its moments of brilliance.

  129. Who else thinks Kelly’s line “Hillary Swank is hotter than me” was BJ Novak’s way of getting back at her for all the times she slipped in her scripts insults on BJ’s appearance?

  130. Did anybody else notice that during Stanley’s speech right at the beginning of it you can clearly see John Krasinski laughing really hard. I LOVE moments like that…

  131. Hilary Swank plot was not entertaining. Although it was a good use of the ensemble cast, they all looked bored….as was I. The Michael/Dwight plot was good but could not hold up the show alone. Silver Lining: I have heard about some funny shows coming up and I can’t wait to see them. I gave this show a 5. Couldn’t believe no mention was made of the “love triangle”…was this like Bobby Ewing or Bob Newhart and it never really happened?

  132. I liked this episode a lot! Loved the nod to “Michael Scarn” and how Jim, Pam, and the gang played when the boss was out conducting business – so typical of many offices. Can’t wait to see what happens next in the Scranton office.

  133. I loved it. There were so many little lines throughout the episode that had me laughing. Dwight’s “socialist” remark about IHOP, Michael’s math, the return of Michael Scarn, the debate was hilarious…some of John Krasinski’s expressions had me rolling…the cold open and the tag were perfection. Now that I think back, I am pretty much a fan of most episodes written by B.J. It was cleverly written, smart, and funny.

    Good point #145 tuna tuna tuna. No complaints here. I think this season has been great and continues to get better.

  134. 157 – I respectfully disagree. Season 2’s episodes had little in the way of a basic chronological plotline except for perhaps the JAM story – and as said before, this is not the JAM show. Personally I think this was a fine episode: great cold open, a story with Michael and Dwight together again (yes!), and a fun subplot that had everyone in the office without too much of anyone. This is my tied fav for Season 5 (with Weight Loss and Customer Review), and I think the writers did a nice job brining back the best of the good old days

  135. I loved this episode. The Hilary Swank debate reminded me of all that wasted chatter in offices I’ve worked at (although we rarely take votes). I also love how they’re making Michael be a good worker for once: in an upside-down economy, of course he should thrive.

  136. Hilary Swank? What about IHOP vs Denny’s? I’m gonna go w/Michael & vote IHOP. =)

  137. A second viewing of this episode only further entrenches me into one idea: This episode totally rocks! I loved both the subplots, and they were edited in such a way that everything was clear and cohesive. The Hilary debate was a great opportunity to see all of the characters interact. Oh, and I loved Stanley’s speech about looking upward! Well done, B.J (even if you didn’t write a line for yourself)!

  138. I absofruitly LOVED this episode it was so realistic and easy to relate to. I think it can take its place among season 2 classics. It was great because it was a break from all the strung along plot drama that season 5 has been so far. This episode is really quotable (my favorite is probably the IHOP/socialist one =]) and had great character development with Michael, which Steve Carell acted perfectly. I think this would make a fantastic Emmy submission for the show and Steve Carell!

  139. #154 and #151

    Angela has said “Oh My God” before, in the season two episode “Conflict Resolution.” I’m pretty sure it was in response to Oscar comparing her baby poster to hardcore pornography.

    I’m a nerd.

  140. On one hand, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t any of the usual plotlines in this episode. After The Duel, I expected the Angela/Dwight/Andy situation to be addressed. But on the other hand, I agree with everyone who said that this episode was reminiscent of season 2. I guess it’s a little strange that they stuck it in the middle of season 5, after The Duel. But isn’t the random, silliness of season 2 the reason that we all loved The Office in the first place?

    Not my favorite episode, but overall it was pretty good.

  141. The intro may have been the best of the year. The rest of the episode was pretty blah. Besides everyone knows Hillary Swank is NOT hot.

  142. I just barely watched this episode last night. After reading so many negative reviews of it, I wasn’t expecting it to be great…boy was I wrong! This episode was hilarious, one of the top 5 of the season. It had, as many have mentioned, that Office Olympics feel, and I thought every character had a really funny moment without anyone being over the top. I wish they had stuck in parts of the deleted scenes, but overall it was a really great episode, with a classic Office-feel.

  143. Wow. I cannot believe that this episode received such a poor fan rating. This episode totally rocked! Aside from being just plain hilarious, it was one of the most grounded episodes of the Office that I’ve seen in a while.

  144. I’m shocked that this episode got such a low rating as well. It was definitely reminiscent of Season 2 (which is obviously a good thing) and brought the funny.

  145. I liked this episode, but agree with others that it probably received a lower fan rating than usual because the rest of the office is doing the same thing the whole episode, boring. If that had spun out into some other good story line, then it would be a top episode b/c the Michael/Dwight part is hilarious!

  146. I was disappointed in this episode. Destroying a family business, especially in this economy? That was too sad. I was hoping they’d revisit the Prince family paper company in a future episode to make things right.

  147. I had put off watching this episode b/c I heard so many bad things about it. I was pleasantly surprised, though. I really enjoyed the whole Hilary Swank storyline. That is exactly something that I would do to waste time at work. The academic feel of Oscar’s presentation was my favorite.

  148. I think the only thing missing from this episode was more talking heads. The deleted ones with Andy (Theron), Dwight (Dolphins) and Kevin would have made this a great one.

    Also a little mention of “the Duel” would have been nice.

  149. OMG, is it just me, or did anyone else notice that the guy at Prince Family Paper had the same mug as Michael? “World’s Best Boss”?

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