Summer Viewing Club: “The Coup”

This is the 2nd installment of my “viewing club” series. Each week, whatever rerun NBC airs, I will suggest 2 or 3 episodes with the same “theme” and post some discussion questions.

This week’s rerun: The Coup
The theme: Dwight’s Power Trips
Jim once marveled at how the tiniest bit of power goes immediately to Dwight’s head, but despite Dwight’s dictator-like aspirations, he loves rules and authority (as in following authority). Is Dwight really a leader, or does he just want to be someone’s #2?

The Viewing List:
Health Care (1.03): Michael hands the unpopular task of picking a new health plan off to Dwight. Dwight approaches the task with the veracity of, say, a lion, but few employees are actually taking him seriously.
Dwight’s Speech (2.17): Dwight is nervous about giving his “Top Salesman” speech at a convention, but with tips from Jim, and a few talking points from a certain Italian dictator, he ends up giving an oddly rousing address.
The Coup (3.03): With Angela’s backing, Dwight attempts to “overthrow” Michael as regional manager, but once Jan tips Michael off to Dwight’s intentions, he’s forced to reassert his authority (but not before messing with Dwight a bit).
The Job (3.24/25): We catch a glimpse of what Dwight would be like as Regional Manager; including what incentives he’d use, his decorating choices, and who he would really pick to be his “number 2”. Also note the “Hotel Hell” banter between Dwight and Jim.

Discussion Questions:

(a little OT, but) 1. Why is Dwight such a good salesman?

2. Why does Dwight want to be a leader when he’s such a good “follower” (very loyal, loves to follow the rules and obey authority). Does he even really want to be a “leader”?

3. How has being with Angela affected Dwight’s hunger for power?

4. Michael and Angela are hanging off a cliff and Dwight only has time to save one. Who does Dwight save?*

5. Let say somehow Michael did get the corporate job, and Dwight was the new regional manager (and everyone else is staying). Which 5 employees would Dwight fire first and why?

*note on #4: you can say “both” if you want, but only if you explain how Dwight would use his superior Schrute-genes to save them both.

Have fun answering the questions, or just thinking about them as you watch some “Office.” I’ll post my own answers probably on Sunday.

And feel free to post theme suggestions for next week’s viewing club. Next week’s rerun is “Grief Counseling” (and I could definitely use some help).

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4 thoughts on “Summer Viewing Club: “The Coup”

  1. 1. Why is Dwight such a good salesman?

    I’ve always wondered this. I think that people decide to buy from him so he’ll get off their backs. Heh.

    2. Why does Dwight want to be a leader when he’s such a good “follower” (very loyal, loves to follow the rules and obey authority). Does he even really want to be a “leader”?

    In terms of wanting leadership in the office, I think it could be viewed more as Dwight wanting to be like Michael — not so much wanting to be a leader. In “Health Care” when he’s given the task of picking a healthcare plan, he jumps at the challenge because it’s Michael who gives it to him. He’s such a good Michael-follower, I’m not sure if he really does want to be a leader. At least in Scranton. Maybe he would at Staples.

    3. How has being with Angela affected Dwight’s hunger for power?

    It’s made him act on his hunger even more. I think Angela would love to be the ‘First Lady’ of the Scranton branch, so she pushes Dwight to try and reform the poorly run office, resulting in his quest for power over the branch.

    4. Michael and Angela are hanging off a cliff and Dwight only has time to save one. Who does Dwight save?

    He saves both. He would lodge his foot in between some rocks to steady himself as he leans over the edge of the cliff to pull Michael and Angela back to safety. Due to the fact that he has the strength of a grown man and a little baby, he’d use his grown-man strength in one arm to save Michael, and his little-baby strength in the other arm to save Angela (she’s petite and weighs very little). And let’s not forget that he has superior balance & agility from eating beets (okay, not a scientific fact, but it sounds like something Dwight would make up).

    5. Let’s say somehow Michael did get the corporate job, and Dwight was the new regional manager (and everyone else is staying). Which 5 employees would Dwight fire first and why?

    This was tough, but here’s who I think he’d pick…along with Dwight’s reasons. I didn’t include Andy because, although Dwight hated him earlier in S3, Andy’s become somewhat of an ally to him.

    (a) KEVIN – He’s worthless and spends all day eating M&Ms.
    (b) KELLY – Because Angela wants her gone.
    (c) CREED – The office has enough weirdos.
    (d) RYAN – It wasn’t the Lone Ranger and Tonto…and Bonto.
    (e) STANLEY – He’d probably leave of his own accord, not wanting to report to Dwight (so does that still count?).

    POSSIBLE THEME FOR NEXT WEEK:
    Michael’s fear of being the boss everyone hates — Related episodes include “Halloween”, “Performance Review” and “The Carpet”. And probably many others that I can’t think of at the moment.

  2. 1. Why is Dwight such a good salesman?

    Good question. He always seems to do such a great job. He gives a lot of information and really knows everything there is to know about the company. Like when Dwight told Andy to forget about his personal history and learn the history of the company: that really shows how important his job and therefore, Dunder Mifflin really mean to him. Actually, it’s always kind of surprised me that Dwight was so good at making sales b/c he wasn’t very personable to the customers/clients and you would think that would be important rather than analytical, cold communication (Jim vs. Dwight in this respect). Eh, i don’t know =/

    2. Why does Dwight want to be a leader when he’s such a good “follower” (very loyal, loves to follow the rules and obey authority). Does he even really want to be a “leader”?

