About a week ago, I received a severance package. It was completely unexpected. You know, I thought I’d been doing a good job, so this blew me out of the water. However, if I keep getting packages like this one, I’m probably not going to be inclined to change my attitude or even work harder.
Yep, I received my boxed set of seasons one and two of The Office. All the deleted scenes, Dwight Schrute’s business card (you can call him), helpful swag. We’ve been training for season three with a vengeance, and it’s been fun catching up with the gang these past weeks.
For all my snark about not needing appointment television, you can bet that I was planted on my couch last night. Last night was the season premiere of The Office, and no way was I going to miss it. The Office, after all, is one of the smartest, funniest, most painful shows on television.
(Never fear, TiVo was right there with me. I can watch a show the night it airs without having to sacrifice my principles.)
Out of consideration for my DVR brethren, I won’t go all spoiler here (if you need to know, head to Office Tally), but suffice to say that season three picks up where season two left off. Mostly. Anyone who’s ever had a job knows that things change. People come, people go. There are political alignments and personal alignments.
When the U.S. version of The Office appeared, fans of the British series (the original) were understandably concerned. How could anyone top David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais, the world’s worst boss? Two words: Steve Carrell. After finding his voice, Carrell has taken middle management to new lows. He’s every worker’s nightmare.
Almost every worker’s. Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson, who takes his scary character and manages to make him downright terrifying), assistant (to the) regional manager, worships the ground that Michael Scott (Carrell) sleeps on. In the meantime, the rest of the staff, from Jim (John Krasinski) to Pam (Jenna Fischer) to Stanley (Leslie David Baker) to the great kids in accounting are gritting their teeth as their boss manages to make each day just a little worse.
In a world where every office action is governed by politically correct rules, the one is ruled by a man who has had his foot in his mouth for so long that he doesn’t realize it’s there. Every protected class under the sun is fair game for Michael Scott. Carrell plays this obtuse character with the perfect mix of bewilderment and defiance. Life should be fun, dammit!
And with a boss like Michael, every moment is a teachable moment. No need for some guy from corporate to work with his staff — Michael Scott is on the case:
Michael: I do believe in that part of the pledge that I just read. But a pledge, come on. I mean, who are we, the Girl Scouts? (Dwight nods his head enthusiastically) No, look…the um, the guy, (does air quotes) Mr. Brown…uh, he got us halfway there. He got us talking. Well, no. I got us talking. He got us nothing. He insulted us and he abandoned us. You call that diversity training? I don’t. Were there any connections between any of us? Did anyone look each other in the eye? Was there any emotion going on? (Jim swivels his chair to glance at Pam, who looks back with a look of shock) No. Where was the heart? I didn’t see any heart. Where was my Oprah moment? Okay, get as much done as you can before lunch, because, afterward, I’m going to have you all in tears.
Season three promises to be the best thing ever. Okay, except for Battlestar Galactica, but that’s an entirely different bad day at the office.