10.05.2009

The Office is starting to feel like....work


The Office has been taking a slow, descending trip to Suck over the last couple of seasons. Some ups and downs, but descending on the whole. But this season seems determined to cement the suckage.

The Office is an eccentric portrait of reality. It's kooky enough to be funny, painfully awkward enough to seem real. Though it never really was. It took real touches and distorted them enough to be painfully funny. Anyone who has or does work in an office knows that an office environment is not funny. If anything, The Office can function as therapy for the American white collar working class.

But this season things are getting all too real. Why would anyone want to watch Jim & Pam sink into a gulag of reality?

We've come to like Jim & Pam. He hates his job, but has some unidentified potential bubbling deep down inside of him. She wants to be an artist, but needed the support and the courage to go for it.

And now Jim has decided to take his hated day job seriously and follow in Michael's foot steps. And Pam has decided to forget her dreams cold turkey and become a...sales person. Why? Who knows. But they've both decided to take upward mobility and assimilation very seriously. I guess you hit a certain age and yuppie-ism starts to look pretty good. (Yeah, that's some reality-come-salt-in-the-wounds for anyone anywhere near Jim & Pam's ages.)

So, some questions:

1. Why has Jim never actually even considered an alternative to Dunder Mifflin? And no, other DM branches do not count.

2. That said, what exactly entitles Jim to his newfound success at Dunder Mifflin other from the fact that he's attractive and a man? Why exactly should the aimless class clown skyrocket to management? Comedy aside, any number of people at that branch are probably much better suited to the job.

3. What exactly happened to Pam's art school dreams? They kind of attempted to answer it. But in reality, it looks like, deep down, Pam really just wanted marriage and a baby.

Is this really what we've been watching this show to find out?

It's always been clear that there was a reason that the original Office worked best in its shorter framework. But this is all too depressing. The Office is not only a bit too realistic and Willy Loman this season -- but it's also pretty damn old fashioned.

Talk about a 50's American family. Young man makes good. Applies himself at his job. Wife gives up her kooky aspirations. They settle down. Get married. Buy a house. Have a baby. You add in 1.5 more babies, a lifetime in Scranton, and a steady progression towards a (hopefully) healthy 401k and you've got yourself an Eisenhower era nuclear family.

In fact, what you have is the life that Michael has always wanted. Maybe that is a little funny.


ps. But not really. (Minus Kevin's incessant "What does a bean mean?", that got me...)

1 comment:

Jeff said...

For the reasons you explained, I don't even bother watching it anymore. They did it right the first time in the UK. Perfect. I stuck with the first couple of US seasons, but then... well, it lost its magic.