Oscar Martinez (The Office)
Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martínez
|Created by||Greg Daniels|
|Portrayed by||Oscar Nunez|
Oscar Jual Paul Martinez is a fictional character from the US mockumentary-style television series The Office played by Cuban actor Oscar Nunez. Martinez was one of the few openly gay characters in broadcast television at the time that the series aired. Although Núñez, who is straight, did not know his character might be gay when he first signed on, he has no issues with the character's sexuality as long as the material is funny. For the 2006–2007 season, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reported he was the only LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) person of color character on a regular series. For the 2007–2008 season he was the "only remaining gay character on a half-hour comedy program" and the only LGBT lead or supporting character who is a person of color. For the 2009–2010 season, Martinez was one of four people of color LGBT regular series characters; in 2010–2011 there were six and in 2011–2012 there were five.[note 1]
Martinez is an accountant at the Scranton, Pennsylvania, office of the paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin and gets his first name from Núñez; series producer Greg Daniels felt that "Oscar" sounded like a good accountant's name. He is a first-generation Mexican American. He is also openly gay after being outed by his then boss Michael Scott in "Gay Witch Hunt", the third-season premiere episode devoted to the outing. However, the character was implied to be gay in the second-season episode "The Secret", when Dwight catches him faking sickness to spend the day with his boyfriend (Dwight remains oblivious to this detail as he was obsessed with proving that Oscar was not ill). As a result, in earlier episodes, many co-workers erroneously attribute to him various Mexican stereotypes (e.g. being involved in drug cartels) but after his outing, his stereotypes are more focused on his being gay, particularly by Michael, which may explain their conflicted relationship. Núñez explained in an 2008 interview that the character variously feels amusement, pity and hatred towards his fictional boss. He has no specific counterpart in the original British series.
Oscar is known for being a rational, quietly efficient, and intellectual worker in the office, often the one who will ask pointed financial questions that his colleagues will not or that Michael avoids answering. Martinez refers to himself as being in the "Coalition for Reason" with Jim and Pam Halpert. According to Núñez, the three "are there to set up the comic situations" for boss Michael and Dwight Schrute, Michael's toady. He explained, "We can still be funny but we are definitely the 'straight guys'."  He is often the one who is able to clearly see the reality and logic in situations, including financial ones such as when Michael started up his own paper company or Ryan Howard's online startup business. Because of this, Oscar is considered to be a know-it-all by many of his co-workers. Oscar is frequently exasperated by the antics of his coworkers and tends to find their humor offensive. He is reserved, not really exhibiting a desire for close contact with any of his co-workers, although he is friendly when not outwardly pedantic. In an AfterElton.com interview, Núñez explained he plays the character like an accountant, who happens to be gay, and just trying to do his work and not really interested in what the documentarians are filming. Actor Núñez references the character as a Log Cabin Republican, though no mention of this has occurred in the show. In the episode "Dwight Christmas", he is in fact openly acknowledged as a Democrat. His more balanced and normal personality makes him an everyman type character, contrasting with the generally extroverted people with whom he works. He's also a charter member of the company's three-person (and exclusive) "Finer Things Club" with Pam and Toby Flenderson. He and co-worker Kevin Malone seem to have a strong friendship with each other, often a dynamic where Oscar is often the calm, rational one while Kevin is the fun-loving one.
Oscar has worked at Dunder Mifflin for over nine years in 2008. He is openly gay (after being publicly outed by Michael) and previously lived with his partner, Gil (Michael once said: "I wonder if [Gil] knows [that Oscar is gay]"). Originally, Oscar was in the closet, and Gil was believed to be his roommate. In earlier seasons, he is seen driving a Saturn Ion. This is the same Saturn that Angela can later be seen driving, such as in the episode "Niagara". However, he is seen in the third season driving a Lexus RX 400h, a company car he was lent as a result of his unwanted outing by Michael.
Though Oscar is openly gay in later episodes, in the episode "The Fire", when asked by Jim "Who would you do?", Oscar offers the answer, "Pam"; also, in "The Client", he makes an intentionally vague reference to a woman he previously dated.
In a deleted scene from "Gay Witch Hunt", Oscar explains that he in fact notified Michael of his being gay during his job interview. This caused Michael to laugh repeatedly, and he hired Oscar on the spot because he was "the funniest person that [Michael] had ever met". Oscar then hid his sexuality from his co-workers (until he was outed) for fear of losing his job.
