Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Office: Season 5, Episode 2 - "Business Ethics"

"Business Ethics" is the second episode of the fifth season of the television series The Office, and the show's sixty-seventh episode overall. The episode aired in the United States on October 9, 2008 on NBC.

The plot summary in this article is too long or detailed compared to the rest of the content. Please edit the article to focus on discussing the work rather than merely reiterating the plot. (January 2009)

In the cold open, Pam is talking to Jim on the phone, and Jim reluctantly reveals their engagement to the office, to no congratulations and much insulting commentary (Oscar thought they were already engaged, Angela brings up Roy, Andy acts irritated that Jim is intruding on his own engagement even though Andy unknowingly intruded on Jim's engagement in "Goodbye, Toby," Dwight points out Pam's not a virgin, and Creed forgets Jim's name, calling him "the tall guy"), except Michael, who tackles Jim with a flying hug when he hears the news.

Following Ryan's recent actions, corporate wants Holly to set up a seminar regarding business ethics, where Michael invites the office to tell her about their personal time-theft stories without fear of consequence (by providing them with "immunity"). This seminar eventually escalates into a confessional orchestrated by Michael in which the staff admits to dishonesty in the workplace. However, when Meredith mentions that she has sex to gain discounts for the company and coupons to Outback Steakhouse, Holly feels that she should take action.[1]

At the seminar, Dwight claimed that he never takes personal time during work, so Jim uses a stopwatch to count even the smallest distractions that befall Dwight, such as yawning, sneezing and using the restroom. As a result, Dwight never stops working, restraining himself from speaking when Jim spreads misinformation about his favorite show, Battlestar Galactica, urinating in a soda bottle, rather than using the bathroom, and somehow managing to sneeze with his eyes open. Dwight finally stops caring about Jim's antagonism when he comes back into the office, having sneaked away to have sex with Angela. Dwight does admit that he is not as ethical as he claimed, and Jim appears happy to hear this and stops using the stopwatch.

Michael, upset by Holly's feelings, takes her to the local seafood restaurant, Cooper's Seafood House, to smooth things over, and also try to start something with her inconspicuously. After Holly states that Dunder Mifflin is not a family, it is a workplace, Michael becomes bitter towards her and treats her with the kind of contempt he previously reserved for Toby Flenderson. Later on a conference call, corporate turns a blind eye to Meredith's unethical behavior due to the discounts but scolds Holly for forgetting to collect the signatures of all the employees who attended the business ethics seminar, causing Michael to feel sorry for her and let things go. He stands up for Holly when the rest of the staff is reluctant to participate in the rest of the seminar by ordering them to finish it. This in turn, seems to improve their relationship once again.

Meredith provides Outback takeout to the entire office, so she is no longer the solo beneficiary of the "tip", as seen in the ending.

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