May 1, 2013

"You didn’t hear words like cringe-worthy or cringe-inducing in a complimentary way before."

"Does that make the show a classic? I don’t know. But I do like the fact that the show made people appreciate the entertainment value of cringing."

I'm one of the people who simply cannot enjoy watching "The Office." I understand why it's good and why people find it funny, and why the "cringe-inducing" quality is considered a sophisticated element of comedy, but it makes me feel bad. Even thinking about watching the show makes me feel bad.

By the way, the word "cringe" literally means (according to the unlinkable OED): "To contract the muscles of the body, usually involuntarily; to shrink into a bent or crooked position; to cower." Basically, you curl up into the fetal position. Figuratively, it means: "To experience an involuntary inward shiver of embarrassment, awkwardness, disgust, etc.; to wince or shrink inwardly; (hence) to feel extremely embarrassed or uncomfortable." The first historical example of the figurative meaning is:
1868   Harper's Mag. May 793/1   ‘I should like a smoke,’ was her only comment. I may have cringed at the idea of putting my pipe between those broken teeth, but I of course made haste to do what was hospitable.
The most recent is:
1993   Time 25 Jan. 18   Privately, Clinton advisers cringed at the wreckage left behind by all the U-turns.
Somehow I'm thinking about cigars...

130 comments:

Crunchy Frog said...

Even thinking about watching the show makes me feel bad.

And it's all about how everything makes you feel. This is why you voted for the Manchurian Candyass in the WH in the first place.

Will someone please tell me why the 19th Amendment was supposed to be a good idea?

Patrick said...

I tried to like the Office, but in each of the dozen or so episodes I watched, it just looked like they were making fun of people generally perceived to be losers. Just seemed mean.

n.n said...

Dilbert is more than sufficient to cover office dynamics. If you enjoy "The Office", then you are not working in the office.

Expat(ish) said...

I found the UK version of the office while I was working in the UK and it helped me understand the cultural differences and why I was alternatively charmed and horrified.

I never could watch the US version - it was like "The Good Wife" and some other shows where I just want to slap all the characters.

-XC

X said...

does the cringe inducing comedy of American Idol make you feel bad?

Nonapod said...

I've never liked that show either. There always seem to be a subtle current of meanness to it. But I love its spiritual sister show, Parks & Recreation, which has a much more sentimental vibe to it.

Farmer said...

Crunchy Frog said...

And it's all about how everything makes you feel.


It's sort of an important factor in one's enjoyment of a TV show.

Farmer said...

I love the British Office. The recent update where Brent teams up with a black rapper to make an anti-racism music video called Equality Street was awesome too.

Farmer said...

I thought I ran across that video here but I guess not.

Julie C said...

Never cared for "The Office". Seemed mean-spirited.

Another show that could get me cringing was "Enlightened". It was a great show, and well-written, but Amy (played by Laura Dern) was so cringe-inducing! Almost the textbook example really.

creeley23 said...

I'm with Althouse on this one. The Office is well-written and well-acted but it is just so cringey that I bailed and never looked back.

There are a few episodes of Fawlty Towers which are also hard for me. The Psychiatrists comes to mind, where Basil Fawlty humiliates himself so thoroughly that he curls into a fetal position and rocks himself on the floor in front of the guests.

Then there is the Heartbreak Kid, where Charles Grodin dumps his wife on their honeymoon for a blonde ice goddess, which was the first movie I walked out on.

LarsPorsena said...

Farmer said...

I love the British Office..
-------------------------------------

Me too. Couldn't get passed the first ten minutes of American version.

Jeff Teal said...

Read a long time ago that all humor was based on cruelty.If the humor is directed at the other like The Office,most SNL skits , or what passes for modern standup it should induce cringes.If your empathy is acticated most modern comedy comes across as worse than high school.

AJ Lynch said...

I think The Good Wife was meant to be a comedy until all the critics decided it was great drama.

And btw The Following had to have been written by someone who hates the FBI because, in that show, they were the dumbest MOFO's ever.

phx said...

Privately, Clinton advisers cringed at the wreckage left behind by all the U-turns. Somehow I'm thinking about cigars...

I would be thinking policy, given that they're talking U-turns.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

"Cringe-worthy" and "The Office" aversion:

...for others it's not the mean-ness or the picking on hapless characters, it's that the show is uncomfortably close to reality.

Mitch H. said...

If you enjoy "The Office", then you are not working in the office.

My sister, who was a physical therapist and is now a (mostly) stay-at-home mother, loves the Office and keeps trying to get me to watch it. Suffice to say, she has never worked in an office.

