Rat Funeral
NewsRadio episode






Paul Simms
Lewis Morton


Alan Myerson


Mark Grossan

Production Code


Original Airdate

October 10, 1995


Goofy Ball


The Breakup

"Rat Funeral" is the third episode of the second season of NewsRadio, and the tenth episode overall.

Synopsis Edit

Dave finds out from the building superintendent that someone has been setting off the rat traps in the office. He quickly learns that his staff is responsible because they have adopted a particular rat as an office pet named Mike. He consults Bill to try to understand the staff's attachment, but Bill ridicules him for being heartless. He then announces to the staff that he will get rid of the rat traps, but as he does so, Mike is caught in one, upsetting everyone.

After Bill finds out that Dave has Mike in a box and plans to dump him on his way home, he snatches the box away, and the staff hold a funeral service. Dave tries to make amends by participating and by dumping the box down the incinerator chute per their wishes.

The staff soon find another rat in the break room, which Beth thinks is Mike, but it is quickly caught in another trap. Another service is held, followed by Dave dumping the rat down the incinerator chute. After work, Dave buys drinks for the staff, and they commiserate over lost pets they had. He tries to share his cat story, but his cat is still alive and was a good rat killer, which doesn't earn him any points with the others.

Later, Dave consults with Bill about why he is perceived as cold-hearted, only to realize that he just doesn't tend to show his emotions. The staff discover that he put glue traps down, as a rat is stuck on one of them in the kitchenette. Jimmy, having no attachments to rats, goes in to take care of the matter himself, only to emerge heartbroken, forcing Dave to finish the job. Other rats are found stuck in traps throughout the office, and the staff look to him to deal with them. A quick mass memorial service is held, by which time the staff has become less attached after realizing how many rats there were. They acknowledge that Dave can let his feelings out and that he is one of them. As Jimmy invites everyone out to dinner, Dave stays behind, thinking about when his cat will die, and Bill makes a half-hearted attempt to comfort him. The superintendent returns, telling Dave that the "incinerator chute" they have been using to dump the rats is actually the mail drop.


"Say Dave, maybe after work you'd like to go by the zoo and shoot goats."


Dave: "Where did everybody get the impression that I'm cold and unemotional?"

Bill: "Let me ask you this, Dave. When was the last time you cried?"

Dave: "Really really cried? Uh... uh, let me think. Um... Hey, you know what, when, when Cal Ripken broke the record, I, I got kind of a lump in my throat."

Bill: "You got a lump in your throat?"

Dave: "Yeah, I got, I got choked up."

Bill: "Yes, I suppose I got a lump in my throat, too. That was before I started crying so hard I had to run to that bathroom and lock myself in a stall for 20 minutes."

Dave: "Yeah, okay Bill."

Bill: "Then when I got out the ovation was still going. That just set me off again. Go ahead, laugh, it's your nature."

Dave: "Are... are you done, Bill?"

Bill: "Why, do you have to recharge your robot power pack?"

Bill: "Every family needs someone to do the dirty work."

Dave: "Think so?"

Bill: "Yes. Think of this as an initiation of sorts, but... try not to make a habit of killing small animals just to impress us."

Credits Edit

Main Cast Edit

Dave Foley as Dave Nelson

Stephen Root as Jimmy James

Andy Dick as Matthew Brock

Maura Tierney as Lisa Miller

Vicki Lewis as Beth

Joe Rogan as Joe Garelli

Khandi Alexander as Catherine Duke

Phil Hartman as Bill McNeal

Guest Stars Edit

Mike Starr as Building Super

Marcelo Tubert as Delivery Guy

Trivia Edit

In-Universe Edit

First appearance of the Mexican bar/restaurant where the staff go after work.

Spoiler: Bill makes a comment about checking off the organ donor box on his driver's license, and being willing to offer his heart to Dave in the event of his death. He would later die of a heart attack.

Fact-checking Bill: He is correct that John Keats died of tuberculosis, albeit at age 25 instead of 29. However, he did not write the line "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." That was Robert Herrick, from the poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time."

Lisa had a black lab named Woofy who got hit by a car.

Matthew had a Siamese cat named Mr. T.J. McWhiskas who died of feline leukemia.

Beth had a beagle named Jack who died of liver cancer.

Catherine had a German Shepard named Scrappy who had to be put down due to hip dysplasia.

Joe had a Doberman/Rottweiler/pit bull mix named Louie who had to be put to sleep after biting a man.

Bill had a dog named Spot (or possibly Sparky) of unknown breed who ran away.

Dave has a 16-year old cat back in Wisconsin named Dusty.

Production Edit

The story for this episode was based on executive mandate from NBC. Following the success of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, as a promotional gimmick, NBC planned for all of its Tuesday night sitcoms to have plots related to funerals and weddings on October 10, 1995. NewsRadio, Wings and Frasier were assigned the funerals, while The Pursuit of Happiness featured a wedding. This episode was written to fulfill the requirement, though probably not in a way expected by the network.