Dear Office Fans, If you’re anything like me where you use Office quotes in your everyday dialogue, this blog is for you. Like all Office fans, (the ones who religiously watch the series on repeat or have it on for background noise) we have our favorite episodes. This is where you ask me, “Neil, which episode from the Office is your favorite?” I would say, “Season 3, Episode 23 otherwise known as ‘Beach Games’” This episode involves Michael Scott creatively searching for his replacement as manager of Scranton Branch when he is considered f for a corporate position Dunder Mifflin. He puts his salesmen to the test with a series of insane challenges. As an evaluation on whether or not someone has credentials to run a small company, you have to put on a sumo suit and battle to the death? Sign me up!
Another evaluation Michael has set up by his remarkably patient receptionist is a fire coal walk. Michael expects his replacement as manager to be fearless and thus we have this ridiculous challenge. This episode is my favorite out of the entire comedic collection. It’s the reason why we artists… individuals with a pipe dream should strive to be like the character, Dwight. Yes, you heard me correctly. We all should aspire to be like the “ignorant slut,” as he is referred to by his boss while demonstrating suicide in a previous episode. Dwight Schrute, as played by the inspirational Rainn Wilson, simply wants to be manager of the Scranton Branch and uses everyday as a blind intent of building himself up to earn the position. However, sometimes this intent makes him look like an absolute idiot which is partially the reason why we’re addicted to the show.
In ‘Beach Games’ we see Dwight declare to the entire staff that he will walk on the hot coals and shall be awarded the position by Michael without hesitation. In this scene, Dwight pushes Michael aside, walks barefoot on the red trail and stops (which you’re never supposed to do if you actually do a fire walk… Myth Busters proved this to be true). Dwight stands there burning his feet to a crisp and yells at Michael to, “GIVE ME THE JOB!” Eventually, Dwight falls and rolls on the hot coals to escape the pain. The scene cuts to Dwight covered in black ash with his feet wrapped up in bandages.
Laughter aside, when you watch this scene and see yourself as Dwight, you’ll understand why this episode is my favorite. I am symbolically Dwight, that young man who strives to accomplish his pipe dream and like the assistant ‘to the’ regional manager is willing to sacrifice his footing to obtain it. If you want to go further into this moment, Mr. Schrute shouting at his boss to award him, I do the same by taking meetings with producers and writing up contracts. At some point in our creative careers, we’re all like Dwight standing on hot coals and making fools of ourselves because it’s what we’re supposed to do.
Like Dwight, when we do something stupid in the pursuit of our dream, we can’t care what others think because that’s the only way we learning. It’s why our art is worth the thorns of life. The best quote I can give regarding this subject comes from a renowned local Atlanta artist who, during an art show found me looking at his work. I asked him how much it ran. He gave me a number which basically was the equivalent of how much my 2014 VW Passat cost which prompted me to ask him, “How do you get the point where your art is worth that much?” He said, “I’ve failed every which way possible.” Dwight is this example through and through. Whereas he would’ve taken it in the past, by the end of the series Dwight learns from his mistakes and matures to the point where he earns a promotion to his goal.
If anything, I think Dwight’s purpose within the entire series goes beyond the surface level of brownnosing jokes. The character of Dwight is a manifestation of how someone matures when they decide to dedicate themselves to the highest level of persistence… and whatever other business 101 attributes you can assign to an individual seeking success via their goal. So, next time Netflix asks you if you’re still watching The Office and you select ‘um…yes,’ take some notes while you chuckle.