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"The List" is the eighth season premiere of the American
comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic la ...

comedy
television series A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
''
The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are often ...
'', and the show's 153rd episode overall. The episode originally aired on
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
in the United States on September 22, 2011. It was written and directed by executive producer
B. J. Novak
B. J. Novak
. The series— presented as if it were a real documentary—depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the
Scranton, Pennsylvania Scranton is the sixth-largest city in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the county seat and largest city of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County in Northeastern Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley. With a population of 76,328 as of th ...

Scranton, Pennsylvania
, branch of the fictional
Dunder Mifflin Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc. is a fictional paper and office supply sales company featured in the American television series ''The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''docum ...
Paper Company. In the episode, new CEO
Robert California Robert California, also known as Bob Kazamakis, is a fictional character on the U.S. comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be h ...
(
James Spader James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor and producer. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape'' is a 1989 American Independent film, indepen ...
) writes a mysterious list that has a line down the middle and every member of the office on either one side or the other. The office members frantically try to figure out what it means, causing a crisis for new manager Andy Bernard. "The List" was the first episode of ''The Office'' to feature James Spader's Robert California in a starring role. The episode received moderately positive reviews with many commenting that it proved the series could survive without Carell. According to
Nielsen Media Research Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is an American firm A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as r ...
, "The List" drew an estimated 7.63 million viewers and received a 3.9 rating/10% share in the 18–49 demographic, making it, at the time, the lowest-rated season premiere since the first-season premiere.


Synopsis

Jim Halpert James "Jimothy" Halpert is a fictional character in the U.S. version of the television sitcom ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'', portrayed by John Krasinski. The character is also named after a childhood friend of executive producer ...
(
John Krasinski John Burke Krasinski (; born October 20, 1979) is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He has had four Primetime Emmy Award nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He was named by ''Time (magazine), Time'' magazine as ...

John Krasinski
) explains to the camera that
Robert California Robert California, also known as Bob Kazamakis, is a fictional character on the U.S. comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be h ...
(
James Spader James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor and producer. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape'' is a 1989 American Independent film, indepen ...
) was appointed Regional Manager of the Scranton Branch, but on his first day traveled to Florida and convinced
Jo Bennett ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' is an Television in the United States, American television series based on The Office (British TV series), the British television comedy of the same name. The format of the series is a parody of the ...
to give him her position as CEO of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre. Robert then appointed
Andy Bernard Andrew Baines Bernard (born Walter Baines Bernard Jr., 1973) is a character from the NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and te ...
(
Ed Helms Edward Parker Helms (born January 24, 1974) is an American actor, comedian, singer, and musician. He has played paper salesman Andy Bernard Andrew Baines Bernard (born Walter Baines Bernard Jr., 1973) is a character from the NBC The Na ...

Ed Helms
) as Scranton Regional Manager in his place. Andy makes it his goal for the office to receive a half day off on the Friday before the
Columbus Day Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the lan ...
weekend. Robert accidentally leaves his personal notebook at
Erin Hannon Kelly Erin Hannon (born May 1, 1986) is a fictional character from the United States of America, U.S. comedy television series ''The Office (U.S. TV series), The Office'', played by Ellie Kemper. She is the optimistic office receptionist for the Sc ...
's (
Ellie Kemper Elizabeth Claire Kemper (born May 2, 1980) is an American actress, comedian, and writer. She has been nominated for a Critics' Choice Movie Award The Critics' Choice Movie Awards (formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award) ...

Ellie Kemper
) desk, and she notices it contains a list of Scranton's employees on two columns with a line down the middle. Concerned about what the list means, the employees pressure Andy to ask Robert about it. Robert is offended by Andy's inquiry, assuming that he snooped through his notebook. While brushing the list off as "doodles," he conspicuously moves Andy's name from the left column to the right. Later that day, Robert invites the employees on the left column to lunch: Jim,
Dwight Schrute Dwight Kurt Schrute III () is a character in ''The Office (American TV series), The Office (U.S.)'' portrayed by Rainn Wilson. He was a salesman and the assistant (to the) regional manager"Traveling Salesmen (The Office), Traveling Salesman", ''T ...
(
Rainn Wilson Rainn Dietrich Wilson (born January 20, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, podcaster, producer and writer. He is best known for his role as Dwight Schrute Dwight Kurt Schrute III () is a character in ''The Office (American TV series), The ...

