Summer Viewing Club: “Grief Counseling”

This is the 3rd 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.

Michael upsetThis week’s rerun: Grief Counseling
The theme: Michael facing serious life issues
Michael is a goofy, quirky guy who never seems to take anything seriously. So it’s no surprise that when faced with more serious issues, he’s never quite sure how to handle himself (other than to try to bring attention to himself).

The Viewing List
The Injury (2.12): After Michael injures himself (in, of course, an extremely ridiculous way), he tries to extract sympathy from his employees, and distracts from Dwight, who has the real injury.
Michael’s Birthday (2.19): Michael is unsure what to do when the staff is much more concerned about Kevin’s possible medical condition than Michael’s birthday celebrations.
Grief Counseling (3.04): When former Regional Manager Ed Truck dies, Michael is beside himself with grief (at least when Kelly suggests he should be), and doesn’t quite understand why the staff isn’t as upset as him.

Extra Credit
Branch Closing (3.07): Watch Michael fall apart when he tells everyone the branch is closing
A Benihana Christmas Part 1 (3.10): Michael is dumped and takes it out on everyone

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think Michael is so awkward when faced with serious situations?

2. Think about Michael’s level of compassion for others now (end of 3rd season) verses 1st season/early 2nd season. Do you think he has more, less, or the same amount of compassion? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

3. How do you think Michael would act if he was ever actually seriously injured?

4. A current employee at Dunder Mifflin Scranton has passed away, and Michael is giving the eulogy. Choose the unfortunate employee and write what Michael would say about him or her.

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

I want to thank everyone for their suggestions here and on LiveJournal. This was kind of a tough week to come up to a theme. I also have some great ideas for future weeks. Next week is a rerun of Phyllis’ Wedding (on Monday) and Diwali, and I have an idea of the theme, but I still welcome suggestions.

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4 thoughts on “Summer Viewing Club: “Grief Counseling”

  1. I hope everyone is on vacation, otherwise, I lost my summer viewing club audience much faster than I expected. Anyway, I’m going to answer, and I wanted to let everyone know there isn’t really an expiration date on these discussion questions, so if you still want to answer a few weeks later, that’s cool.
    1. Why do you think Michael is so awkward when faced with serious situations?
    I have this vision of Michael’s mother codding a young Michael to the extreme, making a big deal out of his issues and protecting him too well from real issues.

    2. Think about Michael’s level of compassion for others now (end of 3rd season) verses 1st season/early 2nd season. Do you think he has more, less, or the same amount of compassion?
    If I don’t count the 1st season (since I think the writers copying the UK version more and Michael was a lot more like David Brent) then I would say about the same. Sometimes I think his compassion is growing, but then he’ll have an extremely self-centered moment.

    3. How do you think Michael would act if he was ever actually seriously injured?
    I actually think he would be pretty serious, and won’t milk everyone for pity like he did with his foreman injury.

    4. A current employee at Dunder Mifflin Scranton has passed away, and Michael is giving the eulogy. Choose the unfortunate employee and write what Michael would say about him or her.
    Michael: Pam was a beautiful soul. Beautiful girl. One night she was at work late, and I was at work late. There was a thunderstorm outside, and we just [deep breath, and a smile] just gave into our desires.
    Pam’s Ghost: Oh my God, you are such a liar!

  2. 1. Why do you think Michael is so awkward when faced with serious situations?

    I think because he is always trying so hard to be funny so he can be more of a friend in the office and so he is always just showing that side. I think when something serious happens he is so awkward because he never shows any other emotions to the office.

    2. Think about Michael’s level of compassion for others now (end of 3rd season) verses 1st season/early 2nd season. Do you think he has more, less, or the same amount of compassion? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

    About the same, he just hols it back kind of. But I think it peeks out equally.

    3. How do you think Michael would act if he was ever actually seriously injured?

    I think he wouldn’t be as attention hungry as he was in the injury, and I actually think he would keep his spirits up and make the best of the situation.

    4. A current employee at Dunder Mifflin Scranton has passed away, and Michael is giving the eulogy. Choose the unfortunate employee and write what Michael would say about him or her.

    Ryan. Michael would talk about how hot he was and how he should have reproduced to pass on such good genes. or something.

  3. 1. Why do you think Michael is so awkward when faced with serious situations?

    He has no coping mechanism when the situation is too serious for jokes. He’s only prepared for things he can attempt to make people laugh about. Serious situations affect this side of his emotional personality that he doesn’t often tread into. It’s hilarious to watch him trying to put himself into a serious mode, because he knows he should & because the cameras are watching, without really understanding why he’s doing it.

    2. Think about Michael’s level of compassion for others now (end of 3rd season) verses 1st season/early 2nd season. Do you think he has more, less, or the same amount of compassion? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

    I think it’s both. On one hand, he’s acting more compassionate, and beginning to understand where compassion is due. On the other, he’s still unsure about how to go about it and why it’s important.

  4. I just wanted to say Rhiannon you’re pretty awesome for answering 4 of these SVCs in one night, I hope you’re planning to come back for the rest.

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