Some of The Office’s funniest moments over its nine seasons were subtle and this example, which Jenna Fischer said is her favorite ever on any TV show, is short but delivered comedy gold. During a recent Office Ladies podcast, the hosts discussed the funny exchange between Dwight and Michael that left Fischer giggling.
‘The Coup’ episode
During the June 10 Office Ladies episode, Fischer and her co-host Angela Kinsey discussed season 3 episode 3 “The Coup,” in which Jan discovers that Michael has “Movie Monday” that interrupts working hours with unnecessary entertainment.
In the episode, Angela convinces Dwight to go after Michael’s job and he arranges a secret meeting with Jan to campaign for the position. As a cover, Dwight lies and says he has to go to a dentist several hours away.
When Michael discovers Dwight’s plan, after Jan clues him in, telling him he needs better control over his employees, Michael tries to catch Dwight in his lie and, when he asks the dentist’s name, Dwight scrambles and comes up with “Crentist.”
The ‘Crentist Dentist’ scene is Fischer’s favorite
Fischer shared how this scene between Michael and Dwight is one of her favorite on the show and really, on any TV show. “This is one of my favorite all-time scenes of all time on any television show ever made ever. Crentist the Dentist,” she shared.
The scene plays out pretty simply, as Dwight tries to cover and Michael attempts to call him out for lying. Dwight has the perfect explanation, however.
Michael: Sounds like a good dentist.
Dwight: Oh yeah.
Michael: What’s his name?
Michael: Your dentist’s name is Crentist.
Michael: Huh. Sounds a lot like dentist.
Dwight: Maybe that’s why he became a dentist.
Michael then explains in a talking head interview, “Business is like a jungle. And I am like a tiger. And Dwight is like a monkey that stabs the tiger in the back with a stick. Does the tiger fire the monkey? Does the tiger transfer the monkey to another branch? Pun. There is no way of knowing what goes on inside the tiger’s head. We don’t have the technology.”
They didn’t improvise anything
Fans always want to know which bits the actors improvised on the show and, in this case, the exchange between Dwight and Michael was scripted, written by Paul Lieberstein. Fischer called Lieberstein a “genius,” calling the writing “perfection.”
Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight, agreed that the writing was solid. “Everyone talks about the Crentist scene as being so spectacular and I know that it’s some of the funniest writing… in all of The Office,” he said.
The actor also shared that the scene after between Michael and Dwight where they “play this chess game and Michael pretends to give up his position to Dwight is absolutely masterful and I think Steve is… he just kills it and it’s so subtle and underplayed.”
“This episode was so well written, I remember there’s some times it’s best to sit back and play the lines and have fun with them as much as possible and I think this was one of those,” Wilson explained. He credited Lieberstein’s writing, saying, that it would have been made worse by any improvisation, not better.