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blog#3 the office

The office is one of my favorite shows that I currently watch.  It is about a small paper company that takes place in Pennsylvania.  This idea of filming an office may sound somewhat boring, but it is anything but.  The writers do such an amazing job creating the office scene, not as a workplace, but a place where we can see the interactions of each individual character.  Any Office fan knows each character and their specific tendencies and interactions with one another.  Each episode thoroughly exaggerates what each character is about.  While watching this show, extreme awkwardness is making you laugh every second.

There is the boss, Michael Scott, who one could say is the main character of the show.  He is portrayed as a boss who puts fun before anything and views himself as a very high power in the office and often offends his coworkers because he always speaks what is on his mind.  He is a boss anyone would love to have because he allows Christmas parties, costume contests, happy hour, secretary’s day, murder mysteries and a number of different unprofessional activities and holidays.  However the people in the office get rather annoyed with him because he is very arrogant and shows a massive amount of ignorance.

One subtext that I can think of is that throughout the show, Michael battles many troubles with women and often feels alone.  In a few episodes he is so desperate that he asks everyone in the office to write down one name and their phone number so that he can call them and go out on dates.  In another episode, Pam sets Michael up with one of her friends and the date doesn’t work out because of Michaels over exaggerated sense of being ‘cool.’  I would say that a subtext in this show is that if you hold any of these qualities Michael has; arrogance, lack of work ethic, stubbornness, and childlike behavior, you will be old and alone.

Another man in the show named Jim is the character in which most viewers can relate to.  There is often a shot of him staring blankly into the camera after Michael or Dwight has done something ridiculous.  This is Jim’s famous expression of showing “They are crazy” without any words.  Jim is a character that is needed in this show because he is someone the viewers can relate with.

There is typically no music in any of the episodes, however the theme song has become quite famous and has even been remixed in a couple of songs.  Everyone knows the tune of the song and immediately thinks of the office because it is such a well-known show today.

Something that I love about the filming of the office is the “objective point of view” that is added into the show.  The characters act as if there are no cameras around (one exception, when Jim does his look at the camera) and then it will cut to a little interview of a character in one of the office rooms talking about another character or interaction with another character.  It is not an interview where you hear someone asking them questions, but rather an interview where we just hear the answer from the character.  It is an interesting way to film because you can learn everyone’s inside thoughts though they may not be portrayed in the original scene.  This way of filming reminds me of the movie Best in Show.

 

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  1. tessdoez
    January 17, 2011 at 4:40 am

    This is a good analysis of how the structure and style of the show contribute to the audience’s understanding. The specific bit of subtext about Michael is a good one, but can you also think of a more overarching subtext of the show that makes a statement about corporate life, race, gender, or American culture etc.? Your post needs some proofreading with regard to sentence structure, punctuation and grammar. Please revise and repost for credit.

  2. Whitney
    January 18, 2011 at 3:08 am

    The office is one of my favorite shows that I currently watch. It is about a small paper company that takes place in Pennsylvania. This idea of filming an office may sound somewhat boring, however it is anything but. The writers do such an amazing job creating the office scene, not as a workplace, but a place where we can see the interactions of each individual character. Any Office fan knows each character and their specific tendencies and interactions with one another. Each episode thoroughly exaggerates what each character is about. While watching this show, extreme awkwardness between characters is making you laugh every second.

    There is the boss, Michael Scott, who is the main character of the show. He is portrayed as a type of boss that really fosters fun. He views himself as a very high power in the office and often offends his coworkers with his lack of filter. He is a boss anyone would love to have because he allows Christmas parties, costume contests, happy hour, secretary’s day, murder mysteries and a number of different activities and holidays which are usually celebrated outside of the workplace. However, the other people in the office get rather annoyed with him because he is very arrogant and shows a massive amount of ignorance. He drinks out of a mug that states, “world’s best boss” that he actually bought for himself. This could possibly be a subtext with the idea that being very self-praised and arrogant can get you the job at the top of the branch.

    One subtext is that throughout the show, Michael battles many troubles with women and often feels alone. In a few episodes he is so desperate that he asks everyone in the office to write down one name and their phone number so that he can call them and go out on dates with his co-workers friends. In another episode, Pam sets Michael up with one of her friends and the date doesn’t work out because of Michael’s over exaggerated sense of being ‘cool.’ A subtext in this show is that if you hold any of these qualities Michael has; arrogance, lack of work ethic, stubbornness, and childlike behavior, you will be old and alone.

    This show is filled with some sexist statements, especially from Michael. Michael will say anything outwardly mean just to get a laugh out of someone. Throughout the show michael has made some comments about Pam, the receptionist. Some are about how Pam is the ‘hottest one in the office.’ He also insults her many times when he says quotes like; “this is our receptionist, Pam. If you think she’s cute now, you should have seen her a couple years ago.” This gives off a subtext that the receptionist is supposed to be the best looking person in the office and that part of the job is to take insulting comments from men.

    Michael is also racist and this is seen through his words to Stanley. He will say something indicating how Stanley is ‘urban,’ while Stanley has actually grown up out in the country. He uses the word urban because he’s indicating that Stanley is black and stereotyping that all black people are from an urban setting. In one episode, Michael also says, “racism is dead Stanley, you can have any kind of ice cream you want.” He crosses the line with this quote because he would never know what it is like to be black and deal with racism. This is where we see how ignorant he is. We usually se racism on the streets, on TV, or at restaurants and not so much at a desk job. The subtext is that racism happens even in the office following everyone wherever you go.

    There is typically no music in any of the episodes, however the theme song has become quite famous and has even been remixed in a couple of electronic songs. Everyone knows the tune of the song and immediately thinks of the office because it is such a well-known show today. They are associated with each other completely.

    Something that I love about the filming of the office is the “objective point of view” that is added into the show. The characters act as if there are no cameras around and then it will cut to a little interview of a character in one of the office rooms talking about another character or their interaction with another character. It is not an interview where you hear someone asking questions, but rather an interview where we just hear an answer from the character. Its kind of like confession to the camera. It is an interesting way to film because you can learn everyone’s inside thoughts even though they may not be portrayed in the original scene. This way of filming reminds me of the movie Best in Show.

  3. tessdoez
    January 21, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Whitney,
    Great job identifying the sexist and racist subtext in the show. Hopefully since Michael’s character is such an unsympathetic character the show as a whole doesn’t really project these ideas, but you have the general idea with this. I have given you credit for the assignment. Thanks for the rewrite!

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