|The Office character|
Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin-Vance
|Created by||Greg Daniels|
|Portrayed by||Phyllis Smith|
|Family||Elbert Lapin (father)
Unnamed four sisters
|Spouse(s)||Bob Vance (husband)|
Phyllis Margaret Vance (née Lapin) is a fictional character on the U.S. comedy television series, The Office. She is portrayed by Phyllis Smith, and has no specific counterpart in the British version of the series, instead being an amalgamation of several different office workers.
Phyllis Lapin is a sales representative at fictitious paper distributor Dunder Mifflin. She is a quiet but friendly type who loves "girl talk" and gossip. Though she has a sweet, motherly exterior, she can sometimes be very vindictive, often to Angela Martin and Pam Halpert. She is often insulted and embarrassed by branch manager Michael Scott, who frequently describes her as non-feminine and old, despite having been classmates with her in high school.
She was also apparently very promiscuous in high school, which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. The baby was given up for adoption, and was first mentioned in the season seven episode "Goodbye, Michael". Where Michael said he knew a secret about Phyllis, but apparently did not know about the baby. The baby was implied to be a girl because Erin Hannon later approached Phyllis to take a maternity test since she was born in the same year and area as her child, but the test came back negative.
She is married to Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration; she affectionately refers to him as "Bobby", but frequently uses his full name, "Bob Vance" while talking to others. In the Season 7 finale, Phyllis reveals that she got Bob to notice her by waiting in his office every morning wearing nothing but kitty-cat ears for two weeks, and on the tenth day, he was naked too, except for a dog nose.
Phyllis serves on the Party Planning Committee where she often butts heads with hypercritical Angela Martin, whom Phyllis told to her face that she does not like. She suffered from scoliosis as a child and went on to play high school basketball. She is Lutheran (Fun Run). It is implied she suffers from depression. In "Michael's Last Dundies" it is revealed she has diabetes.
Phyllis volunteered to be on the basketball team but Michael said no. When she suggested being a cheerleader instead, Michael placed her as an alternate player.
She is the winner of the "Busiest Beaver" award at the 8th Annual Dundie Awards, although due to an error her statue reads "Bushiest Beaver". Phyllis admits that if she could sleep with one person in the office, it would be Jim Halpert. Phyllis also shocks the room during a "sexual harassment" seminar, by asking if one-night stands are included in a rule requiring reporting office romances to human resources. Phyllis won a gold medal in the invented "Flonkerton" event at the Office Olympics. She gives Michael a homemade oven mitt for Secret Santa which Michael hates, prompting him to start a game of Yankee Swap to get rid of it. Boyfriend Bob Vance comes to the Christmas party and sends her several large bouquets of flowers and a giant teddy bear on Valentine's Day.
In "Gay Witch Hunt", Phyllis tells the office that everyone thought Michael was gay in high school. She also announces to everyone that she is getting married to Bob Vance. Karen accidentally offends her by saying the perfume Bob gave her smelled like a funeral home (something Stanley had thought for years) and not knowing who Bob Vance is. When the party planning committee splits up, she stays with Angela at the less popular party but they ultimately join the other one. Angela is also seen openly insulting Phyllis by stating that orange was a more "whorish" color than green when Phyllis was wearing an orange sweater (a running insult that includes another Phyllis' clothing color=whoring jab from Angela and Ms. Martin's pointed comments about Phyllis wearing a pristine white dress at her wedding).
Belying her subdued nature, Phyllis is a shrewd saleswoman. In "Traveling Salesmen", Phyllis strategically gives Karen and herself a beauty makeover to mimic the appearance of a client's wife. She also tells Karen that Jim was in love with Pam for a long time, but is glad that Karen is dating him, but doesn't notice that the Jim-Pam information is not good news to Karen. Phyllis marries long-time boyfriend Bob Vance, whom she often refers to as "Bobby." She reluctantly puts Michael in charge of rolling her wheelchair-using father down the aisle, in hopes that giving him a job in the ceremony will allow her a six-week honeymoon vacation. She also takes most of Pam's ideas originally to be used for her own wedding (down to using the same invitation, featuring the same "P & R" heading—only standing for "Phyllis and Robert" rather than "Pam and Roy"), making Pam feel as if she has been invited to her own wedding. At the wedding, Michael reveals that Phyllis's nickname in high school was "Easy Rider". In a deleted scene from "Business School", it is revealed that Phyllis is currently on her honeymoon and will not be back for six weeks, which Stanley is ecstatic about. Phyllis returns from her honeymoon in "The Negotiation".
