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Story Notes:
So we were talking in the Discord about the reports that John Krasinski may play Reed Richards a few weeks back, and I thought “MCU… Michaelscott Cinematic Universe,” and it all happened so fast.

DISCLAIMER:
Well my name’s Michael Scarn, and I’m here to say, I’m about to read the disclaimer in a major way. You jump to the right, and you explain publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. You jump to the left, and you say the original characters and plot are the property of the author. You make new friends but aren’t associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise; you don’t infringe their copyright, and that’s how you don’t get sued.

We open in THE BREAK ROOM, where JIM, PAM, ANDY and ERIN are eating lunch together, looking for all the world like a pair of couples.

PAM:
Jim has zero interest, but he’s going to take me anyways, because he loves me.

JIM:
And also Kate Hudson.

PAM (without missing a beat):
And also Kate Hudson.

As they talk, GABE enters and pulls up a chair, awkwardly separating ERIN and ANDY. ERIN moves herself further from GABE than she needs to, and ends up oddly close to PAM, who Notices.

ANDY:
Heck yeah, Kate Hudson! (He holds up a hand for a high five, which JIM pointedly ignores.) Hot. *Tay.* You and me, Tuna? (Having realized he’s being left hanging, ANDY pretends he just had his hand up to… gesture broadly between the two of them. Yeah, that’s it.) Same page. Same wavelength. Same brain. (singing) Sooooooooooooul brothers.

JIM:
Maybe even soul *surfers.*

PAM snickers.

GABE:
What are you guys talking about?

PAM:
Movies we want to see.

JIM:
Or don’t.

GABE:
Hey, speaking of movies, Jim, what’s this I hear about you being part of the MCU?

JIM (lost):
I don’t… what?

GABE:
Yeah, Michael said something about it. I was confused too, but he seemed very sure.

PAM heaves a long-suffering sigh and exchanges a look with ERIN, who winces in sympathy.

We cut to the CONFERENCE ROOM for a talking head with PAM and ERIN.

PAM:
Technically, Jim *is* part of the MCU. (beat) The Michaelscott Cinematic Universe.

ERIN nods seriously.

PAM:
Michael keeps claiming he trademarked the phrase years before Marvel Comics did.

We shift to voice-over and cut to RECEPTION, where ERIN pulls a very overstuffed manila file folder from a drawer and smacks it down on her desk.

PAM:
The cease-and-desist letters from the attorneys of Stan Lee have not convinced him otherwise.

We jump to MICHAEL’S OFFICE for a talking head.

MICHAEL:
Oh, Jim is a staple of the MCU! I’m like Tim Burton and he’s like… (he takes a beat trying desperately to remember… oh, now he’s got it!) Helena Bonham Carter. He’s in both Scarn films of course. I couldn’t imagine doing the Scarn Nebulus without him. Goldenface is just an iconic villain.

We jump to an ABANDONED FACTORY set, which looks curiously similar to where the HOSTAGES were held in THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT, except with a few work safety posters added to the walls. MICHAEL enters in his MICHAEL SCARN suit, a gun in each hand, a gun strapped to his back, a gun on each hip and a gun clearly visible in his ankle holster. (He also has a gun in his suit jacket if you look closely enough.)

“SCARN” (looking around):
Hello? I’m looking for Deep Nose. He said he had information proving my wife Catherine Zeta-Scarn was still alive?

“GOLDENFACE” (off-camera, echoing):
You’re a fool, Scarn. There is no Deep Nose. And your wife is as dead as the day I killed her.

“SCARN” (toughly):
Goldenface. I knew it all along.

“GOLDENFACE” (emerging from the shadows):
Goldenface is dead, too. You blew him up. Now there is only… *THE GOLDEN TORCH.*

GOLDENFACE raises his arms, and terrible-looking CGI flames immerse his entire body.

We cut to the CONFERENCE ROOM, where an embarrassed-looking JIM is trying to explain himself in a talking head with a very amused PAM.

