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Diversity Day

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Diversity Day is the second episode of the first season of The Office and the 2nd episode overall. It was written by B.J. Novak and directed by Ken Kwapis. It originally aired on March 29, 2005. It was viewed by 6 million people.

SynopsisEdit

Michael explains in his talking head that it's diversity day and that a guest speaker is at Dunder Mifflin Scranton to talk about Diversity. Jim is on the phone, though Dwight interrupts him by noisily shredding paper. Jim turns off Dwight's surge strip, and in retaliation, Dwight cuts off Jim's phone call, which he calls "dit for tit." In a talking head, Jim explains that the call was for a sale he makes every year which constitutes 25% of his commission, and even buys a miniature bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion.

Michael walks out of his office, though walks back in and then walks back out at the same time when the diversity speaker, Mr. Brown, walks out from the conference room.  Michael does not take Mr. Brown (who is African-American) seriously when he says that Mr. Brown really is his name.  Michael walks over to Oscar and introduces him to Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown then tells Michael that he's ready. Jim is on the phone again with Mr. Deckert, trying to make the sale, but Michael demands he hang up and come to the meeting.

The meeting starts with Mr. Brown collecting papers from everyone. He then makes a speech, though Michael continually interrupts. When Mr. Brown stumbles with what they're going to do, Michael intervenes and tells everybody to name a race they are attracted to sexually. Dwight immediately raises his hand and says whites and Indians, with Kelly sitting right beside him. Mr. Brown stops this and asks Michael for his permission to run the session.

Mr. Brown says that the papers he collected at the start of the session were their input on an incident they've found offensive in the workplace. Dwight interrupts and asks if they can "steer away from gay people", though Mr. Brown says they only have an hour. Mr. Brown says that most everybody wrote down the same incident, which is also the incident he was asked to deal with.

Apparently, Michael retold a famously controversial Chris Rock stand-up routine, which workers found offensive. Mr. Brown asks for the incident to be repeated, with Michael as the "man listening" and Kevin as Chris Rock. However, Michael thinks Kevin is "butchering" the routine and takes over, delivering a highly emphatic, foul-mouthed monologue (most of which is bleeped) until Mr. Brown yells at Michael to make him stop. Mr. Brown writes "HERO" on the whiteboard, which is an acronym for Honesty, Empathy, Respect, and Open-mindedness. Dwight disagrees and offers his opinion of what a hero is, which Mr. Brown says is characterizing a superhero.

After the meeting, Mr. Brown asks everyone to sign some papers indicating that they paid attention and learned something, though Michael refuses because he already knew what Mr. Brown taught. In Michael's office, Mr. Brown tells Michael corporate told him to put Michael through the seminar because of his comments, and that he only really needs Michael's signature; he gave everyone forms so that Michael wouldn't be embarrassed. Michael, believing that Mr. Brown was only pretending to be passionate about Diversity Day and feeling insulted, signs the form, but later reveals in a talking head his signature reads "Daffy Duck."

Jim continues trying to make the sale. Michael walks out of his office and reads his form, then tears it up. He tells the office Mr. Brown did a bad job and didn't have an "Oprah moment," so he's going to do his own seminar.

As everyone enters the conference room, Toby says, "We're not all going to sit in a circle Indian style, are we?" Michael takes the opportunity to tell Toby what he said was "offensive and lame" before throwing him out.  To start the meeting, Michael shows a 28 second video he made on diversity. Michael continues by listing the various ethnic groups he apparently has heritage in, which Dwight writes down. Michael then asks for a volunteer but then forces Oscar to go. Oscar tells everybody how his parents moved from Mexico to the United States a year before he was born. Michael then asks if he prefers a "less offensive" term other than Mexican, to which Oscar responds with confusion and indignance. As Michael tries to back off, Jim's desk phone rings and he runs to answer it, but fails to reach it before Mr. Deckert hangs up.

Michael gives each member of the office a card with a race on it, though they don't know which race they have. Shown with cards on their foreheads are Pam as Jewish, Kevin as Italian, Angela as Jamaican, Stanley as Black, Dwight as Asian, Meredith as Brazil, Oscar as Eskimo, Phyllis as Haitin, and Michael as Martin Luther King, Jr. He wants them to treat the others like the race that is on their forehead.

Pam talks with Stanley, which Michael observes. He encourages them to push the envelope, saying things like, "Slavery versus the Holocaust", causing Stanley to look at his card. Meredith and Dwight talk, but Dwight thinks Meredith's clues are useless, saying "lots of cultures eat rice." Dwight talks with Pam, and thinks he's Australian. Michael encourages Pam to "get real", so she reluctantly says he "would maybe not be a very good driver"; Dwight asks if he's a woman. In a talking head, Michael explains he didn't make a card with Arab on it so the meeting wouldn't be explosive.

Jim talks with Ryan, who's watching a Chappelle's Show clip on his computer. Kevin talks with Angela and asks if she wants to go to the beach and get high; when she angrily says no, he replies, "I think you do, mon." Michael encourages them to "go a bit further", and sees Kelly enter the conference room.  He runs over to her and does a highly crude and offensive imitation of an Indian, saying "try my googy googy" over and over until she slaps him.

Jim finally manages to get Mr. Deckert on the phone, but learns Dwight made the sale instead by offering a discount.  Disheartened, Jim he leaves the small bottle of champagne on Dwight's desk.

Michael continues the meeting, during which Pam falls asleep on Jim's shoulder. In a talking head, Jim says that it was "not a bad day".

