It seems The Office has deemed us all admirable this holiday season, as the beloved NBC series has bestowed upon us the great lost film of Michael Scott, Threat Level Midnight. The full version of this gem of a home movie arrived this month, and in addition to offering us nearly 25 minutes of suspense and action-packed glory, the full version of Michael Scott's movie offers a few reveals and new tidbits to appreciate.
As The Office fans likely recall, Threat Level Midnight screened during an episode of Season 7. After three years of writing, one year of shooting, four years of re-shooting and two years of editing, Michael Scott's movie was finally ready for its audience. However, since the film was screened during an episode, there were snippets of the movie that were unseen by us, as the camera occasionally cut away for reactions from the Dunder Mifflin employees watching the movie in the conference room or reacting with their own behind-the-scenes facts. Now that we've finally seen the full version of Threat Level Midnight, a few missing pieces of the epic story have come to light. Here are some of the best reveals and additions...
How Michael Scarn's Wife Died
One of the earlier extended scenes we're treated to in Threat Level Midnight has Michael talking to the President about the villainous Goldenface's attempted assaults on all-star sporting events. The day Michael Scarn decided to take some personal time also happened to be the day of the WNBA All-Star game. And Scarn's wife just so happened to be playing in that game. If Michael Scarn hadn't been out running a 20k with his friend Robin Williams, he might've been there to stop Goldenface's attack.
The First Time Toby Patted Pam's Leg
Remember the awkwardness that ensued in Season 4's "Night Out," when Toby made a joke, Pam laughed and he responded by patting her knee, which created a moment of weird silence, which was broken by Toby's announcement that he was moving to Costa Rica, after which he bolted from the building, hopped the fence and ran home? As it turns out, that wasn't the first time Toby patted Pam's leg. During one of the hostage scenes in Threat Level Midnight, Toby casually and effortlessly removes one of his hands from his gold bindings and pats Pam's leg. She doesn't have any visible reaction to the gesture this time, even with Roy sitting right next to her.
It's probably safe to assume that the basement hostage scene of Threat Level Midnight was filmed before Season 4's "Night Out." After all, Roy is one of the hostages, and it's unlikely he would've been participating in Michael's movie after he and Pam split up. Plus, Pam's hair is tied back, which was pretty much her signature hairstyle before she and Jim got together. If that's correct, then this would've been the first time Toby's hand made contact with Pam's leg.
The Strangulation Scene Is Excruciatingly Long
This one is less of a reveal and more of an observation. In the "Threat Level Midnight" episode of The Office, the cameraman shows us mercy by cutting from the scene in which Michael Scarn strangles the medal-winning speed skater, played by Oscar, to the uncomfortable reactions of the staff watching the violent moment play out on the conference room TV. The uncut version isn't so generous, which leaves us to experience our own uncomfortable reactions as Scarn slowly strangles Speed Skater with the flag. It takes a while, with lots of kicking, grabbing and gasping on Oscar's part.
Tony Gardner is the Piano Player at the Funky Cat
In the "Threat Level Midnight" episode cut of the film, if you look closely enough at the man seated at the piano when Michael enters the Funky Cat (the hippest jazz club in town), you might be able to recognize the man playing piano before Michael Scott sits at the bench. The uncut version of the film reveals the identity of the piano player beyond a shadow of a doubt. Remember Tony Gardner? He worked at Dunder Mifflin Stamford, and then at Dunder Mifflin Scranton after the merge for about a day, before trying to quit due to his incompatibility with Michael's management style. Michael subsequently fired him for attempting to quit. Well, apparently, despite knowing him for only a day, Tony still managed to make a cameo in Michael's film.
Exactly when did Tony have time to appear in Michael's movie? Who knows. It wouldn't be entirely out of character for Michael to cast Tony after he left Dunder Mifflin for good. Especially considering the only exchange Michael Scarn has with Tony in the Funky Cat scene is to tell him to "Beat it, turd." To which Tony responds by thanking him and promptly exiting. Just as Michael isn't above having the last word twice, Tony might've actually been polite enough to accept the opportunity to be featured in the movie.
