The Office

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Latest Topics

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Audience perceptions of characters in TV shows

It seems as though, a lot of the time, the audience’s perception of a character in a story is colored less by things the character has actually said or done, and more by how another character (who is usually a main character or simply more popular) views them. For instance, in the original British Office, Tim, a salesman, spends most of his time bullying his fellow salesman, Gareth. However, because Tim is more popular and gets more screen time, audiences just assume that he is the "nice" one and Gareth "deserves" to be mistreated when there’s no real evidence of this. The same series also includes a corporate higher-up named Neil, who is made out to be "mean" simply because he doesn’t get along with David, the main face of the show. What are some other examples of this phenomenon from TV, or media in general? Are there any characters who seem to be especially unfairly judged? Do they (or the people judging them) share any particular traits in common?

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    Lesser-Known Adaptations of The Office

    When most people think of the mockumentary sitcom series known as The Office, they probably think of the version from either the United States or the United Kingdom. However, The Office is a multinational phenomenon, with at least eight or ten countries having their own home-grown adaptations of it, which they use to make fun of their own work cultures. What are some highlights from these international adaptations? How do they differ from their more famous English-language counterparts? Are there any adaptations that, in your opinion, do not receive the attention they deserve?

    • Interesting - could you give some suggestions? I think this would be a really interesting topic to break down - even if you went beyond the office and looked at representations of work places and the different cultural representations. I know the US is often over represented in this area, so it would be fascinating to see what other countries have portrayed as work place contexts. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 7 months ago
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    • This is a really cool idea. I think bringing The Office into a wider discussion on generic conventions and formats across global media could be a fascinating lens. In what ways does each version differ based on cultural norms and practices; how do these differences map onto differences in shows like American Idol or other generic formats? – kkenny 6 months ago
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    • Another direction you could go would be lesser-known adaptations of different shows and how producers choose what is "essential" to the format vs what should be adapted to the culture/language/location. This isn't the best example, but I've recently begun watching LegoMasters from different countries and its fun to see what's the same and whats different. – derBruderspielt 5 months ago
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    "The Office"

    "The Office" is such a widely known series that it is almost impossible to have a conversation with someone without referencing a joke or moment from the show. The internet is littered with Office memes, and people joking about only ever rewatching the series. People put Michael Scott quotes in their bios, their yearbook quotes, and their Tinder profiles. Why does this show, which has just as many cringy, immoral, distasteful, and insensitive jokes as it does sweet and kind moments, speak to so many people and demand a large role in so many peoples life?

    • I would love to see this explored more fully because I certainly fall into the category of "The Office" fans that you reference, rewatching it and using it as background noise for years. A couple of points that I would like to offer is that it seems like people relate to the mundane setting of the show that allows them to project hilarious moments and observations onto an office setting that they may have thought in the past but never stated. This deeper connection to the setting or overall atmosphere that the setting creates has the potential to provide escapism for people trapped in very dull work environments by finding the humor in less dynamic work places (obviously, not for everyone). Lastly, I think it's important to recognize that the immoral and distasteful jokes you note are usually presented as critiques since they are coming from characters that are lovable in some way but clearly presented as twisted personalities that should not be imitated. Younger or less critical viewers may be negatively influenced by these moments, but I would argue that that's not the intent (and I acknowledge that intent only goes so far). As I said, I would love to see this expanded because "The Office" is a piece of our zeitgeist that is thriving across generations since the early 2000s with its presence on Netflix. – Aaron 3 years ago
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    • "The Office" is not the first of it's kind to produce these outcomes. Pop culture references have been a long-term epidemic similar to reading the latest books or sharing the latest news and gossip. The normality of Netflix and additions to tv series provide individuals with a way of relating to others to feel accepted - this is most prominent in a digital environment which provides a social sense of reality that people potentially lack in their everyday mundane lives. – TheAuthortoria 3 years ago
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    • As Aaron stated above, I think The Office provides escapism for those who find themselves dragged down by boring and tedious corporate working environments. While the U.K Office used more dry and drawn out humor, the U.S Office failed to emulate this in season 1 and the writers instead went with a more upbeat, albeit unrealistic approach of an office environment. This does correlate more with U.S values, which are usually more optimistic and persevering. The characters in my opinion are what make the show. It's no surprise that Michael Scott and many of the other characters would be fired for various actions and interactions, but that's one of the show's advantages. It's an exaggerated take on the typical, American corporate work place inhabited by distinct and generally likable characters. The distasteful jokes are also done well imo because they're from the characters' distinct behaviors, who are portrayed as in the wrong and not to be emulated or praised. They're often sourced from their flaws. The Office also isn't the only show to have such type of crude comedy, see It's Always Sunny, Family Guy, South Park, etc. – ImperatorSage 3 years ago
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    Existential Themes in The Office

    An in-depth analysis of the popular TV show The Office and how it rises above mere entertainment to become a genuine, nihilistic examination of everyday American office workers and the meaning they can find in their cyclical lives.

    • Don't forget, The Office originally started out as a British TV show, established by comedian Ricky Gervais. However, I think comparing how successful the American Office and how it became so much more popular than The Office UK. It's probably also worth exploring the style of The Office (fictional reality) and the clever use of a 'mock-umnetary' style of filming. Good luck! – Abby Wilson 6 years ago
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    • (agreed about the British Office thing mentioned above) but also, amazing idea! The office is a depiction of American office workers, but also of the personalities we all know. Dwight, Michael and Jim etc all represent experiences we have all had and understand. Perhaps approach this from the standpoint of what the characters mean to the viewer, how the personality types were created to be familiar and recognizable. The show offers a narrative not only on the office environment, but on the mindset of general America, and the way the countries citizens have been socialized to behave. – JoshuaStrydom 6 years ago
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