• Season 1 : Episode 1
  • First aired on March 24, 2005
  • Written by Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant / Directed by Ken Kwapis
  • Recap by James Fan
  • Discuss this episode at The Watercooler, and remember to submit your vote at OfficeTally.

Meet Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and Ryan, all employees of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Products. Michael leads. Dwight follows. Jim just gets by. Pam wonders what she did wrong in life to deserve this. And Ryan, well… Ryan was screwed the moment he landed here in Scranton. Welcome to The Office.

The Michael Scott School of Hard Knocks

Of the many one-on-one interviews featured in this show, this one still stands out:

Michael : People I respect, heroes of mine would be: Bob Hope. Um. Abraham Lincoln… definitely. Bono. Uh, and probably God… would be the fourth one. And I gue–I just think all those people really, uh, helped… the world in so many ways… that it’s um… it’s really beyond words. It’s really incalculcable.

Dwight Being Dwight

I don’t imagine most people would have the guts to suggest downsizing during their own interview, but then again, most people aren’t Dwight. People have asked me to describe Dwight, and I’ve only had silence or useless fumbling to offer to them in return. Not only does he defy reason and common sense, he defies the English language.

The Many Faces of Jim

Jim : Do I think I’ll be invited to the wedding?

This is a very short one-on-one scene, but I think it exposes a valuable bit of insight into Jim’s character. At this point, the wedding has been delayed so many times that it’s hard to imagine it ever transpiring. I’d wager most of the people in the office have either forgotten about it or no longer take it seriously, but the question surprises Jim, I think. He realizes that although it hasn’t happened yet, it will happen eventually, barring any Acts of Jim, so to speak.

Confessions of a Receptionist

Pam : I don’t think it would be the worst thing if they let me go. Because then I might… I just–I don’t think it’s many little girls’ dream to be a receptionist. Um. I like to do illustrations. Um… mostly watercolor, a few oil pencil. Um, Jim thinks they’re good.

I like how they show her applying white-out as she’s saying this.

The Jim/Pam Index

As you might expect from the very first episode, the JP Index for Pilot sits firmly at Even. There are no major developments, but hints are dropped, and we do see that there is something going on between them. I mean, seriously, you don’t get by knowing someone’s favorite flavor of yogurt without having a good reason for knowing such things.

Their scene at the end is nicely done. We get the chance to see some nice chemistry at work between two very likable characters. It kind of makes you wonder how that conversation might have gone had it not been for the ever-present camera or Roy’s car horn.

Supporting Nod

On the topic of downsizing:

Angela : I bet it’s gonna be me, probably gonna be me.
Kevin : Yeah, it’ll be you.

That is so Angela and Kevin.

The Superstar

Michael and his supremely quotable self. We’re not sure what to think of his character at this point, but we find ourselves strangely drawn to him, like moths to the flame except Michael isn’t actually on fire. Or is he?

Transmissions from the Office

  • Michael : Pam! PAM! PAM! If you think she’s cute now, you should’ve seen her a couple years ago. Rrawr!
    Pam : What?!

    Upon receiving a fax from corporate, Michael crumples it up and tosses it behind the desk, probably aiming for the wastepaper basket but missing horribly, and we get our first of many indignant looks from Pam.

  • Michael : I found it at Spencer’s Gifts.

    Yes, I do think that pretty much sums it up.

  • Jim : Wasuuuup! He still loves that after seven years.

    I love Jim’s underhanded barbs at Michael.

  • Michael : Did we get a fax this morning? Why isn’t it my hand?
    Pam : You put it in the garbage can that was a special filing cabinet.

    I’m not sure if Michael didn’t think Pam would tell Jan what happened, or if he really is so absent-minded that he doesn’t remember trashing the agenda earlier in the day.

  • Michael : Ringy dingy dingy!

    Steve Carell’s delivery of this line is uniquely hilarious.

  • Pam : I have a really important question for you?
    Jim : Yes?
    Pam : Um, are you going to Angela’s cat party on Sunday?
    Jim : Yeah, stop. That is ridiculous.

    Witness the opening volley of Pam Pong. Angela coined the term, and the first time we see it in action is at her expense.

  • Michael : As a doctor, you would not tell a patient if they had cancer.

    And that is why people like Michael aren’t allowed to practice medicine.

  • Jim : How do you know it was me?

    This one is great: after finding his stapler submerged in jello Dwight asks Michael to reprimand Jim, to which Jim responds “How do you know it was me?” as he’s eating jello.

Odds and Ends

  • Something about the way Michael clears his throat at the end of his meeting with Jim makes me laugh. It almost sounds like he’s about to cry.
  • Only Dwight could transform The Little Drummer Boy into a song of despair.
  • Pam’s reaction to Michael’s Six Million Dollar Man routine is priceless and one I think only indulgent receptionists working for incompetent bosses could truly understand.
  • The scene in which Michael plays a prank on Pam singularly defines this show. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s invariably real and often funny, although sometimes in a sort of twisted way that makes you feel a little bit ashamed of yourself. It works brilliantly as long as you’re not offended by it.

The Story in Pictures

Gallery Image

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Todd Packer's call to Michael during his meeting with Jan was also particularly cringeworthy:

Packer: Hey, is old uh Godzillary coming in today?
Michael: Um, I don't know, I don't know what you mean....
Packer: Look, I've been meaning to ask you one uh question...does the carpet match the drapes.
Michael: Oh my God. Oh...that's...horrifying. Horrible, horrible...person.

1Posted by Jennie on December 9, 2005

how far we've come since the Pilot.....

2Posted by John D'arc on May 13, 2006

I can't watch when Michael "punks" Pam. Most uncomfortable moment of the first season.

3Posted by Elisabeth on June 11, 2006

I love Jim's little payback to Michael (for punking Pam) at the end of the episode. Said more than words about how Jim feels about her.

4Posted by nola on October 4, 2006