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.moreless
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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.
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.
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.
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