Garage Sale (The Office)

"Garage Sale" is the nineteenth episode of the seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office and the show's 145th episode overall. It originally aired on NBC in the United States on March 24, 2011.[1] The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by series cast member, Steve Carell. The episode marks Carell's third director's credit for the series and the final physical appearance of Amy Ryan, having appeared as a regular since "Classy Christmas".

"Garage Sale"
The Office episode
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 19
Directed bySteve Carell
Written byJon Vitti
Cinematography byMatt Sohn
Editing byDavid Rogers
Production code7019
Original air dateMarch 24, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Todd Packer"
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"Training Day"
The Office (American season 7)
List of The Office (American TV series) episodes

In the episode, Michael (Steve Carell) decides to propose to Holly (Amy Ryan), and runs into trouble thinking of how to do it well with his expensive diamond ring. He consults several coworkers on advice and for ideas on how to propose. Meanwhile, Dunder Mifflin Scranton's warehouse and crew hosts a public garage sale.

"Garage Sale" was met with critical acclaim by both television reviewers as well as fans. Furthermore, HitFix reviewer Alan Sepinwall wrote that the episode could have served as Carell's last episode. It is considered one of the best episodes of The Office. According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was viewed by more than 7 million viewers and received a 3.4 rating/10% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49 which marked a slight rise in the ratings from the previous episode, "Todd Packer".


Michael Scott (Steve Carell) decides to propose to Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), and runs into trouble thinking of how to do it in the most elaborate way possible with his expensive diamond ring (which cost what he believes is the traditional "three years' salary"). He pours gasoline in the parking lot in the shape of letters, planning to light them on fire and show it to Holly. Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer) stops it and gathers a meeting of Michael, herself, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak), and Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez). They believe Holly truly is "the one" for him and give him anecdotes and ideas. They are shocked at Michael's suggestion, particularly one where he throws a corpse dressed as him off the roof, and are stunned at his huge engagement ring. He calls Holly's father to ask his permission (although he leaves a message rather than speak to him personally). Holly catches onto the idea when she calls her parents herself, but she notices her parents seem mentally disoriented. She talks to Michael later and says she wants to move back to Colorado to be there for her dad, and Michael supports her decision. Holly seems to be gearing up for a proposal, but Michael abruptly leaves, not wanting to be proposed to in such a casual way.

Dunder Mifflin Scranton's warehouse and crew host a public garage sale. Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) attempts to walk away with the most expensive item by trading smaller items with his office mates beginning with a thumbtack (a reference to One red paperclip) and continuously trading up from table to table. One item on Jim and Pam's table that piques his interest is a packet of "miracle legumes." Jim claims he received them from a mysterious old man on vacation, and that they keep reappearing on his table whenever he puts them away. Dwight initially believes Jim is trying to prank him, but is astonished when they reappear after Jim had seemingly destroyed the packet. Eventually, his curiosity gets the better of him and he trades Jim a $150 telescope for the legumes. At the end of the episode, Dwight plants and waters the seeds and Jim secretly replaces the pots with full-grown plants.

Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson), and Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) play and bet on the Dallas board game, which Kevin had for sale. As the instruction booklet is not with the game, Andy and Darryl make up the rules as they go along; when Kevin objects, Andy simply claims "that's Dallas." Eventually, Kevin notices the money they had bet on the game is missing, and storms out. As Darryl and Andy look at each other in confusion, Kevin reveals to the cameras that he has the money, stating, "And that... is Dallas", mocking Andy's previous statement.

Michael takes Holly on a walk through the office, pointing out the locations of various events throughout their courtship. He opens the door to the kitchen, revealing all of the other employees holding candles. Various members of the office ask Holly if she will marry them (all part of Michael's plan) and she politely says no. Michael then leads Holly out to her desk, which is surrounded by dozens of candles. Michael gets down on his knee and begins to make a speech when the fire sprinklers go off due to the burning candles. The water drenches everyone in the office and Michael proposes. Holly accepts. Everyone then begins to congratulate Michael. However, Michael announces he is moving to Colorado with Holly, leaving his employees in shock.


Coupled with the fact that it was the start of Steve's departure and it was my own, yeah, there wasn't a dry eye in the house — literally, from the water pouring down on us and from our emotions. But it was a beautiful night ... We did it in two takes, but it took the crew quite a bit to vacuum up all the water with these big power vacs and reset everything as we stood by in robes, shivering.

