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March 23, 2010

Season 2 Episode 2 Appraisals

The fact that I have not slept for more than three hours consecutively in the past two weeks might be impacting the generally negative opinion that I’ve started having about the office, but I really don’t
think that’s it. I was as awake as I’ve been getting on Sunday afternoons nowadays, I had a whole supper grandee (or however you say humongous in Starbucksies) black tea in me and I had just finished a pretty interesting class on memory formation, when I sat down to watch this episode. I’ll admit that since episode six of season one my Office experience is not what it originally was. Don’t get me wrong the shows are still enormously funny, but so are a million different TV shows, hell I can even get a laugh watching seventh heaven (when I’m feeling extremely depressed), but The Office was more than that. The Office was funny without being a TV show, it was a day in the office exposed and I loved it. Sadly this is no longer the case.

There still are the spoofs mind-numbingly stupid practices of the corporate world but it feels like that was all relegated to background noise. The appraisals are the quintessential example of office stupidity and in classic Office humor David polarizes how these reports are only a means to inflate a supervisor’s already overly inflated ego. I particularly enjoyed Gareth’s mishandling of the party line that all offices put up “these reports are not to see who is doing badly, just to let us know how the company can better serve our employees.”  So Gareth’s “to separate the chaff from the wheat” line was actually very entertaining in The Office way.

However, the show seems to have moved away from Mockumentary of a day at the office warts and all, too classic TV sitcom in the framework of an office Mockumentary. For me it was kind of like Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip, at first I thought it was quite possibly the best show ever to air, but then as the show’s ratings slipped all these addled love stories and nonsensical sitcom situations (like sending a fox after a ferret after a snake down a hole under the stage?!?) got added to the show until it became a Frankenstein monster instead of the best show I’d ever seen. What was unique about The Office was there was no melodramatic story line all it was is a day at the office no starting point or end point there was no need for the script writers to get to someplace it was when the day is over turn the lights off and go home. Now there are love interests and love triangles that just feel so scripted you lose the brilliant little lines like Sidney Poitier, in the story the show is now trying to tell.

#$%@ 3.5

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March 23, 2010

Season 2 Episode 1 Merger

Ok wife’s feeding the baby so I’m tryin to get this in quick, maybe the baby’ll sleep after so mommy and daddy can actually get something done.

First of all I LOVE the new Tim (same as the old Tim). I thoroughly enjoyed watching him give Dawn the cold shoulder and bossing her around. The only thing that topped it was when Lee catches them dancing. I don’t know what it is, to paraphrase Stephan King maybe it is “we never expect to see our loved ones return every time we see them leave”, but whatever it is there is something spectacularly dreadful about the Tim / Dawn, Ross / Rachel, JD / Eliot relationship that we love to watch over and over and over and over again. It’s like a slow motion car wreck done in pinks and purples, a beautiful disaster.

Aside from that delectable piece of TV drama, this episode explodes on a subject that I’ve wanted to write about from the first episode, but the bits and pieces were just too small for me to write about. Now however, it has taken over the show, David’s amazing racism. It was always there the “you guys like that”s, but when he started the black man’s cock joke  I couldn’t stop laughing when the black guy walks over and goes “Oh the one about the black guys cock?”  It’s so funny because he genuinely believes there is no problem with the joke now because the token black guy says he doesn’t mind it. Don’t get me wrong I’m with David on this if I was the butt of a joke that insinuated that I have a massive cock well than more power to me, but dude!  David’s racism cracked me up every episode, but it was nice to see him get confronted about his racism and his patent David Brent line to close the issue in his melting pot was priceless.

I definitely give the episode a 5

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The Marketplace Vs. The University

March 22, 2010

Perhaps the most offensive line of the entire clip was about three seconds long to paraphrase it sounded something like this “They’re just kids they don’t belong in the discussion of the marketplace of ideas”. The justice comes off as a buffoon who sounds something like Max Funaro in this Onion Poll. The funniest thing about the justice’s decision and quote is I agree with it! I do think there is a difference between the freedom of speech that is protected by our constitution and the freedom of expression allowed in a school.

