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The Office

Season 1 Episode 4

The Alliance

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Apr 12, 2005 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
546 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Michael arranges a morale-boosting birthday party for Meredith and is determined to come up with the funniest message in her card. Dwight wants a pact with Jim to fight the downsizing, and Michael regrets showing off when Oscar asks for sponsorship for a charity walk being undertaken by his nephew.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Dwight and Jim form a team

    This episode shows why the Office is (was) a great series. A 3rd straight funny episode with little or no drop off from the previous episode. The jokes that Jim plays on Dwight are always funny and better when he involves Pam. This time not only Pam involved but this joke was stretched out. Both Jim and Pam did a great job with Dwight. The fact that he never found out was also funny. In this episode, you get to see another side of Michael. This time it's making an event (in this case Meredith's birthday) more about him without realizing it. Even though the ending had some tension, Dwight as a blonde is just so good.moreless
  • Overall great but it could have been funnier

    I thought that this was an overall great episode of "The Office". It wasn't my favorite episode and it also wasn't the funniest episode but it was overall great even though this episode could have been funnier. Dwight forming an alliance with Jim to fight the downsizing was pretty funny. Michael trying to come up with something funny for Meredith was pretty good also. I thought it was very funny when Jim put Dwight in the box and then Jim leaves Dwight behind who is inside the box. Eh, some of the parts in this episode were boring and my score was low because there were some parts that were very boring. I did laugh when everyone is at the office for Meredith's birthday party and Michael tells the jokes he has about Meredith which are the jokes that she is old and all that. The very end of the episode when Jim pranked Dwight to dye his hair was very funny though. Overall, this episode could have been funnier but it was overall great. 8/10moreless
  • Dwight forms an alliance with Jim after hearing more downsizing rumours, while Michael tries to come up with the funniest message to write on Meredith's very early birthday card.

    This episode was my favourite in Season 1, and is a classic. I have always loved the scenes between Dwight and Jim and this is a fine example of their rivalry, but in a different light.

    The scene where Dwight gets into the box is absolutely hilarious, just as all of Pam's overracting is, which leads Dwight to believe that she is coming up with a scheme. Meredith's birthday party is also a very funny scene, with a very funny scenario surrounding it. The birthday card that Meredith got from the group made me laugh, as did Michael's many jokes that he considered putting in the card. I also loved the scene where Michael found out that he had not only donated $25 to Oscar, but $25 a mile for his nephew's walkathon.

    All in all, a classic episode that will be remembered as one of the best.moreless
  • I totally loved this one!

    Because of the down-sizing, Dwight wants to form an alliance with Jim. Jim decides to accept it and he and Pam use it to screw with Dwight. As a morale booster, Michael plans a surprise birthday party for Meredith. He offends her though when he is trying to be funny. Oscar asks Michael to donate money to a charity. It's a Walk-a-thon, but Michael doens't know that. He donates $25 per mile. Dwight gets back at Jim by getting Roy to come to the office. Roy catches Jim and Pam together laughing.

    This episode was so great! Dwight was super-duper funny! I loved it when he went in and came out of the box! The deleted scenes were funny too! This episode was so funny! I give it a 10!moreless
  • This made me an ally to the show

    It's a typical day in The Office and the threat of downsizing affects Michael and Dwight in different ways; Michael wants to throw a brithday party for one of his employees to boost the group morale while Dwight wants to form an alliance to stay protected, pity he chose to do it with the unreliable Jim.

    This episode is a prime example of how the theme of downsizing was intricle to the first season and both plots in this episode stem from it. It's because of this, the first season is bleak in tone. The two plots are very detached and neither involve the other one and despite what is taught in most chemistry classes; a horrible reaction is not caused. The nonstop funniness is what makes this episode a winner and the goldmine of fun that both of the storylines promise.

    What's great is the key to the show's humor is in the writing, few of the jokes (in the first season anyway) rely on slapstick or verbal timing to be funny, it's all about the script. The character of Michael is furthur explored in this episode and as well as the birthday plot; two minor sub - plots are thrown in to aid the Fantastic Voyage of Scott, it's confirmed that not only is he a jerk, which was established firmly in the previous episodes but he is an ignorant and cruel one and with the talented Carrell highlighting those traits so acutely, it's almost like watching a movie villain. Had the character not been drastically overhauled before the second season, it's likely the role would be given to someone else.

