"Fun Run" is the first and second episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth episode overall. Written and directed by executive producer and showrunner Greg Daniels, the episode first aired on NBC in the United States on September 27, 2007.
|The Office episode|
|Directed by||Greg Daniels|
|Written by||Greg Daniels|
|Original air date||September 27, 2007|
|Running time||42 minutes|
In the episode, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) believes the office is cursed after he accidentally hits Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery) with his car. After being taken to the hospital, Meredith is found to have rabies. In an attempt to make amends with Meredith, Michael sponsors a fun run for rabies. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) are dating, while Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) is mad at Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) for killing her cat Sprinkles.
The episode received mixed reviews from the varying critics, while most praised the episode for Jim and Pam's relationship. However, critics had differing opinions when it came to how Michael behaved throughout the episode.
Over the summer, Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) moved in with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) started his new job at Corporate and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) broke up with Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones), who left Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Jim and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) claim that they see each other socially but only as friends. The documentary crew catches Pam picking up Jim in her car. They kiss and drive away. When faced with the footage of them kissing, Jim and Pam admit to the documentary crew that they are secretly dating.
As he arrives at work, Michael accidentally hits Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery) with his car, sending her to the hospital for a fractured pelvis. Forced to join a group visit to Meredith in the hospital, Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) leaves Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) with complicated instructions on the care of her ailing cat Sprinkles. During the hospital visit, Michael fails to obtain forgiveness from Meredith. When Angela returns to the office, Dwight informs her that her cat is dead. Dwight explains to Angela that he killed her cat because it was suffering, and that this is normal on the farm. Angela is furious, because being euthanized prevents Sprinkles from being in "cat heaven."
The combination of Meredith's accident, Sprinkles' death, and a virus on Pam's computer (which is cleaned by the company's tech support employee, Sadiq, portrayed by Omi Vaidya) convinces Michael that the office is cursed. He insists that he is not superstitious, but rather "a little-stitious". Dwight discovers that Meredith has had a precautionary rabies shot due to several animal bites. Michael immediately takes credit for saving Meredith's life by sending her to the hospital and declares the curse over. But, still feeling guilty about hurting Meredith, Michael organizes a charity five-kilometer fun run to raise awareness of the dangers of rabies. Over half of the money raised is spent on the check presentation ceremony. Few take the race seriously (Creed, Oscar and Stanley sneak off to a bar while Jim and Pam visit a garage sale) and while Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) finishes first and Michael becomes ill, having "carbo-loaded" (he ate fettucini alfredo before the race) and abstained from water. In the hospital for dehydration, Michael is visited by Meredith. In recognition of his efforts, she forgives him.
"Fun Run" was the eighth episode of the series written by Greg Daniels and ninth episode directed by him. The episode was the second of the series in which Daniels was both the writer and director. Daniels also wrote and directed the first season episode "Basketball."
After initially reading the script, Kate Flannery asked producer Kent Zbornak if Meredith was going to live, to which he replied "This isn't All My Children." Flannery was nervous about doing her own stunt, so Zbornak did it first to show her that she would be fine. Flannery recalls "[I] kind of got competitive with him, and I thought, 'I can do that. I can do that better than he can.'" At first, Flannery would flinch before hitting the glass, until director Greg Daniels was able to get her to not think about it. Flannery's arms were bruised, due to having to film the scene multiple times. During the hospital scenes, Flannery and Steve Carell improvised a few times.
Pam and Jim finally getting together went over well with most critics. Zap2It's Rick Porter thought "the show handled the PB&J (Pam Beesly and Jim) stuff as well as it always has, underplaying the romance as much as the NBC marketing folks overplay it." Although Christine Fenno from Entertainment Weekly was happy about Pam and Jim finally dating, she was critical of them being secret about it, reasoning "I mean, nobody's cheating. Can't the Pam and Jim plotline have a bigger obstacle than self-imposed, weakly enforced secrecy?" TV Guide's Jack Rodgers was glad "the writers aren’t jerking us around anymore, and the pair are finally busted when Jim hops a ride home with Pam after work."
Reviews for Michael in this episode were a little bit more mixed. Rick Porter said that "there was a little too much Bad Michael in the hour for my taste." Travis Fickett, of IGN, disagreed, saying that "the best stuff in the episode comes from Steve Carell. There's his reaction to hitting Meredith, how he breaks it to the office, and his fear that the office is cursed." Will Leitch, a writer for New York, said that Michael hitting Meredith with his car was "one of the most shocking moments in the show’s history" and "nothing that came afterwards could quite top what happened in the first 25 seconds."
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