In the episode "Diversity Day", Michael makes an example of Oscar in a diversity training seminar for his being Mexican. Michael annoys Oscar by stating the word "Mexican" might be offensive because it has "certain connotations". In "The Alliance", Oscar goes around the office asking for donations for his nephew's walkathon for cerebral palsy. In "Basketball", Oscar asks to be on Michael's team; however, Michael assumes he is good at baseball and boxing, but not basketball.
One of Oscar's favorite pastimes at work is playing a paper football game dubbed "Hateball" (because Angela hates it) with Kevin Malone whenever Michael isn't around. He keeps a two-year running total of their scores. Oscar enjoys ice skating, likes the office thermostat to be set to a chilly 66 degrees, and dressed up in drag on "Halloween". He has a conflict with Angela Martin over her poster of babies dressed as jazz musicians and claims it offends him more than "hardcore pornography." In "The Secret," Oscar calls in sick, but Dwight discovers that Oscar spent the day shopping and ice skating with his "roommate" Gil, but Dwight's naivete stops him realizing the truth about Oscar's sexuality, which is here revealed to the viewers, and again indicated in the episode "Valentine's Day", when Oscar receives a gift and unconvincingly tells Kevin it is from his mother.
In the first episode of the third season, "Gay Witch Hunt", Michael obliviously calls Oscar "faggy" for preferring the film Shakespeare in Love to Die Hard. Oscar is understandably upset and reports it to corporate. When Michael realizes Oscar is actually gay, he tries to make it up to him and embraces some gay culture. Michael calls a meeting and announces that Oscar is gay in front of the entire staff, much to Oscar's shock and dismay. In the conference room, to show no hard feelings, Michael hugs Oscar then proceeds to try to kiss him. Oscar is both disgusted and horrified by Michael's actions and proclaims it has been "the worst, most backwards day of my life."
To prevent Oscar from suing the company for anti-gay discrimination, the corporate manager, Jan Levenson, gives him a three-month paid vacation to Europe and use of a company car, a silver Lexus RX 400h, replacing his gold Saturn Ion. After going on his vacation with Gil, Oscar returns briefly in "A Benihana Christmas," but decides that it is too soon and leaves before anyone notices him. Oscar finally returns to the office in "The Return" and Michael decides to throw a Mexican themed party for him. Angela, who had acted cold towards him when he came out, apologizes and invites him to be a part of the party planning committee. He is also shown in "Business School" with his partner Gil at Pam's art show, agreeing with Gil that, although it's her first try, Pam's art lacks courage and honesty, which she overhears.
In "Beach Games", Michael announces that the winner of his Survivor-style game will get his job. In an interview, Oscar states that if Dwight gets the position, he will transfer to Albany. He also mentions that he is trying to get out of his relationship with Gil and that he "might try women for a while; Angela thinks I can cross over."
In "Fun Run", Kevin tries to use Oscar to see if Jim and Pam are dating. In a deleted scene, he says that he was raised Catholic, but now identifies as an agnostic Secular Humanist. In "Money", Oscar helps Michael deal with his financial problems by going over his current finances. Oscar does this after Michael follows through with some bad advice from Creed, who advises Michael to declare bankruptcy will give him a clean financial state. With Pam and Toby, Oscar is a founding member of the Finer Things Club, which he refers to as the "gayest thing" about him "besides having sex with men".
Besides ice skating, Oscar is revealed to have an interest in yoga. In "Weight Loss", he refers Holly to his yoga teacher whom she later dates. For Halloween, he dresses as Uncle Sam. And in Business Ethics, he comes the closest to congratulating Pam and Jim for their engagement, by commenting that he had assumed they were already engaged.
In "Business Trip", he travels to Winnipeg, Manitoba with Michael and Andy, with whom he bonds when they drink Long Island iced teas. Drunk, he questions Andy's desire to marry Angela and they drunk dial her. In the morning, Oscar has rebuilt his reserve, but does thank Andy for trying to hook him up with two men in the hotel bar the previous night; however, by "Lecture Circuit", Oscar has returned to being dismissive of Andy and refuses to listen when Andy wants advice on asking out an attractive female customer. Oscar also shows a liking for egg salad sandwiches.
In "Stress Relief", during Dwight's over-the-top attempt to teach the office employees about fire safety, Oscar and everyone else are locked in the building, while under the impression that there is a fire. Oscar then attempts to escape by climbing into the ceiling, and is at first successful. However, his legs eventually fall through. Later, during a roast held by Michael, Oscar severely roasts Michael, yelling at him in Spanish with the intent to make him cry (his comments, in English, amount to Oscar screaming that he can't believe has to drive for hours every day to work for someone like Michael) which succeeds after Oscar and the branch humiliate Michael. Oscar later regrets it and apologizes to Michael. Michael accepts the apology, but not without roasting Oscar by pointing out "You're gay", which Oscar seems to accept.
