– Did you ever call Dana “Ma’am”?
– I did once and it was awful.
Gary, you just called me “Sweetie”.
(Source: gusings, via rufustfirefly)
“Starz has gone out of its way to seem HBO-esque with the low-rated Boss and Magic City, when the channel’s true identity could be most succinctly described as “naked people stabbing each other.” (I love you too, Spartacus.)
- Could Netflix’s programming strategy kill the golden age of TV? | Todd VanDerWerff | AV Club
“When it was revealed that the man behind the voice was named Brian, and that he was a conventionally attractive male between the ages of 30 and 40 with whom Pam shared a personal relationship, the audience no longer felt welcome. Rather than an audience member concerned about his or her favorite character, Brian registered as a plot device, a convenient male figure whose presence at Pam’s side during this difficult time highlighted Jim’s absence. Rather than emphasize the powerful long-term relationship—between audience and characters and between characters and their documentarians—that is reaching its apex after eight and a half seasons of ambiguity, the reveal felt like a cheap way to use an abandoned conceit to raise the stakes around Jim and Pam’s relationship artificially, by providing a sense the two might break up. Despite making the camera crew more real than ever before, Brian is barely a person, as fake a recurring character as the show has introduced during its nine-season run.
It could be argued that this disappointment—and the subsequent debate that has, if nothing else, reignited discussion around the show—was inevitable. The documentary crew could be the sitcom equivalent of Lost’s island, that longstanding mystery the show ignores for too long, fostering inevitable backlash when the reveal doesn’t line up with a diverse range of audience expectations. But unlike Lost, The Office wasn’t burdened with the weight of the supernatural. The camera crew, imaginary or real, just comprises a bunch of regular people doing their jobs, somewhat comparable to the employees of Dunder Mifflin. They stuck around for nine years, like the rest of us did, and could have been just as valuable as surrogates in “reality” as they were in theory. The Office could have called attention to how the documentary style has shaped our relationship with these characters; instead, it solved a short-term problem—a lack of tension surrounding Jim and Pam’s relationship as the show reaches its conclusion—and threw away broader thematic potential.
…And then Brian the Boom Mic Guy emerged and made me look like a fool—not for believing that the documentary crew had thematic value, which I continue to stand by, but for believing that at the end of The Office, the show’s writers would understand that the documentary crew was more than just an abandoned novelty. The Brian storyline has been a failure for many reasons, not only because the clichéd “other man” narrative will inevitably fade away for Jim and Pam’s happy ending, but also because, in finally acknowledging the reality of the series’ documentary crew to complicate one relationship, The Office complicated the most important relationship of all.
- The Office shows the pitfalls of fake reality becoming “real” | Myles McNutt | AV Club