Chair Model

"Chair Model"
The Office episode
Michael and Dwight in the graveyard
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 14
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz
Written by B. J. Novak
Production code 414
Original air date April 17, 2008[1]
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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"Dinner Party"
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"Night Out"
List of The Office (U.S. TV series) episodes

"Chair Model" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's sixty-seventh episode overall. Written by B. J. Novak, and directed by Jeffrey Blitz, the episode first aired in the United States on April 17, 2008 on NBC.[1]

In the episode, Michael finds himself lonely and wanting a relationship after breaking up with Jan. While looking through a catalog, he falls in love with a chair model. Meanwhile, Kevin and Andy fight to reclaim lost parking spaces, and Jim tells Pam that he's going to propose.



While browsing an office chair catalog, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), who has broken up with Jan Levenson, becomes enamored of one of the female chair models. As a result, he decides to resume dating with the help of the office employees, even going so far as threatening to fire them if they don't help. No one in the office wants to set up any of their friends with Michael, but when Michael learns that the chair model had died in a car crash some time ago, Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) takes pity and sets him up on a blind date with her landlady (Brooke Dillman). Unfortunately, the date doesn't go well, beginning with Michael pretending he isn't who she was supposed to be meeting. After Michael admits his own blind date was a failure, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) convinces him that he needs closure on this person he loved who is gone. The two end up in a cemetery at the grave of the chair model where Michael "grieves".

With Michael busy, Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) work to reclaim parking spaces that they have lost due to construction. They arrange a meeting with the bosses of the office park, and are given the parking spots back. The spaces are retrieved, Kevin feels happy to have won one, as his fiancee Stacy broke off their engagement and it's been a hard time for him.

Jim pretending to propose to Pam

While flirting, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) reveals he is ready to propose to Pam, even going as far as telling her that he is not going to do it at work ("because that would be lame") and when he does it, it will "kick her ass", and Pam isn't sure if he's joking. Alone with the camera, Jim reveals that he wasn't joking and shows an engagement ring that he bought "the week after [they] started dating." At the end of the show, while walking back to his car, he stops and gets down on one knee. When Pam stops and looks he says he has a question to ask her. After a second or so of hesitation, he asks her if she will wait while he ties his shoes. She laughs and they continue walking hand in hand. At the end of the episode, Michael and Dwight are seen singing "American Pie" and dancing in the same cemetery at night, presumably having never left.


"Chair Model" was the third episode of the series directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Blitz had previously directed "The Convict" and "The Negotiation". The episode was written by B. J. Novak, who plays temporary worker turned corporate manager Ryan Howard.[2] Novak was originally going to name the episode "Michael Dating", but the title could have potentially been a spoiler because fans with DVRs would have seen it before "Dinner Party" aired and deduced that Michael and Jan's relationship melted down. For a while, "Parking" was going to be the title, but even that was decided against because that refers to the subplot, and also because it was generic and boring even by the show's no-frills-titles standard. Eventually, someone suggested "Chair Model", which was eventually kept as the name.[3] Originally, Novak wrote Jim putting Dwight through a "phony management training", but NBC pointed out that it felt like the writers had done it before even though they hadn't. As a group, the writers tried to think of a new idea for the plot, they considered having Pam move in with Jim, but they thought that first the two should be engaged.[4]

There was an auditioning process for both the chair model and the young blond woman that Michael sees in the coffee shop. According to writer B. J. Novak, the chair model was supposed to be "pretty" and "perhaps even prettier than your average model", but more of just an "average single girl", because the episode is more about Michael wanting to start dating again than the model herself.[3] In the scene with the "Five Families", one of the actors, Paul Faust was the only first-time actor. Faust is the cousin of writer Paul Lieberstein, and had been on a tour of the set and talked to many of the writers. He made a good impression and so the character of "Cool Guy Paul" was based on him. The day before they were scheduled to shoot, the show still hadn't cast anyone for the role, so they called Paul in New York City and had him read the lines into a camera and e-mail to them. In less than an hour, Faust had landed the part and was flying out to Los Angeles.[3]

Although B. J. Novak wrote the majority of the episode, Jennifer Celotta and Paul Lieberstein were actually the ones that came up with the graveyard scene in the end. The original song for Michael to sing was going to be a parody of "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John. Elton John however, refused to give The Office permission to use the song, because 30 Rock had requested permission for a parody of Candle in the Wind that offended Elton John, and he didn't want to have his song parodied again. So then, the writers wrote parodies of "Legs" by ZZ Top and "Ruby Tuesday" by The Rolling Stones, but eventually "American Pie" by Don McLean cleared, so the writers went with that.[4] This episode was one of the submissions for the emmys along with "Local Ad," "Dinner Party," "Did I Stutter?" and "Goodbye, Toby."


"Chair Model" received 5.8/9 in the ages 18–49 demographic in the Nielsen ratings. This means that 5.8 percent of all households with an 18 to 49 year old living in it watched the episode, and nine percent had their televisions tuned to the channel at any point. The episode was watched by 9.86 million viewers.[5]

"Chair Model" was generally well-received by critics. BuddyTV Senior Writer Oscar Dahl wrote that "The Office is sharp as ever" and Jim saying he was going to propose was "a big time moment in the Jim/Pam story". Dahl also praised the parking lot storyline, saying "what started as merely a joke (Kevin was dumped), became a feel-good moment."[6] IGN's Travis Fickett said that Michael falling in love with the chair model was "a hysterical turn and highlights just how deluded Michael – and Dwight – can be". Fickett was critical of the "parking" storyline, saying that it was "a bit over the top and runs a bit thin", but he did think that the scene at the end with Kevin was "a sweet and genuine moment".[7] Aubry D'Arminio of Entertainment Weekly stated that, in relation to the previous episode "Dinner Party", "Last night's show took another approach. Don't get me wrong. It was a blinder — but a totally different animal, so to speak." D'Arminio went on to praise the dual plots of the episode.[8]


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