Meredith Plays a Man
Meredith somehow manages to get two parts in Threat Level Midnight. The first is a random appearance as a mustached man at the Funky Cat. Michael initially mistakes mustached Meredith for Jasmine Windsong before spotting Jan's character lounging on top of the piano.
Meredith's acting abilities are clearly so good that Michael had to cast her in a second role. She joins Phyllis, Angela and Karen as the bachelorettes at the bar.
The Bachelorettes Had More Lines
In "Threat Level Midnight," Karen's ridiculous bachelorette line is an opportunity for the camera crew to check in on Jim's old flame, who seems baffled that they would even care about her line in the movie, like a million years later. Little did we know that Phyllis, Meredith and Angela -- who all play bachelorettes as well -- had their own ridiculous lines to add to the scene.
The winning line of the three previously unaired responses has to go to Angela, who looks physically uncomfortable at having to utter the words, "Come and ride the choo-choo... the sex choo-choo."
Goldenface's Origin Story Is Explained
This whole time, we had no idea why Goldenface's face was gold... until now. As Jim Halpert's character explains to Pam's Sandra, he worked at a gold factory and they didn't get a lunch break, so he had to eat the gold. One day, he looked in the mirror and it turns out, you are what you eat. This bit of background information leads to the reveal that Goldenface is trying to blow up trophies so everyone would be gold like him.
"Judge Attapow" To Make A Movie About Michael Scarn
Near the end of the movie, while cooking breakfast and basking in the glow of his All-Stars trophy, Michael Scarn suggests to Samuel that someone should make a movie out of his adventure. Dwight's character is holding up a newspaper with the headline "Scarn Saves Day," under which is subtitled "Judge Attapow To Make Movie About Him." It's probably safe to assume that "Judge Attapow" is Michael Scott's misspelled attempt at a nod to Judd Apatow, the director and co-writer to The 40-Year-Old Virgin (which starred Steve Carell). It's a great little easter egg that didn't make it into the episode, but will live on in the uncut version of Threat Level Midnight... along with Michael's self-bleeped Lethal Weapon reference ("I'm getting too old for this BLEEP.")
The Threat Level Midnight Song Is Sung By Andy Bernard
Sharp-eared Office fans may have already guessed this one, but it's not officially credited in the "Threat Level Midnight" episode. That's because the closing credits don't actually appear over the song in the episode version of the film. This newly released cut does include credits, and apparently, in addition to playing Billy the Bartender, Ed Helms' Andy Bernard is also the voice we hear singing the "Threat Level Midnight" song at the end of the film. And if the style of music sounds familiar, the credits also include "Inspired by the music of Will Smith."
There's A Post Credits Scene
After the credits role, we're treated to a post-credits scene that'll seem very familiar to anyone who's seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Just as Ferris shows up at the end of his movie to ask viewers why they're still watching and tell them the movie's over and to go home, Michael Scarn appears after the credits of Threat Level Midnight to do the same. He's even wearing his own striped bathrobe. The awkwardness of the bit is doubled as Dwight's Samuel joins in on the gag, which goes on a few beats too long.
Apart from its nod to a beloved '80s movie, the post-credits scene does reveal is the the level setting for when things are ok. Threat Level Noon, obviously.
Bonus Item: A Change To The Intro And Michael Scarn's Wife
One thing that appears to be missing from the full Threat Level Midnight cut is Stanley's voiceover at the beginning of the movie, which features a series of newspaper and magazine clippings recapping the loss of Michael Scarn's wife, Catherine Zeta Jones. The actress, who only appears via the clippings in the original "Threat Level Midnight" episode, seems to have been omitted from this version of the movie. When Dwight's Samuel wakes Scarn up and tells Michael "It's Goldenface," he follows with "The man who killed..." And Michael quickly responds, "Don't say her name," presumably because he's too grief-stricken to hear it. But it's a slight adjustment from the scene from the episode, in which Dwight only says "It's Goldenface." and Michael responds, "Goldenface. This makes it personal."
Those are just some of the tidbits we spotted in Threat Level Midnight, but there are more great little moments and unseen or extended bits worth checking out.
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