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Health Care

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"Health Care" is the third episode of the first season of The Office and the 3rd overall. It was written by Paul Lieberstein and directed by Ken Whittingham. It first aired on April 5, 2005. It was viewed by 5.8 million people.

SynopsisEdit

Jan gives Michael the task of picking a new and inexpensive health care plan. Unwilling to upset his employees, Michael assigns the task to Jim. Jim, in turn, suggests that Dwight be put in charge and Dwight accepts wholeheartedly, setting up a temporary workspace in the meeting room.

Michael hides out in his office as Dwight picks a plan that cuts practically all benefits, but Jim and Pam confront him to change it. Michael gets caught by the employees after he goes to the bathroom and he tells Dwight to alter his plan. He also guarantees the office a surprise at the end of the day, even though he doesn't know what it may be. Dwight hands out anonymous illness forms as Michael leaves the office to find a surprise, but fails on possible trips to Atlantic City and a coal mine. When Jim and Pam write false and imaginary diseases on their forms, Dwight demands to interview every employee to find out who is responsible.

Dwight tries to interview Jim on the false diseases, but Jim ends up locking Dwight in the meeting room. Dwight calls Jan to try to get permission to fire Jim and Jan finds out that Michael passed along his health care plan duties. Michael returns with ice cream sandwiches as his surprise, but when Stanley claims it to be a lame reward, Michael promises that the surprise is still coming. Dwight reads the diseases aloud to find out which are real, with embarrassing results. He finally picks a plan that eliminates benefits to the point where Oscar likens it to a pay decrease. The employees wait for Michael's surprise, which he awkwardly never delivers.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Michael's nickname for Pam, "Pama-lama-ding-dong", is a pun on the song title Rama-lama-ding-dong, the 1958 hit song by The Edsels.
  • Michael's exclamation "Makin' copies!" is the catch phrase from a recurring character portrayed by Rob Schneider on the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live.
  • Michael mutters Information Superhighway, a term popular in the early 1990s (but now obsolete) to describe the future of the nascent internet.
  • Trading Spouses was a reality television program in which two families of different socio-economic class trade wives or husbands for one week.
  • Michael describes Dwight's potential failure as a strike two, a reference to the sport of baseball.
  • The deductible in an insurance plan is the monetary amount the insurance does not cover. For example, given a $200 expense with a $50 deductible, the insurance pays $150 and the insured person pays $50.
  • How's tricks? is a casual greeting. Click here to see the origin of the phrase.
  • Atlantic City is a city in nearby New Jersey known for its casinos and beach, about three and a half hours' drive from Scranton.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? is an improvisational comedy program.
  • Count Chocula is a chocolate-flavored children's cereal.
  • Mork from Ork is the name of Robin Williams' character in the 1970s television comedy Mork and Mindy. Na-nu na-nu was the character's catch phrase.
  • Outbreak is a 1995 movie that deal with the outbreak of a fictitious Ebola-like virus.
  • Unbreakable is a 2000 movie in which one of the lead characters appears to have unusual powers, among them being immune to disease.
  • The Sixth Sense is a 1999 movie in which one of the lead characters is revealed at the end of the movie (spoiler) as having been a ghost the entire time. Both Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense are written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, and in both cases, the character in question was played by Bruce Willis.

TriviaEdit

  • Diseases submitted to Dwight:
    • Mad Cow Disease
    • Ebola
    • Spontaneous Dental Hydroplosion
    • Leprosy
    • Flesh-Eating Bacteria
    • Hot Dog Fingers
    • Anal Fissures
    • Government Created Nanorobot Infection (a reference to the X-Files episode "S.R. 819" in which Walter Skinner is infected with such a disease as a means to blackmail him)
    • Count Choculitis
    • Inverted Penis
  • Stanley circles every disease on the form.
  • Three elements of this episode borrow from the original British series:
  • Dwight claims in this episode he has "never been sick" due to his "perfect immune system." However, in later episodes, it is revealed that he once had walking pneumonia ("Performance Review") and that he has a history of kidney stones ("Michael's Birthday").
  • Angela Kinsey (portraying Angela Martin) and Brian Baumgartner (portraying Kevin Malone) break when Dwight reads off "hot dog fingers". The producers thought it was funny, so they kept it. [1]
  • According to Paul Lieberstein at Paley Fest, the final scene was scripted as "The longest pause in television history." It ultimately went two and a half minutes, so long Steve Carell broke into a sweat from the awkwardness of the situation.
  • When Michael calls the mine shaft, it is Creed that he talks to.

Deleted scenesEdit

The Season One DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include:

  • Michael's final response at the end after everyone has left was that they would all go bowling. This suggests he may have mentally shut down out of panic while trying to improvise something.
  • An alternate take where Jim says Dwight should pick a good health plan in order to help himself as well, leading to them making movie references in order to argue over his mortality.
  • Jim and Pam reveal early attempts at the sign for the conference room. These include "Schrute Space" (which is the name of Dwight's blog), "Quiet! Dwight Schrute Working" and "Dwight Schrute Privates".
  • An interview between Dwight and Oscar.
  • Dwight talking about jealousy when a worker is elevated above his peers.
  • Oscar trying to confront Michael about the plan.
  • Dwight interviewing Pam which leads to him interviewing Jim, demanding he confess.
  • An extended talking head of Michael talking on how he learned improv from the masters.
  • Dwight memorizing who he takes health care forms from, only for Oscar to give him a bunch of forms at once.

Quotes Edit

see Health Care Quotes

CastEdit

Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

  • Charlie Hartsock as Travel Agent






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