Goodbye, Michael — Goodbye ENGL 1102
As my career within the English department in the University of Georgia draws to a close, and since this ENGL 1102 class was focused on the analysis of comedy, I decided it was adequate to honor this closing in my life by analyzing the episode “Goodbye, Michael” of the greatest TV show of all time, The Office. In this episode Michael is shown having his last moments in Dunder Mifflin, the Scranton branch, since he will be moving to Colorado with his girlfriend, Holly Fax. For this episode, I will expose the last interaction Michael has with each of his employees and what the meaning behind them. He gives one of his toys or artifacts he has around the office to them so that they will remember him forever.
Dwight is Michael’s right hand. He is the Assistant Regional manager, and although it might not seem like it sometimes, Michael really appreciates everything Dwight does for him. That is why as his going-away-present, Michael wrote a very impressive and positive letter of recommendation for Dwight. He describes Dwight as superlative and/or supreme. Also, he challenges Dwight to a paintball match behind the warehouse. This definitely left a mark on Dwight and is greatly appreciated by him.
Jim is the smart one here. It turns out, Michael had been telling everybody that he was going to leave “tomorrow,” but in reality he was leaving that same day of the goodbyes. Jim was the one who noticed this and confronted Michael about it. They both got extremely emotional, but Jim reassured Michael that he was making the right decision. Michael needed to hear that. He needed to be sure that his time at Dunder Mifflin was over and that it is time for him to move on to better things ahead.
Pam and Michael also had a very emotional goodbye. During the day, Pam was out of the office looking for a shredder to buy, therefore Michael didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. However, she knew that it was Michael’s last day, so she actually went straight to the airport to say goodbye to Michael. The scene was recorded with no audio since Michael had already taken off his microphone, but there was a lot of hugging and some tears going on, so we can guess it was pretty emotional. After all, Pam and Michael also had a very close and unique relationship.
Andy gets the best gift of all, according to the other salesmen. Andy Bernard is known for being the worst salesman, he has the lowest sales records out of all the salesmen. However, according to Michael, all Andy needs is confidence and somebody to believe in him, which is why he gives Andy his 10 most important client accounts of all. When he presents this gift, Andy himself knows this is a bad idea. Although it seems irrational, the fact that Michael trusts Andy says a lot about him. Let’s just hope Michael was right and Andy does not lose the clients.
Andy: You know I’m the worst salesman here, right?
Michael: But you’re the best salesman on the inside.
Andy: I’m gonna lose ‘em.
Michael: You’re not going to lose them.
Andy: I promise you that I will.
Michael: Just do your best. I have faith in you.
Darryl, who has been promoted to manager, gets from Michael the only copy of “Somehow I Manage.” Unfinished. This book was started by Michael in order to offer insight into how to be a great manager. So far, it consists of one chapter titled “Gum,” and in it only one sentence: ‘Everybody likes the guy who offers them a stick of gum.’ Now it is up to Darryl to continue all the hard work Michael has put into it. Michael has one last wish to ask for form Darryl: to use the baler. The answer, of course, a no.
Ryan has always been one of Michael’s “favorites.” As his going away present, he gives Ryan his ‘St. Pauli Girl’ neon beer sign, hung up on his closet/“office.” However, Ryan considers this to be “totally unnecessary.” Well said, Ryan.
Gabe Lewis/Meredith Palmer/ Creed Bratton
Michael: Whether you’re scared of dying, or dying alone or dying drunk in a ditch, don’t be. It’s going to be okay.
Michael to the camera: Yeah I was tripling up. There’s not enough time in the day to have a special moment with everybody.
Keeping it short and sweet.
Oscar is very smart, and “he has a gigantic education.” Michael thinks of Oscar as a scarecrow because he gave him a brain, which is why he made Oscar a (very ugly) rag-doll. Oscar pretends to like this rag-doll, but Michael knows how ugly it is, it was meant as a joke. Now Michael understands that Oscar “has the lowest opinion of him, of anybody.” The typical, jokester Michael comes to light, once again.
Michael has never really liked Toby — at all. (Refer to picture above). However, during his last day at Dunder Mifflin, he makes an effor to go talk to him and spend a few minutes wiht him. Turns out, Toby actually has a brother who lives in Boulder, Colorado, which is the city Michael is moving to! The irony in this is amazing. The one person Michael is happy to get away from, actually has a tie to Michael’s future plans. A for effort, right Michael?
At the time of the last goodbye, Kelly was extremely submerged in her smartphone, and Michael appeared to be a bother to her. So this is how it went down:
Michael: If I just went away right now, would that be the best gift I could give you?
Kelly: Yes, please. Please go away.
Little did she know… that was it.
The encounter with Angela is very odd… Since he is leaving, Michael finally asks her if she had also fantasized about them having sex, or if it had just been him? Obviously, it was just Michael. There is not sort of material gift, but Angela does get to show him some pictures of her boyfriend, a state senator. It was a brief encounter, yet meaningful to Angela since she got to show off her new partner.
The gift for Kevin is more about the meaning it represents than the actual gift. Michael gives Kevin a grotesque caricature of a pig eating pizza and drooling, with Kevin’s head on it. He then proceeds to rip it up, encouraging Kevin to “not be a caricature.” Apparently, this is supposed to make Kevin feel better about himself. He also assures Kevin that he will be thin, he wont drool over pizza like an animal anymore, and that he will find love. Kevin seems confused throughout the whole exchange, and expresses that he is “pretty much okay with who he is now.” To which Michael answers, “Don’t be. You should never settle with who you are.” It’s the thought that counts… right?
Michael gives Phyllis a “chattering teeth” gag gift. This gift is supposed to remind Phyllis to always speak her mind. Through the series, she has always been very shy and conservative, but Michael acknowledges her great ideas and hard work, which is why the “chattering teeth” are an encouragement to not be afraid and share her ideas. In return, Phyllis gifts Michael with hand-made mittens, with some very complicated washing instructions.
Erin and Michael have one of the most sentimental encounters in this episode. Michael acts as the fatherly figure Erin never had, and offers her dating advice. He reminds her she is smart, beautiful, and fun, and that she can reach out whenever she needs to. He is very comforting and is something Erin will surely remember forever. That’s the way to do it, Michael!
Stanley is known for always having some sort of puzzle or game in hand, it ranges from sudoku to crossword puzzles. That is why Michael gives him his felt, a miniature pool table, however, it does not have the balls or cues that go with it. Stanley notices this and asks for it, but Michael just walks away… However, the point is made; the felt represents the “fun-loving quality in life” Stanley has. Very thoughtful, Michael.
So, now is my turn.
If I could give a gift to my ENGL 1102 professor, Simrill, it would be a jack in the box, because you never know what type of completely random and surprising fact he will tell you. I picture his brain to be sort of a gigantic library, and no matter the topic, the comedian, or the setting, he always has some source to offer you. He was a great professor throughout this semester and allowed me to test my writing skills, and motivated me to (unlike the jack) think outside of the box. English 1102, just like Dunder Mifflin, was a great experience. Now time for something new.