|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||25|
|Original release||September 21, 2006 –|
May 17, 2007
The third season of the American sitcom The Office premiered in the United States on NBC on September 21, 2006, and concluded on May 17, 2007. The season had a total of 25 half-hours of material, divided into 16 half-hour episodes, five 40-minute "super-sized" episodes, and two one-hour episodes. The Office is an American adaptation of the British TV series of the same name as a mockumentary portraying the daily lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictitious Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The season stars Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and B. J. Novak, with supporting performances from Melora Hardin, David Denman, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, Paul Lieberstein, Oscar Nunez, and Phyllis Smith.
The season marked the move of main character Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) from Scranton to Stamford, and also introduced Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli, and Ed Helms as Andy Bernard—both members of Dunder Mifflin Stamford—as recurring characters. Helms would later be promoted to series regular. The main plot for the early episodes of the season deals with a recurring problem in seasons one and two—the problem of company downsizing—while in the last half of the season, intra-office relationships (specifically those among Pam, Jim, and Karen; Dwight and Angela; and Michael and Jan Levinson) also become major plot points.
The third season of The Office aired on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. (ET). The season saw its ratings increase from the previous. In addition, it continued the critical praise that had started during the show's second season. The season was released on DVD in a box set containing four discs. While the DVD features all 25 episodes, the episodes "Traveling Salesmen" and "The Return" were condensed into one episode. The set contained commentaries from creators, writers, actors, and directors on some of the episodes, while also containing deleted scenes from all of the episodes. It was released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
The third season of the show was produced by Reveille Productions and Deedle-Dee Productions, both in association with NBC Universal Television Studios. The show is based on the British series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who are executive producers on the show and wrote the third-season episode "The Convict". The Office is produced by Greg Daniels, who is also executive producer and show runner. Returning writers from last season include Daniels, Michael Schur, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, Jennifer Celotta, Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein, and B. J. Novak. Joining the writing staff for the second season are Brent Forrester, Justin Spitzer, and Caroline Williams.
Season three featured episodes directed by twelve different directors. Ken Kwapis, Ken Whittingham, Daniels, Randall Einhorn, Tucker Gates, Jeffrey Blitz, and Harold Ramis all directed multiple episodes. The remained only directed one episode for the season. Gordon, Kwapis, Whittingham, and Daniels had all previously directed episodes during seasons one and two. The season also featured guest directing courtesy of Joss Whedon and J. J. Abrams. While The Office was mainly filmed on a studio set at Valley Center Studios in Van Nuys, California, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the show is set, was also used for shots of the opening theme.
The series was renewed before the airing of the second-season episode "The Carpet". Series star Jenna Fischer noted that "It is rare in this business to hear news of a pickup so early", but that NBC was very pleased with how well the show was doing. It had previously, and erroneously, been advertised that the show would finish its run at the end of March 2006. Fischer later explained that while the season would end—actually in May—the show would continue.
Notable ongoing subplots from the third season and beyond include:
The Office employs an ensemble cast. All of the main characters, and some minor ones, are based on characters from the British version of The Office. While these characters normally have the same attitudes and perceptions as their British counterparts, the roles have been redesigned to better fit the American show. The show is known for its large cast size, many of whom are known particularly for their improvisational work.
The third-season premiere "Gay Witch Hunt" received a 5.7/9 in the Nielsen ratings, meaning that on average 5.7 percent of households were tuned in at any given moment and 9 percent of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into the program. The premiere was watched by 9.1 million viewers, and marked a slight increase from the second season premiere "The Dundies". At the onset of the season, the show began to eclipse the viewership of its lead-in program, My Name Is Earl. The season hit a low with the nineteenth episode "The Negotiation", which was viewed by 6.74 million viewers. The season finale, "The Job" was viewed by 7.88 million viewers, also an increase from the second-season finale "Casino Night". By the end of the 2006–07 season, it placed 68th, a one-place slip from the previous season. Despite this, the show's third season was slightly more watched than the previous: it averaged 8.3 million viewers, and scored a 4.1/11 in the Nielsen ratings, meaning that on average 4.1 percent of households 18–49 years old were tuned in at any given moment and 11 percent of all televisions in use at the time were tuned into the program. The series also ranked as the 28th-most watched series in the 18–49 demographic.
