Comedy Central has decided to pull an episode of The Office, one of the most popular television comedies in modern history, from its rotation. During a weekend marathon of the show on Comedy Central, viewers noticed that the second episode of the series, ‘Diversity Day,’ was not included. The episode was the first to feature original writing, as the series pilot that aired before it was simply an adaptation of the British version of The Office.
In ‘Diversity Day,’ Michael (Steve Carell) attempts to imitate a popular Chris Rock comedy routine but instead offends his subordinates and causes the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin to undergo a racial diversity seminar. Despite the efforts of Mr. Brown (Larry Wilmore), a diversity trainer, Michael tries to take over the seminar and ultimately creates his own seminar. As expected, Michael’s views of racism and diversity are full of stereotypes.
This leads him to create an exercise in which the employees wear index cards with races or specific people of color on them, and other employees are supposed to say their impressions of whatever is on the card. Michael eventually begins talking to Kelly (Mindy Kaling), an Indian American who joins in on the exercise late and does not have a card. Regardless, Michael begins speaking to Kelly in a racist impression of an Indian person. Offended, Kelly slaps him in the face, embarrassing Michael and abruptly ending his version of diversity day.
The episode is largely praised as the beginning of what The Office would become, a cringe comedy that loves to use stereotypes to show the ignorance of several employees, but most especially the boss Michael.
If this is a sign of things to come, ‘Diversity Day’ is far from the only episode that could be on the chopping block. The Office routinely joked about sexual harassment, homophobia, racism, and sexism, so there is really no shortage of potentially controversial material to pull from.