Did I Stutter?


Did I Stutter?
"Did I Stutter?"
The Office episode
Office-stutter1.jpg
Stanley at his desk
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 16
Directed by Randall Einhorn
Written by Brent Forrester
Justin Spitzer
Production code 416
Original air date May 1, 2008[1]
Episode chronology
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List of The Office (U.S. TV series) episodes

"Did I Stutter?" is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's sixty-ninth episode overall. Written by Brent Forrester and Justin Spitzer, and directed by Randall Einhorn, the episode first aired in the United States on May 1, 2008 on NBC.[1]

In this episode, Michael is shocked when Stanley yells at him, and is unsure how to handle the situation. Michael tries to assert his power over Stanley, by pretending to fire him, but that only makes matters worse. The two eventually end up alone in the office. Sub-plots include Jim receiving a warning about his job performance, Pam wearing glasses, and Dwight buying Andy's car.

Contents

Plot

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) calls an emergency meeting asking everyone to come up with an idea to "re-invigorate" the office. Michael asks Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) for ideas, but Stanley is working on a crossword puzzle and says he's busy. Michael keeps asking him, and Stanley finally snaps at Michael, and says the titular "Did I stutter?" in a very loud, threatening tone. Michael, who is visibly shaken, ends the meeting. Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) encourages Michael to take disciplinary action against Stanley, and Michael decides to pretend to fire him to teach him a lesson. Michael first tells everyone in the office that he isn't really firing Stanley. Stanley responds by threatening to sue him and tell corporate of Michael's antics. When Michael tells Stanley that the firing was actually a joke, Stanley is angered and goes on a rant, yelling and insulting Michael. Michael seems angry and tells everyone to leave the office. Then when they're alone, Michael tearfully (much to Stanley's annoyance) but calmly asks Stanley why he picks on him, suggesting that Stanley doesn't know him very well. In response, Stanley replies "I've known you for a very long time, and the more I've gotten to know you, the less I've come to respect you." In a surprisingly professional manner, Michael eventually says that he accepts that Stanley doesn't respect him, but that it is unacceptable for Stanley to be using such a tone to talk to his own boss. Stanley responds by saying, "Fair enough," and the two shake hands.

Pam wearing glasses.

Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), after spending the night at "a friend's" (Jim's) house, forgot her contact lens solution, so she must wear her glasses all day. She finds it difficult to handle Michael's criticism and Kevin's sexual advances, and spends the rest of the day without her glasses, reducing her productivity. Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) comes to Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, and after a talk with Toby, Ryan tells Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) that he is giving him an official warning about his job performance. Ryan denies that his action is motivated by Jim's previous complaints to David Wallace, saying he thrives on constructive criticism. Meanwhile, Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) is selling his 2001 Nissan Xterra for $8,700, and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) pressures him into selling it for $1,500 less than the asking price, because according to Dwight, "(the) car is crap". Dwight assures Andy that he will only use it as a wagon and dragged by a mule on Dwight's beet farm. Andy then sells it to Dwight, who, in a passive-aggressive method of getting back at him for dating Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), washes it and posts a sign asking for $9,995 for the vehicle, which upsets Andy when he find Dwight's advertisement on the cabinet in the office kitchen. Dwight declares that it is already on Ebay which he claims is the subject of a three-way bidding war.

Production

The episode was the fourth episode of the series directed by Randall Einhorn. Einhorn had previously directed the third season episodes "Initiation", "Ben Franklin" and "Product Recall", as well as the ten summer webisodes "The Accountants". "Did I Stutter?" was written by Justin Spitzer and Brent Forrester. Although the two writers initially planned to write separate episodes, the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike forced the two to share an episode. Forrester and Spitzer initially disagreed about what the episode's title should be. Forrester wanted to name it "Did I Stutter?", while Spitzer wanted a name like "The Reprimand" or "Insubordination".[2]

In the opening scene in which Michael puts his face in cement, the wet cement is actually putty. The crew was planning to do only one take of Steve Carell putting his face in the putty, so he was instructed to hold his breath as long as he possibly could. But the crew forgot to tell the other actors about that, so during that scene, the actors thought he was actually stuck and there was a rush to pull him out.[2]

Pam's glasses would be seen again in the season 6 episode "Niagara".

Kim Ferry, owner of the Nissan Xterra featured in the episode, is one of the show's hairstylists.[2] After it was used on the show, she decided to sell it on eBay. The listing was first put up on eBay on May 1, 2008, the night the episode aired. However, the day before the auction ended, NBC Legal Affairs contacted Ferry and asked that she not give away an original script from "Did I Stutter?" that was being included in the vehicle sale. Instead of removing the script from the auction, Ferry chose to stop the entire auction. Ferry re-listed it on June 16, 2008, and this time had cast members autograph the car. The winning bid was $10,400.[3]

Reception

"Did I Stutter?" received 3.9/10 in the ages 18–49 demographic in the Nielsen ratings. This means that 3.9 percent of all households with an 18 to 49 year old living in it watched the episode, and ten percent had their televisions tuned to the channel at any point. The episode was watched by 7.67 million viewers.[4]

Rick Porter of Zap2It said that even though "it (the episode) was long on uncomfortable and even disturbing behavior" and "only out-and-out funny in a few spots" he found himself "respecting it a fair amount at the end".[5] BuddyTV Senior Writer Oscar Dahl said that "the insubordination of Stanley was a necessary plot point to cover" because "without it, too much Stanley being Stanley becomes unbelievable".[6] Aubry D'Arminio from Entertainment Weekly stated that "Mike's embarrassment, and his unwillingness at first to admit he is disliked, was very very well played on Carell's part."[7]

Notes

On the flow-chart that Dwight produces to show Michael the levels of authority, Dwight labels himself "Original Assistant Regional Manager", and he is higher on the chart than the actual Assistant Regional Manager, Jim Halpert.

References

External links


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