The third season of The Office was met with critical acclaim. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the third season of the show an 85 out of 100 rating, which translates to the status of "universal acclaim". Travis Fickett of IGN felt that "In its third season The Office continued to be one of the smartest, funniest and most likable shows on television." Entertainment Weekly writer Meeta Agrawal praised the show for separating the action between Jim in Stamford and the rest of the characters in Scranton, a feat that he notes "could have been disastrous" to other shows. Furthermore, he argued that the effort made the audience "appreciate [the characters] even more". Ultimately, he gave the season an "A−". Francis Rizzo III of DVD Talk called the season "an outstanding year for the Scranton crew" and praised the "unbelievably funny 21 episodes in between" the opener and the finale as reasons as to why it was "a great stand-alone season from easily one of the funniest shows on TV."
The third season was the first season to feature hour-long episodes, with "A Benihana Christmas" and "The Job". While the following season would be criticized for its overuse of hour-long episodes, both of season three's longer episodes received favorable reception. While season three did indeed feature mainstream songs in its soundtrack, many of the songs were decades old. Daniels later explained that "our songs are not about the show's identity as a whole. Each song reflects personal elements of a character, or the emotions of the character at the time."
The third season of The Office received seven nominations for Primetime Emmys at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, and won the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the episode "Gay Witch Hunt", as well as the award for Outstanding Single-camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series for the episode "The Job". The Office was also nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, with the award going to 30 Rock. Other nominations included Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Steve Carell for his portrayal of Michael Scott, Outstanding Supporting Actor for Rainn Wilson for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute, Outstanding Supporting Actress for Jenna Fischer for her portrayal of Pam Beesly, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for Ken Kwapis for directing the episode "Gay Witch Hunt", and another nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Michael Schur for the episode "The Negotiation".
In the following table, "U.S. viewers (million)" refers to the number of Americans who viewed the episode on the night of broadcast. Episodes are listed by the order in which they aired, and may not necessarily correspond to their production codes.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date ||Prod.|
|29||1||"Gay Witch Hunt"||Ken Kwapis||Greg Daniels||September 21, 2006||3001||9.11|
|Months have passed since the end of season two. Jim has transferred to the Stamford branch, and Pam has broken off her engagement with Roy. Michael learns that Oscar is gay, and with Dwight, contacts Jim regarding buying a "gaydar" machine to figure out who else in the office is gay. Michael accidentally outs Oscar to everyone. Feeling bad, Michael hosts a meeting about homosexuality, where he attempts to present himself as open-minded and progressive, and ends up forcing Oscar into kissing him. This results in Dunder Mifflin giving Oscar a three month paid vacation and a company car. Meanwhile, Jim attempts to adjust to life at the Stamford branch, with his new co-workers Andy and Karen. Jim's attempts to make Andy the 'new Dwight' fail when Andy reacts violently to Jim's Jell-O prank.|
|30||2||"The Convention"||Ken Whittingham||Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg||September 28, 2006||3006||7.78|
|Michael and Dwight leave for a sales convention in Philadelphia, where they meet Josh, the manager of Dunder Mifflin Stamford, and Jim. Michael feels threatened by Josh, and attempts to one-up him by throwing a party in his hotel room. When no one shows up, Jim takes pity on Michael, telling him that he is a good boss and was not the reason he left Scranton. Meanwhile, Kelly sets Pam up on a blind date that goes poorly. Michael ends up making a big sale without putting much effort.|
|31||3||"The Coup"||Greg Daniels||Paul Lieberstein||October 5, 2006||3002||8.89|