Oscar also finds himself at odds with Pam during "The Surplus" when he reveals a $4,300 budget surplus to Michael that he suggests could be used to purchase a new copier. Jim sides with him over the issue and they take Michael out to lunch to further their agenda. But Oscar finally concedes to Pam and agrees to buying new chairs like she wanted, ruining Michael's plans to keep 15% of the surplus for himself when the sides remained deadlocked past a deadline for using the entire amount.
In "Blood Drive," Oscar opens up during Michael's "Lonely Hearts Party" at the office about being rejected by a man who claimed not to be gay, but was later spotted on a date at a gay nightclub in Kansas City. Along with the staff, a sympathetic Oscar walks out with Michael after the holiday party is over, showing he can empathize with anyone.
Oscar wears sandals without socks in the office on "Casual Friday", which disgusts Angela and she objects to it. Oscar however, refuses to back down on Toby's request that he wear socks.
During the company picnic when Meredith suggests forfeiting their volleyball game against corporate, an insightful Oscar points out that they need to go through with it, saying "Corporate deserves to get its ass kicked." after upper management decides to shut down the Buffalo branch after corporate hid the news.
In the episode "Gossip", Michael spreads rumors about various people throughout the Office, he tells everyone that Oscar is the voice of the Taco Bell dog. Oscar also helps Andy cope when a rumor is spread that he is gay. In "The Meeting", Michael calls Oscar to his office to seek advice about his upcoming colonoscopy due to Michael thinking that it's going to be a lot like anal intercourse and feels Oscar would be well versed in that field, this makes Oscar visibly uncomfortable.
In "Niagara", Pam's sister mistakes Kevin as Gil, Oscar's boyfriend, which greatly offends Oscar; Kevin is in turn insulted, telling Oscar that "he would be honored to be his boyfriend". In "Mafia", Oscar's psyche begins to crumble when Jim and Pam go on their honeymoon (they help maintain the "Coalition for Reason" in the office) and Michael, Dwight, Andy and Ryan began to believe that an Italian-American insurance salesman is in the Mafia. So much so that, much to their anger, he calls them on their honeymoon in desperate need to talk to someone normal. He is further annoyed when Kevin, fearing that he [Kevin] will go to jail for committing identity theft against Jim, suggests that Oscar, being a homosexual, would "love" prison (because of the occurrence of male on male prison rape ).
In "Murder", Oscar does not take part in Michael's murder mystery game, preferring to keep working and keeping tabs on what's going on with Dunder-Mifflin in the wake of bankruptcy rumors. He hears that Corporate has ordered Accounting to stop payments to vendors and tries to interrupt the game to tell Michael, only to have Michael stay in character rather than allow the game to be disrupted. He tries to deliver the news in as someone who would inhabit the game's world but can't figure out a way to do so and just says it plainly. In Shareholder Meeting, he visits the company conference with Michael due to his annoyance at how poorly and inefficiently the company is being run, but refuses the chance to tell the board what he really thinks.
In "Secret Santa", Pam tries to play matchmaker, introducing the newly-single Oscar to the new gay warehouse worker Matt (played by Sam Daly). Oscar dismisses a nosy Pam and doesn't correct Matt when he calls him by the wrong name, Victor. Later, he acts aloof and calls Matt by the wrong name.
In a deleted scene from "Happy Hour", Michael acts surprised when he is told it was Oscar who came up with the idea to go out, not aware Oscar set up the happy hour plan so he could get to spend more time with Matt in a social setting. When Oscar asks why Michael is so surprised, Kevin responds by telling Oscar that he's anti-social and a snob; a claim which Oscar then justifies by stating he hates the Philadelphia Opera. In the aired episode, Daryl initially picks up Oscar's interest in Matt, telling Oscar "You can be gay with him--just be straight with me", and later Daryl bluntly says that Matt is a dummy and not worth Oscar's time, before he watches with bemusement as Oscar quickly runs off when Matt invites him to play an arcade basketball game.
