|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Matt Sohn|
|Written by||Dan Sterling|
|Original air date||April 11, 2013|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"Stairmageddon" is the nineteenth episode of the ninth season of the American comedy television series The Office. It originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on April 11, 2013. The episode features guest appearances from Roseanne Barr as Andy's agent Carla Fern and Paul Feig as a man auditioning his act for Carla.
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, the office workers are forced to walk up the stairs when the elevator's power goes out, a situation everyone deems as "Stairmaggedon". Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) coerces Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) into doing an important sales call. Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) find comfort in talking with Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) and Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) about marital troubles. Meanwhile, Angela Lipton (Angela Kinsey) supports her husband during a press conference.
"Stairmageddon" received mixed reviews from television critics. The episode was viewed by 3.84 million viewers and received a 1.9/5 perfect among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The episode ranked second in its timselot and The Office was the highest-rated NBC series of the night.
Everyone in the office grows anxious as the premiere of the PBS TV documentary The Office: An American Workplace draws near. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) combines an unflattering appraisal of himself from an early newspaper of the program and his blunt self-assessment that he's unlikely to remain employed at Dunder Mifflin for very long after it airs, and decides it's time to pursue his acting dreams. After many fruitless calls to dismissive talent agencies, he finds himself at the dual talent agency/real estate office run by Carla Fern (Roseanne Barr). Carla agrees to represent Andy, who is thrilled that he only has to pay $5,000 for the privilege.
The office workers are forced to walk up the stairs when the elevator's power goes out, a situation everyone deems the "Stairmageddon". Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), the owner of the building, has enraged a badly out-of-shape Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) by scheduling the repairs during work hours. When Dwight insists Stanley join him on an important sales call where the client is a longtime friend of Stanley, he is rebuffed. So Dwight (who is operating without concern for niceties now that the documentary has driven home the point that he will never, ever, ever be the Branch Manager at Dunder Mifflin or likely any company in the U.S.) forthrightly shoots Stanley with three bull tranquilizers and knocks him out. With some help from Clark, Dwight is able to ship Stanley to the car and a groggy Stanley helps them actually close the sale. Stanley seems to have forgiven being drugged, and gets revenge when they return; the elevator is still out, so Stanley simply pilfers one of Dwight's darts and knocks himself out, leaving Dwight to figure out how to get Stanley back upstairs.
Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) talk with Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) and Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) about their struggling marriage and plans to go to counseling for it. Toby points out to Jim that it's not really fair to tell Pam that he needs an indeterminate amount of time before Athlead pays off for the family like he says it will, Pam vents to Nellie that Jim is always making unilateral decisions involving her (while Jim snarks to Toby that if Pam was left to make her own decisions, she'd have ended up marrying Roy) and they each agree they're not leaving Philly for Scranton or vice versa. The Halperts leave the office looking sad and awkward together.
Meanwhile, Angela Lipton (Angela Kinsey) is agreeing to be the supportive "good wife" as her State Senator husband Robert prepares for a press conference in the aftermath of the documentary's reveal of his sexuality. To Angela's horror, Robert quickly tells the press that he's gay. Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) is thrilled to hear this and nearly bursting with pride when Robert publicly praises him, but Oscar's joy is short-lived when Robert says that he is in love with his Chief of Staff, Wesley Silver. Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) is ecstatic that he did end up keeping Oscar's secret after all.
"Stairmageddon" was written by executive producer Dan Sterling, his second writing credit for the series after the ninth season entry, "The Boat". It was directed by series cinematographer Matt Sohn, his eighth directorial effort for the series, following the ninth season entry, "Suit Warehouse". Comedienne Roseanne Barr guest stars in this episode. It was announced on January 31, 2013 that she would be doing a two episode arc and would play a talent agent named Carla Fern. Barr began filming her scenes the week following January 31. Director Paul Feig also guest stars in the episode, his first time appearing on the series. He previously directed several episodes of the series, with his last entry being "Goodbye, Michael" in season seven.
"Stairmageddon" originally aired on April 11, 2013 on NBC. In its original American broadcast, the episode was viewed by an estimated 3.83 million viewers and received a 1.9 rating/5 percent share. This means that it was seen by 1.9 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 5 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked a slight increase in the ratings from the previous episode, "Promos". The Office ranked second in its timeslot, being beaten by an installment of the Fox series Glee which received a 2.4/6 rating.
"Stairmageddon" received mixed reviews from television critics, with praise going to the drama in the Jim-Pam storyline, while the zaniness of other storylines received more mixed opinions. The A.V. Club reviewer Erik Adams complimented the drama created between Jim and Pam, writing that it's "been given just the right amount of weight". Despite this, he criticized the episode for being "one of the loudest tonal clashes in the history of The Office", comparing it negatively to the previous episode, "Promos". He also noted that the other storylines in the episode seemed crammed in to the episode, particularly due to the writers' decision to flesh out the supporting cast. Adams ultimately gave the episode a C. M. Giant of Television Without Pity awarded the episode a "B".
Roth Cornet of IGN called "Stairmageddon" an "odd one" for feeling like both a standalone episode that utilized the full ensemble, but also "one of the final five episodes of this nine-year series", due to the Jim-Pam and Dwight-Angela storyline. He praised the Jim-Pam storyline for its realism and depth, but wrote that felt worried that their eventual reconciliation would fail and not feel earned, due to the few episodes left in the series. Cornet, meanwhile, praised the Dwight-Clark-Stanley storyline, writing that "the true comedy in the episode came primarily from Dwight" and called it Clark Duke's "strongest appearance to date". Cornet ultimately gave the episode a 7.8 out of 10, calling it "Good". Dan Forcella of TV Fanatic called the episode "the funniest episode on television this week", considering it to be a "gem" from the season. Forcella also praised the Jim-Pam-Dwight dynamic throughout the episode and the humor coming from Andy's storyline. He ultimately awarded the episode 5 stars out of 5.
Roseanne Barr's performance was later submitted by the producers of The Office for an "Outstanding Guest Actor in Comedy Series" Emmy consideration.
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- Adams, Erik (April 11, 2013). "“Stairmageddon” | The Office | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- Giant, M. (April 11, 2013). "The Office TV Show - Stairmageddon - The Office Recaps, The Office Reviews, The Office Episodes | TWoP". Television Without Pity. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- Cornet, Roth (April 12, 2013). "The Office: "Stairmageddon" Review". IGN. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
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