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The Alliance

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"The Alliance" is the fourth episode of the first season of The Office and the 4th overall. It was written Michael Schur and directed by Bryan Gordon. It first aired on April 12, 2005. It was viewed by 5.4 million people.

SynopsisEdit

Although time has dragged on, the downsizing rumors at Dunder Mifflin have not ceased. Dwight feels particularly threatened by the impending crisis, and, in an act of desperation, forms an alliance with his office nemesis Jim. Jim sees the alliance as an opportunity with great potential and agrees as a lark. He immediately enlists Pam's help in the situation.

Meanwhile, Michael tries to boost morale in the office by having an office birthday party for Meredith, even though her birthday is a month away. Michael agonizes over writing the perfect greeting in her birthday card. In the end his joke (and subsequent rejected ones) falls flat, severely ruining the party. At the same time Oscar also gets him to donate money to his nephew's cerebral palsy walk-a-thon, to which Michael accidentally over contributes due to Oscar misleading him and Michael's effort to look like a good boss.

At the end of the day, after a breakthrough in his pranks on Dwight, Jim giddily grabs Pam's hand in an attempt to explain what has just happened. However, Pam's fiance Roy catches this and sees it as an attempt by Jim to make a move on Pam. Roy is visibly heated, although nothing ensues.

Deleted scenesEdit

The Season One DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include:

  • Dwight brags to Jim how secure his computer is. Jim successfully guesses Dwight's password ("Frodo"). Dwight changes it, and Jim guesses it again ("Gollum").
  • Michael critiques Pam's phone-answering delivery. (This is the scene used in the title sequence when Jenna Fischer's name appears.)
  • Dwight throws old food out of the office fridge.
  • Jim complains to Dwight that he threw out his lunch as Dwight plays with his Phillies bobbleheads.
  • Oscar asks Angela to sign up for the walk-a-thon.
  • Extension of Jim and Dwight's conversation in the parking lot.
  • Toby signs Meredith's card in Michael's office, but Michael prevents him from writing any jokes.
  • Jim hopes to get Dwight to say "immunity" (a la Survivor).
  • Extended scene with Dwight trying to help Michael with Meredith's card but only with jokes referencing to her hysterectomy. When Dwight asks Michael for immunity from downsizing, Jim quietly celebrates.
  • Michael tries to get Meredith to inconspicuously recall recent funny moments with him.
  • Michael explains to Oscar how he shouldn't have deceived him with the walk-a-thon.
  • Michael presents his alternate (and just as bad) card jokes to Meredith and when she starts crying he asks the cameras if they can just edit to the best one.
  • Dwight questions Ryan about his alliances to which Ryan says "what?" and Dwight says "well played".