    In regards to the alliance; we're never really sure if we're meant to rally behind Jim's pranking of Dwight or whether we're meant to be on Dwight's side despite his fascism but his odd victory over Jim at the end is a triumph for the nerd in everyone. The Alliance is one of the few gems in the patchy first season and is the first sign of the future sensation that the show becomes.moreless
David Denman

David Denman

Roy Anderson

Recurring Role

Leslie David Baker

Leslie David Baker

Stanley Hudson

Recurring Role

Kate Flannery

Kate Flannery

Meredith Palmer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Jim first starts taping up the box you can see a rat in a trap struggling to get out under the tray behind Jim, but then when it switches scenes and comes back and shows Jim finishing up the taping there is nothing on the ground.

    • It is revealed in this episode that Meredith is allergic to dairy.

    • When Michael reads out what Jim wrote on Meredith's birthday card, Jim calls her an accountant. However, Meredith is in charge of supplier relations.

    • An employee's car's PA license plates reads 8326-FLO. In Pennsylvania, standard plates are three letters then four numbers (ex. AAA-1234).

    • This episode marks the first appearance of the staff newsletter. The text of the staff newsletter is the same each time it appears (since it is merely a prop); only the picture and headline change. The stock text on the newsletter reads:

      Top Salesman Award
      Welcome to yet another exciting edition of the Dunder Mifflin Employee Newsletter. Thanks to all of the staff and new contributing writers for putting this together for all of you, and also many thanks to the folks at Designtown for printing this up for us. Hopefully you will find a lot of useless information contained herein that will help you do your job better, faster and quicker and cheaper and happier.
      As anybody can easily tell, this newsletter doesn't really have a lot to say. It's really just a prop to fill some space and sort of look like a newsletter without really being much of a newsletter at all. By typing a lot of words in two columns on the front of this page, we can achieve the look of a newsletter without really reporting much news or provide any real information to the reader at all. In fact, at times we can probably get away with not using real english words, such as kjgowbiwiwpo, ovcviqvck, or the much beloved dfbiouvsulegphaelk. These words can also be strung together to form a sentence, paragraph or even a whole prop book, magazine or newspaper.

    • Not much of the footage made the final cut, but during the party, Ryan talks to a different woman in the background of each scene. The producers thought this was a nice character touch for the new employee.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Michael: Hey Jim, good party, huh? Just a little something I whipped up, you know, a little morale boost, no big deal.
      Jim: Speaking of which, I meant to tell you, very impressive... the donation you gave to Oscar's charity. What was that, 25 bucks?
      Michael: Yeah, well, you know, money isn't everything, Jim. Not the key to happiness. You know what is? Joy. You should remember that. Maybe you'll give more that three dollars next time.
      Jim: Yeah, well, three dollars a mile is gonna end up being like 50 bucks. So... God, I can't even calculate what you're gonna have to give.
      (The camera focuses on Michael as he blinks several times)
      Michael: Is Oscar around?

    • Pam: This was tough. I suggested we flip a coin, but Angela said she doesn't like to gamble. Of course, by saying that, she was gambling that I wouldn't smack her.

    • Dwight: I'm a deer hunter. I go all the time with my dad. One thing about deer, they have very good vision. One thing about me, I am better at hiding than they are...at vision.

    • Dwight: Can I trust Jim … I don't know. Do I have a choice? — no, frankly, I don't. Will I trust Jim, yes. Should I trust Jim … you tell me.

    • Michael: (reading from a piece of paper) 'Meredith is so old...'
      Oscar: How old is she?
      Michael: If... everybody... could do it? 'Meredith is so old...'
      Everyone: How old is she?
      Michael: 'She's so old, she went into an antique store, and they kept her.'

    • Michael: I think the main difference between me and Donald Trump is that I get no pleasure out of saying the words: you're fired. "You're fired." Oh, "You're fired." He just makes people sad. And an office can't function that way. No way. "You're fired." I think if I had a catchphrase it would be, "You're hired, and you can work here as long as you want." But that's unrealistic, so...

