Doomsday (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 8
|Directed by||Troy Miller|
|Written by||Daniel Chun|
|Original air date||November 3, 2011|
"Doomsday" is the sixth episode of the eighth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 158th episode overall. The episode aired on NBC in the United States on November 3, 2011. "Doomsday" was written by Daniel Chun and directed by Troy Miller. The episode guest stars Ameenah Kaplan.
The series—presented as if it were a real documentary—depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In the episode, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) installs a Doomsday device that will fire all of the employees and effectively close down the branch if they make too many mistakes. Meanwhile, Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) attempts to court the new warehouse worker, Val.
"Doomsday" received mixed reviews from critics, with some reviews critiquing the episode's resolution. According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was viewed by 6.15 million viewers and received a 3.2 rating/8% share among adult between the ages of 18 and 49, marking an increase in the ratings from the previous episode. The episode ranked third in its time slot and was the highest-rated NBC show of the night.
In the cold open, Andy (Ed Helms), to commemorate and "bring closure" to end of each work day, sings "Closing Time", much to the dismay of his visibly annoyed co-workers. Andy, frustrated that no-one but he and Erin (Ellie Kemper) enjoy the tradition, starts to scold the workers until Stanley (Leslie David Baker) comes in happily singing the song alongside him. He states in an interview that he doesn't like the song, but sings along anyway because it is the indicator that the work day is over.
When Robert California (James Spader) confronts Andy about the number of mishaps and blunders made in the office, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) devises a system to find mistakes made by employees in the office. To improve efficiency, he installs a "doomsday device" that will send incriminating emails to California if they make five mistakes in one day, effectively causing them to lose their jobs. After only one day, however, the group manages to make five mistakes, and Dwight reveals that the emails will be automatically sent to California at 5:00 pm. Andy pleads with Dwight to deactivate the machine, but Dwight refuses, belittles the rest of the office staff for being so careless, and retreats to Schrute Farms.
After Dwight abandons the group, Andy, Pam (Jenna Fischer), Erin, and Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) to try and change Dwight's mind. The group find Dwight digging a horse grave and offer to help him out. Andy tries to talk to Dwight about deactivating the machine, but Pam consistently quiets him, saying she knows Dwight will come to understand if they aren't pushing it. After complimenting Dwight numerous times and having a small meal, Pam makes a joke that emphasizes that everyone is human and makes mistakes. Dwight, after hearing this, deactivates the machine after the party leaves Schrute Farms. Meanwhile, Jim (John Krasinski) is tasked with tracking down Robert at a squash court and intercepting the doomsday emails before California has a chance to view them. To distract him, Jim plays several games, demonstrating his complete lack of skill at squash. Eventually, he discovers that the e-mail has not come through, and prepares to leave, but Robert makes him stay and continue playing.
Back in the warehouse, Gabe (Zach Woods) unsuccessfully tries to strike up a relationship with a new warehouse worker, Val (Ameenah Kaplan). Gabe believes that he and Val have a connection, and constantly pursues and tries to impress her throughout the day. Darryl (Craig Robinson), observing Gabe's pitiful attempts, tries to imply that Val doesn't feel the same way, but to no avail. When Gabe does ask Val out, she politely declines and says she does not date co-workers at all. Darryl hears all of this and decides he won't pursue Val either.
The episode was written by co-executive producer Daniel Chun. It was directed by Troy Miller, his second directing credit after last season's "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager". The Season Eight DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include Jim explaining to the camera that he has never played squash, and then proceeds to convince Robert California to play another game, Gabe explaining his philosophy by saying that "he would throw any brother under the bus for any whore... woman", Stanley comparing Dwight's doomsday device to the Y2K bug, Jim and Pam arguing about whether or not Jim was there on the day Dwight fixed her computer, and Andy offering Robert California a pipe during a meeting that Dwight asks to be a part of.
In its original American broadcast, "Doomsday" was viewed by an estimated 6.15 million viewers and received a 3.2 rating/8% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. This means that it was seen by 3.2% of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 8% of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked an increase in the ratings from the previous episode, "Spooked". The episode ranked third in its timeslot beating Person of Interest which received a 2.7 rating/7% share in the 18–49 demographic and The Secret Circle which received a 0.9 rating/2% share, but was defeated by Grey's Anatomy which received a 3.6 rating/9% share and the season premiere of Bones which received a 3.3 rating/8% share. A repeat of the episode on January 5, 2012 drew 2.61 million and received a 1.1 rating/3% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, ranking fourth in its time slot, despite the episode being a rerun.
The episode received mixed reviews. Several reviews wrote positively of the ensemble and character acting. Hannah Lawrence from Hollywood was happy with romance of the episode, writing "It seems clear that the writers are spending more time on characters finding love, and I actually enjoy it very much […] I suspect the writers are aware that ultimately what all of us want for the Dunder-Mifflin employees is love." CliqueClack wrote positively of the episode, praising the ensemble acting, and wrote, "Overall, another solid ensemble episode. Way to go, The Office!" Many other reviews compared the episode, either positively or negatively, to previous episodes. Jeffrey Hyatt from Screencrave gave the episode an 8/10 rating and wrote, "I’d say it was the strongest of the six episodes so far this season. […] 'Doomsday' delivered that classic, “Office” formula where everything just works – and it feels so right." Joseph Kratzer from WhatCulture awarded the episode 3-and-a-half stars out of five and compared it to the season's previous episodes, writing, "For a minute there I thought season eight of The Office was going to be some kind of subpar shut-out, but thankfully Doomsday' has lifted the series out of the rut it’s been in […] I feel 'Doomsday' was successful because it captured a sense of ease and fluidity the show’s been lacking severely since Michael’s departure."
Other reviews were more mixed, or simply referred to the episode as "decent". Jill Mader from InsidePulse called the episode "decent" noting that "[that is how the] season has been shaping up." Dan Forcella from TVFanatic noted that the episode was not a "fantastic episode of The Office, but it had its funny moments, and that's what I tune in for." The A.V. Club reviewer Myles McNutt wrote "Doomsday" was not "a terrible episode by any means [but] the various pieces never fell into place, and the resolution didn't feel as though it was earned by the episode that came before it. It just felt like it was trying to do too much too quickly, never quite narrowing in on character in the midst of manufacturing chaos." McNutt ultimately gave the episode a B-. Despite some of the more mixed reviews, a large majority of critics found the cold-opening humorous, with many noting that it was the best of the season so far.
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- Mader, Jill (4 November 2011). "The Office – Episode 8-6 Review – “Dwight Schrute, Master of Doom”". InsidePulse. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Forcella, Dan (4 November 2011). "The Office Review: Doom and Gloom". TVFanatic. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- McNutt, Myles (3 September 2011). "Doomsday". The AV Club. Retrieved 4 November 2011.