TriviaEdit

  • This episode features three alliances, a fake alliance between Jim and Dwight, a real alliance between Jim and Pam, and a minor alliance between Dwight and Roy.
  • In the warehouse scene with Pam, the role of Dwight in the box was played not by actor Rainn Wilson but by a crew member.
  • The Dundie awards are first mentioned in this episode. We finally get to see the Dundies in the episode "The Dundies".
  • The first cut of the episode ran 37 minutes long. Producers considered making the episode a two-parter, one focusing on the Alliance and another focusing on Meredith's birthday party.[1]
  • The car that Dwight kicks actually belongs to actress Phyllis Smith, who plays Phyllis on the show. Rainn Wilson stated that after every take she would tell him, "Please don't kick the hubcap too hard."[2]
  • There were over a dozen takes of the scene where Michael wolfs down cake. Steve Carell ate so much (at 7:30 in the morning) that he got sick.[3] Jenna Fischer considers shooting the scene as "the absolute worst" experience on the show. "We all got so sick [from eating ice cream cake]".[4]
  • Not much of the footage made the final cut, but during the party, Ryan talks to a different woman in the background of each scene. The producers thought this was a nice character touch for the new employee.[5]
  • A sign seen in this episode gives Dunder Mifflin's address as 1725 Slough Avenue, a reference to the UK The Office locale in Slough, Berkshire, England.
  • On the Season One DVD, the synopsis for this episode mistakenly refers to Jim as John, the name of the actor portraying him (John Krasinski).
  • When Dwight asks Jim if he would like to form an alliance, Jim responds by saying "Absolutely, I do". This is later referenced in The Job, in which Pam says that Jim told her that if Dwight ever asks you to be in something secret, you respond with "Absolutely, I do".
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the staff newsletter. The text of the staff newsletter is the same each time it appears (since it is merely a prop); only the picture and headline change.
Top Salesman Award
Welcome to yet another exciting edition of the Dunder Mifflin Employee Newsletter. Thanks to all of the staff and new contributing writers for putting this together for all of you, and also many thanks to the folks at Designtown for printing this up for us. Hopefully you will find a lot of useless information contained herein that will help you do your job better, faster and quicker and cheaper and happier.
As anybody can easily tell, this newsletter doesn't really have a lot to say. It's really just a prop to fill some space and sort of look like a newsletter without really being much of a newsletter at all. By typing a lot of words in two columns on the front of this page, we can achieve the look of a newsletter without really reporting much news or provide any real information to the reader at all. In fact, at times we can probably get away with not using real English words, such as kjgowbiwiwpo, ovcviqvck, or the much beloved dfbiouvsulegphaelk. These words can also be strung together to form a sentence, paragraph or even a whole prop book, magazine or newspaper.

Amusing detailsEdit

  • When Jim begins taping up the box, there is a rat caught in a trap under the rolling cart behind him. (The production team even went to the effort of getting an animatronic rat.)
  • In a conversation between Toby and Ryan it is revealed that it is actually Ryan's birthday. Toby and Ryan are in mid-conversation and Toby says "really? today?" and Ryan says "yeah" Toby says "want me to say something" and Ryan says "don't do that ."
  • In Meredith's birthday card, Michael reads what Jim wrote. "You're an accountant, just fudge the numbers". Meredith is in supplier relations not accounting.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • The terms alliance and immunity come from the early 21st century television reality game show Survivor. Contestants are eliminated one by one, although a contestant can win "immunity" from elimination, and contestants typically form "alliances" to engineer the elimination of a rival.
  • Come on down! is the catch phrase from the television game show The Price Is Right.
  • "You're fired!" is the catch phrase from the television reality game show The Apprentice, hosted by Donald Trump.
  • Michael uses his cell phone like a communicator from Star Trek, a 1960s science fiction television program.
  • Beeyotches is an intentional mispronunciation of bitches, a derogatory term for women.
  • Baskin-Robbins is a chain of ice cream parlors.
  • Guns is a slang term for muscles, most commonly the biceps.
  • Bird day is a pun on birthday.
  • Mary had a little lamb is the opening line of a nursery rhyme.
  • A walkathon is a fundraising event where donors pay a pledged amount for each mile (or other distance) the participant walks, up to a pre-set limit.
  • Liz Taylor is an actress who has been divorced seven times.
  • A brain fart is slang for a momentary mental lapse.
  • Frodo and Gollum are characters from the epic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.
  • Michael Jackson is a musician known for, among other things, undergoing large quantities of cosmetic surgery.

Quotes Edit

See The Alliance Quotes

CastEdit

Main castEdit

Recurring castEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Daniels, Greg (Producer). 2005. "The Alliance" [Commentary track], The Office Season One (U.S./NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
  2. Wilson, Rainn (Actor). 2005. "The Alliance" [Commentary track], The Office Season One (U.S./NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
  3. Fischer, Jenna (Actor), Krasinski, John (Actor), and Daniels, Greg (Producer). 2005. "The Alliance" [Commentary track], The Office Season One (U.S./NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
  4. Celebrity Parade: Jenna Fischer, Parade Magazine
  5. Novak, B. J. (Actor/Writer). 2005. "The Alliance" [Commentary track], The Office Season One (U.S./NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.


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