Being a stanchly conservative highly religious Jew, I agree with the sentiment on Chase Harper’s shirt, namely that all homosexual people will burn in Hell. Be that as it may, I don’t approve of his actions. Not because of he might offend someone who sees his shirt, so what? I’m sure if I wore this shirt  Chase would be offended (btw this shirt rocks I MUST OWN IT!). That is something that is protected by free speech, pissing people off. However a school falls under a different category, a school needs to be able to create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. this is hard enough, just competing with the billion and one things on a teenagers mind, whose winning Dancing With the Stars, what his Face book Status is, What his girlfriend thought about his twitter twit, etc. if all personal expression was allowed in a classroom you could never teach. with the same logic substitute the offensive tee with the guy sitting next to you on the train blasting the newest crap that Lill Bow Wow put out through his cell speaker, he might say it is his freedom of speech to express his love for crapy music in public, but try that in a class room and I think we would all agree that it must stop (on a side note I am proposing a law that cell phone music be banned on subways, GET HEADPHONES we don’t want to hear it).

Chase’s tee shirt was a prop that could be used to disrupt a class because of it inflammatory nature. Because of that the school had every right to stop him from wearing the shirt in a school setting. I think the school asked for such an incident by creating a day for all students that was intrinsically offensive to certain students. However, in a school the school has the right to dictate what behaviors are conducive to a learning environment and what does not. That does not mean that stude3nts cannot have ideas that are contrary to the curriculum, or those that are held by the student body or even the faculty. It just means that in school those ideas can only be discussed in a classroom discussion or a similar setting approved by the school. The rest needs to wait for the marketplace.

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March 11, 2010

Season 1 Episode 6 Judgment

I watched the last episode of season one the Sunday afternoon after my daughter Meira was born. Me and my wife did not sleep the night before so she was sleeping while I had the kid. Meira seemed to enjoy it she kept making funny faces, but then she made a massive poop so it was probably gas. I guess I felt the same way she did about the show.

There were parts that made me giggle, but was it just gas? For instance Gareth’s “So, What’s an elf?” was one of the funniest things he said so far, it was set up perfectly timing was beautiful I was laughing. However, the whole scene just makes no sense. I understand that layoffs are the theme, but David doesn’t have the ability to lay anyone off. Let alone a forklift driver in the warehouse. He would make the warehouse foreman lay him off, or HR, or if there was no one else Gareth. It just doesn’t with the David I’ve got to know over the season.

My next little misplaced fuzzy feeling was the Tim and Gareth bit. It was just that a Tim and Gareth bit like a cut to the itchy and scratchy show In the Simpsons, funny but where did that fit in? Don’t get me wrong it was spot on Gareth had say “Maybe I should just hand them out to rival companies” and then stop once Donna asks him to. But funny should not be the criteria for putting a scene in to an episode, Tim has already decided to quit and we know why the dead end job having to deal with Gareth’s nonsense and David’s ego. The scene adds nothing to their dynamic or to the episode it’s just a funny time filling segue way to the actual episode.

The actual episode was too classic to actually be spectacular. David has the chance to get a promotion or save his branch and even with all of his “”family” talk and one organism spiel he jumps to take the promotion. Following classic sitcom strategy the end of every season needs the De Ex Macina, and at the last moment the David loses the promotion due to a medical condition and Tim is brought back from the brink of extinction with a promotion. It could be my lack of sleep, but I actually think it’s the fact that I’ve come to expect more from The Office than the classic sitcom in an office setting, that made me cover my daughters eyes during David’s ending monologue.

