Novak made his directorial debut with the 2009 episode in which Michael Scott had to explain to a group of 15 high schoolers why he couldn't fulfill his promise, made 10 years earlier, to pay to put them through college. Instead, he gave them lithium laptop batteries. On the latest episode of Office Ladies, Novak said he had no idea the episode would be so cringeworthy. "I think it's a sign of how deep into the show I was, or we all were, that we did not have a foot in the real world. Not that that was an unrealistic episode...that's exactly what Michael would do," he said, according to Mashable. "That's exactly what Michael would feel. I also think that we can talk about it creatively. It makes a lot of sense to me. I don't know if people are responding to — it seems like no one's responding to it saying, 'It's a bad episode' or 'Michael wouldn't do that.' It's more just like, 'It's so hard to watch.' So it is consistent, I think, with the show."