    I think Dwight knows he’s good at what he does and knows he’s a great number two. But i think it’s the idea of being a leader that is so intoxicating to him. He’s got a very dominating personality. Even though he’s below Michael he still feels that he’s above everyone else (when he’s not) and so, even if he never becomes the Regional Manager of DM, he still seems to love his position (above everyone else) and still loves his job and the company. Outside of The Coup, Dwight usually takes power as the “leader” when Michael allows him to be or gives him permission to do so like in Health Care and The Job. His dominating personality isn’t helped much by Michael giving him such authority all the time either, ha ha ^^;; And my answer seems like a complete mess…oh well =P

    3. How has being with Angela affected Dwight’s hunger for power?

    I don’t think it has. Dwight was dominating in Health Care and still is now. The only thing that’s changed is that he has an ally in Angela. If there IS anything that’s changed come his relationship w/ Angela, it’s the fact that he may feel more comfortable taking charge b/c he KNOWS that she’ll support him no matter what. But i don’t think much has changed. I DO think that she pushes him more to become a leader (like in The Coup) when, really, it looks like he is content just where he is: as Michael’s number two.

    4. Michael and Angela are hanging off a cliff and Dwight only has time to save one. Who does Dwight save?

    Dang. That’s tough b/c he’s in love w/ them both. If Angela convinced Dwight that, if he were to let Michael fall, he would be able to be Regional Manager of Scranton, then he would probably just save Angela. Oh, F, he’d probably save both. He would just save them one at a time. He would save Angela first–she’s easier to lift and shouldn’t be a problem–and then he’d save Michael, who would hopefully be strong enough to hang on while Dwight lifted all of Angela’s 90 lbs to safety. Not creative, but eh ^^;;

    5. Let say somehow Michael did get the corporate job, and Dwight was the new regional manager (and everyone else is staying). Which 5 employees would Dwight fire first and why?

    In no specific order…

    1. Jim: He’s Dwight’s ultimate nemesis. Dwight’s been wanting to fire Jim’s ass for the longest time. Although…he might want to keep him around to torture Jim if the Hell bed and breakfast conversation was any indication…
    2. Kelly: Angela would ask Dwight to do this and, of course, he would. Plus, he despises Kelly just as much as Angela.
    3. Phyllis: Just b/c he has always been mean to her and i figure Dwight would eventually get rid of her, though he wouldn’t have any good reason to.
    4. Kevin: He doesn’t seem productive enough for Dwight.
    5. Oscar: Probably out of discrimination b/c Oscar’s gay. Yeah, that sounds like Dwight =P

    Ideas for Grief Counseling/next week’s viewing club:
    -Michael’s humanity. It went from wanting people to appreciate him as their boss to not wanting to die alone. He’s lonely and the whole situation just brought out more of a human side to Michael (like when he was tearing up at the bird’s funeral and Pam’s speech). Some episodes to include could be Halloween (at the end w/ the kids), Take Your Daughter To Work Day (his interaction w/ Sasha and his wanting to have a family of his own), Office Olympics (when he was tearing up during the closing ceremonies–everyone appreciated him there), etc.

    -Michael and Pam’s friendship. You could suggest episodes like Business School (w/ Pam’s art show), Women’s Appreciation (maybe…kind of stretching that one b/c all the women helped him =/), Diwali (when Pam tried to console Michael even though he ended up screwing that heartfelt moment w/ his kissing attempt =P), etc.

  3. 2. Why does Dwight want to be a leader when he’s such a good “follower” (very loyal, loves to follow the rules and obey authority). Does he even really want to be a “leader”?

    I think that Dwight thinks he wants to be a leader, but if he actually got into the position for long enough, he would soon miss being approved of by authority. He admires leaders an almost ludicrous amount, and so he fools himself into thinking he would want to be one himself.

    3. How has being with Angela affected Dwight’s hunger for power?

    Dwight somehow manages to bring things back to an evolutionary basis quite often. I think that he sees Angela as more of a “mate” than a girlfriend. If he isn’t the male figure that he should be for his mate, than he has failed, and so he has been working harder to be that alpha male that she is (clearly) attracted to.

    4. Michael and Angela are hanging off a cliff and Dwight only has time to save one. Who does Dwight save?*

    Angela. He’s his woman. He would probably think long and hard about it, though, and in the meantime they would have fallen to their deaths.

  4. Can I say I’m very impressed with the answers on this SVC, I don’t really know if I have anything really great to offer:

    1. Why is Dwight such a good salesman?
    I admit I asked this question because I really don’t know or understand why. Like Kris said, he’s not personable at all, it might be what Kat said, they’ll buy from him so he’ll leave them alone.
    However, it might be because his customers know he’s fiercely loyal to Dunder Mifflin and to them that he sells so much.

    2. Why does Dwight want to be a leader when he’s such a good “follower”. Does he even really want to be a “leader”?
    I think you guys covered it really well, he like the idea of power, but he also wants to be approved by an authority figure. I don’t think he truly wants to be the head guy of anything.

    3. How has being with Angela affected Dwight’s hunger for power?
    I think it makes him more hungry, since ever since they’ve been together he asserts his authority to please her (chewing out Meredith’s son in TYDTWD, going for Michael’s job in The Coup, starting the Christmas party without Michael’s permission in Benihana Christmas)

    4. Michael and Angela are hanging off a cliff and Dwight only has time to save one. Who does Dwight save?
    I don’t think I can top Kat’s answer . .

    5. Let say somehow Michael did get the corporate job, and Dwight was the new regional manager (and everyone else is staying). Which 5 employees would Dwight fire first and why?

    1. Jim – He’s pretty much wanted to do it since the beginning
    2. Kelly – because that’s Angela’s choice
    3. Oscar – neither Dwight nor Angela approve of Oscar’s sexuality, but they’re would of course cover it up by saying there’s too many accountants
    4. Creed – too creepy to keep around
    5. Stanley – Kat, I agree he would just leave on his own accord.

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