I give this episode an unsizzling 2.5

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February 26, 2010

Season 1, Episode 5: New Girl

This was the episode I was talking about last time. You can have an episode devoted to the love interests, but it can be in the office. In fact I was going to say in my last post that the proper setting for that episode would be a pub or a club. The only reason I didn’t was the documentary setting. The show has already sold out to the documentary idea. Gareth even acknowledges that they are filming him. So how does that work in a club? The quiz episode wasn’t so bad; a documentary about an office would follow them to an office function even if it is held at a pub. The same does not hold true for four guys in a drunken club crawl.

That being said I did like the appropriate tension between Dawn and Tim. not sure how to sit in the room with each other and their promise of drinks in the future that they both know won’t happen. Gareth coming in and asking Tim if he was tryin to get it on with her. As usual high marks on capturing the hilarity of uncomfterble office situations.

The only part of the episode story that I didn’t enjoy was the secretary. I liked the irony of David’s indignation regarding his nieces work related romance, while at the same time slobbering over a new secretary. I just felt the slobbering went a little too far (even for David). For me the the preparation smearing magazine cologne on his face and positioning the chairs was great, but it stopped being funny when she walks in and he is spread on the desk like a Playgirl centerfold. It was just too awkward for me. The rest of his banter with her was great until he kicked a soccer ball in her face; then again it was just weird.

I Give This a 3

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February 26, 2010

Season 1, Episode 4: Training 

This was one of the funniest episodes I’ve watched in a long time. However, it was also the worst episode of The Office that I have seen so far. The struggle between David and the trainer is epic, I loved it. The part where they are both trying to talk over each other is perfect. I almost cried when Gareth said his fantasy, the humor really kicks in at this point. For me it was like watching an episode in the 7th season of Friends, everyone has their rolls and they hit their marks perfectly, like good standup comedy. Unfortunately, also like the 7th season of friends some scenes are put in to move the underlying storyline of the general show, but it just doesn’t fit with the episode it’s in. by this I mean the Tim Dawn romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the inherent awkwardness of interoffice romance. I’m no stranger to it, I’ve personally been involved with them and I see coworkers fall in them all the time. I think it is an integral part of making The Office work, but half of why these situations are so tragically funny is because they are just below the surface and never right in your face. The hair thing, and the birthday cap thing, and the drinks that are always talked about but never happen are perfect. Real scenes with breakups and rebounds just don’t fit with the episode; you would need a different type of episode for that.

This episode was about David’s insane need for control and validation. That part was done masterfully, it was hilarious. I could not stop laughing when he pulled a Gareth and let the instructor do his job with David’s permission. but the funniest part is when he breaks out the guitar, and Tim goes “He went home to get it”.

I give it a 3

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February 25, 2010

Season 1, Episode 3: The Quiz

This episode made me sad. It was almost like watching “Lars and the Real Girl” again. Birthday episodes in general are downers, but in classic Office fashion we go past normal TV to uncomfortably close to home. The opening scene sets the tone of the episode, Tim alone in the office talking about the gift his mum got him. The aging loner alone on his birthday in the cold unforgiving world, it’s not as sad as “Rambo” Tim can still speak English, but still sad.

Dawn gives the episode a real edge, she is his only friend in the office and the only friend we know of period. That is all she is though, as much as Tim would like to change that, she is the forbidden fruit. Her card “What do your money and your penis have in common? I can find a lot of women to blow your money” was a knife wound. But having her boyfriend bring him his present, a giant inflatable penis, was twisting it home.

The Quiz was the ultimate reality check. The office goes out for drinks for Tim’s birthday, but that doesn’t last long. After a quick happy birthday he is all but forgotten, Dawn’s cheer for a speech is squelched and the focus is back to the quiz. Tim’s birthday is completely marginalized by everyone even Tim, now all that matters is beating Finchie. Finally it is down to Tim’s team against David and Finchi’s for a winner takes all sudden death round, and who takes the stage for Tim’s team not the birthday boy but his teammate. Then the glory they win so pop the champagne rite? Wrong, their win is disputed, and how to decide? Not with the birthday man-boy, with his shoes.

This sad reality gets a 5