Ultimatum (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||David Rogers|
|Written by||Carrie Kemper|
|Original air date||January 20, 2011|
"Ultimatum" is the thirteenth episode of the seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 139th episodes overall. Written by Carrie Kemper and directed by David Rogers, the episode originally aired on January 20, 2011, on NBC.
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) anticipates the news regarding the status of Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) and A. J.'s (Rob Huebel) relationship, after Holly's year-end ultimatum that A. J. propose to her. To prepare for either outcome, Michael fills a "happy box" with celebration treats and a "sad box" with consolation items, as well as two videos of himself to be used to calm himself down should he get too excited or too depressed.
Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer), inspired by the cheerful office administrator from Vance Refrigeration, puts up a New Year's Resolution board in the office so everyone can post their resolutions. These include Michael resolving to floss, Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) resolving to eat more vegetables, Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) resolving to "live life like it's an art project," and Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton) resolving to do a cartwheel.
When Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) reveals his resolution is to "meet loose women", he goes out on the town along with fellow single men Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), in the hopes in meeting some women. First they try a bookstore, where Darryl begins fulfilling his own resolution to "read more" by purchasing an e-book reader, but later end up at a roller skating rink which is almost completely empty. Dwight skates off to a nearby strip club, Darryl uses his e-book reader and later lies that he was playing video games, and Andy skates around by himself to the music of Dave Matthews Band. They end by skating and dancing together underneath the rink's strobe lights.
When Michael sees no ring on Holly's finger, he is at first ecstatic, and launches into celebration in his office. When he approaches Holly to talk, however, Holly receives a phone call from A. J., during which she tells him she loves him. Michael finds out later, through Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith) and Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper), that Holly gave up on the ultimatum. Upset, Michael interrupts Pam's resolution-board meeting to chastise his employees for giving up on their resolutions, taking out his frustration on Kevin by force-feeding him broccoli as well as berating Creed for not even attempting a cartwheel. Holly sees the parallel Michael is making between these abandoned resolutions and her own abandoned ultimatum, and leaves the room abruptly, visibly upset.
Michael attempts to apologize to Holly, but she declines to talk. He has her join Kevin and Creed in his office so he can apologize to the two of them, simultaneously apologizing to Holly indirectly. Holly is later caught by the cameras telling A. J. that she wants to take a break from their relationship at least until she returns to Nashua.
Meanwhile, as the new year's resolutions get out of hand, Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery) reverts to smoking when she sees Pam's can of soda (her resolution was "drink less caffeine"), and Erin unintentionally angers Creed by doing a cartwheel in the middle of the office – Pam tosses the resolution board into a dumpster, saying she has learned her lesson.
The episode closes with Michael helping Creed learn how to do a cartwheel. After performing a partial head stand, an elated Creed declares his resolution complete.
The episode was written by Carrie Kemper, the sister of cast member Ellie Kemper, her first writing credit on the series. It was directed by David Rogers, his third directing credit; Rogers also serves as an editor for the series.
In its original American broadcast on January 20, 2011, "Ultimatum" was viewed by an estimated 8.29 million viewers and received a 4.5 rating/12% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, reaching a season-high for the demo and increasing in more than a million viewers from the previous episode. In Canada, the episode was watched by 212,000 viewers, the lowest watched program of the night.
- Gorman, Bill (January 21, 2011). "TV Ratings Thursday: NBC Comedy Night Begins Well, Idol's Thursday Start Falls, CBS Down Across the Board". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 21, 2011.