What is the legacy of Office Space?



It's February 19, 1999 and many moviegoers do not have Mike Judge's satire Office space. Judge follow-up on the big screen Beavis And Butt-Head Do America is based on his own experiences of frustrated office worker and a partial adaptation of the animated shorts that were his first big success in the showbiz: a series of cartoons on an agile and coveted dweeb, named Milton , played in the film by a non-recognizable Stephen Racine. But Milton is only a secondary character in this fight, his appearance is one of the many elements of the scenario of the drone script of the software company Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), which after a session of disastrous hypnotherapy , find the solution to all problems. his work-related anxieties: he is no longer paying attention to them. Unfortunately, the public is also apathetic to Office space, and its opening weekend of $ 4.23 million apparently confirms the dismissal of an anonymous studio executive: "Nobody wants to see your little movie about ordinary people and their boring lives."

It's February 19, 2019, and to paraphrase Peter: I would not say anyone was missing Office space in the last 20 years. The joyous and profane reproduction of the film in the corporate culture has found a cult following the domestic video; In spite of the basic technique of the cables, the adherents to the Stone Tao only multiplied when Office space went into heavy rotation on Comedy Central. It is a word of mouth phenomenon that has not attracted viewers who have seen their own existence reproduce in Initech's offices. As a high school student at the time, I saw the film become a phenomenon often cited in children who were in years away from ever entering a booth. I even remember one of my teachers proudly unveiling her own interpretation of Tom Smykowski's million dollar lunar film, Go to Conclusions. (You see, it was a carpet that you put on the floor and that had different conclusions, written on it, on which you could jump …)

At the end of a slacker culture that Judge's raw animations helped define, after the Internet bubble burst, Office space touched a nerve. But if the exasperation of "PC LOAD LETTER" is eternal, there is much to say about the film that has a quality of time capsule today. It's not just Peter's work at Initech – updating the bank's software to get rid of the Y2K bug – now feels incredibly picturesque. That's it Office space became the definitive comedy of his time in the workplace, giving to a specific category of white-collar workers, once neglected, the feeling that their life was worthy of the big screen, giving voice and giving shape to nuisances they felt alone to notice before. This has set the bar very high for follow-ups, as successive generations of comedies in the workplace have had to jump a considerable and nuanced jump, or simply erase by catching some of the film's most blatant omissions.

Which set Office space apart and now is his elevation of the mundane. Few people work better in boredom than Mike Judge: teenage boredom Beavis and Butthead, King of the hillThe square suburbs. Also, Office space showed an unusual talent for extinguishing the humor and everyday story of an average office worker, be it the surreal manikin of memos and leaders Peter faces after making a mistake or wrestling sisyphe traffic at rush hour. This also extends to the look of the film: during Bill Lumberg's speech on the theme "Is it good for the company?", The camera passes through beautiful paintings of banalities, the troupe without name Initech sits in fashion. utility glasses and uniformly blank expressions. Office space is a visually charged image with almost all the color lost – except for Chotchkie, the food chain where Peter meets Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), who is also fed up with his work. The shades are oppressive and pinned to the suspenders of the staff.

Judge, a filmmaker turned animator, finds places to smuggle a visual invention into its deliberately sterile environments. The touch of red provided by Milton's Swingline stapler (an invention of the accessories department later propelled into mass production by the popularity of the film), or by Peter's and his friends' grueling walk into the drainage ditch that , as a former A V. club Scott Tobias, editor of the film, once said, "highlights how unnatural their occupations are. " Office space Cinematographic indulgences such as these are allowed, as well as later sequences that modify the fadeness of the character's life by borrowing from the crowd and films. But many of his most memorable and resonant exchanges – the hysterical TPS report, "seems to be a case of Monday," fateful meetings with consultants (aka "The Bobs") helping Initech get rid of a few annoying employees. .. take place in the form of one or two hits privileged by television productions. Their superficial focus, blurring the desktop background into stained gray and fluorescent fields, is like home on a smaller screen.

