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Why “The Office” isn’t funny

2012-08-18T01:43:45+00:00

I’ve heard from a few people that “The Office” (television show) is funny, with or without Steve Carell. I’ve tried watching it a few times, at the series’ beginning and then most recently while I was trapped on a flying bomb on the way back to the US mainland from Hawaii. “The Office” is not funny, and this is why.

  • It features a bunch of average people who exhibit larger-than-life socially-inappropriate behaviors. Their behaviors are supposed to be annoying, which in turn is supposed to be funny. Annoying does not equal funny, and a bunch of annoying people in a room together does not make it any funnier.
  • All of the characters are people who wouldn’t normally associate with each other in real life, and in the artificial crucible of an office, they seethe with barely contained rage and/or contempt for each other. Rage and contempt is not funny, it’s mean.
  • Every three seconds is an awkward moment between two or more characters. Awkwardness is not funny, it’s tiring.

I watched the episode “Welcome Party” from beginning to end. There’s 22 minutes I will never get back. By the end of the episode, I reached two conclusions:

By comparison, Charlie Sheen’s new show, “Anger Management,” is Shakespeare. Sheen is off the crack and back on his game as one of the funniest self-deprecating comedic actors on television. Even though the characters needle each other on that show, they’re all a family. The therapy group patients are a “family” through their anger-management treatment, and Sheen’s on-screen family is, well, family. They’re all supportive of each other in one way or another. It’s a much more constructive, upbeat, and positive message. Human society is sick enough without reinforcing it through shows like “The Office.” Better to focus on the positive aspects of it, even through shows about sick people like “Anger Management.”

I thought it was very funny when Sheen’s ex-wife Denise Richards guest-starred as a love interest on “Anger Management.” After reading about their very public divorce battle, I find it yet another testament to Sheen’s ability to mine his own tabloid-style life for laughs, and it’s a tribute to how people can find ways to get along with each other, even after seeing each other at their worst.

Attention, writers of “The Office.” Please watch “Anger Management” for tips on how to be funny. Because you need help.

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