The Deposition (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Julian Farino|
|Written by||Lester Lewis|
|Original air date||November 15, 2007|
"The Deposition" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's sixty-fifth episode overall. Written by consulting producer Lester Lewis and directed by Julian Farino, the episode originally aired in the United States on November 15, 2007 on NBC. "The Deposition" was the last original episode of the show to air before the show went on hiatus due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.
Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) travel to New York City for the deposition of Jan's lawsuit against the company. While Michael originally intends to be a witness against the company, he ends up defending the company. Meanwhile, Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) talks smack to Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) after Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) beats Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) in a game of ping pong, prompting Jim to spend the entire day practicing in the conference room.
After his girlfriend Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) sues her former employer Dunder Mifflin for wrongful termination, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) finds himself forced by Jan to be a witness against his employer. Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) wants to make sure Michael will not say anything to harm Dunder Mifflin even though Michael is Jan's boyfriend. Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) comes along as the HR representative, against Michael's protests. The deposition goes well for Jan at first, as she claims that she was terminated due to discrimination over her breast augmentation. To counter evidence that she had a romantic relationship with Michael before they disclosed it to corporate, Jan submits Michael's personal diary, which she brought to the deposition without his knowledge or permission. Michael is further incensed against Jan when he learns that she gave him a scathing performance review after they had begun dating, claiming that he is unfit for his current position and should be demoted to sales. Michael learns he was never a contender when interviewing for Jan's former position at the corporate office, with the CFO insisting repeatedly that he is a nice guy, but ultimately unsuited for the position. Michael defends the company anyway, and later states that "you expect to get screwed by your company, but you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend." Jan and Michael drive home, clearly angry at each other over the events of the day.
Back at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of Dunder Mifflin, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) repeatedly loses to warehouse foreman Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) at ping pong, prompting Darryl's girlfriend Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) to gloat to Jim's girlfriend Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) over her boyfriend's superior skills. Unable to tolerate Kelly’s trash-talk, Pam builds a makeshift ping pong table in the conference room for Jim to practice against other office employees. Throughout the day, Jim practices against his coworkers, eventually discovering Dwight Schrute's (Rainn Wilson) prowess at the game. When Jim and Darryl have a rematch, Jim again loses to Darryl. Fed up with Kelly's continued taunting, Pam challenges her to a game of ping pong, but the two play poorly. Jim and Darryl quickly bore of watching them and decide to play ping pong in the conference room. The episode concludes with Dwight playing a high-intensity game of ping pong against his cousin Mose Schrute (Michael Schur), with the two at an apparent stalemate.
"The Deposition" was the first episode of The Office to be written by Lester Lewis. Lewis also worked for the show as a consulting producer. The episode was the second of the show to be directed by Julian Farino. Farino also directed the third season episode "Back from Vacation". "The Deposition" was the last original episode of The Office to air in 2007 due to the effects of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike at 12:01AM Eastern Standard Time on November 5, 2007. Filming of The Office immediately halted on that date, as Steve Carell, who is a member of the WGA, refused to cross WGA picket lines. Members of Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West voted to end the 100-day strike on February 12, 2008. Writers were allowed to return to work on the same day. The WGA allowed for show runners to return to work on February 11, in preparation for the conclusion of the strike. The show runner for The Office, Executive Producer Greg Daniels, returned on February 11, while the show's writers returned to work on February 13. The Office finally returned with original episodes on April 10, 2008, with the episode "Dinner Party".
Executive producer and show runner Greg Daniels stated that one of the main purposes of "The Deposition" was to add on to the tension building between Michael and Jan. This tension would finally end its build-up with the splitting of Michael and Jan in the episode "Dinner Party". The scene where Michael pushes Toby's lunch tray off the table was not scripted. The crew was doing one last take of the scene and actor Paul Lieberstein suggested that Steve Carell push his food off the table. The ping pong game between Dwight and Mose was made using Computer-generated imagery. Rainn Wilson and Michael Schur mimed the actions of a ping pong game, and during the stages of editing and post-production the ping pong ball was added in as an effect.
"The Deposition" received a 5.1 Nielsen rating and an 8% Share. The episode was watched by 8.86 million viewers and achieved a 4.8/11 in the key adults 18 to 49 demographic, meaning that 4.8 percent of all people 18 to 49 watched the episode, and 11 percent of all people 18 to 49 watching television at the time watched the episode.
Rick Porter of Zap2It.com praised the writing of the episode, as well as the acting of Mindy Kaling and Jenna Fischer. Porter also praised the final scene of the episode, when Jan and Michael drive home after the day. Porter stated "I don't know whether to laugh or turn away in shame from that final scene, though, as they bicker about what to eat while they're driving home. It was like watching two friends fight – fascinating and incredibly uncomfortable at the same time." Christine Fenno, of Entertainment Weekly, stated "'The Deposition' was a simmering slow cooker of corporate intrigue, flavored by Michael Scott's ridiculousness, with spicy smack talk on the side." Fenno, like Porter, also praised the acting of Jenna Fischer, saying that she "stole the low-key opening scenes". Travis Fickett, of IGN, stated that "this happens to be the best episode of the season and one of the best episodes of the series. It's almost as if the writers planned it this way – to emphasize their importance and remind us how much we'll miss them when they're gone." Fickett went on to praise the acting between Steve Carell (Michael) and Paul Lieberstein (Toby). BuddyTV Senior Writer Oscar Dahl stated that the episode was an oddity among the series, saying "The Deposition" was an atypical episode of The Office, one that basically put the character of Michael Scott on trial and humiliated him over and over again."
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