|Michael's managerial tactics lead Angela and Dwight to conspire to take Michael's job. Dwight meets with Jan, who, after listening to Dwight's propositions, later calls to inform Michael that his own employees are conspiring against him. Michael informs Dwight that Jan has promoted him to regional manager in an attempt to make Dwight confess. However, Dwight immediately takes over the office and begins making sweeping changes. Michael, unable to control his anger, reveals to Dwight that he knows everything. Dwight begs for forgiveness and offers to do his laundry to make it up to him. Meanwhile, at Dunder Mifflin Stamford, Josh's managerial tactics include playing Call of Duty as a team-building exercise. Unfortunately, Jim is less than competent at the game.|
|32||4||"Grief Counseling"||Roger Nygard||Jennifer Celotta||October 12, 2006||3003||8.83|
|Michael learns that his former boss Ed Truck has died. Seeing that his employees are not shaken by the news, Michael begins to ponder his own mortality. While mourning, Michael learns that a bird was killed by flying into a window earlier that morning, and he decides to have a funeral for the bird later that day. Meanwhile, at Dunder Mifflin Stamford, Jim and Karen embark on a quest for Karen's favorite potato chips.|
|33||5||"Initiation"||Randall Einhorn||B. J. Novak||October 19, 2006||3005||8.46|
|Dwight takes Ryan out to the Schrute Family Beet Farm for an initiation session before his first sales call. The initiation, involving odd styles of hazing and bizarre parables, angers Ryan, who does not make the sale. Back at the office, Jan asks Pam to document Michael's activities for a day. Michael, oblivious, spends most of the day waiting in line for a free pretzel in the lobby.|
|34||6||"Diwali"||Miguel Arteta||Mindy Kaling||November 2, 2006||3004||8.81|
|Kelly invites the entire staff to a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light. At the festival, Michael is inspired by his conversation with Kelly's parents over Hindu marriage customs, and makes an impromptu proposal to his girlfriend Carole. Carole rejects, and leaves without Michael. In Stamford, Jim, Andy, and Karen stay late to do sales figures. Andy and Jim do shots to pass the time, which leads Karen to have to drive a drunk Jim home.|
|35||7||"Branch Closing"†||Tucker Gates||Michael Schur||November 9, 2006||3007||8.05|
|Jan informs Michael that the Dunder Mifflin board has voted to close the Scranton branch, and for the Stamford branch to absorb the remnants of Scranton. Michael announces this to the office, leading the employees to plan for their futures. Michael, in a last-ditch effort to save his branch, leaves with Dwight to surprise CFO David Wallace at his home. They wait outside all day, but David never shows up, and they resign themselves to defeat. However, Josh, the regional manager of the Stamford branch, announces that he is leaving the company to take another job, and a decision is made for the Scranton branch to absorb the Stamford branch instead. Michael and Dwight celebrate, believing that they were the ones who brought about the change.|
|36||8||"The Merger"†||Ken Whittingham||Brent Forrester||November 16, 2006||3008||8.63|
|Due to Dunder Mifflin Stamford closing, six members of the staff (Jim, Karen, Andy, Martin, Tony, and Hannah) move to and take jobs in Scranton. Michael attempts to welcome his new employees, but naturally ends up alienating and offending them; eventually he accidentally humiliates Tony, who announces that he is quitting. Michael becomes defensive, and fires him instead. Andy begins sucking up to Michael, causing Dwight to become jealous. Excited that he is back, Pam tries getting her old friendship back with Jim, but things get weird when she asks him out for coffee to catch up, but he turns her down, revealing that he has begun dating Karen.|
|37||9||"The Convict"||Jeffrey Blitz||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant||November 30, 2006||3010||9.07|
|Michael learns that Martin, one of the former Stamford employees, is a reformed criminal. The staff learns that his time was spent in a white-collar prison, and begins to wonder if Martin's prison is better than Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Michael then gives a presentation on the miseries of prison, with most of his ideas fueled from television prisons. Bitter that he is not being taken seriously, he then locks his employees in the conference room. At the end of the day, Martin decides to quit rather than continue working with Michael.|
|"A Benihana Christmas"‡||Harold Ramis||Jennifer Celotta||December 14, 2006||3009|
|Michael plans to invite Carole to Jamaica with him for Christmas, but she breaks up with him before he has a chance. Andy takes Michael to a local Benihana to cheer him up, and they both convince waitresses to come back to the Christmas party with them. Back at the office, a disagreement within the Party Planning Committee leads Karen and Pam to create their own Christmas party, separate from Angela's. When the majority of the office decide to go to Karen and Pam's party, Angela becomes upset, and seeing this, Karen and Pam decide to combine the parties. Soon after, Michael and Andy's dates leave them, but Michael nevertheless finds someone to go to Jamaica with him.|