Amy Ryan[2]

This episode was written by consulting producer Jon Vitti, his second writing credit of the series since joining the staff at the beginning of the seventh season. It was directed by series star Steve Carell, the third episode he has directed for the series. The episode marked Amy Ryan's last physical appearance on the series, although she did speak in "Goodbye, Michael".[2] Ryan later said in an interview with New York that "The script was so sweet anyway that it made us all have a good cry" especially adding the fact that it was her final appearance.[2] She also expressed her confidence that the series could survive without Carell and that it was the right move for him to leave.[2] Vitti later submitted the episode for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, but it was not nominated.[3]

Cultural referencesEdit

"Garage Sale" features several callbacks to previous episodes. Kevin's skills at poker were previously shown in "Casino Night".[4] Michael's St. Pauli Girl sign was previously shown in "Dinner Party".[5] Michael mentions when Toby left for Costa Rica from "Night Out".[5]



In its original American broadcast, "Garage Sale" was viewed by an estimated 7.07 million viewers and received a 3.4 rating/10% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49.[6] This means that it was seen by 3.4% of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 10% of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked a slight rise in the ratings from the previous episode, "Todd Packer", which received series lows.[7] The episode ranked second in its timeslot beating the Fox crime drama Bones, which was seen by 8.78 million households; and CBS coverage of NCAA basketball, which was seen by 6.82 million household; but it was defeated by the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, which was seen by an average 10.1 million households.[6]


This episode received critical acclaim and is considered one of the best Office episodes. HitFix reviewer Alan Sepinwall called it one of his "favorite Office episodes ever" and also called it one of the greatest romantic sitcom episodes of all-time. He also said the episode could have served as Carell's last episode, and praised "Garage Sale" for its multiple subplots, its exploration of the ensemble cast, and Jim's prank against Dwight.[8] Sepinwall named it one of the best TV episodes of 2011 for series that were not great the whole year and praised it for showcasing "the ridiculous and romantic sides of The Office". He also wrote that it gave Fischer and Krasinski their best material for the series in years.[9] Cindy White of IGN praised it for its mix of comedy and drama. She also complimented it for the showcase of the cast, ultimately giving the episode a 9/10.[5] James Poniewozik of Time said it "was unspectacular as an episode overall but did build to a delightful moment as Michael finally proposed to Holly", later naming it one of his honorable mentions for the top 10 TV episodes of 2011.[10][11]

The A.V. Club writer Myles McNutt called the episode a "spiritual successor to 'Casino Night', which remains one of my all-time favorite episodes of the series" for "turning what could feel like a gimmicky sitcom scenario into something that feels distinct to both the office [the characters] ... and The Office". He ultimately gave the episode an A-.[4] Kevin Fallon of The Atlantic compared the proposal to other television proposals on Friends, Cheers and Frasier.[12] New York writer Willer Paskin praised the writers for being adept at writing for romance.[13] Following the airing of the episode, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper issued a press release appointing Michael Scott to the position of Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources.[14] "Garage Sale" was voted the third-highest-rated out of 24 from the seventh season, according to an "Survivor" episode poll at the fansite OfficeTally.[15] It was later named the 20th-best episode of the series according to an episode poll by OfficeTally.[16] BuddyTV named the episode the 19th-best TV episode of 2011 and it was the only episode of the series to make the list.[17]


  1. ^ "The Office: Garage Sale". OfficeTally. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Chou, Jessica. "Amy Ryan Talks About Her Cold, Wet Proposal on The Office – Vulture". New York. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Office Emmy nominating ballot submissions". OfficeTally. June 13, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  4. ^ a b McNutt, Myles (March 25, 2011). ""Garage Sale" | The Office | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c White, Cindy (March 25, 2011). "The Office: "Garage Sale" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (March 25, 2011). "Thursday Final Ratings: "Private Practice," "Parks & Recreation," "30 Rock" Adjusted Down; "American Idol," "Grey's Anatomy," "Wipeout" Adjusted Up; Plus CBS NCAA Basketball Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 25, 2011). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy' Adjusted Up; 'The Office,' 'Outsourced,' and 'Private Practice' Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 28, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (March 25, 2011). "Review: 'The Office' – 'Garage Sale': More than decent proposal". HitFix. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  9. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (December 23, 2011). "Best of the Rest: 10 Great TV episodes from 2011". HitFix. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Poniewozik, James (March 25, 2011). "The Morning After: That's What She Said". Time. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  11. ^ Poniewozik, James (December 7, 2011). "The Top 10 TV Episodes of 2011: The Best and the Rest". Time. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  12. ^ "Great Proposals in Sitcom History, From 'Cheers' to 'The Office' – Kevin Fallon – Entertainment". The Atlantic. March 11, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Paskin, Willa. "The Office Recap: Marrying Me Will You Be? – Vulture". New York. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Gov. Hickenlooper appoints new Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources
  15. ^ "Survivor Poll: Season 7". OfficeTally. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  16. ^ "The Office All-Time Fan Favorite Poll, 2011". OfficeTally. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  17. ^ John Kubicek. "BuddyTV Slideshow | The 50 Best TV Episodes of 2011". BuddyTV. Retrieved December 23, 2011.

External linksEdit