Never Forget When The Office Poked Fun At Mental Health And Suicide For Halloween
How the joke made the cut in the first place is truly baffling.
Let’s be honest, Michael Scott is a pretty awful person. Sure he may have his moments during his time on The Office but the negatives far outweigh the good, which makes you wonder what was going through the writers’ heads. Case in point: The writers thought it was a good idea to make a Halloween joke about mental health by having Michael pretend to commit suicide in front of a group of kids.
At the TV show‘s sixth season Halloween episode, ‘Koi Pond’, the Dunder Mifflin warehouse is transformed into a haunted house for children. It was all going well until Michael decided to go full “Michael Scott” and ruined it for everyone by pretending to commit suicide by hanging as a way to scare the kids while also educating them about mental health.
It’s so cringeworthy and inappropriate that you immediately forget some genuinely funny bits in the scene, such as Michael is wearing a then-already-outdated “Dick In A Box” Halloween costume, Creed dressed as a hustling vampire who wants to sell the childrens’ blood and Jim with the word “book” written on his face.
Having said that, there’s a chance you may have forgotten or missed the scene entirely. When ‘Koi Pond’ first aired, audiences weren’t particularly comfortable seeing Michael Scott fake-hang himself on a family-friendly show like The Office (unsurprisingly) and NBC quickly pulled the scene from reruns and DVD releases.
According to The AV Club, an anonymous producer said it wasn’t just public outcry over the scene that caused it to be cut. Apparently Caryn Zucker, the wife of then-president and CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker, also urged her husband to cut the scene due to her work in suicide prevention.
Yet as you saw above, the cut scene was later uploaded in its entirety onto YouTube, where it’ll forever live as weird yet controversial relic from a show that hasn’t aged as well as many people think.
Given how its been over a decade since the ‘Koi Pond’ aired, it’ll be interesting to hearthe cast and crew from The Office share their thoughts on the scene and how it somehow managed to get through the writer’s room and onto everyone’s TV screens (briefly).
Here’s hoping Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey talk about it on their podcast at some point and maybe share their thoughts on how Michael Scott is actually a problematic mess.
Game Of Thrones Showrunners Confirm They're Another Example Of White Men Failing Upwards
It's a miracle Game of Thrones got made at all.
Stories of how Game of Thrones showrunners, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, struggled to get the show off the ground is basically television lore at this point. But as it turns out, not only was it a miracle that the show was made at all, the duo proved that they’re just another pair of white men who managed to fail their way upwards.
With the backlash over the final Game of Thrones season finally over (more or less), David Benioff and Dan Weiss emerged from their hiding place to do a panel for the Austin Film Festival. Talking about how the show came together, it seems like it was less about being meticulously prepared and more “making it up was we went along and hoping for the best.”
Twitter user ForArya managed to keep a record of what was said by the duo and it was a surprisingly open and frank discussion on how the pair got away with everything in making the show.
They talked about their meeting with George R.R. Martin and the duo were forced to admit to the author that they didn’t have any TV credentials or experience, and was baffled why he trusted them with “his life’s work.” Trust me, we’re wondering too.
The revealing anecdotes only escalated from there as they again talked about how awful the original Game of Thrones pilot episode was before revealing how they made every mistake that was possible to make in the process, and yet HBO still went ahead with the show because apparently the network had a lot riding on the series.
One good thing did come of this phase and that was the casting of Jason Momoa, who David and Dan found by scouring internet fan pages, so there’s a silver lining of sorts at least.
The duo revealed how woefully ill-equipped they were when it came to working with various production departments, such as the costume designers, and how making Game of Thrones was essentially film school for them that was funded by HBO.
Perhaps the most surprising (or unsurprising) reveal was how David and Dan didn’t understand the many characters in the series. Since this is a fundamental problem in any TV show, the pair resorted to letting the actors do the work for them by allowing them to define the characters before simply writing for the actors.