It's also revealed in this season that Phyllis has a small crush on Jim. In a deleted scene in Traveling Salesmen, she tells Karen that Jim "is so hot", and goes on ask Karen if he wears boxers or briefs. Also, in a deleted scene in Beach Games, she calls Jim "eye candy", comparing his looks to that of George Clooney (which may be a reference to the film Leatherheads which was being filmed at the time and featured John Krasinski, who plays Jim, and George Clooney).
In a deleted scene from "Fun Run," Phyllis is shown teaming up with husband Bob Vance (who is wearing a Vance Refrigeration T-shirt while the other racers wear Dunder Mifflin T-shirts) to pull ahead of Michael in the race. When they are unable to do it together, Phyllis encourages Bob to take care of it himself, screaming, "Go get him, Bobby! Sic him! Sic him!"
In "Dunder Mifflin Infinity", after hearing Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly are dating, she passive-aggressively reminds Pam she can not give Jim any special treatment on sales leads just because he's "who you're sleeping with that week."
In "Launch Party", Phyllis googles ways to handle difficult people, namely Angela. When Angela points out to Phyllis that she made a spelling mistake in the sign "Lunch Party" and bought the wrong plastic utensils, Phyllis attempts to calmly reason with her, which only infuriates Angela to insult Phyllis further. Later on, Phyllis confronts her with numerous Post-It notes stuck on to her fingertips containing Angela's demands, claiming she can only fulfill one, not all of them. When Angela insults her again, Phyllis crumples all the notes into one ball and throws it at Angela's face. Afterwards, Phyllis says proudly, "That seemed to shut her up."
In "Local Ad", Michael sends her to the Steamtown Mall to try and recruit famous author "Sue Grafton" for his planned Dunder Mifflin TV ad, but Phyllis comes back sobbing in dismay because her failed attempt to talk to Grafton led to security guards throwing her out of the mall.
In "Survivor Man", Phyllis gleefully notes that Michael was not invited to Ryan's corporate wilderness retreat while Toby was. Later on, when Jim is making stupid suggestions for the office birthday parties and finally demands a meeting on the subject, Phyllis mistakenly calls him "Michael" and Jim is horrified.
In "Goodbye, Toby" (the season finale), Phyllis takes over the Party Planning committee from Angela in order to organize Toby's farewell party to Michael's specifications. In the final scene of the episode, Phyllis comes back inside the office following the party and catches Angela and ex-boyfriend Dwight Schrute having sex on one of the desks, despite the fact that Angela's boyfriend and co-worker Andy Bernard proposed to her at the party and she accepted. This made Phyllis the fourth person made aware of the intimate relationship between Dwight and Angela, after Pam, Jim and Ryan found out along the way.
In the fifth season premiere, "Weight Loss," it is revealed that Phyllis has parlayed her secret knowledge of Dwight and Angela's renewed affair into the head spot on party-planning committee, which allows a role reversal in the group's meetings; Phyllis is shown calling the shots about party details, to which Angela quietly, if grudgingly, acquiesces.
In "Baby Shower" Phyllis gloats further about gaining the party-planning spot, and specifically about having Angela at her mercy. Michael, however, interrupts her interview with the documentary crew and orders her to "make the party" for Jan Levenson, haranguing her to blow up balloons faster.
In "Crime Aid", Phyllis attempts to counsel Dwight on reuniting with Angela, suggesting he give her an ultimatum to break up with Andy. When Angela rejects Dwight and Phyllis says that it is over, Dwight tries desperately to sway Phyllis's view. He even lets the air out of the tires on her Chevy Malibu to get her out of the auction. He reacts rudely to Phyllis's rejection of his plans, but he later apologizes (in his unique way), realizing she was trying to help, by bidding on Phyllis' hug which she offered in the Auction (her husband Bob Vance pays $1000 for the hug).