JIM (defensive):
Look, since Sabre started the commission cap, when Pam’s on sales calls I have *nothing* to do. And Michael almost exclusively films this stuff during work hours.

PAM (faux offended):
Because it’s an *employee morale* program, Jim!

JIM:
Just saying, it’s kind of a win-win!

PAM (and don’t forget those of us in the audience!):
Win.

JIM shoots her an annoyed look. PAM giggles.

We return to the talking head in MICHAEL’S OFFICE already in progress.

MICHAEL:
Jim also won the Best Supporting Actor Dundie for his work in “Chocolat.” My biopic of Newman Drake, inventor of the devil dog.

We jump to the DUNDER MIFFLIN PARKING LOT, where we find JIM and MICHAEL decked out in full period costume – top hats, tails, ruffled shirts, massive fake sideburns and ridiculous looking walrus mustaches. It should be noted that the mustaches are Santa’s beard white, and no effort has been made to match them to their hair. A horse and cart from DWIGHT’S FARM are visible off to the side to help further set the stage, although an eagle-eyed viewer can clearly see cars passing by on Slough Avenue in the background.

JIM (awkwardly puts his hands on MICHAEL’s shoulders):
Darn it, Newman. I know you’ve had to overcome your humble upbringing. I know you lost your fortune investing in those ridiculous horseless carriages. I know your wife left you because you were too much for her sexually. But I believe in you, sirrah. This country’s coming apart, and your vanilla crème sandwich with chocolate cake bread might be the only thing that can bring us all together again. You can’t stop. Even if the hounds of hell are standing in your way.

The camera zooms in on MICHAEL as he turns to look off into the distance and the orchestral music of inspiration striking swells, overly loudly.

MICHAEL:
…hell hounds, you say?

We jump to the CONFERENCE ROOM and rejoin JIM and PAM. JIM shakes his head.

PAM (giddy):
You were so cute as a Gilded Age gentleman, though!

We rejoin MICHAEL in HIS OFFICE as he continues to reminisce.

MICHAEL:
He played the world-class hacker known only as “Password” in my technothriller, “Net ‘Scape.”

We cut to RYAN’S DESK in the SUPPLY CLOSET. We’re looking down at JIM, dressed in all black and wearing thick nerd glasses, badly pretending to type very quickly on a computer. MICHAEL is awkwardly pacing in the small space behind him, wearing his MICHAEL SKIM costume, which looks a lot like MICHAEL SCARN, but SKIM has a fedora and the ankle gun is on his other leg so it’s a totally different character. This shot is taken from behind the computer screen, so we’re looking at JIM head-on, and is at a wildly awkward angle, almost as if the supply closet was not designed for shooting a movie.

JIM (dramatically hits one final key):
I’m in.

MICHAEL stops pacing, looks over at the computer screen and twitches.

JIM (deadpan):
Right now, they’re wide open and ripe for the plucking.

MICHAEL clenches his jaw, his fists, his eyes, really anything there is to be clenched.

JIM (a ghost of a smile):
If you do this fast enough, they won’t even notice you’re there.

MICHAEL (can’t hold it in any longer):
*THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.* (immediately, angrily) I’m sorry. I’m *sorry*. (He bangs a fist against the supply closet door in frustration with himself as Jim smirks straight to camera.) I promise, I can *do this.* (He sticks his tongue out and shakes his head rapidly, trying to clear his mind, then slaps himself across the cheek.) Okay, one more time. Ready? (Jim nods). Take 14, and… go.

We jump back to JIM and PAM in the conference room.

JIM:
Never completed.

We return to MICHAEL’S OFFICE.

MICHAEL:
And of course, the heart of Great Scott Productions is about giving back to our community with our training videos. I can’t tell you how many of those Jim’s been a part of.

We cut to the ANNEX, where JIM is holding up various pieces of paperwork while doing his jumping-up-and-down-in-place dance.

JIM (singing, to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa’s Let’s Talk About Sex):
Let’s talk about health, baby. Let’s pick a new PCP. Let’s talk about all the premiums and the co-pays you may see, let’s talk about health. Let’s select a health plan. A little this, a little that. Let’s talk about health. Let’s select a health plan.

