The Office Episodes

2005, TV Show

The Office Episode: "The Michael Scott Paper Company"

Season 5, Episode 23
Episode Synopsis: Former romantic rivals Dwight and Andy form an unlikely kinship and plan a hunting trip together. Meanwhile, supervisor Charles demands a rundown from Jim---but Jim has no clue what "rundown" actually means. And Michael holds a Paper and Pancakes company luncheon, but it might end up as a flat affair.
Original Air Date: Apr 9, 2009

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Season 5, Episode 23
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Aired: 4/9/2009
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The Office Episode Recap: "Broke" Season 5, Episode 23

In "Broke" — a masterful episode directed by Steve Carell — the upstart Michael Scott Paper Company is siphoning off business from Dunder Mifflin but losing money in the process because their prices are way too low. So this leaves both companies at an impasse, and leads to a high-stakes negotiation between Michael and David Wallace.

Before I begin the recap, check out this video of The Office crew celebrating 100 episodes. We were able to get interviews with Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and many others. And in the case of Steve Carell, he's exactly what you'd expect: funny and seemingly the nicest guy in the world.

Scranton Hallelujah
The cold open was great, from Michael starting and stopping the van so Ryan couldn't get in, to Michael picking up Pam and yelling "I go nuts for your donuts" to Jim, to Pam's translation of the Korean writing on the side of their vehicle. But the best was the befuddled Korean woman whom Pam stops from climbing into the van by yelling "it's not for the Church!"

Broke and Bleeding
Pam and Ryan convince Michael to look into hiring a delivery guy, since the 4:30 AM wake-up calls leave everyone wiped out. But when they consult their accountant, he gives them some sobering news: Their pricing model is not scalable. They're undercutting Dunder Mifflin and Staples, sure, but at the prices at which their selling paper, they'll never be profitable.

Meanwhile, David Wallace makes a visit to the Scranton branch to stop the bleeding. David wants Jim in on the discussion, but Charles — much to his later regret — insists that Dwight join the conversation as well, saying to David that "Dwight shows promise," while Jim has been "a disappointment."

In their strategy session, Jim suggests a temporary price reduction to further undercut Michael; Dwight meanwhile, says that that would make Dunder Mifflin look weak, and instead suggests a complex bee attack on the competitor since his "apiarist owes him a favor." I think it's safe to say that this was the moment when Charles realizes he made a huge mistake by inviting Dwight to the meeting.

Of Fish and Fishing Poles
During a break in the DM pow-wow, Pam tells Jim that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke — they have maybe a month to stay in business. When David, Charles, Jim and Dwight reconvene, David suggests that the cheapest option would be to make Michael a buyout offer. Jim goes down to make the suggestion, Michael and company agree, and the negotiations are on!

On the way up to Dunder, Michael almost has a nervous breakdown because he's so scared he's going to reveal that his company has no money. It doesn't bode well for the MS crew — but when he sits down at the table, Michael's in complete control. He rejects the first $12,000 offer as insulting and his retort to David about facing shareholders as a CFO was as pitch-perfect as Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" delivery. David ups the ante significantly to $60,000, and from the looks on their faces, this may be the right price. The MS crew needs a moment, and the Dunder team obliges.

Before they come back to the negotiating table, however, Dwight gets a call from a former client who wants to come back to Dunder from MS — and he realizes that the Michael Scott Paper Company is in dire straits. He runs to Charles to explain that they should not negotiate, but Jim shrewdly follows and undercuts him, leading Charles to call them both morons. This is why you never discuss your relationship with your apiarist in a business setting.

When everyone returns to the table, Michael surprisingly rejects the $60,000 offer, very wisely explaining to Ryan and Pam that jobs are better than taking the cash. So instead of cash, Michael demands that he gets his job back, that Pam return to Dunder as a sales woman, and that Dunder re-hires Ryan and fire Charles. David agrees to everything but firing Charles, and there you have it: the end of the Michael Scott Paper Company and the return of Michael Scott!

So to summarize: Michael quits because the CFO David Wallace decides to alienate his most productive branch manager. Michael starts a paper company, undercuts Dunder's prices and causes Dunder's most profitable branch to lose key accounts. David's new go-to-guy Charles is unable to turn the situation around. So Dunder is forced to not only re-hire Michael in his previous role, but add on two extra employees (at salesman levels) — which, according to David himself winds up being a multimillion dollar investment — all to get back to the same situation Dunder was in a few weeks ago. This is managerial incompetence at the GM level. Does Obama need to step in and fire David and Charles?

And finally, the ending was great: Michael triumphantly shushing Charles while awkwardly raising his foot (and exposing his groin) on Jim's desk — laying back claim to what's rightfully his.

The Bullets
• Pam: "Is this just milk and sugar?" Michael: "That's what I said."
• Dwight, to Charles, re: Angela: "Been there, done that."
• Accountant: "Crunch."
• Jim to Dwight: "Idiot!" "Idiot!" "Idiot!" — that's my new Dwight ring.
• Charles to David :"I was going to say the same thing. We should buy him out." Jim to Charles: "But you didn't."
• Dwight: "If only Michael had children. Then we could really apply the pressure" Charles: "What is wrong with you?"
• Michael: "That's what I'm talking about!"

So, what did you guys think of the episode? Were you pumping your fists as I was upon Michael's triumphant return?

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In "Broke" — a masterful episode directed by Steve Carell — the upstart Michael Scott Paper Company is siphoning off business from Dunder Mifflin but losing money in the process because their prices are way too low. So this leaves both companies at an impasse, and leads to a high-stakes negotiation between Michael and David Wallace.

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Premiered: March 24, 2005, on NBC
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (2,188 ratings)
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Premise: NBC version of the hit British mockumentary about lackluster daily life at a paper-supply company in Scranton, Pa.

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