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Author Topic: Card's Office Analysis
Member # 8122

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I've gotta say that OSC's analysis regarding The Office is pretty much amazing. His writing implies that he's just finished Season 3, which is interesting to me - I've only just begun to suspect after watching all five seasons what he's caught onto right away:

Perhaps the fact that some of the writers play some of the characters helps them maintain their commitment to making sure all the characters -- the vast number of them -- are given good and funny and real things to do in nearly every episode.

It's strange, though. Even though the series is a genuinely funny comedy of humors, the end result, for me, is a kind of melancholy. The stories make me sad at the end of all the laughter.

It's a kind of existential sadness: Yes, this is the human condition, everybody acting out the script of life, oblivious to the fact that most of their own happiness comes from their own choices, or their misunderstanding of the motives of others.

Even the love stories -- and there are several office romances going all the time -- make me sad, because everybody is so hungry for connection with someone else, and the happiness they imagine will come from it, and yet the only way to make a relationship work is to leave someone else lonely, or to spend your life sacrificing in order to placate someone else's irrational needs.

In short, The Office is about community, how important it is to everyone, and yet how lonely everyone is in the midst of it. So often they show no compassion for each other at all; yet they do show patience, most of the time. Some resort to pranks in order to soften the blows of misused authority and mad ambition, and while the pranks are funny, they also reduce the pranksters to a kind of petty meanness that diminishes them even as we delight in their gags.

What am I saying? That The Office is as good a comedy of the human condition as I've ever seen. No wonder these actors stay with it: They are creating something beautiful and true, disguised as something hilarious and satirical.

I can't wait to see what he'll say regarding the newer seasons though, once he gets there - with the main characters being forced to stick around and Jim and Pam as diminished and self-loathing as they've been recently, it's tough not to begin to read the show as a Sisyphean parable of hell.

I've criticized OSC in the past for just reacting to things all willy-nilly and ignoring artistic depth in the media he views (or at least reviews). This makes up for it, and leads me to believe that I was oversimplifying - as long as human connections and relationships are involved, my still-favorite fiction author is game. He's just not big on dadaism or "literary" ambiguity.

Posts: 127 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 10030

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We had a discussion about it on the other side.
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Member # 8122

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Thanks for the heads-up. I really should keep my eyes open for this stuff [Smile] .
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