"Pilot", alternately titled The Office: An American Workplace, is the first episode of the first season of The Office and the first episode overall. It was written by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant and Greg Daniels, and directed by Ken Kwapis. It first aired on March 24, 2005 and was viewed by 11.2 million people.
A documentary crew gives a firsthand introduction to the staff of the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, managed by Michael Scott. Those introduced in this episode include sales representatives Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute; temp Ryan Howard; receptionist Pam Beesly; and Michael's boss from corporate, Jan Levinson-Gould.
Jim tells Michael he couldn't close a sales deal, so Michael calls the client and successfully concludes the sale, though he also accidentally insults the client. Pam gives Michael a fax from corporate which he crumples the fax and throws it in the wastepaper basket, jokingly called by Michael the special filing cabinet for things from corporate. He tells the camera people consider him the best boss because he's hilarious, and demonstrates this by repeatedly shouting "Whassup?" to Jim and Dwight.
Jan Levinson-Gould then enters the office for a meeting with Michael, in his office with Pam present. When Jan asks Michael if there was anything he wanted to add to the agenda, Michael tells her he didn't get one. Jan replies she sent one earlier in the day. Michael asks Pam if they got an agenda, to which Pam says it was the one he threw in the garbage can. Jan then informs Michael that board has determined that they can't justify having a Scranton branch and a Stamford branch. She says she told Josh in Stamford the same thing and there may be downsizing in Michael's branch, which causes Michael to panic. Later in the meeting Todd Packer calls and Todd asks Michael if "Godzillary" is coming to his office and wants to ask her if the carpet matches the drapes. Michael hangs up on Packer, but Jan is displeased.
In the break room, Oscar Martinez, Phyllis Lapin, and Stanley Hudson are at a table talking about the possibility of downsizing. Angela Martin and Kevin Malone also talk about the downsizing. Jim and Pam are not concerned with the rumors as they discuss Angela's "cat party."
Ryan Howard then arrives from the temporary employee agency. Michael demonstrates his humor by imitating Moe, from The Three Stooges and Adolf Hitler. Later, while Jim is on the phone, Dwight uses a ruler and pushes Jim's overlapping papers onto his desk. In retaliation, Jim built a pencil fence between his desk and Dwight's, which Dwight smashes with his phone. Because of this, Jim tells the camera he's not afraid of the downsizing issue. Dwight, too, tells the camera he has no problem with downsizing and that he has been recommending it since he first arrived at Dunder Mifflin.
To boost morale, Michael holds a meeting with Dwight acting as his assistant. Michael assures the office they have nothing to worry about, though they still aren't pleased.
After the meeting, Michael introduces Ryan to Jim and Dwight. Dwight talks about his 1978 Nissan 280Z but, when he opens his drawer to show Ryan some pictures, he finds Jim has encased his stapler in Jell-O. Dwight wants Michael to punish Jim but Jim, Ryan, and Michael make puns about the issue instead.
Jim later asks Pam if she wants to go out for a drink after work, but Pam's fiancé, Roy, arrives and wants her to go home with him. Michael explains his management style to Ryan and plays a prank on Pam, pretending to fire her for stealing Post-it notes. When she breaks down crying, Michael reveals the firing was as a prank, though Pam is not amused..
After everyone has gone home, Jim goes into Michael's office and places Michael's mug, encased in Jell-O, on his desk.
- Michael calls Jim grasshopper, the nickname given to the protagonist in the television series "Kung Fu" by one of his teachers.
- Spencer Gifts is a chain of stores that sells novelty items. There is a store in Scranton.
- Michael says "Pam-Pam" in a high-pitched voice like Bamm-Bamm, Barney Rubble's son on The Flintstones.
- Michael shouts Whassup? in the style of a series of Clio-Award-winning Budweiser beer advertisements from 2000. (Five years before the episode takes place, not seven as Jim claims.)
- Downsizing is a corporate euphemism for firing employees. Other corporate terms employed in the episode are compensation (pay) and HR (human resources, the department responsible for employee issues such as hiring and salary).
- The Six Million Dollar Man was a television program popular in the 1970s. The title character was a cyborg, and footage of the character performing superhuman feats were played in slow motion and accompanied by a sound effect similar to the one Michael makes.
- The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Punk'd are television programs from the early 2000s. Both programs play pranks on unsuspecting victims. Michael's exclamation "You've been X'd, punk!" combines the catch phrase "You've been X'd" from first program with the name of the second program.
- Michael peers from behind a plant and says '"Verrry interesting" in the style of Arte Johnson's recurring character on the late 1960s program Laugh-In.
- This episode was adapted from the first episode of the original British series, but "Americanized" by executive producer Greg Daniels. Most scenes are very similar to the British version, though some are very different.
- Most of this episode was filmed more than six months before the other episodes of the season.
- At the start of each day, director Ken Kwapis instructed the actors to pretend to be at work for 30 minutes. Cameras did not roll; the "work sessions" were an exercise to build an appropriate office atmosphere and dynamic. It was during these work sessions that the relationship among the three accountants was developed.
- During the "demarcation" scene with Jim and Dwight, Jim's tie has a white label (made using a label maker) that reads, "SHUT UP".