In "Moroccan Christmas", Phyllis organizes an elaborate Christmas party featuring a hookah, sitar, hummus, and other trappings. She continues to get revenge on Angela, and takes delight in forcing Angela to lug the Christmas tree in and out of the building as well as allowing only the camel, elephant, and Arab King of her nativity scene to be displayed. Phyllis says that it's not really blackmail because that would involve an official letter. When Angela pathetically asks for some mercy from Phyllis, Phyllis accurately says Angela never showed her any mercy in the past. Angela later tells Phyllis to shut up and says Phyllis won't out her and Dwight because that would cost her the PPC leadership, but Phyllis makes good on her promise to reveal Angela and Dwight's affair to the entire office (except Andy, Meredith, and Michael who were absent). Phyllis' joy over seeing Angela's hypocrisy exposed is visibly tempered by her sadness when clueless Andy sings the office a jubilant holiday song.
In Lecture Circuit it is revealed that the fights between her and Angela have caused Michael to reform the Party Planning Committee, putting Dwight and Jim in charge. In New Boss a bitter Phyllis sabotages the new PPC, telling Charles Miner that they spend "hours" planning parties, leading to Charles dissolving the committee.
In "Blood Drive", Phyllis and Bob invited Jim and Pam to a couples' dinner on Valentine's Day. She and Bob end up having sex in the handicapped restroom, to the extreme discomfort of Jim and Pam when they find out.
In "Casual Friday," the surprisingly-unkind and heartfelt parts of Phyllis' personality are on display when Michael, Pam and Ryan return to the office in the Michael Scott Paper Company aftermath. Phyllis is cold to Pam because Pam bad-mouthed Dunder Mifflin while making MSPC sales calls, and when Pam is shocked Phyllis hisses "Close your mouth, sweetie. You look like a trout." But later, when Phyllis has joined Dwight's protest over Michael's plan to take some clients from the sales staff and give them to Pam and Ryan, Michael's anger towards his past-former-current co-workers is blunted when Phyllis tells him with anguish that he went after them and hurt them in his fight with Corporate. Michael then compromises by giving Pam a sales job, while Ryan returns to temp work.
In "Cafe Disco", Phyllis gets caught in the moment while dancing with Michael and ends up throwing her back out. When Dwight is put in charge of recovering her, she somewhat randomly reveals to him that she has a suspicion that her husband, Bob Vance, is cheating on her with his secretary. She immediately laughs it off, though, saying it sounds silly when said aloud, and it is no longer spoken of in the season. Phyllis and Bob both attend Jim and Pam's wedding in Niagara Falls.
In "Secret Santa", Phyllis is delighted and emotional to finally achieve her goal of being Santa Claus at the office's annual Christmas Party, much to Michael's chagrin.
In "New Leads", she is very rude to Angela (telling her former adversary that she's too busy to answer Angela's e-mails or walk over to her desk) and Michael (telling him "Hand them over, numb nuts" when the Sabre-procured top sales leads arrive), and pays the price for her behavior when Michael then gives Phyllis' leads to Angela, and Angela coldly tells Phyllis that she'll only get the leads if she fills out meaningless paperwork for Angela to shred. Later on when Jim is trying to get the sales staff to fix the bad office atmosphere, Phyllis says that the company's changed, non-sales staff who can't deal with it should leave, and they can always outsource that work to India. She does, however, agree to Jim's plan to give some bonus money to the rest of the office in order to restore peace (a plan rendered unnecessary when the staffers think that a plate of cookies IS the peace offering, leading the salespeople to keep the unspoken revenue-sharing plan forever silent).
In "Happy Hour", Phyllis displays a somewhat morbid nature when she reveals to the camera that she likes to go to bars wearing low-cut dresses so that men will hit on her and Bob Vance will then beat them up. This considerably cruel behavior is touched upon again in "Whistleblower", when Phyllis hides Andy's carry-on bag in the ceiling and coldly tells him "You deserve it" in retaliation for him being the titular leak on the printer-fires matter.
In "Nepotism", Phyllis (along with her co-workers) becomes irritated with the new office assistant Luke, as he neglected to send out packages from the office, and instead kept them in his car. She also participates with Andy in reenacting the spanking scene.