Although to be honest, it's the deadening affect of the fake-documentary style of those types of sitcoms that repel me. I tried and failed to enjoy Parks and Recreation for much the same reason. The lure of Ron Swanson wasn't enough to make me put up with the experience of actually watching the rest of the show.

AprilApple said...

I do not like "the office" at all.
I also cannot stand "the family guy". Both are Cringe-worthy, but also just plain not funny.

Sunday night is my favorite night for TV viewing. PBS: Masterpiece Theater - pretty much all of it.
Call the Midwife has my attention.
There's now another show about British women catching criminals and solving crimes that is perfect for passing out.

furious_a said...

Somehow I'm thinking about cigars...

Only if they are in the original wrapping, thank you.

Surfed said...

I dated a woman from Georgia once. She called big cigars "Darlin'".

Jeff Teal said...

I enjoy humor of the laughing with variety rather than the laughing at variety . Which is why I love Big Bang Theory.You know character identification.

Jeff Teal said...

Thanks for making my point Surfed.

Nonapod said...

Read a long time ago that all humor was based on cruelty

I wouldn't say it's precisely cruelty. As Robert A. Heinlein's character Valentine Michael Smith grokked that laughter is a "wrongness". More specifically it's a human reaction to certain wrongnesses in the world or about ourselves.

Icepick said...

I don't see where The Office is all that much different than Seinfeld. If anything, Seinfeld is worse: The characters in The Office aren't generally TRYING to be assholes to every single person they meet, including their friends. I haven't seen anything as bad in The Office as the Easy Bake Oven episode of Seinfeld. Now THAT was cringe-worthy!

tim maguire said...

It's easy to get too much of the office, but in dribs and drabs, I really enjoyed it. I like that the actors look like actual people, this is what an office looks like. I like that the show focused on the mundane, on things that actually happen and had concerns that people actually have. I have to wonder how many episodes the people here saying it's not like a real office have seen.

The biggest thing I did't like about it is that the characters never learned how to react to Michael's rants. They would just stare at him slack-jawed as though they hadn't already seen this craziness a hundred times. That got annoying.

AJ Lynch said...

Big bang is the best! The TV show is pretty good too.

Icepick said...

...for others it's not the mean-ness or the picking on hapless characters, it's that the show is uncomfortably close to reality.

Yep. For those saying that The Office isn't like actually working in an office, I disagree. It's not always that bad, but it can be. I've worked for a slightly smarter (and more subtly mean) version of Michael Scott, for example. Not pleasant at all.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Sometimes it's hard to tell when a humorist is really making fun of himself because sometimes he isn't.

Jeff Teal said...

Thing is in an actual Office situation I've been the hapless drone at the mercy of the clueless boss too many times.It is not pleasant and sometimes your best strategy is to endure.
The humoe is cruelty thing I remember from "When Harlie Was One".and while Heinlein's wrongness thing might be closer they are not that far apart.
I still prefer laughing with.

AprilApple said...

American sit-coms are horrid.

Except for Big Bang Theory - which is funny.
I'm hooked.

Icepick said...

The biggest thing I did't like about it is that the characters never learned how to react to Michael's rants. They would just stare at him slack-jawed as though they hadn't already seen this craziness a hundred times. That got annoying.

That seemed to be more the case in earlier episodes. I always took that to be an effect of having the characters suddenly having to experience those rants in front of other people for the first time, i.e. the camera crew. It's one thing to listen to your crazy uncle go off about "all those Goddamned n*****s" when you're at his house, it's a different thing altogether when he goes off like that in the food court at the mall.

A favorite in that vein was when Michael Scott had the handicapped building manager come in to talk about the problems of being disabled. (Michael was working under the delusion that he was disabled because he burned his foot in a George Foreman Grill.) The building manager at one point says, "Michael, let me stop you right there, and leave."

A few more general observations:

Mindy Kaling seemed to right the funniest episodes;

Paul Lieberstein wrote the meanest;

The show has TERRIBLE continuity - everything from birthdays to personalities can change from one episode to the next. It's generally worked, but is sometimes a little jarring.

And the absolute best line in the show was when Pam went into labor with her first child, and Michael was panicking about what to take to the hospital. He's looking through his office for what to bring and shouts out, "Should I bring the dictionary?!" Oscar smoothly responds, "The hospital will provide dictionaries. Bring the thesaurus!"

Not QUITE up there with "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!" but it's close.

LarsPorsena said...

A whole thread about 'cringe-inducing' and not one mention of Joe Biden?

Bender said...

