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"Stress Relief", a two-parter, is the fourteenth and fifteenth episodes of the fifth season of the television series The Office, and the show's 86th and 87th episodes overall. It was written by Paul Lieberstein and directed by Jeffery Blitz. The episode aired in the U.S. on February 1, 2009, after the Super Bowl. It was viewed by 22.91 million viewers. (see The Office Nielsen Ratings).


Dwight tries to teach fire safety by example, forcing all the doors closed and disabling the phones before setting a fire in an office trash can with a cigarette. He then says, "today smoking will save lives." He returns to his desk and says, "do you smell something smoky?" People don't believe him at first but he clears his throat and Pam notices the smoke. During the subsequent panic, the copy machine is destroyed and Kevin takes advantage of the havoc to raid the snack machine. Stanley collapses from a heart attack immediately following Dwight’s announcement that the whole thing was a drill.

As Dwight's actions could have burned down the building, Corporate is not amused. Michael and Dwight are called on the carpet in New York, Michael to be reminded of his responsibilities to his subordinates and Dwight to be warned that he is subject to being fired. Back in Scranton, because he hadn't had any idea how to give first aid to Stanley, Michael has the American Red Cross send over an instructor (and most importantly a dummy) to teach CPR. Dwight pouts, Andy sings, and naturally no one learns anything except the lyrics to The Bee Gee's song "Stayin' Alive" - and that Dwight looked very realistic wearing the face of the dummy a la “Silence of the Lambs”. CFO David Wallace and Corporate HR Kendall, upset that Dwight's mutilating the dummy cost the company $3500, requires Dwight to apologize to his co-workers and get their acknowledgement of his apology in writing. Phyllis is the only holdout; she only signs when Dwight has a fake delivery sent to her.

Michael tries a number of ways to get his employees to unwind, like soft music and meditation, before discovering that he is the number one cause of stress at work. So that people won't feel afraid of him, he insists on a no-holds-barred roast of himself. He actually thought that each speaker would also express love for him, so while the employees had a great time, Michael ends up with his feelings hurt. Later, after taking a "Personnel Day," he recovers and conducts a mini-roast of his employees - initially making them somewhat uncomfortable, before Stanley bursts into laughter about his joke and the rest of the office jumps in.

While all of this has been going on, Andy is convinced that Jim and Pam are film gurus because they are talking about Pam's parents as the three watch a pirated movie, but Andy thinks they're talking about the movie—and by chance, it sounds like it. The episode features movie stars Jack Black, Cloris Leachman, and Jessica Alba in the film, Mrs. Albert Hannaday, which features what some would consider a taboo subject, a love triangle with a "May - late-December" relationship. Andy does not know that Jim and Pam were actually discussing Pam's mother and father's deteriorating relationship. Pam's father stays with Pam and Jim for several days. Pam asks Jim to talk to her father and see if her dad will tell Jim what is wrong with his relationship with Pam's mother. After the two men talk her father says he is going to get his own apartment. Jim has no idea what he could have said to make Pam's father leave her mother for good. Later Pam is stunned by revelations on two fronts: 1) that Jim has been deeply in love with her since the beginning and 2) that her father never felt a deep emotion for her mother - Mr. Beesly realized the latter after hearing the former from the heart, and that was what Jim had said.


  • This is the only episode in which Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson), Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone). Creed Bratton (actor) (Creed Bratton), Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer), Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor), Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson), Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez), Craig Robinson (Darryl Philbin), and Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Vance) are credited during the opening theme.
  • B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard) only appears in this episode via Archive Footage.
  • Oscar's rant in Spanish translates as "You give me an ulcer every time I wake up and I have to come to work. I have to come to work for you. For you!"
  • Jim saying to Michael, "Multiple times a day Michael says things that are way beyond my vocabulary," is a reference to the ongoing joke of Michael often confusing words and common phrases.
  • Michael does not roast Toby, Kelly, or Phyllis. Neither Toby nor Phyllis mock Michael at the roast.
  • The lyrics to Andy's song, which is a parody of "What I like about you" by The Romantics:
    • What I hate about you
    • You really suck as a boss
    • You're the losiest, jerkiest, and you're dumber than apple sauce
    • We're stuck listening to you all day
    • Stanley tried to die just to get away,
    • well it's true
    • That's what I hate about you
    • That's what l hate about you
    • Yoooooooooouuouoooouuouoooooooooououououooooouuuu
    • YEAH!
  • When the employees were meeting in the break room after the roast there were no snacks in the vending machine. This can be explained by assumming that in the days after Kevin broke the glass the rest of the office also decided to steal any snacks that they could.
  • During the roast, Kelly lists things she would rather make out with than Michael Scott. When she says "a fridge", Bob Vance can be heard in the background saying "Yeah!"
  • The song in the first scene in the fake movie Mrs. Albert Hannaday is You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates.

Amusing DetailsEdit

  • During the cold open fire scene, Kevin is seen breaking open the vending machine. After Stanley faints Kevin is messily eating snacks while dropping bags on the floor.
  • When David Wallace states that the CPR dummy costs “thirty-five hundred dollars”, Michael mistakenly thinks that this means $5,300.
  • In some of the talking heads after the fire drill, a window is seen boarded up which is the one Michael broke with the projector to yell for help.
  • When Stanley's stress beeper starts going off whenever Michael gets near him, you can see John Krasinski (Jim) trying to hold in his laughter.
  • In a very quick shot of the top of the filing cabinet next to Dwight's desk, as Pam walks past, we see what looks to be the duck from 'Cocktails'.
  • Angela panics just like the rest of the office, even though in "The Fire" Angela is well informed on how to evacuate.
  • Dwight shouting, "Have you ever seen a burn victim?" is a call back to when he said the same in "The Fire."