It is a model for the most obvious successor of the film: Ricky Gervais and the original version of Stephen Merchant Office. In this series, The beige clarity of the Slough Trading Estate conveys both a comic tone and a plausibility for the dummy document format of the show. There is a minimum of manicure on display that is instantly transportable, depressing like a hell, and a less important factor in the US adaptation of the series – which was, at one point, offered to Judge, but who was found under the supervision of his King of the hill co-creator, Greg Daniels. "They sent the British version with a letter and some criticism," he said. Weekly entertainment this year. "The first said:Office succeed where movies like Office space that failed "", which is almost exactly what Tom Shales wrote in Washington Post when Office fell on the pond via BBC America in 2003:

Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, did a damn good essay in a seriously funny comedy with his 1999 film Office spacebut Gervais and Merchant are even more successful. Office is hilarious in a very trendy and casual way. "

More flippant than Peter saying to Joanna: "I do not like my job and I do not think I'll go there"? At the very least, Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) have DNA Gibbons and their many international equivalents, all stuck in jobs that do not challenge them, but do not have the ambition to anything. he. Branch Manager David Brent (Gervais), on the other hand, is a reflection of the ascension of Peter's second act, in which his post-hypnosis meeting with the consultants earned him the title of "right shooter with senior management all written Instead of being the cause of his reward, Brent's lack of filter prevented him from finding himself in the middle of Wernham Hogg's organizational chart, where he reached the level of incompetence. (What's the term for this yet?)

But Office also has the luxury of creating a complete package beyond its tired entry points; in the American version in particular, the constraints of satire were discarded in order to tap into the type of surrogate family dynamics that defined comedies in the workplace of the 70s and 80s, beginning with Mary Tyler Moore's show and continuing through the longer lives of shows created by his former students: Bob Newhart's show, Taxi, and Cheers. United States OfficeThe offspring follows a similar pattern, until the successive fall of the white-collar workers: Parks and Recreation and The Mindy project at Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Hypermarket. These first three shows are moving further away from Office and Office space to more conventionally describe television jobs – government, medicine, law enforcement – that characters are more likely to consider as calls.


There is only so much fun to do at the expense of the tedious tasks of business and Office took office humor Office space-And contemporary works like Dilbert, watchmakers, or Job… until its logical conclusion furthest away. As the American series progressed, the stifling nature of Dunder Mifflin became less important, and diversity seminars and the Olympic Games in the office were replaced by romances, children, and other professions. When interoffice turmoil came to the fore in recent seasons, it was with bigger stakes and declining returns, the introduction of a new parent company or an eccentric CEO who felt less like a Fresh narrative fuel only as a distraction from stories that had followed their natural course. .

It is also worth noting some of the realities of the world of work that have changed over the course of the series. A whole series of capitalist sins have precipitated the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, dot-com survivors have consolidated as new technology giants emerged, and millennia were entering a labor market whose prospects were darker than those of their Gen-X siblings and their baby boomer parents. . Yet (and just deepen them here), they also expected to gain more identity and fulfillment from their work. The cushy, often imitated and possibly satirized equipment offered by the judges, proposed by Google, Facebook and their competitors (laundry services, conferences, drums in the kitchen) have in turn fueled these expectations; I wonder if an early and frequent exposure to Peter Gibbons miseries, linked to a boxing booth, had no impact on itself. I can not imagine that the projection of Office space offered to my college orientation helped everything.

Somewhere in all this, the man who cries about his tailor-tie straitjacket has lost some of his strength. Walls of cubes fell, open-plan offices became fashionable again, and industrial parks with adjoining pastry shops, inspired by Judge, began to look like symbols of faded prosperity. Office space Remains an insightful commentary on things that can make work worthless: the daily routine, the little troubles, the greed of companies that reduce employees to account items in a big book. The best workplace comedies that followed seem to recognize that Peter, Tim and Jim et al. were dealing with caviar issues.

At first glance, the same could be said of Matt Engelbertson (Matt Ingebretson) and Jake Levinson (Jake Weisman), makers of the movie Comedy Central. D & # 39; Company. They are young white men, in exhausting office jobs, and they are also beginners. D & # 39; CompanyThe stroke of genius is that his initech, the innocent conglomerate Hampton DeVille, is not destructive in a passive way. He is actively malevolent, a profit-hungry monolith where the motto is "We do nothing – we do everything" and where Grace (Aparna Nancherla), a human resources specialist, asks Jake one day "Remember the joy that did you feel the day you decided to stop living life to the fullest? "Like the series, she imitates visually and sometimes takes piss always in love with, Mr. Robot, D & # 39; Company is a dystopian fiction about our dystopia in the making.