The Office really has been cringable only when Charles was there. He was just a thoroughly unpleasant character that you could not watch, especially when Mr. Cool was made to look like an idiot (although he has shown himself to be a complete jerk this year in putting his stupid Philly business above his wife).

AprilApple said...

Joe Biden is the embodiment of a cringe.
...and a shiver...

AprilApple said...

tepid water please.

ok - I'll stop.

Icepick said...

A whole thread about 'cringe-inducing' and not one mention of Joe Biden?

Too painful for sane and decent people, and even the idiots and evil little shits that voted for Obama find that embarrassing.

Bender said...

Call the Midwife has my attention

It had mine, until they decided to Call the Abortionist, as well as pushing people to Call the Contraception Pusher.

Shanna said...

The recent update where Brent teams up with a black rapper to make an anti-racism music video called Equality Street was awesome too.

See, that sounds like something the american version did years ago. That's the kind of humor they excelled at and although it was sometimes cringeworthy, I think if you watched you would find that it did have heart, ultimately. I haven't watched this last season at all though. As far as I'm concerned, it ended when Michael left.

And btw The Following had to have been written by someone who hates the FBI because, in that show, they were the dumbest MOFO's ever.

I had to give it up after 6 or so episodes for exactly that reason (not that it was a big loss).

Jeff Teal said...

Sorry Lars but I want to put his cringy stupid statements out of my head becausenitnis really hard to believe someone could actually say that stuff.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Which is why I love Big Bang Theory.You know character identification.

I can't stand the overpowering laugh track. If you are not smart enough to figure out if something is supposed to be funny, I guess a laugh track is good for you. I just find it extremely annoying. They laugh at everything. EVERY thing is not funny.

Pogo said...

On the Office, I was only interested in Jim getting together with Pam, and Jim played tricks on Dwight.

Internet-surfed the rest. Then quit watching when they got married.

They were the Mary Tyler Moores of the cast.

bagoh20 said...

""I'm one of the people who simply cannot enjoy watching "The Office.""

Imagine how I feel. I'm the guy who's job it is to say "That's what she said." all damned day. I'm really getting sick of this shit.

That's what she said.

Shanna said...

Mindy Kaling seemed to right the funniest episodes

Definately.

What I liked about Michael Scott was that he wasn't (usually) trying to be a dick, he was trying to be a good boss and just hopelessly failing. And that's where most of the cringing came from in that you rooted for him to be just better.

What's the worst thing about Prison? The Dementors

Nonapod said...

Dust Bunny Queen said... If you are not smart enough to figure out if something is supposed to be funny, I guess a laugh track is good for you. I just find it extremely annoying. They laugh at everything. EVERY thing is not funny.

The removal of laugh tracks is one movement in modern sitcoms I highly agree with. NBC, Fox, and ABC haven't produced sitcoms with laugh tracks in years. CBS is the only network left who has sitcoms with laugh tracks, and they're seeming more and more anachronistic as time goes on.

furious_a said...

A whole thread about 'cringe-inducing' and not one mention of Joe Biden?

The Dumb Blonde of the Senate graduated to "terrifying" once he moved a heartbeat away from the launch codes.

AprilApple said...

DBQ- the laugh track is annoying. At least BBT doesn't contain that annoying guitar riff cut between laugh tracks. *cringe*

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I really tried to watch Big Bang Theory. We have some friends who rave about how funny it is, but couldn't get through more than a few minutes before turning it off because of the laugh track. Maybe we are missing out, but there is no way to tell because of the annoyance factor.

We wonder about their sense of taste, however, we made them watch Space Balls.....so we are even.

Balfegor said...

I don't dislike the Office (what little of it I have watched), but I certainly wouldn't say I like it. I can certainly understand the cringing with the sour aftertaste that people talk about with the Office.

At the same time, I don't know what it is that makes me cringe in that unenjoyable way. Because there's certainly lots of cases in comedies where I sympathise with the character and feel a sympathetic twinge/cringe because they're inadvertently violating social taboos or are being embarrassed, but I'm still enjoying it. That's the good kind of cringe. I don't know what differentiates it. Maybe it's the reactions? When the reactions are humorous and exaggerated (even if vituperative and mean), there's a sense of release, but when it's just silence or discomfort, there's nothing to relieve the tension, and the cringe is a painful cringe. With the sour aftertaste.

Mmm.

Dunno. Just a guess.

Ann Althouse said...

"And it's all about how everything makes you feel."

We're talking about entertainment. I can understand putting yourself through some entertainment that makes you feel bad, like a Samuel Beckett play or something.