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Diversity is a term used in corporate culture to refer to multiple races, cultures, and customs being represented within a company's workforce.
  • Michael's exclamation "Celebrate good times, come on!" comes from the chorus of the 1980s song "Celebration" by the group Kool & the Gang.
  • Daffy Duck is a cartoon character.
  • Toby jokes about "sitting in a circle Indian style." This is a typical campfire arrangement (and terminology) used by children at camp.
  • Namaste (with the accompanying hand gesture) is a traditional Indian greeting.
  • I Have a Dream is the refrain of a famous speech by civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The melting pot is an American concept for describing how multiple cultures are assimilated into a single combined culture. The more contemporary concept of diversity emphasizes how the cultures retain their identity rather than lose it via assimilation (with the new analogy of a salad bowl).
  • Googy-googy is a made-up term.
  • In a deleted scene, Dwight mentions James Earl Jones, a noted African-American actor and voice-over performer.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael imitates the character of Colonel Klink from the 1960s sitcom "Hogan's Heroes". The sitcom is set in a German POW camp. Hogan is the leader of a group of Allied POWs whose activities regularly frustrate camp commandant Klink. Michael compares Jan to General Burkhalter (Klink's superior) and Dwight to Sergeant Schultz (Klink's bumbling aide).
  • In a deleted scene, Michael (pretending to be Martin Luther King, Jr.) talks about marching to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Mint. King did march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, but not the U.S. Mint.

Quotes Edit

see Diversity Day Quotes

TriviaEdit

  • Originally, producer Greg Daniels wasn't sure where to use Mindy Kaling on screen in the series until the point came in this episode's script when Michael needed to be slapped by a minority. "Since then, I've been on the show," Kaling says. Daniels also loves the scene where Pam falls asleep on Jim's shoulder.
  • Larry Wilmore (Mr. Brown) is a writer for the show. At the table-read for this show, they hadn't cast the part yet and Daniels just had Wilmore read for the role to fill in. After the read, Daniels thought he was perfect for the role. However, because of stipulations with the Screen Actors Guild, producers still had to have Wilmore formally audition with other actors for the role.
  • Michael's attempts to upstage Brown echoes David Brent's treatment of a visiting consultant in Episode Four, Series One of the British The Office.
  • The diversity training company's name (and Michael's response to it) went through a number of changes before Diversity Today was settled on, including Diversity 360 (Michael would rename it Diversity 365) and Diversity 2000 (Michael would rename it Diversity 3000).
  • The routine Michael imitates is "Niggas vs. Black People" from Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special Bring the Pain.
  • Michael's diversity exercise with the index cards is similar to one sometimes done in actual diversity training programs.
  • This episode was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for "Best Episodic Comedy".
  • These are the roles played by the Dunder Mifflin employees in Michael's diversity exercise:
Character Race/nationality
Michael Martin Luther King Jr.
Dwight Asian (and "Dwight" in a deleted scene)
Stanley Black (by coincidence)
Angela Jamaican
Kevin Italian
Meredith Brazilian
Pam Jewish
Oscar Eskimo
Creed Puerto Rican
Phyllis Haitian (deleted scene)
Devon West Nile (deleted scene)
  • Although it's true that "insect" would not have made sense either, another anagram for "incest" is "nicest", which would have worked well in this context.
  • Wilmore appears as Mr. Brown again in the Season Three episode "Gay Witch Hunt", giving the Stamford branch the Diversity Today sensitivity training. It is implied he was brought in because of events in Scranton.
  • Michael says, "Don't take my word for it. Let's take a look at the tape." But the tape consists merely of Michael talking.
  • As Dwight gives his explanation of heroes, Jim's face goes through at least four expressions.

Deleted scenesEdit

Devon's race

Devon's forehead card.

Included on the Season 1 DVD were various deleted scenes:

  • Michael and Mr. Brown discussing erasing racism.
  • Dwight telling the camera he's wasting busy sales hours because of the meeting.
  • A scene at the meeting where Michael creates his own acronym for sensitivity (inclusion, new attitude, color blind, expectations, sharing, and tolerance) which ends up spelling I.N.C.E.S.T. After Pam points this out, he tries to explain how the term works in context.
  • Pam in a talking head saying Michael could've just used insect as an acronym, though it still wouldn't have made sense.
  • Ryan mentioning his childhood neighbor who played pro baseball "before the leagues were integrated" and his stories, though Michael interrupts him and asks him to leave the meeting because he sees this information as irrelevant. He tells Ryan to check if anyone parked in the handicap spots and tries to talk about how that ties in with the new attitude part of his acronym, though Mr. Brown stops him from continuing.
  • Pam trying to think of good things about Michael.
  • Ryan in the parking lot looking at the empty handicap parking spots.
  • An extended scene with Michael showing his Daffy Duck signature.
  • Jim helping Pam in her game of solitaire, but Dwight trying to stop them as the game should only be played alone.
  • Dwight and Michael filming the short sensitivity video.
  • Michael talking about marching on Washington "back in the day."
  • Devon smoking on a balcony with "West Nile" on his forehead card.
  • When Dwight asks if he's a woman, Jim changes his forehead card from Asian to "Dwight" and continues asking what race he is, though Angela eventually tells him what his card says.
  • Pam telling the camera there was once an ethnic festival in Scranton.
  • Reactions from the office workers after Kelly slaps Michael.

CastEdit

Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit


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