In "Costume Contest", Oscar points out that the contest's coveted prize, a coupon catalog, only provides the thousands of dollars of savings promised if the person buys a lot of things they don't really need. He then puts on a bland "rational consumer" outfit to mock the contest, but is stunned to learn that he won (mainly because Kelly and others voted for him out of surety he'd lose, Ryan wanted to shake things up a la his support for Ralph Nader, and Creed says it was "the best Edward James Olmos costume I've ever seen".
In "China", Oscar's know-it-all tendencies come to the fore when he is wrong about a fact related to urban population centers in China—and Michael was right about it. Oscar then wants to have Michael meet him for coffee, which Jim recognizes is a way for "Mr. Actually" (Oscar) to get to have the last word and show Michael up on the facts about China. However, while Oscar does make some points Michael can't rebut, Michael still wins over a number of watching co-workers when he makes an emotional argument about the U.S. and China that Oscar isn't able to counter.
In "Classy Christmas", Oscar, who was already annoyed at Angela for constantly talking about her State Senator boyfriend, meets him and immediately says in an interview that "he's gay". Later on at the party, Ryan walks away from their group to make a drink, and the Senator clearly watches Ryan's backside as he leaves. Oscar notices this and turns the camera with a shocked expression.
In "The Seminar", Oscar and Pam help Erin when she plays a scrabble game against Gabe on her phone so that she can pick the movie she wants to watch with him (Wall-E). Before Oscar can type in the final word, Pam suggests that Erin should be the one to do it. Oscar reluctantly gives her the phone and hints that she should type the word "apoplexy". Erin ends up typing "ape", and Oscar is left frustrated.
In "PDA", Oscar strongly disapproves of Michael and Holly's public displays of affection. Later on, after the two announce that they are moving in together, Oscar comes around and tells them to kiss. The kiss causes Kevin to say, "Suck on that, Oscar", and Oscar frustratingly points out that he was the one who told them to kiss. In "Garage Sale", Oscar tries to sell a vast collection of Will and Grace memorabilia he has gathered over the years due to people mistakingly thinking he's a fan of the show. He is also part of the group that helps Michael think of a good way to propose to Holly.
In "Michael's Last Dundies", Oscar laughs at Michael's portrayal of Angela in the opening video of the award show. He tells the camera (when referring to the movie) "the analytical part of me wants to examine it, but I know it has no content". Later, he has a brief solo in the employees' a cappella version of "Seasons of Love" (with altered lyrics) that they sing to Michael (who is soon departing). In it, he sings that he forgives Michael for kissing him (which previously happened in the third season premiere episode "Gay Witch Hunt").
In "Goodbye, Michael", Michael gives Oscar a miniature scarecrow figurine that he clearly made on his own, to symbolize the "brain" that Oscar gave to Michael, just like in The Wizard of Oz. In an interview, it was clearly intended as a joke on Michael's part, but Oscar accepts it as a serious gift. Oscar listens in as Angela shows off pictures of her and her boyfriend together, shaking his head at the fact the pictures hint heavily at the boyfriend being gay but Angela continues not to see it. In the extended version of the episode, Oscar says in a talking-head interview that Michael once asked him if "gay guys squeeze each other's boobs", and gives a little laugh while citing that he will never forget that.
During "The Incentive", Andy manages to rouse the staff into doubling sales by promising to get a tattoo of their choice, on Andy's buttocks. With the rest of the staff, Oscar joins in on the bet and is witness to Andy's tattoo at the shop.
In "Garden Party", Oscar, along with other staff, listens to Andy's father verbally browbeat his son on Jim and Pam's baby monitor. With Darryl, they cheer Andy up with a barbecue. The two later confide in a talking head interview that they understand why Andy has a need to prove himself to everyone.
In "New Guys", Angela pleads with Oscar to adopt her cat, Comstock, to which Oscar refuses and insists he's a dog person. But when he learns that the cat is a favorite of her husband's, Oscar changes his mind and adopts Comstock. It's later implied that Oscar is having an affair with Robert, judging by a secretive phone call he makes to let him know of adopting Comstock. In "The Boat", the affair is confirmed after the cameras catch Oscar kissing Robert. When Oscar sees that Kevin saw them, he goes to great lengths to ensure that Kevin keeps the secret, which he does.
In "The Whale", Angela confides to Oscar that she suspects Robert is cheating on her and they follow Robert to his gym. When Angela sees Robert hugging a male trainer and then sees Oscar's reaction, she finally suspects that Oscar may be the one having an affair with Robert. In "The Target", Angela seeks revenge on Oscar and hires a hitman to attack him but is talked out of it by Dwight. Oscar allows her to kick him in the shin instead. In "Vandalism", Oscar and Angela compete uncomfortably for the affections of Robert at Angela's son's birthday party, but Oscar later suspects that Robert may have invited him only to boost Latino representation for his political campaign. Later, Oscar and Angela reconcile after he invites her to move in with him when she and Robert break up and she is evicted from her apartment.