- The scene where Jim tapes pencils to his desk and Dwight says they are a safety violation was originally filmed as the British version was, in which Tim stacks up cardboard boxes in front of Gareth so he can't see him. The script originally used the box-stacking joke from the British Office. After shooting was complete, Greg Daniels decided to replace it with the pencil-fence scene, and John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson were called back to the set (notice that no other actors other than Stanley are in the office during the pencil-fence scene). When Michael announces the meeting in the conference room, the original boxes can still be seen stacked on Jim's desk.
- The "cat party" scene was improvised by Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski. It was inspired by an incident that took place during one of the "work sessions": Angela Kinsey (as Angela Martin) gave Jenna Fischer (as Pam Beesly) a Post-It note inviting Pam to her cat's birthday party. When Ken Kwapis instructed Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski to flirt, Jenna Fischer saw the note and improvised upon it.
- The two women in blue sweaters at the staff meeting were actual accountants that worked on the production. Greg Daniels decided not to use them regularly because their job involved a lot of telephone calls, the sound of which would disrupt filming.
- Henriette Mantel (credited) is one of the unidentified office workers in the conference room scene; she is seated beside Dwight. Henriette has appeared in numerous sitcoms and notably played the role of Alice in the "Brady Bunch" movies from the 1990s. Henriette is an actress, not an "actual accountant'.
- Michael asks Ryan if he likes The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Punk'd, which Ryan says he does. B.J. Novak, who plays Ryan, was a prankster on the second season of Punk'd.
- The work computers are all different than in the rest of the series. They have much fatter flat panel monitors and are running on Windows 98, whereas in later episodes they are running on Windows XP
- This episode marks the first mention of Josh Porter, Todd Packer, and the Stamford branch. Also mentioned is the possibility of a merge of the Scranton and Stamford branches, which later happens in the Season 3 episode "The Merger".
- Michael identifies Dane Cook as one of his comedic influences. In real life, Steve Carell co-starred with Cook in the romantic comedy Dan in Real Life as Cook's brother. Both Carell and Cook are from Massachusetts.
- The establishing shot of the Dunder Mifflin offices at the beginning of act two is the Paper Magic building at the corner of Adams and Mulberry streets in Scranton. (The Paper Magic building appears at timecode 2:35 in this slideshow.)
- Michael says to the camera, "We have the entire floor." We discover in later episodes, however, that the floor is shared with Vance Refrigeration.
- Demonstrating their casual attitudes toward their jobs, Pam and Jim talk about Angela's cat party while everybody else in the office discusses downsizing.
- During the meeting where Michael talks about the possibility of downsizing, Stanley can be seen standing in the background holding what appears to be a bottle of whiskey.
- Near the beginning of the episode, Dwight is singing "The Little Drummer Boy". In the Season 3 Christmas episode, "A Benihana Christmas", Dwight holds the microphone for Angela while she sings the same song.
- Pam is the only person Michael has fake-fired twice; this was the first time. The second time was in the Season 5 episode "Casual Friday".
- In this episode, four pranks were pulled; one from Michael, and three from Jim. This episode features the most pranks ever pulled.
- When we first meet Dwight he sings " The Little Drummer Boy" a song which later in the show is seen that Angela is very fond. Indicating Dwight's and Angela's relationship since the first episode.
- Boxes from an original take of the "pencil-fence scene" are visible when Michael announces the meeting. (See above for more about reshooting the scene.)
- In the conference room scene, look carefully at Jim's desk when Michael says, "Corporate has deemed it appropriate to enforce an ultimatum upon me." The shadow is that of producer Greg Daniels.
Included on the Season One DVD were various deleted scenes:
- An interview with Dwight describing his family background. This would later be used in the Season 2 episode "Drug Testing".
- Michael holding a Dundie saying he's the best boss in the world.
- Jim self-patronizingly says, without him dozens of small businesses would be paperless.
- An alternate take of Michael introducing Pam, where he says every guy in the office has sprayed on Pam.
- An interview with Dwight explaining how his human touch affects sales figures.
- An alternate take of Michael welcoming Ryan to the office.
- An interview with Michael talking about downsizing and lying to his co-workers about it.
- Michael showing the Homer Simpson doll and introducing Ryan to Oscar, Kevin, and Angela.
- Interviews with Angela, Oscar, and Kevin, who all talk about the downsizing issue and themselves.
- Michael telling Pam he thinks he has testicular cancer as she eats her lunch.
- Michael playing with the boom mic.
- After being intimidated by the boom mic in an interview (it's in a blind spot), Dwight goes into detail about his self-defense experience.
- see Pilot Quotes
- Steve Carell as Michael Scott
- Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
- John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
- Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly
- B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard
- Melora Hardin as Jan Levenson
- David Denman as Roy Anderson
- Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
- Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
- Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin
- Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez
- Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin
- Creed Bratton (actor) as Creed Bratton (Uncredited)
- Mike McCaul as Male Employee
- Henriette Mantel as Female Employee
- Randall Barnwell as Madsen (Uncredited)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Sound of Young America interviews Jenna Fischer, OfficeTally, March 2, 2009.
- ↑ Season 1 DVD commentary.
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