The Chump

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"The Chump"
The Office episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 25
Directed by Randall Einhorn
Written by Aaron Shure
Production code 625
Original air date May 13, 2010
Guest actors

Amy Pietz as Donna
Zach Woods as Gabe Lewis

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Cover-Up"
Next →
"Whistleblower"
List of The Office (U.S.) episodes

"The Chump" is the 25th episode of the sixth season of the U.S. comedy series The Office and the show's 125th episode overall. It aired on May 13, 2010 on NBC.

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, Michael is surprisingly cheerful after learning some bad news about Donna. The new parents, Pam and Jim, have trouble staying awake in the office. Meanwhile, Angela takes matters into her own hands when Dwight refuses to honor their pre-natal contract.[1]

It was written by Aaron Shure and was directed by Randall Einhorn.[2] The episode has received mixed reviews from critics and was viewed by 6.604 million viewers.

Plot[edit]

The entire office is bracing for the fallout of Michael learning about his girlfriend Donna's (Amy Pietz) infidelity, but surprisingly, Michael is reacting much differently than usual. The office soon realizes that Michael is secretly still seeing Donna, knowing full well that she is cheating on her husband with him. Michael defends his actions by pointing fingers at Stanley and Phyllis for their own affairs (he clarifies that Phyllis, who has never cheated on her husband Bob Vance, is "cheating on her diet"), and even takes a cheap jab at Andy for being too dumb to realize he was being cheated on. Andy, having been in the situation of the cuckold when Angela was cheating on him with Dwight, decides to step up and make Michael confront his girlfriend's husband. They both go visit him while he's coaching a high school baseball team, and Andy manages to get the two of them to talk. This does little to sway Michael from breaking things off.

Meanwhile, Dwight and Angela are working out the fallout of the baby contract they had signed a few months earlier. Instead of going to court, they have asked a mediator to sort out the issues. After pushing through the contract line for line, the mediator determines that the otherwise 'solid' contract is ultimately unenforceable, since you can't force two people to have sex and make a baby. Instead, Angela could sue Dwight for damages up to thirty thousand dollars for breach of contract. Knowing that Dwight would never want to pay her damages, she offers him a 'settlement'; five separate sessions of intercourse instead. He accepts, gloating that thirty thousand dollars for sex was "not a bad stud fee; better than most horses." Later, Dwight is seen carrying out various methods to try to sterilize himself before the first 'session', such as holding his crotch near a running microwave, dropping books on it, and beating it with drumsticks.

Pam and Jim are both exhausted from the long nights with the new baby, and their work is being adversely affected. Gabe catches them both sleeping at their desks and talks to them privately about it. He tries to ask them what they would do about the rumors of printers catching fire, but they both nearly fall asleep listening to him. Darryl catches them debating on how to get enough energy to make it through the day, and lets them in on a secret sleeping place in the warehouse they can use. Unfortunately for them, this secret location is within earshot of Dwight and Angela's "warehouse meeting" place, where Angela complains about the damage to Dwight's testicles.

After returning from the baseball game, Michael shows no sincere change in attitude towards cheating with Donna, despite talking face to face with her pleasant husband (after which Ryan tries the same attitude and goes over to Erin's desk and says he thinks she's attractive and wants to sleep with her, but can't hold through and says it's a joke). The rest of the office turns cold towards him. No one, not even Meredith or Creed, agrees with what Michael is doing, and when he tries to defend his position in front of everyone, they snap back. He leaves to secretly meet Donna at a motel for sex, but on the way there has his change of heart and breaks up with her via text message instead. He consoles himself, alone, with his favorite ice cream after returning heartbroken.

At the end of the episode, Michael is ambushed by WBRE-TV reporters asking about the rumors of Sabre printers catching fire.

Production[edit]

It was written by Aaron Shure, his second writing credit of the season after "The Meeting." It was directed by Randall Einhorn, his fourth episode of the season and twelfth in the series overall.[2] After the episode aired NBC posted three deleted scenes on its website.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

When Michael is confronted from his employees about continuing his relationship with Donna even after he knows she's married, he declares a "moment of silence" in honor of Michael Jackson to shut them up. Creed says his favorite movie starring James McAvoy was Wanted.[4] When Andy and Michael have a conversation of Michael's affair they reference the 2009 film, Obsessed (which was about an affair) with Andy calling himself Beyoncé and Michael is Ali Larter (the movie also starred Idris Elba, who had appeared in a few episodes of "The Office".[4] When Michael's co-workers disagree with his affair with Donna, Stanley speaks out against the affair. Michael in return calls Stanley, "Morgan Freeman narrating everything."[4] When Michael asserts that he is going to eat anything he wants, when he wants, Kevin replies, "That's a dangerous game, Friendo," probably alluding to the movie No Country For Old Men.

The characters on the show make reference to a fictional video game title, Rock Band: Billy Joel, to which Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly said "let’s hope never actually exists ever".[4] Billy Joel, in response, sought to authorize the use of his songs with the actual Rock Band series as a means to snub Franich's comment.[5]

Reception[edit]

In its original American broadcast, "The Chump" was viewed by 6.60 million viewers with a 3.4 rating/10% share in the 18-49 demographic going down 3% from "The Cover-Up".[6] The episode came second in its timeslot after Grey's Anatomy.[7] The episode ranked 17th in the weekly 18-49 ratings.[8]

Cindy White of IGN gave the episode a 7.5 saying it was "Good" and "The show is at its best when it mixes the business aspects of the office setting with the character's personal lives. Too much focus on one or the other can be a drag, and this episode suffered a bit for it."[9] Joel Keller of TV Squad said that Michael's character was too inconsistent throughout the episode.[10] Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ and wrote that the episode was too unrealistic like previous episodes. Rabin said Michael was too much of a jerk although he noted that "if the episode came up short in the likability and realism department it was nevertheless funny and full of great little character moments, like the dreamy, faraway look Darryl gets while describing the warehouse employee’s secret napping spot or Ryan’s response to Michael's new gung-ho, take-charge personality."[11] Alan Sepinwall gave the episode a negative review, stating that the opening scene (where Michael was his usual nasty self towards Toby Flenderson and the rest of the office mostly supported Michael behaving that way) wasn't plausible, Michael's behavior as a cuckold wasn't enjoyable, and the Angela-Dwight "procreation contract" story was ridiculous.

Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly loved the fact that Pam Beesly had been featured more on the show. He remarked on the ending that "Coming at the end of a mostly light episode, that was a heavy line. Nice payoff, Office."[4] Neil Turitz of TV Guide remarked "One of the funnier episodes of late, especially the montage of Dwight continually causing himself great pain in the crotch area. Low humor, perhaps, but still funny."[12] Will Leitch of New York said "All in all, this penultimate episode took care of Michael, Dwight, and every other lingering thread from a meandering season except for the big one, in a very funny last-scene reveal."[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]