2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”
When things feel like they can’t get much worse – say after a breakup, or a long-delayed flight, or every morning for the past month and a half – there’s one thing I turn to again and again: “The Injury” or season 2, episode 12 of The Office. If you don’t keep this episode on your phone, iPad, and computer in case of emergencies, I’ll catch you up. The butler-less Michael Scott has developed a system to wake up to the smell of freshly grilled bacon each morning that involves keeping a George Foreman grill on the floor by his bed. When his non-Kosher wake-up call goes awry and he clamps his foot in the grill, faithful assistant (to the) regional manager Dwight K. Schrute goes to save him, but crashes into a pole and gets a concussion on the way. Back at Dunder Mifflin, Michael becomes a fussy baby, Dwight turns into a great guy, and Ryan is tasked with being Michael’s caretaker and errand boy, which he aces by using the same methods that he uses to take care of his dog.
I love this Mindy Kaling–penned episode for the ridiculous premise, but mostly for the Dwight storyline. It’s a rare glimpse at a kinder, gentler Dwight – one who goofs off with Pam, claims his middle name is Danger, makes helicopter noises, and argues that Michael can’t fire him on the way to the hospital because he doesn’t work in Meredith’s van. He also steals Michael’s thunder (not to mention his “That’s what she said” retort) and gets the sympathy and attention that Michael desperately craves. “The Injury” is a win for the most put-upon employees of Dunder Mifflin – Pam, Dwight, and early series Ryan (before he became awful) – and when you’re at your lowest that’s exactly what you need to see.