The Convention (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Ken Whittingham|
|Written by||Gene Stupnitsky
|Original air date||September 28, 2006|
Jerome Bettis as himself
"The Convention" is the second episode of the third season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's thirtieth episode overall. Written by the writing team of Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and directed by Ken Whittingham, the episode originally aired in the United States on September 28, 2006 on NBC.
In the episode, Josh and Jim from Dunder Mifflin Stamford, as well as Michael and Dwight from Dunder Mifflin Scranton leave for Philadelphia for the annual office supply convention. Michael, angry at both Jim for leaving the Scranton branch, as well as Josh for being superior to him, tries to one-up both Jim and Josh at every opportunity. Meanwhile, Kelly sets up Pam on a double date with one of her friends which goes nowhere. Toby's interest in Pam is piqued, beginning an unrequited crush on his part.
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) from the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, Josh Porter (Charles Esten) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) from the Stamford branch, and Jan Levenson (Melora Hardin) from the corporate headquarters all descend upon Philadelphia for an office supply convention. Michael is bitter that Jim left Scranton for Stamford and tries to one-up Josh at every opportunity. Michael also spreads the word that he is throwing a party in his hotel room that night. Later in the evening, Michael surprises everyone with the news that he has broken Staples's exclusive hold on Hammermill products.
In Scranton, Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) sets up Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) on a double date with her neighbor Alan, a cartoonist for the local newspaper. Kelly is quietly disappointed that Pam intends to wear just her normal work clothes to the date. On the double date, Kelly appears to be the only one having a good time with Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak). Pam chats awkwardly with the cartoonist, who at one point sneaks a peek down Pam's shirt, and they fail to hit it off. At Michael's party, Jim attends as the only guest, and explains that he did not leave Scranton because of Michael (whom Jim claims is a great boss), but rather because Pam rejected him, twice. The two mend their friendship just as other guests arrive, and Michael promises he would take care of the situation.
"The Convention" was the fourth episode of the series written by the writing team of Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, and the third episode of the series directed by Ken Whittingham. This episode originally had a scene with Angela and Dwight in the office kitchen. Producer Greg Daniels stated: "They had a couple lines, there was a pause, and then Angela said, 'I'm late', turned around, and left." This would imply that she may be pregnant. The scene was cut because Daniels ultimately concluded, "It was a big move, but we had it in a show that had a lot of other big moves. ... You don't introduce a C plot line of an illicit office romance and then all of a sudden have one of the characters get knocked up!" Executive producer and show runner Greg Daniels had hoped to get Mackenzie Crook, Martin Freeman, and Lucy Davis from the original British Office series to appear in the episode as their respective characters (Gareth Keenan, Tim Canterbury, and Dawn Tinsley) but was unsuccessful due to scheduling conflicts.
The third season DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from the episode, including Michael unsuccessfully inviting Ryan to attend the convention, Michael reminiscing on being abandoned by Todd Packer at a club and being attacked by bouncers, Michael telling Dwight he almost worked at a local factory, Dwight asking Josh if he has ever been convicted of a felony, Dwight asking Josh about his experiences in the coast guard and in Israel, and Dwight leaving Michael to go see Angela.
"The Convention" received a 3.8/10 in the Nielsen ratings among persons aged 18–49, meaning that 3.8 percent of all people aged 18–49 watched the episode, and ten percent of all people in the age group watching TV at the time watched the episode. It received an estimated audience of 7.8 million viewers overall, and ranked #1 in its time period among men 18–34.
The episode was received generally well by critics. Brian Zoromski of IGN stated that: "Any episode that places Michael and Dwight outside of their normal office environment is set up for some very funny (and usually awkward) situations and 'The Convention' is no exception. Some of the episode's best uncomfortable moments centered on Michael believing he's the life of the party and that he's Jim's friend. Michael and Dwight pretending to laugh along to an inside joke made by Jim's new boss, Josh, is a prime example. Michael's comment, 'I love inside jokes. Love to be part of one someday,' creates the kind of uncomfortable silence that The Office excels at." Also on IGN, the show received a 9.8 out of 10 "incredible" rating from the site's editorial staff.
Abby West, of Entertainment Weekly, praised the interactions between characters as some of the highlights of the episode, stating "Jim is the show's salt — he makes everyone else seem just a little better. He's the perfect straight man to showcase Michael's insanity..." West also commented on the awkwardness of the relationship between Ryan and Kelly, stating that "Speaking of weird love connections, I'm really starting to worry about Ryan, who's now letting crazy Kelly force-feed him. What happened to him?" Mat Brewster, of BlogCritics Magazine, felt that the episode didn't live up to the status set by the previous episode "Gay Witch Hunt", stating "this week’s episode, “The Convention,” failed to live up to my expectations."
- "The Office: "The Convention"". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- Snierson, Dan (October 6, 2006). "Blurb". Entertainment Weekly.
- Johns, Anna (2006-07-11). "British cast to appear on American version of The Office". TVSquad.com. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- Daniels, Greg. "The Office: Live Blog, November 2006". NBC.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- Deleted scenes for "The Convention" (DVD). The Office: Season Three Disc 1: Universal Studios Home Entertainment. 2007.
- "October 3, 2006 Press Release ("The Convention")" (Press release). NBC. May 8, 2007. Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- Zoromski, Brian (September 29, 2006). "The Office: "The Convention" Review". IGN. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- "The Convention". IGN. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
- West, Abby (September 29, 2006). "The City of Brotherly Love". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
- Brewster, Mat (September 29, 2006). "TV Review: The Office - "The Convention"". BlogCritics Magazine. Retrieved July 20, 2008.