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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Office 1x02 - Diversity Day

Sometimes it's more enlightening to see the episode that comes after the pilot, to see the first few steps of that idea moving forward.

And the Office is as good a place as any to give that a shot.

What we have here is an uncredited, 38-page "Shooting Draft" dated 09/14/04 (download here).  It's two acts, no teasers or tags, breaking down as 21 pages for Act One and 17 for Act Two.

Reading through this script was a reminder to me why I never really got into The Office.  Sure, I found it funny -- and there are some definite 'shock' comedy moments here in the script (Michael deciding to do a Chris Rock comedy bit, word for word...) but the farther I got into this script the more I realized one simple fact:

I don't like anyone here.

Well, maybe Pam.  Who can't not like Pam, right?

But, outside of Michael, everyone else just seems like a placeholder -- there to suffer under his (unexplainable) whacked-out rule.  I mean, to be fair, at least Michael has some sort of motivations in this episode -- misguided as they are -- but from tip to tail, the episode felt sort of hollow to me.

That said, the race-related humour was pretty biting, considering it was for Network TV.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, considering the context of the script, that I found the most genuinely funny moment of the whole script was when Michael put together his own acronym for how to deal with diversity in the workplace.

All-in-all, I did think the script was funny, but without any real connection to the other characters in the office -- granted, pretty damned hard to do only 2 episodes into a whole series -- it really felt like the other people in the office were just there to be meekly abused by their self-absorbed boss.

Then again, that could also be a hold-over from the British --> American version of the show.

I know the show got better down the line (it's been on the air for how long now?) but this episode, I'm going to chalk it up as those first few tentative steps towards greatness.  Still, to this day, not a huge fan of the show... but I can't help but respect what it's done and how long it's managed to do it.

We all gotta start somewhere, right?

Tomorrow I'll be checking out Alias 1x01 - Truth Be Told, an early J.J. Abrams hit.  Should be interesting!


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