On the topic of the writing for Game of Thrones, the show was notable for the lack of a writer’s room compared to other shows and it was simply because David and Dan “didn’t know better” and decided to write everything themselves.
HBO twisted their arm and they eventually hired Bryan Cogman (their assistant) to write for the show. When asked why there weren’t women or people of colour writing for them, the pair said they had Vanessa Taylor and David Hill (who is of Asian descent) do some writing for them but they wouldn’t properly hire writers unless they were willing to be part of the production team, presumably because they knew they were in over their heads and desperately needed help.
Vanessa ultimately ended up leaving Game of Thrones to write The Shape of Water with Guillermo Del Toro and was nominated for an Oscar for it.
When asked about the actual writing process and how they tried to understand and condense the novels’ dense themes and elements into something digestible for TV, David and Dan basically said “nah, we didn’t do any of that actually.”
In addition to removing “as many fantasy elements as possible” to appeal to a wide audience, the duo said that since Game of Thrones‘ scope was so big, they boiled it down to a show about “power.”
With so much they didn’t know about both Game of Thrones and making TV in general, you would’ve thought David Benioff and Dan Weiss would go around seeking as much feedback as possible.
Turns out they tried that once but got upset after reading some fan feedback online and decided to not bother going forward.
The entire thread is stuffed full of tea and deserves to be read in full. But the biggest takeaway from it all, other than David Benioff and Dan Weiss being incompetent filmmakers who somehow conned HBO into greenlighting Game of Thrones, is how the entire series is yet another depressing example of more white men failing their way into success.
There’s no denying that film and TV productions are the result of many mistakes, compromises and a whole lot of trial and error. But hearing the creators of the biggest fantasy series ever admit that they were woefully ill-equipped for the task or why they were even given the greenlight in the first place is a big kick in the teeth to all the equally – if not better – qualified women and people of colour who were denied these sorts of opportunities over the years simply because they weren’t white men who can bullcrap their way through almost anything.
Today I Learned Of 'Rack Man', One Of Australia's Most Notorious Unsolved Murders
25 years on and still no closer to solving the mystery.
Australia is a big country with even bigger mysteries, many of which remain unsolved. Of the many strange happenings that have happened Down Under over the years, there are few that boggle the mind more than the creepy unsolved murder of “Rack Man”.
In 1994, Mark Peterson was out fishing on the Hawkesbury River in Sydney and hoping for a good catch. The sun was shining and conditions were ripe for a great day.
After feeling a heavy tug on his fishing net, Mark thought he struck gold. But it turns out his catch wasn’t the school of fish he had hoped. Instead, it was a crude steel crucifix with the remains of a human body, which was wrapped in plastic and arranged accordingly, tied to it.
Needless to say that Mark’s day went from great to horrible in record time.
After calling the police immediately (and presumably retiring from fishing immediately), the body was retrieved for examination.
Once forensic pathologists did their magic on the body, they found that the body belonged to a Caucasian male with dark hair aged between 21 to 41 who had died from a big blow to the head. Beyond establishing a basic description and confirmation that the dude was pretty short (a mere 163cm tall, give or take a bit), the police were immediately stumped.
Since the body was so eroded by the water, identifying features like fingerprints and DNA samples were impossible to use meaning that the identity of the deceased man remains a mystery.
With Rack Man unable to be identified, it also meant that figuring out his killer and the circumstances that led to his watery discovery was next-to-impossible for the police since they literally have nothing to go off.
After attempts at figuring out Rack Man’s identity using the clothes off his body failed, the police reconstructed the man’s face using computers and spread the word out to the public in hopes of getting the lead that’s evaded then.
But despite many tips, false rumours and initial promising leads into Rack Man’s identity, the case remains as one of Australia’s most notorious unsolved murders even today as police have yet to close it.
At the time of writing, the remains of Rack Man lie in a morgue somewhere, waiting for someone to come and hopefully shed some light on who this mysterious person is.