Thursday, March 8, 2007

"The Office" Analysis by Pritak

"I am actually quite the avid fan of NBC's The Office. My roommate and I regularly DVR the show, and more often than not, watch each episode twice. I felt the Diwali episode really stood out in the season for this comedic quality, and showcased yet another moment when Micheal (Steve Carrell) failed to understand the nuances of various cultures. When I found out that Mindy Kaling actually wrote the script for the episode, I was completely shocked. I actually had no idea that the entire caste was so talented. I had no problem imagining "Kelly Kapoor" was played by someone no more complex than just another actress. Now having learned that Kelly actually wrote the episode, I think it demonstrates again what we have been discussing in so much detail in class. When taken in a comedic perspective, the show becomes less offensive. I think one particular aspect of The Office in general, and why it offers no reason for one to take offense, is that the show is an equal-opportunity offender. The characters played on the show are meant to be ignorant, and they are ignorant to all things foreign whether it be homosexuals, African Americans, Asians, South Asians, females, etc. The thing that I love about the show is the fact that there is no question that ignorance is directly related to stupidity. For viewers, I do not think anyone could ever take the stereotypes presented (the actual festival celebration of Diwali) and believe that that is all there is to the Indian culture. However, I do understand the fear of other South Asians that they are constantly being represented as Indian. Nevertheless, I believe The Office actually makes substantial progress in pop culture for it shows the very many misconceptions held by the ignorant, and even if one may identify with Micheal, the likelihood of one replicating his actions after having seen the show could be minimized."

My Response:

Very well put. I agree with everything you said. The Diwali episode was definitely a great one, as they all are. It’s hard to believe how ignorant of a character Michael is, although he is extremely funny at the same time. I think the show does a great job of showing just how ignorant people can be. I agree that it would be hard to believe that someone could take seriously the stereotypes and misconceptions presented on the show. I also like your thought that the show could possibly function as a sort of ignorance-minimizer. After all, the first step towards minimizing ignorance is identifying that it exists, which “The Office” does a great job of doing. Overall, great analysis!