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February 25, 2010

Season 1, Episode 2: Work Experience

I enjoyed how well The Office tackles the issue of power and respect in the office. From the opening scene where David is showing his niece the trappings of power he enjoys because of his position in the company. He goes on continuing what he thinks is empowering himself, but what he ends up doing is showing off how little respect his coworkers actually have for him. Throughout the entire episode the more people stress their own power and importance, the less respect they actually command.

Gareth “invetigation” is a perfect example. He is trained in covert operations to softly catch your monkey, but don’t worry even though he is an Army Man he is still caring and sensitive. His signs on his Interrogation room and his telling every person he meets that he is team leader, does not get him the respect he feels he deserves. All is manages to do is turn him in to Tim’s punching bag.  “I can because in this room I’m special… special, Needs? NO! I’m special, Needs child?” the more he insists that he is special, the more he sounds like a kindergartener.

Jennifer was the most interesting and the most disturbing to me. She actually had a real measure of power and still she got no respect. I was personally insulted for her because I felt she should be getting respect, however if David would have given her respect I would have been disappointed. He can’t give her any, he doesn’t understand respect if it’s not pulled from him kicking and screaming. Similar to the warehouse manager he can’t give a woman respect, especially not in front of his boys (and not if she’s interrupting his show).

For me the funniest part of the episode is when Jennifer realizes that there is no way that David is actually going to fire his friend and pushes the speakerphone. Gareth checks to make sure that his watch has the right time. It is so dead on for a Gareth, I can just see all the Gareths in my office do put in a similar situation of public discomfort and having no ability to roll with the situation check their watches too.

My Rating: 4

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