Rainn Wilson
),
Darryl Philbin Darryl Philbin is a fictional character on NBC's ''The Office (U.S. TV series), The Office'', portrayed by Craig Robinson (actor), Craig Robinson. His closest counterpart in the The Office (UK TV series), British version is Glynn (commonly known a ...
( Craig Robinson),
Angela Martin Angela Noelle Schrute (née Martin; formerly Lipton) is a fictional character in the U.S. version of the television sitcom ''The Office (American TV series), The Office,'' portrayed by actress Angela Kinsey. The character is based on The Office#Co ...
(
Angela Kinsey Angela Faye Kinsey (born June 25, 1971) is an American actress. She is best known for playing Angela Martin in the sitcom ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' (2005–2013). She also appeared in the sitcoms ''Your Family or Mine'' (20 ...

Angela Kinsey
),
Kevin Malone Kevin Malone is a fictional character in the American television series A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called ...
(
Brian Baumgartner Brian Baumgartner (born November 29, 1972) is an United States, American actor and director. He is best known for playing Kevin Malone, a character in the NBC sitcom ''The Office (U.S. TV series), The Office''. Early life and career Born in Atla ...
),
Phyllis Vance ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' is an Television in the United States, American television series based on The Office (British TV series), the British television comedy of the same name. The format of the series is a parody of th ...
(
Phyllis Smith Phyllis Smith (born July 10, 1951) is an American actress and casting associate. She is best known for playing Phyllis Vance in the television series ''The Office (U.S. TV series), The Office'' and her critically acclaimed voice role as Sadness ...

Phyllis Smith
),
Toby Flenderson ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' is an Television in the United States, American television series based on The Office (British TV series), the British television comedy of the same name. The format of the series is a parody of th ...
(
Paul Lieberstein Paul Bevan Lieberstein (born February 22, 1967) is an American actor, screenwriter, television director and television producer. A Primetime Emmy Award winner, he is best known as writer, as executive producer, and as supporting cast member Toby ...
) and Oscar Martinez (
Oscar Nunez Oscar Nunez (born November 18, 1958), sometimes credited as Oscar Nuñez, is a Cuban-American actor and comedian. He is best known for his role as Dunder Mifflin accountant Oscar Martinez (The Office), Oscar Martinez on NBC's ''The Office (U.S. T ...
). After they leave, the "right-siders" try to console themselves with a pizza party, but remain despondent about their exclusion. During lunch (which Toby decides to eventually leave), the "left-siders" pester Robert about the list. Slightly intoxicated, Robert informs them that the left-siders are "winners" while the right side are "losers". Jim is astonished, but the others become cocky. Kevin sends a mass text to the right-siders, mocking them as "losers", and later squirts Meredith Palmer (
Kate Flannery Kate Flannery (born June 10, 1964) is an American actress. Following her early theatre work, Flannery had her screen breakthrough playing Meredith Palmer on the NBC series ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'', which won her two Screen ...

Kate Flannery
) with a water pistol. Andy does not like this and confronts Robert with a demand to alter the list. Robert refuses, and then speaks to everyone by admitting to calling certain members of the office losers, but also reprimanding them for fixating so much on someone else's opinion of them, saying he will be working with them a long time and that his opinions on certain people may very well change, finishing with "Winners, prove me right; losers, prove me wrong". The workers are satisfied, but Andy is not, and lists off the qualities the right-siders have, stating that:
Stanley Hudson ''The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These produ ...
(
Leslie David Baker Leslie David Baker (born February 19, 1958) is an American actor. He is known for playing disgruntled paper salesman Stanley Hudson in ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' for nine seasons (2005–2013). Early life Baker was born on ...
) may be a “lazy grump”, he but has the best sales record in the office (something Robert admits to being unaware of); Meredith is persistent and the word "no" is not in her vocabulary; and
Pam Halpert Pamela Morgan Halpert (née Beesly) is a fictional character on the U.S. TV series, television sitcom ''The Office (U.S.), The Office'', played by Jenna Fischer. Her counterpart in the original UK series of ''The Office (UK), The Office'' is Dawn ...
(
Jenna Fischer Regina Marie "Jenna" Fischer (born March 7, 1974) is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Pam Beesly on the NBC sitcom ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' (2005–2013), for which she was nominated for the Primetime E ...

