Algonquin Kids' Table: The Office
Gus Sheridan - 12:27pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Okay, so, "The Quiz".
Matthew Best - 12:33pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
[In response to Hayden's post]
Gus Sheridan - 12:34pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Well, great. Tom just posted about "The Quiz", as well, and sounded about ten times smarter on the subject.
Hayden Childs - 01:31pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
There's a case for saying that the standards for decorum in any particular office are set by the boss to a large extent. The idea of employees bringing legal action against bosses does go against the English grain, I think. We like to think of ourselves as not being as sue-happy as you lot, anyway.
Oh, no doubt. I've certainly worked for people as psychologically appalling as David Brent, but not in large corporations. At least one former boss of mine used to lay into me regularly, but this was a small business he owned. It took me months to quit that damn job, and I never thought once of suing him, although I used to wish that I at least had the presence of mind to tape one of his hissy fits. At one large corporation, a former division head used to hold conferences in the men's room. My immediate boss, his subordinate, was a women, and she would take her frustration at being excluded out on her staff.
Who was Tim's quiz partner, by the way? I couldn't find him on the BBC's Office web page.
That was Ricky, the intern. Another moment of David Brent's pychological discomfort with women involves the intern's romance with Donna, Brent's charge. Brent is so appalled that he can hardly speak to the intern any more.
Leonard Pierce - 04:11pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Who inspired yet another uncomfortable (but funny) class-war moment, when Finchy and David lay into Ricky and Tim for being overeducated, layabout college boys. Finch lays an accusation of being a work-slacking goldbrick on Ricky, who retorts that he worked his way through college. Finch responds, basically, by saying "Oh, yeah? What was your job, watching telly?" It's a lame joke, but Finch comes across as the winner through sheer force of personality.
Phil Nugent - 04:13pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Hey, the guy's got a good pitching arm.
Davey Schmitt - 07:29pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Nice post, Tom, on how the throwaway peripheral moments in the show tend to define the characters more than the situational machinations they're run through, or even their more explicit verbal admissions to the camera. Take Gareth, who's easily the most cartoonish of the show's characters (albeit a riotously funny cartoon); there's not a more perfect moment that utterly defines him (outside of the skittish gropings at the inflatable penis you mentioned) than when he's adlibbing along with one of David's ridiculous songs at the training seminar and instinctively inserts the backup-singer lyric "she's dead" as a response to David's "she's gone". All of Gareth's other big moments (his beautifully graphic mime of a sniper bullet's trajectory, his breakdown over his two-hole punch, the sheepishly incriminated glance he gives the camera from the sidecar of the pub swinger's motorbike, his inquiries about elves, and his dancefloor self-defence demonstration) get their laughs easily and with a good deal of grace, but that little "she's dead" is the moment where he stops being the show's Squiggy equivalent and spontaneously becomes primally, pathetically human.
Gus Sheridan - 07:50pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Gareth reminds me of Barney Fife.
Chris Roberson - 10:00pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
his dancefloor self-defence demonstration
I'd be more inclined to call it a demo of hand-to-hand combat techniques. Striking upward from the tip of someone's nose isn't taught in self-defense classes, as it can quite easily kill that person. In combat, of course, that may be what you're trying to do.
Davey Schmitt - 10:06pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Gareth was dancing. With a woman. Surely it was self defence.
Phil Nugent - 11:35pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
He was thinking of David the whole time.
Gus Sheridan - 11:37pm Aug 4, 2003 PST
Gareth's nowhere near as endearing or recognizably human as Fife, but he has some similar traits, what with his self-defense and weapons stuff.
Matthew Best - 06:47am Aug 5, 2003 PST
I also liked the way when Brent phones the Speaking Clock instead of Finch (who he's supposed to be sacking), and this is revealed by Jennifer who puts it on the speaker phone, in amongst all the embarrassed shuffling about, Gareth quietly checks his watch.
That's it for the first exciting round of the Algonquin Kids' Table! We don't have a topic for next month yet, but we're sure that it will be at least this thrilling, if not more so.