Grief Counseling (Season 3, Episode 4)
Pam Beesly, Ryan Howard and Kevin Malone
Michael has had his former boss, Ed Truck, die. He announces it to the office and Kelly wants to know if he’s ok. Sensing that he can get some attention, he invites anyone who wants, to console him in his office. After Creed lets Michael know about the nature of Ed’s death, he goes to Jan to look for answers. Continuing to sulk, everyone in the office looks to get Michael’s mind off the issue. Therefore, Michael calls a meeting in the conference room to get everyone’s feelings of death out in the open. Michael starts out and describes losing Ed. When Roy tries to get Pam out of the session, Michael (like the loving father of the family he is) waits until Pam gets back. Dwight gets the opportunity to express his feelings about the twin Dwight has “resorbed.” Stanley has the opportunity, but passes. Pam finally takes the reigns and explains about her aunt was the Hillary Swank character from Million Dollar Baby without letting Michael know. Ryan enthusiastically wants next as he describes the death of his cousin Mufasa, better known as The Lion King. Kevin begins to understand what is going on and he describes about how one “weekend” his uncle “Bernie” died.
Michael catches on to what is transpiring after Kevin describes Bernie’s death. Michael misses on veiled references to Million Dollar Baby and The Lion King, but whenever someone makes mention of Weekend at Bernie’s, nothing gets past. Michael asks if this is some kind of game (Phyllis mentions the inclusion of a ball) and tries to start over. No one wants to continue and many go back to work. This causes Toby to mention a bird that died running into the company door. Michael freaks and wants a funeral for the bird.
7 – Pam gets high marks for thinking up a character to a movie that Michael definitely hasn’t seen. Ryan skirts the line of Michael’s tastes with a kids movie from the 90s and Kevin goes too far and mentions a film that is, without a doubt, somewhere at Michael’s condo on DVD. Pam and Ryan do a great job of not breaking when describing the death circumstances. As for Kevin, not so much.
6 – For a minute there, I thought Michael would fall for Kevin’s death reference and say something along the lines of, “Wow. That sounds just like Weekend at Bernie’s,” and the fun could continue. Pam and Ryan keep things going for as long as possible to stall for time, so an extra point for effort.
Oh, So Close Award – Kevin’s reference was close to get Michael to believe it all and continue with the counseling. If not for a little giggling and too much emphasis on the words “weekend” and “Bernie,” it could have worked. At one point, you can even see Ryan realizing that Michael is going to figure out what is going on.