Thursday, April 10, 2008

Iconoclasm: The Office

Because I can break my own rules, I'm going to start off this commentary by talking about Arrested Development instead of The Office. If that doesn't sit well with you, well, fuckin' a. The day that Arrested Development was canceled, I felt like the world had ended horrifically with Biblical plagues. It was by far the most shameful day in television history. Nothing is more frustrating than an amazing TV show being kicked off the air while travesties like Friends go on for another mind-numbing season. Yes, they are friends, we get it already. Everyone has them, so for the sake of all that’s good in this world please get over it. It’s confounding that something so stupid can remain so popular for so long while the clueless twats and soccer moms of America force the end of true comic genius in shows like Arrested Development. If you are going to end shows on television, end the shitty ones.

Continuing with my story, life was dim and hopeless. Things remained in a perpetual state of bleakness. That is, until they were rescued by an unlikely suitor: NBC. Apparently, somewhere in America, there was a producer who wasn’t completely shit-stupid, and thus “The Office" came onto the scene. It's important to distinguish that I'm referring to the US version of this show, since I don't give a flying fuck about its UK counterpart, as is warranted by this analysis:

"Who is that blazing hot chick? And why is there a cow on the left?" you might ask, “Do you work for Peta or something?" The girl on the right is Jenna Fischer, and the 4-stomached grass-eater on the left is why, without any further argument necessary, you need not concern yourself with The UK Office. At any rate, like Arrested Development, "The Office" made it through 3 successful seasons. However, unlike Arrested Development, "The Office" continued on into its fourth season. There was peace on Earth. Around the world, fighting became a thing of the past as Janjaweed rebels held hands with Sudanese officials and sang “Kumbaya My Lord." Life was good and there was much rejoicing. Then the unthinkable happened...

The writers’ strike hit Hollywood and all the bullshit that only self-important Hollywood assholes can muster hit the proverbial fan. To put it in perspective, the writers were upset because millions and millions of dollars weren’t enough to compensate them for writing a mediocre TV episode or two. With most of the unconscionable unadulterated shit that is loosely termed a "TV show" today (see “Friends" above), the fact that these bastards were getting paid at all should have been enough to make them grab the money and run for the border. But all of a sudden they wanted "more." Rather than saying "You're fired. Hasta luego dipshits," and hiring brilliant internet writers to fill their void, the studios instead "talked" with the writers and by talked I mean "participated in a 6 month circle jerk." Finally, once all the whiny bitches and their mothers had been satisfied by the havoc they were wreaking, the strike ended and writers came back to work, in the process reinstating the thousands upon thousands of behind-the-scenes workers who lost their bread and butter because of the WGA's selfish antics.

But I digress. Today, The Office, Season 4, Episode 9 will once again bring joy to your otherwise void life. In honor of this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to give special recognition to this staple of our lives. I know this does sound extreme: "Dwayne, are you sure it's worth it?" Yes. Yes I am.

The Overview: If you haven’t ever seen the Office, I would recommend that you bang your head into a wall for being so ignorant, and then immediately reconcile the situation by going to your nearest entertainment outlet, buying all three seasons, and watching them before 9:30 PM Eastern. If you need cash, hold your significant other's newly adopted puppy for ransom. That being unlikely, however, I’ll enclose a brief synopsis. Essentially, you’ve got people working at a paper-supply company under the wacky-yet-somehow-manages-to-keep-his-job Michael Scott played by Steve Carell. While sitcoms rarely rely on anything resembling a plot, opting instead for one-liners with a laugh track, The Office is intelligently funny. For most of America, this means “you won’t get the jokes until they are explained to you, you dipshits." While, of course, some of the plotlines are a little far-fetched (if you have a problem with that then go do something “realistic" like making me a sandwich), the general ideas of the show are realistic enough to make you hope that you get to work in an office like that some day. In fact, I would be willing to work as a test dummy for BMW if it involved getting to see Jenna Fischer every day. What more could I possibly say?

You don’t really start watching The Office expecting anything more than detached entertainment, but what you end up with is sheer brilliance. In addition to really sharp and witty dialogue, most of which requires a second or third viewing to fully appreciate, even the tiniest elements like facial expressions and vocal intonations are done to perfection. The result is hysterical laugh-your-ass-off comedy combined with a humanizing touch that really creates an emotional bond with the characters. Don't worry, though, The Office is no Brokeback Mountain. In fact, I would equate watching The Office to eating a delicious dinner of bacon-wrapped filet mignon cooked perfectly medium-rare (or a nice tofu burger if that's your thing) without ever getting full, and perpetually loving the next bite twice as much as the one that came before it. Eventually you'll probably die from overfilling yourself, but death is just a part of life, so why sweat it? It’s also very manly.

But there always has to be that buzzkill. Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There are always those pompous “critics" who say “The Office is nothing more than a knockoff of this or a failure in that." Honestly, I don’t even want to refute this. There is always some arrogant son of a bitch somewhere who will put down perfection just to because it makes him feel a sense of importance (see my review of Indie music). For your collective benefit, I have procured a logical premise that can’t be defeated, and you are welcome to quote it word for word: How could a show that contains the talents Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant not be the most amazing thing to ever grace your television? Actually, it would take way too long to say that. Instead, just say “Dwayne thinks it’s the shit," and never speak to them again.

Original here

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