We jump back to the CONFERENCE ROOM with JIM and a delighted PAM.

JIM (irritated):
Okay, *this* one I stand by. That video is extremely helpful.

PAM (having a ball):
Mostly because Toby edited the script and let me pass it off as my suggestions.

JIM (prepares to throw someone under the bus, turning to PAM):
You know, you’ve done your time in Michael’s movies, too.

PAM:
That’s true. But I’ve mostly stayed away from the MCU since our creative differences over his ice skating movie.

We cut to MICHAEL’S OFFICE. PAM storms in carrying clothes in a dry cleaning bag. She holds them up, revealing a black corset and very tiny shorts.

PAM (flatly):
I’m not wearing this.

PAM throws the costume on his desk, spins on her heel and exits.

We return to MICHAEL’S OFFICE for his talking head. He looks mournful.

MICHAEL:
Meredith was not a good understudy.

We cut to the BULLPEN, where PAM is filing through her desk.

PAM (uber-seriously):
Jim has also crossed over to the DC extended universe. (She finds and swiftly holds up her copy of “The Adventures of Jimmy Halpert” for the camera without breaking character.) Dwigt Comics, my personal house label.

We return to the CONFERENCE ROOM, for a solo talking head with JIM.

JIM (super excited):
There’s The Adventures of Jimmy Halpert, where I become Bear Man. Then in the sequel, Pam’s character gets bit by a radioactive panda at the zoo. And we end up trying to hide our secret identities from each other in “The Adventures of Bear Man and Panda Girl.”

This sentence is read in voice-over as we see a page from this new comic, a scene from the CARTOON HALPERT KITCHEN of CARTOON PAM exclaiming “*you’re* Bear Man?” while CARTOON JIM exclaims “*you’re* Panda Girl?” and CECE, in her high chair, makes a JIM-face directed at the reader.

We then cut to JIM and PAM in the breakroom, JIM excitedly flipping pages as PAM looks on proudly.

JIM (still in voiceover):
In the latest edition, we take on our new arch-nemesis Baron Von Beetshoven, who has all the superpowers of a beet, and his sidekick Crazy Cat Lady.

We return to JIM in the CONFERENCE ROOM.

JIM (pleased as punch):
Pam’s working on a new one now called “Bear Man LOVES Grizzly Girl.” It’s the story of our early years, but with bears! It’s… it’s all really great. (Heart eyes!) She’s so talented.

We cut to PAM, back at her desk.

PAM:
He said that? (She blushes.)

 

 

NETWORK NOTES: REJECTED. Again, *way* too long. And this seems like a *lot* of work for a pop culture acronym joke. Get it together, Paul.

Chapter End Notes:
As per usual I got too into the pop culture of my prime years here. To be clear: the movie they’re discussing seeing at the beginning is the 2011 hit Something Borrowed, a rom-com referenced in multiple fics by Agian18 that starred Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin (and featured John Krasinski as a guy pining for his best friend). Also hitting screens that spring was the trite and formulaic bio-drama Soul Surfer. If this actually ran in 2011, people would’ve gotten the reference. I promise.

Long before Michael memorialized the creation of the devil dog, Chocolat was a 2000 film starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. He does not realize he stole the title. (My research would also seem to indicate that devil dogs are basically a northeastern United States phenomenon, proving once again that y’all need to get on our level.)

Tim Burton famously uses Helena Bonham Carter in a lot of his movies, in no small part because they were married at the time this cold open is set. He also uses Johnny Depp a lot, which presumably is what Michael was thinking of when he started that sentence. Michael’s relationship with Johnny Depp is complicated. As is all of ours.

Pam’s issues with the costume in the ice skating movie are of course a reference to Jenna Fischer’s infamous outfit from Blades of Glory.


darjeelingandcoke is the author of 19 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Rejected Cold Opens. The previous story in the series is A Real Mensch. The next story in the series is Eight Letter Word, Astronomical Adjective.

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