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The Office Fans Wish Jack Black's Mrs. Albert Hannaday Was A Real Movie

"The Office" has dozens of iconic episodes, many of which have received 9+ star ratings on IMDb and continue to be rewatched over and over again by the horde of fans who endlessly adore the NBC cult classic. One of the show's greatest episodes of all time, though, definitely has to be "Stress Relief." The two-parter comes midway through Season 5, and as many fondly remember, aired on February 1, 2009, right after the Super Bowl.

The installment opens with Dwight's (Rainn Wilson) memorably chaotic fire drill, the repercussions of which carry right into the episode proper. We see Stanley (Leslie David Baker) try in vain to manage his stress in the wake of a heart attack. Michael (Steve Carell) realizes how much anxiety he creates for his employees, throws a roast at his own expense, and is emotionally devastated by the vitriolic insults he receives from his staff. Eventually, the boss counterattacks with his own rapid-fire roast of the office, leaving everyone in hysterics.

"Stress Relief" has all of the iconic "Office" staples. In fact, it's so complete many fans think it's the perfect way for newbies to get hooked on the show. While all of the attention is generally focused on Dwight, Stanley, and Michael, though, there's one quiet side story that plays out in the background that's also worth its metaphorical weight in gold. We're talking about the movie within a movie, "Mrs. Albert Hannaday."

Mrs. Albert Hannaday is an interesting bit of Office Trivia

"Mrs. Albert Hannaday" is a movie that was created within the confines of "The Office" universe. Viewers get to see bits and pieces of the film throughout the "Stress Relief" episode via Andy's (Ed Helms), Pam's (Jenna Fischer), and Jim's (John Krasinski) pirated viewing on the Nard-Dog's laptop. The movie is an unsettlingly erotic star-studded drama that includes guest appearances from Jack Black, Cloris Leachman, and Jessica Alba.

When the story begins, Sam and Sophie (played by Black and Alba, respectively) are a couple visiting the latter's grandmother, Lily (Leachman). Through the broken pieces of the story that we see, Sam eventually falls in love with Lily in a comically discomforting May-December relationship. Sam lies to Lily in an unseen part of the movie, leading to the elderly woman leaving him. The last thing we see (in the full version of the episode, at least) is a broken-hearted Sam witnessing Lily moving on to another man.

Throughout the viewing, Pam and Jim use the context of the film to flesh out their feelings regarding Pam's parent's crumbling marriage. Andy, who's on the outside of the conversation, looking in, starts to think his coworkers are movie critic masterminds. The entire scenario is amusing and impressively complex, considering it isn't even the main story. In fact, the creative team pulls off "Mrs. Albert Hannaday" so well that it's an in-universe movie many fans wish they could see in its entirety.

Multiple fans wish Mrs. Albert Hannaday was a real film

When a Reddit feed popped up about the best movies within a movie, several "Office" fans jumped into the conversation clamoring for a full-length feature of the Jack Black, Cloris Leachman romance. For example, u/Impossible-Site-505 said, "TV Show – but I still can't believe we will never be able to watch 'Mrs. Albert Hannaday' starring Jack Black and Cloris Leachman." u/omc_23 also gently reminded readers of the romance flick, saying, "Let us not also forget Jack Black's award winning performance in the romance Albert Hannaday, from The Office." Meanwhile, u/AccomplishedAd1912 drove home the point with the perfect critical summary: "Mrs. Albert Hannaday is a cinematic masterpiece."

Clearly, there's a strong desire from the fandom to see the awkward yet clever, well-acted movie play out over the course of a couple of hours rather than a couple of minutes. It's also worth pointing out that, while a completely different film, Jack Black did end up starring in "Bernie" — a movie that focuses on another potentially taboo relationship between a young man and a much older woman — a few years later. 

But alas, a proper viewing of "Mrs. Albert Hannaday" is one cinematic experience viewers don't have much hope of ever seeing.

Another Office candidate for best movie in a movie

"Mrs. Albert Hannaday" isn't the only fictitious "Office" movie-in-a-series that was brought up in the popular Reddit feed. Following u/Impossible-Site-505's comment, user Opeace adds that "If we're counting that, it has to compete with 'Threat Level Midnight' as well." 

And we gotta say, the point is hard to argue with.

"Hannaday" has a lot of things going for it. The movie is presented in a way that draws viewers in on its own merits while still moving the show's larger plot forward. It also features some really fun guest appearances. But taken as a whole, it's hard to say that the moody May-December rom-com is genuinely better than Michael Scott's finest cinematic achievement. After all, the background for "Threat Level Midnight" was laid all the way back in Season 2, when Pam finds the script for the then-unfilmed movie. Fast forward to Season 7, and the entire thing has been completed and turned into a bonafide homemade action flick starring practically all of the show's characters over the years. 

It's a different experience from "Hannaday," to be sure, but certainly one that is worthy of "best movie within a movie" consideration, as well.