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Wednesday, April 20, 2005


The Office

Tuned in to see what new inanities the cast get up to but watched it sandwiched between the DVD of The Corporation, a look at big corporations and the doomed planet we're letting them leave our great-grandchildren. In truth, as a PR hack out in the far east, I am not that far out of the firing line ...

Full of chilling observations including that

  • The corporation model is legally a person
  • This film makes a psychological examination of the org model through various case studies.
  • What the study shows is that, in its behaviour, this type of "person" acts like a dangerously destructive psychopath without conscience.
  • Which made for an odd mood to watch the comedy show in.

    Not that bad a show this week but still bungled at every possible level. If next week's is the final episode, then it has failed utterly.

    This week's show should amuse and educate its eventual UK viewers - a 'friendly' basket ball game between Carell's sales team and the warehouse, with some silliness chucked in about a wager as to who'll come in to work that Saturday.

    jenna fischerSome pretty good hoops shot by hunk Krasinski and good darting glances by that sweetiepie Jenna Fischer, which makes the miscasting with her supposed fiancé all the more wasteful. A few wittily observed macho gamesmanship touches - particularly with the Afric-American warehousers - but I think I've plumbed why it never takes off.

    Like many of the UK shows that amuse over here, it's the sheer breathtaking (to American sensibilities) incorrectness that scores many of the laffs. Whether it's Alf Garnett or the Gervais character, they can't be recreated over here in our current toothless correctness. In fact, the more 'incorrect' the attempted joke, the pussier the footing. Hence all the excruciating honks and screeches of the Carell character as if to shout louder first and defuse any complaints. Carell's caterwauling is the program's canned laughter, telegraphing ahead:

    "Helloo! Now crossing the line. We know, we know - we're on thin ice, but listen how loud *we're* shouting."

    Absolutely no one must be trusted to think for themselves or reach their own conclusions. For example, the stereotype comments to the black staff on their basketball skills: these should have landed with the force and subtlety of John Henry's hammer. Instead, feather-lite prissiness was the usual order of the day.

    On a more technical side, the camera work is much too quick between the faces and the asides to camera *never* come off. Dwight (Rainn) has none of the Gareth qualities that made him such a clown in the Brit show and the endless repetition about his assistant *to* status is way over-repeated.

    We got a glimpse of next week's show and it promises to be the limpest yet: hot sales chick turns up at the office flogging purses or some such. Boobs to the fore, delicious cleavage; Rainn fancies his chances (which will be utterly cringe-making), is thwarted or goofs which leaves Carell to leap in (ditto with bells on).

    What? Tits and bum, office innuendo? Rolls of eyes by the other female staff? What a gift - and can't you just see the script writers agonising over each carefully "risqué" joke?

    My bet: blandness will rule and the show will exit on a whimper ne'er to be heard of again.

    To repeat the bad news: BBC3 will be inflicting this nonsense on my compadres.

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