This week on “The Office” we saw a murder mystery and the possible death of Dunder Mifflin and it all starts with an e-mail:
From: David Wallace
To: All Dunder Mifflin
I’m sure you’ve seen the item in the Journal. I just want to stress it’s all conjecture. If there’s any concrete news, you will know ASAP.
Michael thinks the message is referring to his “feelings journal,” which Erin has tucked away in his time capsule, but Pam quickly explains that it means The Wall Street Journal.
“Oh! The Wall,” says Michael.
Oscar quickly finds the article and starts reading only to find that the key information on Dunder Mifflin comes after the point where nonsubscribers have to pay $1.99 to read on. Michael is disappointed, but Jim offers up the money and they read: “… it is rumored that they will recommend declaring bankruptcy,” then proceed to freak out.
Always the voice of logic and reason, Oscar says “Bankruptcy could mean a lot of things. Maybe they’re just restructuring to get out of debt. Or it could mean the end of Dunder Mifflin.”
Co-managers Michael and Jim agree they need to do something to rally the troops, but couldn’t be further apart on what. Jim favors getting back to work, while Michael prefers distracting everyone with a murder mystery game called “Belles, Bourbon & Bullets”.
Of course Michael wins out and they all get into playing, complete with silly impersonations of southern accents, except for Oscar who later bursts in to say “I just got an e-mail from corporate — specifically to accounting — to stop all payments to our vendors.”
That puts a stop to the fun. Then we see Jim and Pam talking in his office.
“It’s going to be all right. We’re a good company. We’ll figure this out,” Jim tells her.
She gives him a long, blank, are-you-serious stare.
“We’re not going under,” he says.
Not so fast, Jim.
Erin announces a call from Dunder Mifflin corporate bigwig David Wallace. Michael refuses to answer except as his “Belles, Bourbon & Bullets” character, and then only if he is speaking to Sheriff Wallace. So Jim takes the call and hears, “It’s not good. We fully expect to be out of money by the end of the year — insolvent.”
The news shocks Jim onto Michael’s side, and the game goes on. He doesn’t tell anyone what Wallace said.
This looked to me like a more ridiculous, humorous version of a situation that has played out at more workplaces over the past couple of years than I care to think about. How awful to be faced with uncertainty over whether your company will continue to exist, insecurity over whether you will have a job at a time when there are few new jobs to be found. And how sad to have worked at a company for years and to first read about its possible demise in The Wall Street Journal.
Fortunately for the folks at Dunder Mifflin, the show must go on, so I’m sure they’ll be saved in the end, but what about those workers operating in the real world?
Have you faced this situation? Are you facing it now? How are you handling it? Are there ways to take your mind off of the worry? Share your stories here.
Missed out on what could be the beginning of the end for Dunder Mifflin? Catch the full episode free online.
Image credit, NBC