But when it's a sitcom? Why wouldn't your feelings determine what sitcom you would watch?

But the same standard, I don't watch porn or movies that depict torture. I also don't like movies where the drama is premised on our concern about whether a child is harmed.

I'll choose my own entertainment, based on my feelings. Why the hell would you suggest doing anything else?!

Ann Althouse said...

To me, The Office reminds me of places where I have worked, where I felt trapped and subjected to an oppressive environment. I don't like reliving that experience. I think the atmosphere of a bad workplace is effectively presented. That's the problem I have with it.

It's like a horror movie that genuinely evokes the feeling of being in mortal danger. Impressive, perhaps, but that's not a reason to subject yourself to it if you don't like the feeling.

Bender said...

It wasn't on long, and probably won't be rerun given the subject matter (planning for the London Olympics), but "Twenty-Twelve" was a "The Office" kind of show on BBC starring Lord Grantham and narrated by the Tenth Doctor (but I didn't catch the voice until the second or third episode).

Bender said...

"The Office" really is not all that real-life. "Office Space" comes much closer to the everyday hell that is working for some company.

Shanna said...

Office space is a classic for precisely that reason.

I really tried to watch Big Bang Theory...but couldn't get through more than a few minutes before turning it off because of the laugh track.

I like it, but I know a lot of people have problems with the laugh track. It's irritating but it's one of those things once you key in on it it might make it impossible to enjoy the rest so I'm trying not to consciously listen for it.

Jim at said...

"but couldn't get through more than a few minutes before turning it off because of the laugh track." - DBQ

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

And I've tried a couple more times when nothing else is on.

Nope. It's just not gonna happen.

bagoh20 said...

The really cringe worthy stuff is what the boss (Steve Carell) does. It really affects you if you are a supervisor or manager at work. You constantly hear his stupidity coming out of your own mouth.

Alex said...

I stopped watching sometime during season 7 when they went off the rails with some liberal PC crap.

Alex said...

April - ever watch Poirot?

GrandpaMark said...

When the teens pick a "comedy" with a laugh track, I encourage them to laugh out loud along with the laugh track.
That makes me smile 'cause all humor is based in cruelty.

Liked the British office.

Lot of British stuff on Netflix


bagoh20 said...

I think "The Office" makes better workplaces. Business offices can have a lot of unnecessary stupidity that stresses people out for no good reason. Ridicule is powerful medicine.

AllenS said...

I hate to interrupt the regularly scheduled program, but it's FUCKING SNOWING OUTSIDE!

bagoh20 said...

" it's FUCKING SNOWING OUTSIDE!"

You have got to be kidding me. There is a lot to hate about California, but it's sunny and in the 80s all week here. You people need to come enjoy it, and help pay our taxes for us.

AllenS said...

Bags, it was about 70º yesterday.

William said...

The Lena Dunham show, Girls, is far and away the most cringeworthy sitcom of the modern era. The only thing that made it watchable was that the jokes were funny and the girls bore no resemblance to characters on planet earth. Perhaps that's what made The Office so difficult--some of the characters and situations were credible. There should be sitcom crossovers. One of the Dunham girls goes to Dunder Mifflin and gives all the guys there a dose of the clap as a way of working out unresolved Daddy issues.

john said...

The best of the British version of the Office. The US version never came close; why Dwight could never be Gareth.

AprilApple said...

Allen S - where are you?

Because it's been snowing here all day.

Virgil Hilts said...

This is boring. When is Ann going to post about Meg Lanker-Simons?

Dante said...

I don't watch porn or movies that depict torture.

Ann! How can you drop this so casually?

Actually, I am curious about a point of law. From a math perspective, you haven't admitted to watching porn. You only said you won't watch porn that has torture in it. But that doesn't mean you watch porn of any kind.

So in law, if you were to say something like this, and you don't watch porn, is it considered lying?

AprilApple said...

@ Alex

ever watch Poirot?

I've not heard of it. What is it?

Shanna said...

You constantly hear his stupidity coming out of your own mouth.

Every time somebody says something is win/win I always add that extra ‘win’ from some episode where it was win/win/win.

Girls, is far and away the most cringeworthy sitcom of the modern era.

And Althouse likes that! When the one clip I saw sent me screaming away. So different strokes.

I tried the British office and could never get into it.

Æthelflæd said...

I like The Office. Except for the Todd Packer character. I hate those episodes. I enjoyed the Robert California era. I love Parks and Rec too. Since I am a stay at home mom, I don't have to live with real life versions of those characters. Ican see why it wouldn't be fun to watch if it was too close to your daily reality. That's probably why I hated watching Todd Packer(even though I understand why he's funny) - too close to my some of my bosses in my younger days.