In "Finale", one year after the airing of the documentary, Oscar is revealed to be running for Pennsylvania State Senate (it is possible, but not explicitly stated, that Robert's re-election bid failed after he was outed by the documentary, meaning Oscar may be running for Robert's old seat).
- Along with doctor Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy, and gay nurse Angel Garcia on Mercy, Martinez are Latino/a, and forensic facial reconstruction artist Angela Montenegro on Bones, is an Asian-Pacific Islander. (Where we are on TV: GLAAD’s 14th Annual Diversity Study Previews the 2009-2010 Primetime Television Season, Taj Paxton, Jonathan Rosales, Callan Koenig, Brian MacKough, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.) For the 2009-2010 season there are zero black LGBT series regular characters and one non-human, American Dad’s Roger the alien on Fox. For the 2009-2010 season, LGBT media watchdog group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reported 3 percent of all regular characters were LGBT.(Gay Characters on Network TV: 2009-10, Hanh Nguyen and Rick Porter, Los Angeles Times, ) An increase from 2.6 percent in the 2008-2009 season and 1.1 percent in the 2007-2008 season.(Gay Characters on Network TV: 2009-10, Hanh Nguyen and Rick Porter, Los Angeles Times, ) For the 2010-2011 season there were six LGBT people of color characters.(Where we are on TV: GLAAD’s Annual Diversity Study Previews the 2010-2011 Primetime Television Season, Taj Paxton, Matthew Kane, Lauren Mattia, Rob Avruch, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.) For the 2011-2012 season there were five LGBT people of color characters.(Where we are on TV: GLAAD’s Annual Diversity Study Previews the 2011-2012 Primetime Television Season, September 2011, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.)
- "The Alliance"
- The Lover
- Comedian Oscar Núñez has 9-to-5 fun at 'The Office', LEE HERNÁNDEZ, New York Daily News, April 21, 2008. 
- Gay Characters on Network TV: 2009-10, Hanh Nguyen and Rick Porter, Los Angeles Times, 
- "From The Office to the Soapbox", Neal Broverman, The Advocate, March 12, 2009 . 
- Where we are on TV: GLAAD’s 11th Annual Diversity Study Previews the 2006-2007 Primetime Television Season. August 2006, Mónica Taher, GLAAD's People of Color (POC) Media Director, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 
- GLAAD’s 12th Annual Diversity Study Examines 2007-2008 Primetime Television Season, Damon Romine, Sarah Holbert, Matt Kane, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 
- Where we are on TV: GLAAD’s 14th Annual Diversity Study Previews the 2009-2010 Primetime Television Season, Taj Paxton, Jonathan Rosales, Callan Koenig, Brian McGough, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
- Our Interview with Oscar from "The Office", Leah Weathersby, August 06, 2009, Armchair Commentary. 
- Interview With Oscar Núñez, by Craig Young, October 4, 2006, AfterElton.com. 
- "Oscar Nuñez Discusses His Character From 'The Office'", March 10, 2009, Mike Ryan, Star Pulse. 
- Oscar Núñez, 'The Proposal', June 18, 2009, Michael Ordona, Los Angeles Times, 
- Toby Flenderson was formerly a member, but Oscar states that Toby checked out mentally, and Toby seems to agree with him when asked about it, and as can be seen in the episode "Mafia", where Oscar is the only one to see that an Italian American insurance agent is simply an insurance agent.
- Oscar performance: He's a straight stripper or a strait-laced gay -- and he loves playing both, Bruce Kirkland, Toronto Sun, October 12, 2009, 
- A Chat with Oscar Núñez of the "The Office" on his character Oscar Martinez, Will Harris, November 12, 2008. Bullz Eye. 
- Why I Love Scranton: Emmy winner Oscar Núñez still digs his daily "commute" from his home in Los Angeles to The Office in Scranton, Pa. Michael Hammett, Arrive, July/August 2009. 
- Frederick Luis Aldama Latinos and Narrative Media: Participation and Portrayal 2013 1137361786- Page 16 "There is the Latino accountant, Óscar Martínez, on NBC's The Office (2005–2012), who is outted by his boss, Michael."
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Season 3
- "Money", Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6