In "Counseling", Dwight hires a day laborer to get rid of a hornet's nest that the office has been complaining about. Phyllis reveals that a hornet stung her up her dress, but Dwight's response is "poor hornet". Later, she says in an interview that she's glad Michael's getting counseling, because "he has a lot of issues and he's stupid".
In "Andy's Play", she attends a local production of Sweeney Todd (which Andy is performing in). She tells Michael that she likes how he brought balloons, comparing them to the Pixar movie Up. After the play, she tells Andy he was great. In a deleted scene, when she finds out that her husband Bob is getting along well with Stanley's girlfriend Cynthia, she tells the camera in an interview she was worried that they would not hit it off because Bob has strong moral convictions and Cynthia is a "home-wrecking slut".
In "Viewing Party", when Andy gets sick, he later admits his jealousy over Erin Hannon to Phyllis, who decides to help Andy by casually talking to Erin about her relationship with Gabe Lewis. Phyllis attempts this by describing the first time she and her husband Bob had sex. She says that they just stared at each other for hours before finally falling asleep. Erin gets uncomfortable and walks away.
In "Ultimatum", Phyllis's New Year's resolution is she wants to learn yoga with her husband.
In "The Seminar", Phyllis is one of Andy's speakers at his seminar on starting a small business, but she pulls out along with his other speakers Dwight and Stanley. Later, Dwight informs her that he talked to one of the attendees, a man who owns a golf supply business, and that this could actually be a good opportunity for the sales team. Thus she, Dwight and Stanley try to rejoin Andy, who refuses at Darryl's prompting.
Phyllis plays a Bride in Michael's movie "Threat Level Midnight".
In "Garage Sale", Phyllis is at the warehouse garage sale selling some of her mother's old things. Phyllis gives Holly (whose parents are slowly losing their minds) the advice that if you wait for the day when your parent tells you that they can't take care of themselves, that'll never happen. She then tries to sell Holly a box of bras. Ryan also uses her picture on the labels of his mom's homemade pesto sauce, as she had that "mom-look" he wanted.
In "Michael's Last Dundies", at the Dundies, there is an opening video in which Michael plays various employees around the office, and he plays Phyllis as being an old, enfeebled woman (who even falls and can't get up). Later, after Stanley wins the diabetes award, she tells the camera she has the disease as well, but that she does not "make a big deal about it". She also participates in serenading the soon-to-depart Michael with an a capella version of "Seasons of Love" with altered lyrics.
In "Goodbye, Michael", Phyllis is in the reformed party planning committee (composed of other previous heads Pam and Angela, as well as a problematic Meredith), which is trying to plan a big party involving all of Michael's favorite things for the next day. During the episode, when she is not planning, Phyllis is in the process of knitting Michael a pair a mittens (that can't get wet, cannot be dry cleaned, have to be hand-washed without water, wrung dry gently, and dried with a hair dryer on cool), as his going-away present. Since he is leaving for Colorado later that day instead of tomorrow like he claimed, he pressures her to finish them up (even though her knuckles begin to swell from her arthritis). Later, he takes the mittens even though they're not finished, and sincerely tells her he loves them.
In "Search Committee", she reveals to the camera that she had a child in high school that was put up for adoption. It was thought that this might be Erin, who was born around this time and placed in foster care. Ultimately Phyllis learns that Erin is not her daughter, but after seeing Andy reject Erin, decides to tell her another day.
In "Lice", Phyllis teams up with Nellie and Kevin to convince Darryl's girlfriend Val not to break up with him, even though that was what he wanted all along, which causes Darryl to be annoyed at them.
In "The Target", Phyllis and Stanley agree to cover Jim's duties while he spends part of each week working in Philadelphia. They do so only after Jim takes them out to an expensive lunch where Phyllis gets drunk.
In "The Farm", Phyllis is one of the office staff members who suffers from having eaten Todd Packer's drug-laden cupcakes.
Phyllis, after locating her long lost daughter, moved with Bob to St. Louis to have a relationship with her. She now works at a yarn store and gives knitting lessons.
- NBC Universal (2007). "About The Office". NBC.com. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
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