AllenS said...

April, I'm in Star Prairie, WI. Polk County. I'm about 40 miles NE of St. Paul, MN.

Alex said...

Agatha Christie: Poirot

Excellent series.

Popville said...

As a kid I felt the same about most I Love Lucy episodes. I turn them off when they reached the Lucy's embarrassing moment part ...

AprilApple said...

Allen S.
Radar shows a band stretching from me to you.
You should be experiencing rain - not snow.

I'm trying so hard not to complain. We need the moisture. That white crap is fire retardant.

Popville said...

As a kid I felt the same about most I Love Lucy episodes. I turn them off when they reached the Lucy's embarrassing moment part ...

AprilApple said...

Alex-- ah... Agatha Christie. Thanks for the recommendation.

ricpic said...

The enjoyment of comedy depends on the ability to block out reality. For example: all the characters on Seinfeld, with the possible exception of Seinfeld himself, are, in reality, aging deadend lost marginal New York singles. The show only works if that grim reality is somehow edited out by the viewer. You can do this with almost any comedy show you enjoy. View it through the lens of the real and either the situation or the characters or both are miserable. To make it work as comedy the suspension of disbelief has to be total.

ricpic said...

Or the suspension of belief. You figure it out.

Pogo said...

@Popville said...
"As a kid I felt the same about most I Love Lucy episodes. I turn them off when they reached the Lucy's embarrassing moment part"

Man, I thought I was the only one.

Chip Ahoy said...

Would you like to see the snow May 1st? Okay, goes like this. Not cringeworthy. This is what thrilled us to pieces when we moved here, and I mean it. We all marveled, and we had just come from where typhoons and earthquakes are commonplace. But nothing like this. The weather is excellent. Tomorrow I'll have my shirt off again taking in sun.

Did I just now use the right kind of weather? I get it mixed up with whether.

Thorley Winston said...

And btw The Following had to have been written by someone who hates the FBI because, in that show, they were the dumbest MOFO's ever.

I watched the show until the end because I enjoy a podcast that’s put out for this and other shows. The hosts of the cast occasionally invite members of local law enforcement to debunk the awful excuse of what passes for procedures on the show.

Just finished the finale last night. All I can say is, I hope the stab wounds were fatal and FOX remembers how to cancel a program after the first season. If not, I’m sure Joss Whedon can remind them.

Æthelflæd said...

AprilApple , the older Miss Marple series with Joan hicks (or Hickson?) Is wonderful, as well. I am not a fan of the newer Geraldine McEwan ones - they turn all Christies stories on their head. Also, the Albert Campion series is fun.

Paeonia said...

Kind of like being terribly embarrassed for someone who breaks down in tears in public, when they should be dignified. Of course crying at funerals, births and weddings is appropriate.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Foyle's War, on Netfix (I think) or Amazon is excellent!! If you like Poirot or Christie you will like this one.

Bender said...

Now, Albert Finney was cringe-inducing as Hercule Poirot, as was Peter Ustinov, but David Suchet is actually quite good.

Shanna said...

Would you like to see the snow May 1st? Okay, goes like this.

Oh man, it snowed one time when we were in colorado in June or July.

Icepick said...

The really cringe worthy stuff is what the boss (Steve Carell) does. It really affects you if you are a supervisor or manager at work. You constantly hear his stupidity coming out of your own mouth.

One of the bits of continuity they have maintained is that everyone that becomes the manager of the office starts turning into Michael Scott, with the exception of Dwight Schrute. Even Jim, when he gets to be manager for ONE DAY starts turning into Michael, complete with the really awful humor.

AprilApple said...

I'm not familiar with any of the Agatha Christie stuff. Never read any of it either.
I need to re-up the Netflix.
Thanks all for the good word.

AJ Lynch said...

Thorley:
Thanks for confirming my take on The Following. I am not evern sure why I kept watching it week after week.

AprilApple said...

Chip. Yes that white white everywhere white. We didn't have a white December or Jan or Feb..did we? It all started in late March. We basically had March-April-May winter this year.

I'm so happy! (*&^%$)

Actually earthquakes and typhoons sound like a nice change of pace.

CA taxes- yikes. I have relatives in CA and I can visit but I'm not going to pay those taxes.
CO is already sliding in the wrong direction. I may have to move to WY or MT. I would rather live near the coast, though. A nice rainy maritime climate might be in store at some point.

furious_a said...

'Girls', is far and away the most cringeworthy sitcom of the modern era.

