Yeah, I know, these two don’t have anything in common. Yet they both left me feeling the same way when I was done watching them. I saw the Office on DVD so basically got a full season at a time. The second season watched over 2 days (just 1/2 episodes) hits very hard.
Both of these items fall into that really rare “Yes I have to say they were good but no I can’t say I’d recommend them to people,” category. Here’s why:
Irreversible was wrong on many levels, but as nearly as I could tell, after you got past the violence there was the simple realisation that not a single person in that movie got what they deserved (or what was coming to them, if you prefer) in the end. The woman didn’t deserve to be brutally raped and assaulted. The basically good guy that was her wanna-be boyfriend didn’t deserve to become a murderer, especially since he killed the wrong man (the real rapist stood by and watched while the man he had been speaking with was bludgeoned to death). The dead man didn’t deserve to be bludgeoned to death. The woman’s lover, who seemed to be a pretty uniform shit throughout the movie, and who forces the confrontation in the gay bar, skates by at the end, effectively not being involved in all the pain and violence that he has forced to take place through his assinine behavior. A very, very unjust movie, and that led me to believe that while I did find it interesting, it really wasn’t entertaining, and really just left me with a lot of images and notions that I didn’t really much care for.
The Office shows us a nebbish office manager (David) in a British paper company. He’s a basically harmless little man whose primary objectives in life appear to be making people like him and for his desperate need for a sense of self-worth to be recognized. The man lives on what he perceives as a funny and congenial workplace that he’s created, the appreciattion of his boss, and the accolades of the industry. The fact he’s basically clueless and incompetant don’t seem to bother or even be noticed by upper management at all until things start getting tight at the company. Once the bright light gets turned on him David begins a meteoric and catastrophic collapse. In a short time he loses the respect of his peers and managers, loses the accolades and side-job giving seminars that made him feel valuable, and, finally, loses his job after a career-killing hostile encounter with his to immediate supervisors. The series ends with us watching David, all pride gone, begging for his job. Watching him do one incredibly pathetic and/or stupid thing after the other, rapidly deepinging his hole and destroying what tenuous hold he had on things as he goes, is painful. I didn’t laugh at all during the second series. Mostly I just put my head in my hands and shook my head as I watched this poor dolt being completely destroyed. It wasn’t that David was evil or especially manipulative. He was just utterly clueless and so needy for acceptance that he had to make his self-absorption infect everything he did.
If there’s a season 3 of The Office they should destroy the woman who was David’s boss before she was promoted. She’s the one who probably promoted the fool in the first place, the one who was responsible for his development and direction, evaluation and retention and she clearly completely failed in her task. That he was offered a promotion at the end of season one demonstrates that she didn’t know what the hell she was doing. But she remains in her new job, and the sad little man gets crushed. All the unfortunates who suffered under his buffoonery still had to put up with everything that happened. David had it coming-he was clearly not up to the job. But the way it happened, and his complete loss of employment and esteem, could have been avoided. For me, maybe it’s a little too much like that eerie familiarity people get from reading Dilbert at the office. So at the end of The Office I’m left with impression that I’ve watched something basically accurate and hard to look away from in a train-wreck sort of way, but a comedy? This thing was billed as a comedy? There’s funny bits, sure, but the overall themes are all full of despair. It’s a depressing show. Well-done, but I don’t know I’d tell others to watch it.