Summer Viewing Club: “Initiation”

This is the 7th 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: Initiation
The theme: Ryan’s descent into Dunder Mifflin madness.
Ryan Howard came to Dunder Mifflin as a temp, and frankly liked it that way. He didn’t want to get too involved with activities, wasn’t too “eager to please” his boss, and was determined to never be known as “The Something Guy” around the office. But two years, a girlfriend, and a couple promotions later, Ryan is in deep and it’s starting to look like there’s no way out.

The Viewing List
The Fire (2.04): We learn a little bit about Ryan’s aspirations, and he earns a dreaded nickname from his coworkers.

Valentine’s Day (2.16): Ryan stupidly hooks up with Kelly the day before Valentine’s Day, and is already trying to get out.

Initiation (3.05): Dwight takes Ryan out on his first sales call, but there’s a short detour to the Schrute farm as Dwight expects Ryan to perform a series of bizarre tasks.

Business School (3.17): Michael thinks he’s going to Ryan’s business class as an honored guest, when in reality Ryan’s using Michael as an example of poor business practices. Michael finds out, and punishes Ryan accordingly.

Extra Credit
Branch Closing (3.07): Ryan thinks he’s finally found a way out of Dunder Mifflin and his relationship with Kelly, but is happier than one may expect when it’s revealed the Scranton branch isn’t closing.

Discussion Questions:
1. Why is Ryan such a poor salesman? What do you think he could learn from Michael in that regard?

2. What kept Ryan in his relationship with Kelly for so long?

3. Ryan seems to ride Jim’s coat tails a bit; wanting Katy’s number, making a play for Karen, and getting Jim’s old job and desk. Why does he do that?

4. Now that Ryan (presumably) has Jan’s old job, what do you think will be his first action as Michael’s boss?

Wow, I posted nice and early today, so you guys have plenty of time to fire up your DVDs and iTunes episodes and participate!

I welcome suggestions for what the theme of next week’s viewing club should be. I’m going out of town next Thursday, so I need to write the viewing club entry early if I do it at all. NBC keeps changing it, but right now they’re saying next week is reruns of “Back from Vacation” and “Michael’s Birthday”.

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One thought on “Summer Viewing Club: “Initiation”

  1. Aw, no love for the temp? Let me attempt to answer these:

    1. Michael was actually right (hey, it was bound to happen) Ryan is book-smart, but he just doesn’t have the people skills to be a good salesman. Also a good salesman believes in their company and in their customers, hence why Michael is so good. Ryan just can’t get himself to care.

    2. He must have just not wanted to face the possibility of working with Kelly post break-up (it probably wouldn’t have been pretty). Also, deep down I think he liked her and her attention.

    3. I was hoping one of you guys would answer this because I don’t know. I think part of him admires and perhaps envies Jim, not in job success, but rather in people skills. Jim’s the kind of guy that people genuinely want to be around, and Ryan might be hoping he can attain a little of that by mimicking Jim a bit.

    4. I think Ryan will be conducting Michael’s performance review . . . and he’s not gonna be as tolerant and Jan.

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