It certainly is if one has a daughter, and there is even an 0.00001% chance of her turning out like Ms. Dunham's or any of the other female characters.

Stick-forks-in-my-eyes worthy during Ms. Dunham's all-too-frequent nude scenes.

Nonapod said...

As for BBC detective series I believe that Foyle's War, Campion, Inspector George Gently, and Midsomer Murders are all on Netflix, as are the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series.

furious_a said...

I think the atmosphere of a bad workplace is effectively presented.

...and the deadening disappointment that for most eveyone in that office, Michael excepted, Dunder-Mifflin Scranton is about as good as they'll do.

lemondog said...

Foyle's War, on Netfix (I think) or Amazon is excellent!!

Kenneth Branagh as Swedish cop Wallander is pretty good.

ken in sc said...

Popville, you are right about Lucy. I felt exactly the same.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

BBC productions Copper and Ripper Street (which I suspect are filmed on the same lot) are good too.

It's too damn bad that 80 percent of the time BBC America is showing that stupid Top Gear show. I mean, how many nights must they show it in six hour blocks?

AprilApple said...

@Bender-

It had mine, until they decided to Call the Abortionist, as well as pushing people to Call the Contraception Pusher.

I missed this week's show. I was afraid of that.

RonF said...

My wife likes the show, but she's had some bad working experiences. I don't like the show much at all. Too farcial to be funny.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I'm one of the people who simply cannot enjoy watching "The Office." I understand why it's good and why people find it funny, and why the "cringe-inducing" quality is considered a sophisticated element of comedy, but it makes me feel bad. Even thinking about watching the show makes me feel bad.

Hey, I totally get how you feel. I'm the same way about Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal. Or really any work of satire, really. People say it's because I'm only able to perceive things in a literal sense, and not metaphorically.

Also, the cruelest thing about The Office is the way it portrays "the boss". No, I don't mean mafia bosses like on The Sopranos, but corporate bosses. The problem is, society requires structure, and too many people don't get this. Making fun of how insensitive, removed, and cloddish the boss is - well, that just crosses a certain line for me. What's next, will we rebel against our parents? Our teachers? Our presidents? (Well, it's ok if it's Obamanation, but obviously not Bush. Some presidents are better at conveying the authority that society needs, and wants and must never stop striving for).

So, in conclusion, all literature is dangerous because it teaches you to look at things in a new light, in a way you wouldn't have considered, and calls into question the absolute, organic nature of authority that society requires. And that's really, really bad. Just ask Socrates.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Whenever I feel the need to look at letters, turning into words across a page, I do what any decent person does. I look up auto manuals.

The headlight section is really awesome. Well, that and also the dashboard part. And engines. Definitely engines.

cold pizza said...

I work in an Office Space at the intersection of "The IT Crowd" and "The Office." Yeaaahhh. Oooo-kayyy. Small acts of rebellion include surfing the 'net (mucho prohibited) and wearing jeans when the dress code calls for slacks. Yup, we're all just James frickin Dean here. -CP

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The really cringe worthy stuff is what the boss (Steve Carell) does. It really affects you if you are a supervisor or manager at work. You constantly hear his stupidity coming out of your own mouth.

But, but, Bag! As Paul Ryan said, "You DID build that!

Be proud.

ALP said...

I worked for a small boutique law firm owned by a lawyer with a personality much like Michael Scott. For example, if you are a fan of "The Office", you probably saw the episode where Michael burns his foot on a George Forman Grill, and the drama he drummed up over the injury. The firm owner, in his 30's, thought he was having a heart attack one day. Of course, it was indigestion or anxiety, but he begged another attorney to take him to the hospital. Fellow attorney takes him to emergency, and when the owner says "you don't have to come in with me" the attorney who drove him says "I wasn't planning on it - get out."

And just takes off. That's how seriously he knew to take this "heart attack" that wasn't. And it wasn't - he was just fine (physically, anyway). But that did not stop him from telling the story over and over: "Remember when I had that heart attack?"

One day at a staff meeting, the owner finally catches wind of us talking about "The Office" and suggests that maybe every Friday, we have firm "Office Viewings" and watch an episode each week, much like Michael Scott had "Movie Monday"!

After the meeting, a brand new, wet-behind the ears female attorney grabs me and another paralegal for a closed door meeting. Her eyes are as big as saucers, her skin is pale, and her hands are shaking. She was a big fan of the show, and saw right away the similarities between the firm owner and Michael Scott.

