Michael Scott is GWB

20Jul07

I’ve only recently started watching The Office (only the U.S. version) on DVD and nearly always bust a gut at the glances exchanged and overwhelmingly awkward moments . But I started to wonder if this quasi-documentary might be understood in a different light: is there another subtext in which we might interpret the staggering ineptitude of Michael Scott, the fanatical obedience of Dwight Schrute, the romantic sideshow of Jim and Pam, and the overwhelming indifference of the rest of the workers? Can The Office be understood as a parody of the Bush administration and modern American political discourse?

Allow me to propose that Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin is a tidy microcosm of America: Michael Scott is our inept Dear Leader, Dwight Shrute is the boot-licking wingbat, Jim and Pam are the distracting sideshow of faux news and reality TV, Ryan represents the international community that has no clue how to react, and the rest of the workers represent a populace too blinkered and bored to care. Similarly, there is this “Corporate” apparatus embodied by Jan who ostensibly has the power to correct or balance these injustices but is initially indifferent then later seduced by the endearing machinations of Michael as well as a “Warehouse” of underclass laborers. Most important, however, is the acknowledged presence of the camera which serves to record the incalculable tedium and pointlessness of witnessed events in a society on the verge of collapse that it might be viewed later as a lesson.

Or perhaps my cynicism is reading too far into this…

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