|40||12||"Back from Vacation"||Julian Farino||Justin Spitzer||January 4, 2007||3011||8.80|
|Michael returns from Jamaica, and accidentally lets slip that he went with Jan. When he tries to send a revealing picture of Jan to Todd Packer, he inadvertently sends it to the warehouse, and soon the picture is spread throughout the entire company. Jim and Karen have an argument over Karen moving into an apartment close to where Jim lives, until Pam mediates a solution between them. Although she appears happy to have helped, she is later seen crying. Jan, who has yet to find out about the picture of her and Michael, later appears at the office and tells Michael that she wants a relationship.|
|41||13||"Traveling Salesmen"||Greg Daniels||Michael Schur & Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky||January 11, 2007||3012||10.12|
|Dwight arrives late for an early morning meeting, where Michael announces that the members of the sales staff are teaming up for sales calls in an Amazing Race-esque challenge. Andy spends the day trying to convince Michael that Dwight is untrustworthy. Meanwhile, Kevin informs Angela that the branch's quarterly tax reports weren't received in New York, but Angela assures him that the problem was handled. When the teams return, Andy discovers that Dwight's morning tardiness was due to delivering the reports to New York for Angela. Andy presents Michael with Dwight's toll booth receipt and convinces Michael that Dwight is once again trying to obtain the regional manager position. Pressed by Michael on the reason for his trip to corporate, Dwight declines to reveal his relationship with Angela, resigning his position instead.|
|42||14||"The Return"†||Greg Daniels||Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky & Michael Schur||January 18, 2007||3013||10.20|
|Oscar's return from his vacation prompts Michael to host a Mexican-themed party. Meanwhile, Jim searches for someone to play a prank with, eventually turning to Pam; they steal Andy's phone, hide it in the ceiling and repeatedly call it, playing his homemade ring tone over and over. Andy becomes more angry each time the phone rings, and eventually punches a hole in the wall out of frustration. As a result of this outburst, Andy is sent to anger management training. Michael, increasingly distraught over Dwight's resignation in the previous episode, leaves and confronts him at Staples, inviting him back to Dunder Mifflin. After being confronted by Karen, Jim reveals to her that he still has feelings for Pam.|
|43||15||"Ben Franklin"||Randall Einhorn||Mindy Kaling||February 1, 2007||3015||10.11|
|The women of the office hold a bridal shower for Phyllis, while the men hold a bachelor's party for her groom-to-be, Bob Vance. After being convinced to hire a stripper for both the men and the women's parties by Todd Packer, Michael orders Jim and Dwight to choose the strippers. For the men's party, Dwight hires a stripper, while for the women's party, Jim hires a Ben Franklin impersonator.|
|44||16||"Phyllis' Wedding"||Ken Whittingham||Caroline Williams||February 8, 2007||3016||8.84|
|Phyllis lets Michael be a part of her wedding in return for allowing her to take extra time off work for her honeymoon. Michael attempts to dominate the festivities, and acts as the host of their reception. Pam is incredulous to see Phyllis has used most of the plans from her own cancelled wedding with Roy. Feeling lonely, she approaches Roy and strikes up conversation, and they leave the wedding together.|
|45||17||"Business School"||Joss Whedon||Brent Forrester||February 15, 2007||3017||8.84|
|In an attempt to get extra credit, Ryan invites Michael to his business school as a guest speaker. Michael attempts to make a motivational speech, unaware that Ryan has introduced him as an ineffectual manager of an out of touch company. Meanwhile, a bat is discovered in the office, leading Dwight to lead an attempt to capture it. That night, Pam displays her artwork at an art show, and is disappointed when few of her co-workers attend. Michael finally arrives after giving his speech and, in a moment of genuine kindness, compliments her work and buys her painting of their office building.|
|46||18||"Cocktails"||J. J. Abrams||Paul Lieberstein||February 22, 2007||3018||8.30|
|The Dunder Mifflin CFO David Wallace holds a cocktail party at his house, which Jan, Michael, Jim, Karen and Dwight attend. Michael's antics around their "coming out" appear to annoy Jan, but she later attempts to have sex with him in a bathroom. Michael feels uncomfortable and turns her down, angering her. Meanwhile, Dwight assesses the structural soundness of the house. Jim and David Wallace bond over shooting hoops when they see Dwight on the chimney. While at a bar, Pam reveals to Roy that Jim kissed her at the casino night. Roy is infuriated and proceeds to trash the bar, assisted by his brother. Pam immediately breaks up with Roy, who then declares that he's going to 'kill' Jim.|