"THIS CANNOT HAPPEN!" She shrieks. "HE CANNOT SEE THIS TV SHOW...HE'LL SEE RIGHT AWAY WE LOVE IT BECAUSE IT REMINDS US OF HIM!!!!"

She was sweating in fear! That's how much "Michael Scott" was in this firm owner. We all knew it and this woman truly feared the fallout if the bumbling firm owner watched "The Office" with his employees.

So - there ARE Michael Scotts out there. I know because I worked for one for 7 years.

tiger said...

The value of 'The Office' is lost on me.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

To me, The Office reminds me of places where I have worked, where I felt trapped and subjected to an oppressive environment. I don't like reliving that experience. I think the atmosphere of a bad workplace is effectively presented. That's the problem I have with it.

It's like a horror movie that genuinely evokes the feeling of being in mortal danger. Impressive, perhaps, but that's not a reason to subject yourself to it if you don't like the feeling.


We must pretend those things away and lock those painful memories up! And throw away the key! Painful experiences common in society are best not retold, and considered, but tightly repressed. Why do you think the opposite approach leads to? I'll tell you. It leads to Hitler! Straight to Nazi Germany! That's exactly the only outcome possible when a Viennese Jew with a cigar fetish encouraged us o explore the strictures that controlled us, and even analyzed our dreams, for Chrissakes!

The bastard got exactly what was coming to him! Questioning the reasons and sources of our pains and traumas! How dare he! Where did anyone think this would lead?

tiger said...

'The a Big Bang Theory' does NOT have a 'laugh track'.

It is taped before living breathing people.

The laughter may very well be juiced a little but it is still taped 'live'.

cold pizza said...

Bazinga! -CP

Dust Bunny Queen said...

'The a Big Bang Theory' does NOT have a 'laugh track'.

It is taped before living breathing people.


Then they must be taping before a large group of morons who have been given some sort of drugs because they laugh at every single stupid line, utterance and movement of the cast.

Matt said...

"Laugh tracks" became more jarring for me when tv went stereo. The dialog is positioned in the middle but laughter is panned left and right making it stand out in a bad way.

The studio audiences are juiced to laugh by the person who warms up the crowd and just the fact that people tend to laugh at things more readily while in a group than by themselves.

I liked that in a couple early episodes of "Cheers" there was one person who had a laugh that was louder and different from other audience members. That person's laugh would make me laugh.

This has been a fun thread. There are some folks who hate both shows that I like and ones that I hate. Interesting perspectives...

Seeing Red said...

I don't know whether this is cringe-worthy or ROFLMAO!


Bolivia, angered by Kerry, says it is ejecting U.S. aid agency


It's an interesting way of cutting the budget.

jacksonjay said...


Michael Scott was absolutely hilarious! Desperate and clueless! Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dwight K. Schrute! The racial humor was brilliant! Oscar, Darrell and Stanley!

Everyone here seemed to love the shredded Beach Boys and hate The Office! I must be the other!

Dr. Sheldon Cooper is one of the best TV characters of all time!

Ralph L said...

If anything, Seinfeld is worse
Which begs the question, why did you watch it? I tried a few times and never got through a full episode. Not funny at all.

Then there was Will & Grace, where the supposed friends were awful to each other all the time.

I've been without TV for a year now. I had been watching mostly crime shows anyway.

Matt said...

Having watched "Everybody Loves Raymond" a lot, it seems the title should be "Everybody Resents Raymond".

Andy Krause said...

My problem with the Office was the characters would occasionally look directly into the camera, to the "viewer". The effect was jarring.

I Callahan said...

American sitcoms have sucked ass since about 1980. You want to talk funny and witty? Try Barney Miller, or the Jeffersons, or All in the Family.

THOSE were funny. Unlike the dreck that's on TV now.

Blech.

Jay Vogt said...

I've seen I suppose a third if all The Office episodes. I've liked it more than I've disliked it. It was and is different in many ways. The writers for instance didn't write in sitcom cadence and they never stooped to double entendres.

That's what is cringeworthy to me, the sloppy innuendo and forced double entendres that you can see coming a mile away. I realize that serial TV comedy devours good writers. But still, the quality of much of the past decade's hip-urban-single comedy (Will and Grace from what little I saw of it was the worst) was just dreadful; really lazy, unoriginal, formulistic and sloppy. In a word, cringe inducing.

"Up all Night" is/was an interesting mix of old and new sitcom styles

Alex said...

I disagree. Frasier was one of the best post-80s sitcoms. A towering achievement.

Icepick said...

Which begs the question, why did you watch it? I tried a few times and never got through a full episode. Not funny at all.