And in this reality, the main characters do not try to destroy the machine from the inside, as the benevolent demands at the center of the same theme. Better Tedthey feed at his own pace. They have gradually received more nuances, but Matt and Jake are initially presented as two sides of the same coin, distinguished by archetypal perspectives of comedy in the workplace. Matt is a flawless go-get; imagine Dwight Schrute less the authoritarian trend, plus the feigned enthusiasm of Brian the Chotchkie's server. Jake is the ultimate cynic, like Michael Bolton (not so Michael Bolton), or Ryan Howard after his catastrophic run in New York. They share a glorified and dimly lit office cupboard, and they have not yet gained room at the council table, their ordinary seats instead being pinned to the outer wall. One of D & # 39; CompanyThe main gags are that these guys, despite their prestigious titles, are as helpless as all the bitter players who preceded them.

D & # 39; Company is a confident balance number, with an inclination that promotes nihilism at the limit of Jake while leaving him open to mockery. At times, Hampton DeVille's actions are both shockingly insidious and unsettling plausibility, as CEO Christian DeVille (Lance Reddick) opens a meeting with "an open call for new arguments for addiction." Sometimes his absurd purpose lends a monstrous event to huge stakes, such as the story of a report of excessive spending that would sink into a lynchian networking nightmare, margaritas and Kyra Sedgwick in western attire. Other times, it's just grounding absurd flights in business such as tone control, e-mail punctuation and workdays, every day a potential "Mondays case" for 2019. 39, love of my god, unless it is an animal of assistance, please leave your dog at home.)

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Of course, it still looks at the recent history of comedy in the workplace from an exclusively salaried angle; Over the last three years, the most consistent television work in this field has been done by NBC. Hypermarket. Created by Office Justin Spitzer, once a veteran of the series, the show once felt stuffed with clones with large boxes from the cast of Dunder Mifflin. Jim's character, Jonah (Ben Feldman), is portrayed as an overqualified dropout from business schools who slaps him as a sales associate, but as the show has evolved, she has developed a knack for calling her on her pretentious, using Jonah to illustrate this work. in the retail business is under person. Similarly, Spitzer and his company used the series framework, a fictional channel called Cloud 9, to give a new twist to their workplace and holiday celebrations, while deepening stories that seem perfectly suited to them: discussion about Mateo (Nico Santos) and his undocumented immigrant status, or the many sources of tension between management and hourly staff.

Yes Office space crew of the Chotchkie, this might look a little like something like Hypermarket-But it would probably be closer to Support girls. Andrew Bujalski's comedy about a day in the life of a fool Hooters has a number of similarities to Judge's film: the two were shot in Austin, Texas; both open with scenes from the city's interwoven network of highways; both end up with their protagonists – having abandoned the work that was ruining their lives – experiencing a moment of catharsis in the open air. But as Peter walks out because he cares too little, Lisa (Regina Hall) ends up admitting that she cares too much about double-headed Whammies – and Double Whammies does not have to reciprocate them. The salary is correct, and she has established lasting relationships with her employees and assumed a sense of responsibility, but this trust is easily exploitable, the work has created a gap between Lisa and her husband, and the owner, who is supposed to be in vacation. – This is a hard-headed idiot who, at one point, pushes her into a pathetic attempt to catch some guy who cut her off on the highway (then that she is still at the clock). At the end of her shift, she crossed the front door and did not turn around until she realized that the battery in her car was dead.

And that's another Office space parallel: the conclusion of Support girls feels both of his time and timeless. (If you really want to make a weekend, Bujalski's film is the filming, and the first season of AMC Lodge 49 is like the hunter.) Just like the return of organized laborers to the American workplace in recent years, Lisa's journey and the barbaric mocking of the rooftops of the world is a nascent recognition of all the ways in which Initech, Wernham Hoggs, Dunder Mifflins, Hampton DeVilles and Double Whammieses are trying to dry us. Sometimes you can laugh at all the little annoyances. Sometimes you can choose to stop worrying about yourself. Sometimes it is not necessary to light a fire to set the building on fire.


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