Drug Testing (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Greg Daniels|
|Written by||Jennifer Celotta|
|Original air date||April 27, 2006|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"Drug Testing" is the twentieth episode of the second season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the twenty-sixth episode overall. It was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Greg Daniels, who is also an executive producer, and the series' show runner. It first aired in the United States on April 27, 2006 on NBC. The episode guest stars Hugh Dane as Hank the security guard.
The series 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) finds pieces of a joint in the parking lot, and begins an investigation to find the owner. Michael Scott (Steve Carell), worrying that he may not pass a drug test, pressures Dwight for a cup of clean urine to pass the drug test. Failing to find the culprit and guilty over providing the urine to Michael, Dwight resigns as a volunteer sheriff. Later, Michael assigns Dwight the title of "Honorary Security Adviser".
Several of the scenes were based on the actors' real-life talents, such as Krasinski's ability to impersonate people. The episode was also the final episode of the season to be filmed, though not the last to air. "Drug Testing" was watched by 7.8 million viewers and received mostly positive reviews from critics, although one review did criticize the plot for not quite coming together.
Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) finds half of a joint in the parking lot of the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, and takes advantage of his volunteer sheriff deputy status to investigate its source with Jim saying "Dwight finding drugs is more dangerous than people using drugs." Meanwhile, when Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) say the same thing simultaneously, Pam calls "jinx", meaning that Jim cannot talk until he buys her a Coke. Unfortunately, the vending machine is sold out. When Dwight sets up urine testing, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) worries that a "clove cigarette" he smoked at a concert will show up.
Michael conducts an anti-drug meeting for the entire office in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the drug test. Jim continues to hold up his end of the jinx, even as Pam teases him. When she says "you can tell me anything", an awkward silence follows. Michael pressures Dwight for a cup of his "clean" urine, which he uses to pass the drug test. Dwight turns in his volunteer sheriff badge, feeling guilty for helping Michael. Pam buys Jim his Coke, which he buys off of her so she can find out what's been happening with Dwight the whole day. Michael feels guilty, so he makes Dwight an "Honorary Security Advisor" for Dunder Mifflin Scranton.
The episode ends with talking head interview with Jim, discussing Dwight's actions for Michael. There is a quick cut-away to a visual of Jim talking to Pam in the breakroom. He states, "I just don't get it. What does he get out of that relationship?" The camera emphasizes his own relationship with Pam, and why he went through with the jinx all day.
"Drug Testing" was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by show runner and executive producer Greg Daniels. Fischer noted that the subplot featuring Jim unable to talk was important because "Pam and Jim can say a lot to one another without any words at all", a reference to the "27 seconds of silence" the two shared in the earlier episode "Booze Cruise". Michael has a bandage around his finger in this episode because Steve Carell hurt his finger during the week and was unable to remove his wedding ring due to the swelling. Instead of cutting off his ring, the crew simply wrapped a bandage around it.
Several of the scenes were based on the actor's real-life talents as well as improvised. When Michael tells Pam to "write this down", Jenna Fischer's response to the camera was improvised. "I thought it was funny that I didn't have a pad of paper but Michael was telling me to take notes," she explained in her MySpace blog, "so I just looked to the camera and showed my lack of pen and paper." Jim's impression of Stanley in this episode was inspired by John Krasinski's actual talent of doing impressions on the set.
This was the final episode of the season to be filmed, though not the last to air. According to Jenna Fischer, everybody on the set was excited in a manner that she likened to students on the last day of school. The giddiness particularly shows in Fischer's performance: Pam skips after Jim into the break room, she bounces on her toes at the end of the "fake crying" talking head, and she taps the soda can three times to get Jim to release the jinx.
The Season Two DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include Jim doing impressions of Kevin and Angela for Pam, Dwight noting that he is so determined to find the culprit that he is prepared to pray "to Thor himself", Toby saying that he does not think Michael is taking drugs, Jim secretly doing an impression of Dwight right in front of him, Dwight talking about Jim and concluding that, "If that were my life, I'd do drugs", Pam toying with Dwight by admitting that she "was a teensy bit high... in the parking lot at the Quick and Easy", Meredith coming to Jim because Pam told her he had something to tell her. Jim is under the jinx and says nothing, Kelly putting a customer on hold when she is called by Dwight and forgetting to return, Dwight taking notes during the conference, Pam showing the camera the flyer that Michael made up for the conference, and Lee and Gino, the workers at Vance Refrigeration, discarding a joint in the parking lot.
Michael notes that he had gotten high at an Alicia Keys concert. During Michael's anti-drug meeting, he misidentifies hookah as an illegal drug; Toby points out the fact that it is merely a pipe. Dwight notes that he'll have to bring in his bō staff, a long staff weapon used in Okinawa and feudal Japan, to protect the office. Jim later notes that Dwight was dressed like a member of the disco group the Village People.
"Drug Testing" originally aired on NBC in the United States on April 26, 2006. "Drug Testing" 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 television tuned to the channel at any point. "Drug Testing" was watched by 7.8 million viewers.
"Drug Testing" was generally well received by critics. Lindsey Thomas of Rolling Stone named Dwight interrogating the workers in the Office after finding the joint in the parking lot one of the top twenty-five scenes from the show, ranking it at number fifteen. Alan Sepinwall of The Seattle Times wrote that "'Drug Testing' (in which Rainn Wilson's supercilious Dwight paraded around the office wearing a Smokey Bear hat and carrying a coffee cup filled with undrinkable liquid)" allowed the show to finally make "The Leap." Brendan Babish of DVD Verdict was pleased with the entry and awarded it an "A–". He was pleased with the episode's emphasis on Dwight and called it "a far better showcase for Dwight's many charms than 'Dwight's Speech'." M. Giant of Television Without Pity awarded the episode an "A". Not all reviews were so glowing. Michael Sciannamea of AOL TV was more critical of the episode and wrote that he "didn't think this episode was so hot", calling the premise "a good idea that didn't really take off". He also disliked Jim and Pam's subplot and called it "rather childish" and wrote that it "didn't seem to go anywhere".
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