Deleted ScenesEdit

These were notable cuts from this episode as seen on the Season 5 DVD:

  • Michael congratulates Darryl, Stanley, and maybe Kelly on the inauguration of President Obama. Michael tells Darryl that black people have to be responsible and Darryl jokingly rebuts that Public Radio will become private, NASCAR is over, and Morgan Freeman movies will be cancelled.
  • Andy gives Stanley a mix of his songs.
  • Kevin offers Stanley to go to the bathroom with him. Stanley looks confused.
  • Phyllis explains that it was hard for her when Stanley was gone.
  • Michael shows Stanley that he got a defibrillator.
  • Kelly explains that she came in seventeenth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and then she gained 40 pounds.
  • Michael tries to shock Toby with the defibrillator but fails.
  • Michael thinks that Stanley is dead, shocks him, and realizes that he was just sleeping. He then puts a sign on Stanley saying, NOT DEAD.
  • An alternate extended scene of the Rose/CPR scene.
  • The office lists things that are stressful.
  • The office tries to find things that stop stress.
  • Dwight gets Stanley to sign the sheet, however, he fails to get Phyllis to. Dwight angrily tells her to sign it.
  • Stanley eats a wheel of brie as his reward for "letting go of [his] anger" by signing Dwight's apology letter.
  • Angela and Kevin mess up Meredith's hair using the defibrillator.
  • Michael wakes up from sleeping and says that beaches aren't stressful.
  • Dwight receives a text message and tells the office the Albany Branch is closing during Michael's relaxation seminar. Angrily, Michael confiscates everyone's cellphone and places them in a plastic garbage bag. Later the bag is seen placed on his desk but the vibration of the many phones causes them to fall off the desk.
  • Michael is angry that the mayonnaise is gone as he has the habit of eating a spoonful of mayonnaise during tough situations.
  • Dwight tries to get Jim's signature and Jim asks him whether or not he thinks he's part of the problem, which Dwight scoffs at, but then asks hypothetically what he could do to improve. Jim tells Dwight to smile more often and instructs him on twisting his face into a creepy leer. Jim then takes a photo of Dwight with his cellphone and happily signs the sheet.
  • Extension of the roast. Kelly says she saw Michael at a screening of Twilight, with his mother. Oscar rants to Michael in English - in a talking head, he says he came up with the material simply by writing down a typical drive-home rant. Jan calls and is placed on speakerphone, saying how Michael destroyed her life. Michael then rebuts with a crack about her breast augmentation.

Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • When Michael yells at Stanley not to die because "Barack is president," he is referring to Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, who was elected in 2008.
  • During the fire scare at the beginning of the episode, it is established that the phones have been disconnected by Dwight. However, when the scare escalates, Dwight calmly suggests that they call 911, perhaps by using a cell phone.
  • PETA is an animal rights non-profit in the United States, and stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
  • The Red Cross (ARC) is a well known charity that teaches CPR classes and does first aid and CPR certification.
  • After giving up on practicing CPR, Kevin says "Call it". In medical TV shows, this is commonly said when they've tried all life saving measures and are ready to officially call time of death.
  • When Michael says "No rest for the sick," he is incorrectly quoting a well known biblical expression, "No rest for the wicked," or "No rest for the weary," another common idiom.
  • "Stayin’ Alive" is a famous disco song by the Bee Gees. Michael confuses it for the song “ I Will Survive” by American singer Gloria Gaynor.
  • An organ donor card is a piece of paper that people can carry in their wallets, indicating that after their death they want their organs donated. It is also common for people to indicate this on their driver's license.
  • Dwight removes the face of the dummy and turns to the office, saying, "Clarice?" mimicking a famous scene from the movie The Silence of the Lambs. Dwight tells David Wallace he thought the scene was unrealistic, which is why he tried acting it out himself.
  • Jack Black, Nicole Kidman and Cloris Leachman are all famous actors.
  • Chunky Monkey is an ice cream flavor made by Ben & Jerry's. It is banana flavored with chunks of fudge and walnuts.
  • Although there is not such a thing as the Comedy Central Roast Channel, Michael is referring to a series of famous TV specials, aired on Comedy Central, which were roasts of various celebrities.
  • YouTube is a well-known video hosting website where users can upload their own videos. However, Michael suggests that it is a production company that solely makes videos itself.
  • Sammy Davis Jr. was an American actor known for his impersonations. He was roasted on the NBC show The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in 1975.
  • Lord Voldemort is the villain from the famous children's series Harry Potter.


Main CastEdit

Supporting CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

  • John Hartmann as Kendall (Corporate H.R. Rep.)
  • Robin Lynch as Rose the CPR Instructor
  • Lamont Ferrell as Michael the Warehouse Worker
  • Rick Overton as William Beesly
  • Joanne Carlsen as Terri Hudson (uncredited)
  • James O. Kerry as Deliveryman

Special Celebrity Guest CastEdit