I didn't watch all of them. But it was the biggest sitcom of its time, and being a network TV junkie at the time I kept coming back to try it. After all, everyone kept talking about how brilliant it was.

I had real problems with getting the show until I saw the episode when Jerry and George are trying to pitch a sitcom, and George comes up with the 'brilliant' idea of a show about nothing. Suddenly I got what they were doing and could get some enjoyment out it.

But even then I didn't watch all of the episodes. I still have only seen bits and pieces of the "master of my domain" episode, for example.

And it was funny. It was just mean as Hell, and the characters were all people that deserved to be run over by a bus, then put back together, and then run over by a bus again, so on and so forth until they finally expired. The Easy Bake Oven episode, the one with Kramerica ("HELLOOOOOOOOOO!"), George killing his fiance via cheapness, et cetera, were contained highly reprehensible actions by the main cast members. Seriously, JR Ewing was only about a tenth as big a bastard as the four main Seinfeld characters.

Really the show was an oddity for a long-running US series: There was no one to root for.

...

The couple of episodes I've seen of the British version of The Office struck me as even nastier than Seinfeld. Seriously, I'm just not that interested in shows where no one is likable. At least J.R. Ewing was a CHARMING bastard....

bagoh20 said...

The very nature of the modern sitcom - and some older ones - is the disagreeable character. The fun is being able to watch someone do things they could never get away with in normal society, watch then do it, and see the reaction of society. A sitcom with just nice people would be unwatchable. Even when everyone is basically good, like "I Love Lucy" they still do terrible or incredibly stupid things. That's why you watch. It's the train wreck, that turns out funny.

Just imagine seeing a train wreck into a truck full of cream pies, and a bunch of clowns fall out and start hitting each other with rubber hammers. That would get you laughing on the way home from work, wouldn't it?

Lydia said...

Is this the first time everyone has just let Ritmo natter away without responding? In any case, refreshing.

wyo sis said...

There usually comes a point where I say if I actually knew a person like that I'd run as far and fast as possible from them. That's when I quit watching.
Unless there are other characters I like and I want to see how they handle the annoying character. For me, there weren't any characters in The Office that I liked.
I liked Community until the Chevy Chase character became too horrible to watch.

leslyn said...

Yawn....

Michael McNeil said...

Rather than spending money on Netflix (unless you've already got a subscription), many programs like Poirot and others mentioned can oftentimes be checked out for free as DVDs from your local public library.

Michael McNeil said...

I love the way that in many Poirot episodes, somebody will refer to him as “that French turd” (or whatnot), whereupon he replies “Belgian turd, if you please!” (I guess I'm easily amused.)

While on the subject of British detective series, one can't fail to mention Cadfael — a medieval monk (who has the hobby of being a detective) resident in an abbey on the borderlands of Wales in the 13th century (played by Derek Jacobi).

Æthelflæd said...

Alex I loved Frasier too. Great show.

In addition to Cadfael, Inspector Alleyn is another good British detective show. Also, don't forget Lord Peter Wimsey (my favorites, hands down).

I wish they would tackle Edmund Crispin's mysteries.

Michael McNeil said...

In addition to the public library, many of these series can be streamed for free via an Amazon Prime membership (about $8 per month), which also provides free 2-day shipping on most products at Amazon.

Also, don't forget Lord Peter Wimsey (my favorites, hands down).

(Head-palm.) Right.

Rusty said...

lemondog said...
Foyle's War, on Netfix (I think) or Amazon is excellent!!

Kenneth Branagh as Swedish cop Wallander is pretty good.

My wife and I like that.
I don't think I've ever seen a full episode of either" Office " shows.
I have watched-on Youtube all of the "Big Fat Quiz Show" series. Which are funny.
Ive also been forced to watch "The Mighty Boosh" with my youngest daughter.

Shanna said...

The couple of episodes I've seen of the British version of The Office struck me as even nastier than Seinfeld.
I think that’s why I never got into the british office. Michael could be nasty, but his motivations were understandable and usually he was just making a fool of himself by trying too hard. And trying too hard is a thing that I think most people get. In the end, I was happy for him when he finally found some happiness and was able to grow up a little. I was also happy to see his rare moments of extreme competence. That’s what made him interesting to me.
Cadfael — a medieval monk (who has the hobby of being a detective) resident in an abbey on the borderlands of Wales in the 13th century (played by Derek Jacobi).
I keep seeing that on Netflix and trying to decide if it’s worth checking out. Maybe I will see after I get done with Hemlock Grove (unless the new arrested development has started by then - how have we had a sitcom discussion with no mention of that show?).