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The joy of working via “The Office”

BY PATRICK BIGSBY | NOVEMBER 04, 2009 7:20 AM

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As I tiptoe closer to the precipice of graduation, I can’t help but wonder what the working world will be like. My history is littered with plenty of part-time and summer jobs, but virtually all have involved being behind the wheel of something, shoveling something, or wearing suspenders. The closest I’ve been to the inside of an office is, well, “The Office.”

A stint at Dunder Mifflin might be fun. Michael’s frustrating ineptitude and Angela’s barbed, judgmental sneers seem pretty entertaining from the couch. Any loyal viewer would love to share some laughs with Jim, Pam, and the rest of the gang, but what about the work? It’s downright mundane.

Unfortunately, that’s an accurate portrayal. “The Office” may be brilliantly funny, but it feeds on the mundane. How does an engaging show deal with such boring base material?

I’m not sure what the working world has in store for me. If I can help it, I’d prefer not to spend too much time in any sort of office, Dunder Mifflin or otherwise.

The premise of “The Office” is a parody of reality television, but I think the show is actually a parody of plain old reality. A call from corporate in real life is so unfunny that to use it as humor is such an absurd notion that it, in turn, becomes funny. We must allow the small joys that fuel hyper-reality television to keep us from the drudgery of the working world.

Other scripted comedies are thriving on average, 9-to-5 fodder. “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” and (my personal favorite) “Community” are all work-theme shows that based on their premise, should be boring. Who cares about television production or remedial Spanish classes? To the contrary, each of these shows have been well-received.

Perhaps that is the key to surviving the working world — accepting self-deprecation. It’s either that or move into my parents’ basement.


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