Jenna Fischer
) is "easily the most creative and kind person
e has E, or e, is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter and the second vowel#Written vowels, vowel letter in the English alphabet, modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is English alphabet#Letter names, ''e'' ( ...
ever worked with". Andy concedes to Robert that putting
Gabe Lewis ''The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These prod ...
(
Zach Woods Zachary Woods (born September 25, 1984) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director and producer. He is best known for his run as a series regular for three seasons on the NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American ...
) in the losers' column was "astute". He then demands the Columbus half day and exits, prompting a respecting smile from Robert. Though the office annually gets the half day in any case, they happily wish him good evening as they depart, and Andy looks very pleased with his work as the boss. Pam is pregnant with her and Jim's second child (revealed to be a boy) and is emotional, easily brought to tears throughout the day. Angela is also pregnant, having married the state senator Robert Lipton over the summer, and says that she's "Little Preg" to Pam's "Big Preg". When Jim picks up his things to leave for the day, he "accidentally" drops a piece of paper. Pam picks it up and sees Jim's personal winners and losers list: Pam, Cece and their new baby are on the left, and the words "everything else" is written on the right. Pam tearfully vows to frame it.


Production

The episode was written and directed by executive producer
B. J. Novak
B. J. Novak
, who also portrays
Ryan Howard Ryan may refer to: People and fictional characters *Ryan (given name) Ryan is an English-language given name of Irish name, Irish origin. Traditionally a male name, it has been used increasingly by both males and females since the 1970s. It c ...
in the series. It is Novak's fourteenth writing credit and third directing credit for the series. "The List", which commenced filming on July 25, 2011, served to redefine and reorient ''The Office'', as the series's former lead actor
Steve Carell Steven John Carell (; born August 16, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director. He played Michael Scott (The Office), Michael Scott in ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' (2005–2013), NBC’s adaptati ...
had left the show following the previous season's twenty-second episode, "
Goodbye, Michael "Goodbye, Michael" is the 22nd episode of the seventh season of the American comedy series ''The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of fil ...
". The plot of this episode is furthermore a continuation of and a resolution to the plot of the seventh season finale "
Search Committee "Search Committee" is the two-part finale of the seventh season of the American television comedy series ''The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy ...
", wherein several potential candidates (most of whom were played by guest actors) appeared, but no definitive decision as to who would become the new manager was offered. On June 27, 2011, co-creator and executive producer
Ricky Gervais Ricky Dene Gervais ( ; born 25 June 1961) is an English comedian, actor, director and writer. He is best known for co-creating, co-writing and acting in the British television mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ...
announced that
James Spader James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor and producer. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape'' is a 1989 American Independent film, indepen ...
was to join the cast on a permanent basis. Spader subsequently appeared in this episode, having previously made a cameo in the aforementioned seventh season finale. He would go on to appear in 15 of the eighth's seasons episodes, and throughout the season he served as a replacement for Jo Bennett, the former CEO of Sabre (who was portrayed by
Kathy Bates Kathleen Doyle Bates (born June 28, 1948) is an American actress and director. She has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and t ...
, who had left the series due to her commitment for the NBC drama series, ''
Harry's Law ''Harry's Law'' is an American legal Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential ...
''). In addition to Spader joining the cast, "The List" also revealed that Andy (portrayed by Ed Helms) would ascend to the position of manager; the series' executive Producer and showrunner
Paul Lieberstein Paul Bevan Lieberstein (born February 22, 1967) is an American actor, screenwriter, television director and television producer. A Primetime Emmy Award winner, he is best known as writer, as executive producer, and as supporting cast member Toby ...
revealed this information to Ed Helms during lunch in June. Prior to their decision, the writers had gone through the main contenders for the job, Darryl, Dwight and Andy, and concluded that Andy would be the best choice. Finally, this episode opens with the announcement that Pam is pregnant with her second child. Pam's pregnancy was written into the show so as to correspond with Jenna Fischer's real-life pregnancy. The Season Eight DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include Ryan explaining where trends comes from and Gabe explaining why he's back in a talking head, Andy attempting to calm everybody down while they try to figure out what the list means, and more scenes with the winner's lunch and the loser's pizza party.


Cultural references

The cold open features multiple workers " planking", an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. This was the third season premiere to include an internet trend in the cold open in a row. The first was in "
Gossip Gossip is idle talk or rumour A rumor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United St ...
" where Michael, Dwight and Andy try to film a video of them attempting
parkour Parkour () is a Training#Physical training, training discipline where practitioners (called ) move from one place to another in a complex environment, without assisting equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. With roots in ...

parkour
. The second was in "
Nepotism Nepotism is a form of favoritism which is granted to relatives and friends in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, fitness, religion, and other activities. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to im ...
" where the office make a lip dub video of the song " Nobody but Me". Throughout the episode, Pam is seen crying at a commercial for
The Travelers Companies The Travelers Companies, Inc., commonly known as Travelers, is an American insurance company. It is the second-largest writer of U.S. commercial property casualty insurance, and the sixth-largest writer of U.S. personal insurance through independ ...
featuring a dog trying to keep his dog bone safe.


