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Scene Breakdown: Michael Frames Pam’s Drawing of Dunder Mifflin in ‘The Office’

Michael Frames Pam's Drawing of Dunder Mifflin in The Office's "Business School"
©NBC

Countless scenes in The Office are deeply memorable, but nothing changes the game quite like the moment where Michael Scott sees Pam Beesly’s drawing of Dunder Mifflin at her art show. “Business School” is a solid episode, and it’s one where we see plenty of heart in.

As an unpredictable character of sorts, Michael’s actions aren’t always admirable or even understandable, but this is the scene that plainly breaks down for the audience that his heart is more vast than we know. He cares about his team more than anything, and he genuinely believes that they are the greatest, most talented people to roam the earth.

It’s rare for people to think and care this way. It isn’t to say that Pam’s piece isn’t lovely, but it’s the zeal in which Michael believes it’s a masterpiece that sticks out like a sore thumb. He sees it as so for two reasons, it’s Pam’s drawing, and it’s of Dunder Mifflin.

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It’s that simple for him. The fascinating thing about Michael Scott as a character is the naiveté Steve Carell has always played him with. You want to forgive him despite his antics because you can always decipher the detail that he wants his team to be like a family. (Except, Toby Flenderson.) Michael is deeply flawed, but at the same time, his compassion is endless. The detail that he shows up to Pam’s art show is enough to tell us how much he cares, but the sheer awe he displays as he gazes at the drawing is another story.

And there’s also much to be said about Pam’s reaction to all this because it tells us how out of place she consistently feels and why she drew the piece in the first place. Pam’s drawing of Dunder Mifflin is her way of trying to find beauty in ordinary things long before she realizes that’s exactly what’s happening along the way. This is something we can decipher now as the final episode of The Office shows us how much this silly little paper company has changed each of their lives.

There’s a tenderness to this scene that isn’t marred by bizarre jokes (chocolate in Michael’s pocket excluded), but rather those first few moments show us that Dunder Mifflin is like a character in The Office—a place Michael Scott feels more at home than his own house, and it’s entirely because, whether he realizes it or not, the people inside make him a better person. They fuel him, inspire him, and even if they don’t hang out with him as frequently as he wants to hang out with them, Michael is inspired by their hearts.

He hangs up the drawing to show the rest of their co-workers Pam’s gifts, but at the same time, for it to now look and feel like the home he sees it as. The place where they can each feel comfortable to explore whatever it is they want to. He frames the piece to ensure it’s safe because it’s the same form of preservation he wants to keep in Dunder Mifflin. This is when the office truly starts to feel like a home, the moment that later inspires Pam to step forward and speak up, and it changes the show’s heart beautifully.

What are your thoughts on Michael buying Pam’s drawing of Dunder Mifflin? Let us know in the comments below.

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