    • Jim: Okay, okay, I have something that totally tops the box!
      Pam: Oh, tell me, tell me!
      Jim: I have just convinced Dwight that he needs to go to Stamford and spy on our other branch. (Pam starts laughing)…No, no…But before he does go, I told him he should dye his hair to go undercover…

    • Jim: We need to assume that everyone in the office is forming an alliance and is therefore trying to get us kicked out.
      Dwight: God damn it, why us?!
      Jim: Because we're strong, Dwight, because we're strong!

    • (About Dwight's suggestion that they form an "alliance" together against downsizing)
      Jim: I spend hours thinking of ways to get back at him, but only in ways that will get me arrested, and then here he comes, and he says, 'No, Jim, here's a way.'

    • Michael: I have a bunch of these good ones, that I didn't use. Um... (searches through some bits of paper) Oh, where's that? Oh, okay, here's a good one: 'Hey Meredith, Liz Taylor called, she wants her age back and her divorces back.'

    • Meredith: (reading her card) This is from Michael. "Meredith, let's hope the only downsizing that happens to you is that someone downsizes your age."

    • (About Dwight's suggestion to make fun of Meredith's removed uterus in her card)
      Michael: Dwight, no! I'm trying to write something funny here, okay? What am I gonna do with a removed uterus?
      Dwight: It could be kind of funny.

    • (Trying to think of something funny for Meredith's birthday card)
      Michael: Meredith... Meri... Mary had a little lamb. Mary, Meredith had a little lamb. Don't bring that lamb to work or it'll poop on the floor.

    • Pam: An alliance?
      Jim: Oh, yeah.
      Pam: What does that even mean?
      Jim: I think it has something to do with 'Survivor', but I'm not sure. Um, I know that it involves spying on people, and we may build a fort.

    • (Michael wants an ice cream cake for the party)
      Angela: Meredith's allergic to dairy, so...
      Michael: She's not the only one that's gonna be eating it, right? I think everybody likes ice cream cake. It's not, uh, not just about her, so...
      Pam: It is her birthday.
      Michael: Mint chocolate chip!

    • Jim: Everything Dwight does annoys me.

    • (About Angela, Phyllis and Pam)
      Michael: These are my party planning beeyatches.

    • (About the color of streamers to use for the party)
      Pam: How 'bout green?
      Angela: I think green is kind of whorish.

    • Michael: (into his cell phone) Ah, Spock, are there any signs of life down there? Well, let me check Captain. (scans the room with his cellphone, making beeping sounds) No, Captain, no signs of life down here. Just a wet blanket named Pam.

    • Michael: I think if I was allergic to dairy I'd kill myself.

    • Dwight: It's a real shame, cause studies have shown that more information gets passed through watercooler gossip than through official memos. Which puts me at a disadvantage because... (picks up water bottle) I bring my own water to work.

  • NOTES (6)

    • The German episode title is "Bündnisse", meaning "Alliances". The French title is "L'Alliance", and the Spanish title is "El Pacto", both exact translations. The Italian title is "Festa di compleanno", meaning "Birthday Party".

    • There were over a dozen takes of the scene where Michael wolfs down cake. Steve Carell ate so much (at 7:30 in the morning) that he got sick.

    • The car that Dwight kicks actually belongs to actress Phyllis Smith, who plays Phyllis on the show. Rainn Wilson stated that after every take she would tell him, "Please don't kick the hubcap too hard."

    • The first cut of the episode ran 37 minutes long. Producers considered lengthening the episode and making it a two-parter, one focusing on the Alliance and another focusing on Meredith's birthday party.

    • On the season one DVD, the summary of the episode claims that "Dwight suggests to John" that an alliance be formed, accidentally swapping Jim's name for that of the actor that plays him, John Krasinski.

    • The Futon Critic named this episode one of the best of 2005, ranking it as #46 and claiming, "the image of Dwight climbing out of a cardboard box is worth a spot on this list alone."


    • Michael uses his cell phone like a communicator from the original Star Trek series.

    • The entire plot of the episode revolves around Dwight's Survivor-like alliance with Jim to protect themselves from downsizing. Survivor is the king of the reality shows. Since airing its first season in 2000, the reality series has captivated audiences and become a pop culture phenomenon.