Reception


Ratings

In its original American broadcast on September 22, 2011, "The List" was viewed by an estimated 7.63 million viewers and received a 3.9 rating/10% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. This means that it was seen by 3.9% of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 10% of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked an 11 percent fall in the demographic from the seventh-season premiere, "
Nepotism Nepotism is a form of favoritism which is granted to relatives and friends in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, fitness, religion, and other activities. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to im ...
", making it the lowest-rated season premiere. It was also the last episode of ''The Office '' to be viewed by more than 7 million viewers. The episode ranked second in its timeslot beating ''
Person of Interest "Person of interest" is a term used by law enforcement in the United States, Canada and other countries when identifying someone possibly involved in a criminal investigation Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study ...
'' which received a 3.1 rating/8% share in the 18–49 demographic and ''
The Secret Circle The Secret Circle is a supernatural, young-adult series of books created by L. J. Smith. The narrative follows the character of Cassie Blake as she is initiated into a "Circle" of eleven other teenage witches and the danger that ensues when they ...
'' which received a 0.9 rating/2% share, but was defeated by ''
The X Factor ''The X Factor'' is a television music competition A music competition is a public event designed to identify and award outstanding musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of peopl ...
'' which received a 4.4 rating/11% share and tied with ''
Grey's Anatomy ''Grey's Anatomy'' is an American medical drama television series that premiered on March 27, 2005, on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as a mid-season replacement. The series focuses on the lives of surgical internship (medicine), in ...

Grey's Anatomy
'' which received a 3.9 rating/10% share. "The List" was the twenty-second most-watched show for the week of broadcast among adults aged 18–49.


Reviews

"The List" received moderately positive reviews. Myles McNutt of ''
The A.V. Club ''The A.V. Club'' is an American online newspaper An online newspaper is the online version of a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is oft ...
'' awarded the episode a "B" and wrote that the entry "was about on par with what the show was delivering last season." He was slightly critical of the episode's tone, noting that it "eschewsubtlety" and, instead, yielded, "a thesis statement for the transitional season to come".
HitFix HitFix, or HitFix.com, was an entertainment news website that launched in December 2008 specializing in breaking entertainment news, insider information, and reviews and critiques of film, music, and television. In mid-2010 HitFix crossed the 1,000 ...
reviewer
Alan Sepinwall Alan Sepinwall is an American television reviewer and writer. He spent 14 years as a columnist with ''The Star-Ledger ''The Star-Ledger'' is the largest circulated newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also cal ...
complimented the final scene featuring Andy confronting Robert calling it "sweet and felt genuine, in the way that made the show's early days feel special." Despite this, he said the "story fell a little flat."
Linda Holmes Linda Holmes (born March 16, 1959) is a Democratic Party (United States), Democratic member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 42nd District since January 2007. The 42nd district includes all or parts of Aurora, Illinois, Aurora, Boulder Hi ...
of
NPR National Public Radio (NPR) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washi ...

NPR
praised the choice of adding
James Spader James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor and producer. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape'' is a 1989 American Independent film, indepen ...
, making Andy the manager, and praised the writers for differentiating Andy as manager from Michael.
IGN ''IGN'' (an abbreviation of its former name ''Imagine Games Network'') is an American video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, ...
writer Cindy White praised the episode for being an "ensemble affair" writing that "And when you've got an ensemble this strong, that's a smart way to go". She concluded that "In context with the rest of NBC's hilarious Thursday-night lineup ... ''The Office'' can't help but seem a little long in the tooth. But you can always rely on it for at least a few laugh-out-loud moments ... I'm not ready to call time of death on this show just yet. She ultimately gave the episode an 8.0/10. ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media company that provides television program TV listings, listings information as well as entertainment and television-related news. The company sold off its print magazine division, TV Guide Magazine, TV Guide ...
'' writers Joyce Eng and Kate Stanhope called the promotion of Andy as manager the third best television moment of the week. James Poniewozik of ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' gave the episode a positive review commenting that "it at least showed that a season 8 ''Office'' is capable of delivering the funny as well as the character grace notes".


References


External links


"The List"
at
NBC.com The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
* {{DEFAULTSORT:List, The 2011 American television episodes The Office (American season 8) episodes