The Office (S02E9): “Email Surveillance

Michael goes to his improv class, the teacher asks for volunteers and Michael is the first to raise his hand, and he shouts something like:

“Mr Cartair! Mr Cartair!”

What is he actually saying, and what is it a reference to?

1 Answer 1


He's emulating a line from a tv show, Welcome Back, Kotter so what he is actually saying is "Mr Kotter, Mr Kotter".

Michael: [In Horshack voice from 'Welcome Back, Kotter'] Ooo Ooo Ooo Ooo, Mr. Cart-air, Mr. Cart-air.

Read more in the transcript.

  • 4
    Of course, Welcome Back, Kotter takes place in NYC, so Horshack has a strong NY accent so it's more "Mista Kah-tah, Mista Kah-tah" New Yawkas tend to drop their rs
    – FreeMan
    Feb 8 at 13:15
  • 2
    @FreeMan There were a number of New York accents exhibited in that show. Barbarino's Italian-American accent is quite different from Horshack's (his ethnicity is ambiguous).
    – Barmar
    Feb 8 at 15:45
  • I think Horshack is somewhat generically from The Bronx (as is my mom & family), but... it's been a few moons since I last watched the show, so I can't say for certain.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 8 at 15:57
  • 2
    I always thought it was Washington who, with a heavy NYC "jive" accent would say "Mister Kot-taire!" imdb.com/title/tt0072582/characters/nm0385320?ref_=tt_cl_c_7 Feb 8 at 17:58
  • 1
    I'll also add that this is right in Michael's wheelhouse of rather dated references to 70's and 80's TV, alongside his other references to Sanford & Son, "Where's the beef?", and classic SNL sketches. Feb 9 at 15:00

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