|47||19||"The Negotiation"†||Jeffrey Blitz||Michael Schur||April 5, 2007||3019||6.74|
|Roy enters the office and attempts to attack Jim, but Dwight's timely intervention with pepper spray saves Jim from injury. Roy is instantly fired, but later apologizes separately to both Jim and Pam and encourages the latter to pursue the former. Jim attempts to thank Dwight for saving him, but is frustrated when Dwight refuses to accept his thanks. Meanwhile, Michael and Darryl attempt to get a pay raise from Jan in New York.|
|48||20||"Safety Training"||Harold Ramis||B. J. Novak||April 12, 2007||3020||7.71|
|Michael feels ashamed when, during a safety training course, the warehouse employees make fun of him for having a safer work environment. Determined to show that office life can be dangerous, he decides to demonstrate depression effects by faking a suicide attempt. His plan to jump off of the roof and onto a bouncy castle go awry when the employees discover what he is doing and are forced to talk him down. Meanwhile, Andy attempts to endear himself to Dwight after returning from anger management.|
|49||21||"Product Recall"||Randall Einhorn||Justin Spitzer & Brent Forrester||April 26, 2007||3025||7.56|
|Paper from Dunder Mifflin Scranton with an obscene cartoon watermark left by a disgruntled paper-mill ex-employee are accidentally sent out, throwing the business into damage control. The accountants attempt to provide service for angry customers, while Michael contacts the media in a misguided attempt to avoid scandal. Meanwhile, Jim and Andy go to a local high school to apologize personally to the principal, and they bump into Andy's girlfriend, who turns out to be a student there.|
|50||22||"Women's Appreciation"†||Tucker Gates||Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg||May 3, 2007||3021||7.00|
|After Phyllis is the victim of a flashing in the parking lot, Michael attempts to host a seminar on women's issues. When it doesn't go as expected, he takes the women of the office on a trip to the mall, while Dwight and Andy search for the flasher and distribute flyers. At the mall, Michael discusses his discomfort in his relationship with Jan, and the women advise him to break up with her. As Michael is breaking up with Jan via voicemail, she suddenly arrives at the office.|
|51||23||"Beach Games"†||Harold Ramis||Jennifer Celotta & Greg Daniels||May 10, 2007||3022||7.20|
|David Wallace calls and informs Michael that he is a candidate for an opening position in the corporate office in New York. Believing himself the obvious choice for the job, Michael decides to choose a successor. He takes his employees to the beach and compels them to compete in challenges to determine which of them will take over his position, not realizing that Jim and Karen are also contenders for the job. In the evening, on a high after a firewalk, Pam confesses that she is tired of being ignored, and tells Jim that he was the reason she called off her wedding.|
|"The Job"‡||Ken Kwapis||Paul Lieberstein & Michael Schur||May 17, 2007||3023|
|After evaluating their relationship, Michael decides to repel any advances that Jan makes towards him, but instantly changes his mind and gives her a second chance once he sees her with a breast enhancement. Michael, Jim, and Karen then all travel to New York to interview for the position that is opening in the corporate office. Before he leaves, Michael names Dwight as his successor in Scranton, and Dwight, with Andy as his new number two, immediately goes about changing the appearance and structure of the office. In New York, Michael's interview ends as he learns that the new position is linked to Jan's upcoming dismissal. Jan learns of the move, and confronts David, with Michael following her. Jan, now unemployed, decides to move in with a hesitant Michael, who now returns to his position as Scranton manager. Jim's interview goes well until he finds a good-luck memento left for him by Pam. Realizing he cannot leave her again, he returns to the office alone, where he asks her on a date. The corporate job is given to an ecstatic Ryan, who immediately breaks up with Kelly.|
^† denotes a "super-sized" 40-minute episode (with advertisements; actual runtime around 28 minutes).
^‡ denotes an hour-long episode (with advertisements; actual runtime around 42 minutes).
|The Office: The Complete Third Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|Region 1||Region 2|
|September 4, 2007||July 21, 2008|
((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)