Friday, August 14, 2009

Legendary TV: The Office (UK)

I initially intended to do a 'Versus' post between the UK and US editions of The Office. But truth of the matter is I like them separately and it would be unfair to compare the two seeing as right now, all they seem to share is the premise of 'zany things happen at the office'. And even that single truth doesn't always hold true in the case of The Office (US). So in a series of posts updated very sporadically, but really quite possibly never again, I will dissect my favourite television series(es) of all time. For the interest of this one YouTube video that I want to share, I'll start with The Office (UK). Mild spoilers ahead, mind you.

No matter what shit pile movie Ricky Gervais ends up in, odds are, I have an obligation to watch. This is after all one half of the duo who produced one of the best comedies on TV of all time. This is mothereffin' David Brent we're talking about.

- quite possibly one of the most genuine asshats portrayed on TV ever.
If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain - do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of tits.

- singer of Freelove Freeway - a tune that I occasionally find myself humming out of nowhere.

- ruiner of Simply Red's 'If You Don't Love Me By Now'. Frankly everytime this song comes on I just end up in giggles.

- and it has to be mentioned, the charity dance. Such bizarre choreography and body spasms has yet to be recreated anywhere else and at such a magnitude of epicness.

But The Office was more than the exploits of one unstoppable boss. It was a solid team effort through and through. The cast comprising of office suck-up, Gareth, lovelorn salesman Tim, his object of affection, engaged secretary Dawn were the precious notes that added to the beautiful orchestra that was the show. Steven Merchant (Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!) and Ricky Gervais wrote a script that brilliantly captured the inanity of working life.
David Brent: Avoid employing unlucky people - throw half of the pile of CVs in the bin without reading them.

Tim: The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with. I mean, you don't know them, it wasn't your choice. And yet you spend more time with them than you do your friends or your family. But probably all you have in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for eight hours a day.

David Brent: You just have to accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.

There was such incredible amounts of heart in this film, especially in the way the Tim and Dawn romance panned out. Although their screen time together is limited to flirtatious banter and messing with Gareth, we intuitively know that they're just simply meant for each other. Dawn's fiance, Lee, never comes across as overtly terrible - he isn't quite simplistically Hollywood-bad for her.
Dawn (on how Lee proposed): He proposed on a Valentine's day, although he didn't do it face to face, he did it in one of the little Valentine bits in the paper. I think he had to pay for it by the word, because it just said 'Lee love Dawn, marriage?' which you know, I like, because it's not often you get to something that's both romantic and thrifty.

He does care for her in his own way but they just don't get each other. Not the way Tim and Dawn do. Especially given the slow-burning chemistry behind Tim and Dawn (Tawn? Dawm? Dim?). Theirs was never a quick-flash summer style romance. Instead it was a kindling fire, well tended to with the direction of Merchant and Gervais.

The funniest thing about Gareth Keenan is that I used to know a guy who was exactly just like him. Overly eager to impress, excruciatingly pedantic about all things unnecessary and unaware of his unpleasantness, Gareth, and the guy I knew, is a total headcase. Yet when played against the dullness of a paper office and filled with the normalcy of co-workers, Gareth became perfect comedic fuel. The Office (UK) applies the words of Arnold Beisser,
to great effect.
"Tragedy and comedy are but two aspects of what is real, and whether we see the tragic or the humorous is a matter of perspective"

Wernham Hogg is a fucking tragic place to be at, more so if one has to spend eight hours there a day, five days in a week. But it's by highlighting the tragic that the comedy appears.
Tim: No I don't talk about my love life for a very good reason, and that reason is I don't have one. Which is very good news for the ladies-I am still available. I'm a heck of a catch, cos, er well look at it. I live in Slough, in a lovely house, with my parents. I have my own room, which I've had since yep, since I was born. That's seen a lot of action I tell you. Mainly dusting. I went to university for a year as well, before I dropped out, so I'm a quitter. So, er, form an orderly queue ladies.

And of course let's not forget the other office oddballs. Keith in particular, I'm very fond of. The drollness of this guy, who we know is a 'lifer' at Wernham Hogg, is just portrayed to utter perfection. As a whole, I think the entire cast performed far better than I could have comprehended. But for such a small role, Keith sure stole the limelight whenever he was near the fringes of the light.

When I first watched the Christmas special, I just about lost it in the last half hour. That was hands down one of the best series ending ever. To see such a well-loved show go out on a high, 'tis one of the most purest forms of joy TV can bring you. I shall forever be indebted to Steven Merchant (who I have been nursing a crush on since I first saw the series in '05) and Ricky Gervais for coming up this slice of perfection. As David Brent would say, I just want to be remembered
"Simply, as, the man who put a smile on the face of all who he met." These guys, best writing partners ever by the way, have truly done that. Their podcast with Karl Pilkington and Extras has continued to give me the chuckles long after the dust of The Office has settled.

And the best part is; they're back for more!

I have been waiting to post this up since midday when I first read about it via ONTD and am willing to forgo sleep to share the news. Right now my nipples could glass. I am just that excited.

31/08/09: All 5 videos from ONTD available over here. <3 Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais

1 comment:

yiqin; said...

It's a very nice show :D