Friday, November 30, 2007

Here's the thing

One of my coworkers is an adamant fan of NBC's The Office. I watched an episode last night and have seen the first season and most of the second. Here's what bothers me about the office sitcom. Why would I watch a show after I get home that is about being at work? It seems to go against what I believe in: leaving your job at work.
Most offices have their oddities and quirks. At my last job there was a guy who discovered eBay about 10 years after everyone else and loved to spread the word and sing the praises of buying others garbage. He would gleefully tear open his packages with fervor usually reserved for Christmas morning. One day, the package was a woman's sweater with an American flag motif. After standing and saluting the sweater, I asked if this was for a friend or foe. The ladies garment was for his buddy who taught history and has a penchant for sweaters.

There's the compulsive gambler. The religious zealot with firm, unwavering views that will endlessly attempt a conversion. The moron who somehow earns more than you. The advice-giver, doesn't matter the topic, he'll tell you how to improve your love life, fuel efficiency, diet. The quiet one that everyone placates for fear of their going postal. The guy with no sense of volume modulation when speaking. The person who uses speaker phone too often.

Why do I need to watch other people's office lives? To view the oddballs that comprise their menagerie? The show's hyperbole allows you to look at your own environment and laugh, especially when the printer displays "PC Load Letter," and provides the environment to chat around the water cooler. This separation and parallel work situation enables workers to indirectly criticize their own situation. Their boss may not be as culturally insensitive as Michael Scott, or returning from a Jamaican trip with their attractive boss, but the fictional caricature allows the average peon to assert their supremacy.

Although my office life doesn't come with theme music and credits (it'd be cool if it did), I'll be content to leave my desk job at work and not tune in for the re-airing Thursday nights.