Michael Scott (Steve Carell) went on his own little survival mission on NBC’s “The Office” last night. His boss snubbed him by not inviting him to a camping retreat that all other branch managers were invited to, and instead invited Toby the branch HR Manager, who Michael hates. Michael announces that camping is supposed to be about being alone in the wilderness (or maybe with one other guy) and decides to spend a day or more roughing it in the woods. He explains that he had been watching Survivorman and was inspired by Les Stroud. He takes only what a person would have on them in an emergency situation, which was, of course, a large fixed blade, an entire roll of duct tape, a video camera, and a bag of what looked to me like roasted soy beans.
Dwight, his subordinate who provides him with the knife and duct tape, takes him into the PA wilderness and promises to leave him there alone, but instead stays out of sight with the camera crew (the show is a mock documentary/reality show, if you have never watched it) to offer moral support. Dwight says that he will let Michael be hurt, suffer, and die, but he will not let him lose his dignity, the one thing that Michael is constantly losing.
Michael decided it was hot, so he used his giant knife to cut off the legs of his pants right above the knee. While they were still on, of course. With a stabbing motion toward his leg to make the first cut, of course. He fashions a bandanna and kerchief of of the material to save himself from the sweltering sun of a highly shaded PA forest. Shortly thereafter he decides it is cold, so he uses what looks like half of the roll of duct tape to reattach the legs to his pants. Later he makes a shelter with some fallen trees and his suit loosely draped over the trees. He makes a “spear” by crudely sharpening a stick that was less straight than a boomerang. His survival ordeal ends when he finds some mushrooms by a tree and starts to eat them. Dwight runs out, tackles Michael, and pulls the mushrooms out of his mouth.
I think that one of the main reasons that the show is so popular and appeals to so many people is that while it is completely ridiculous, it is completely realistic at the same time. Anyone that has worked in an office has probably seen half of the situations that they lampoon on the show. Coworkers with zero tact, idiot bosses, ridiculous policies, inter-office romances, etc.
One of my previous jobs at a very large corporation had us watching orientation videos about inappropriate behavior that could have been episodes of “The Office.” Everyone laughed through the whole video and thought there was no way people would do things that stupid at work. Then you start working and see the stuff happen on a daily basis. I once had a coworker tell a customer that as long as he had a face, she had a place to sit. The he told her how nice her boobs were. I don’t remember exactly what he said after that, but it was something about tappin’ dat ass. This was a major retail store, mind you. I did not work in brothel or porn production company. I was so completely amazed that he said that to a woman he had just met that I just stood there with a slack jaw while she got flustered and ran off.
The orientation videos were made because people had really done these things and the company had been sued or someone had been fired. Taken piece by piece, “The Office” is straight out of any company in America. Taken as a whole, it is farcical.
The show usually sticks to office situations or situations related to the office. This episode took it a little further in that it was showing what an idiot would do in a survival situation in the middle of the woods. The sad part is that everything he did is the kind of stuff you read about in a news article about a lost hiker or on an episode of “I Should Be Dead” or whatever it is called. You think “who the hell would eat a mushroom when they don’t know if it is poisonous or not,” yet people do it all the time. Michael was just doing what the average person would do. The show is so funny because it is so true.