I’ve recently finished watching the DVD set of The Office: Season Two. Like most sophomore TV efforts, The Office found its niche as a show and hit its stride at various points along the way.
The problem is that the absurdity of this show — a trait that has turned me off — starts to creep into the writers’ pens as a fail-safe trick.
It was really difficult for me to come away with a clear opinion of this season. When these episodes were on TV, I remember being extremely happy that they had signed on for a second season — as opposed to going one-and-done. But some of these episodes are just dead weight.
Some of the situations are just absurd. My problem with that is what it eventually leads to in the later seasons: when they don’t quite know how to start or end a scene, Michael Scott does something completely sophomoric.
The brilliance behind the original British version of The Office was that it was a witty satire. The interactions and situations portrayed in the British version were odd, and most often very awkward, but not altogether impossible to picture happening in a true workplace. That’s what made it funny: the “Stanley” in your office really would say that to the “Phyllis” of your office. What happened to Angela in that episode could have happened to your wife.
The actions during the current episodes with Steve Carrell and his gang are outright absurd. Willingly driving into a pond because your Garmin said so? A coworker dropping a deuce in a manager’s private office?
The American Office has become ever-so-popular because it’s become stupid funny, hold the wit and creativity. It’s now lowest common denominator humor, with its fans ironically resurrecting the middle school calling card “that’s what she said!”