Posted by: Steve Coplan | September 7, 2006

Office Values Redux

Microsoft was not amused by the leaking of the ‘Office Values’ training videos, and is investigating. This would support my hypothesis of a humorless sub-mandarin putting the kibosh on the project in the interests of risk aversion.

Gervais and Merchant have since moved onto bigger and better things, principally ‘Extras’, which is about to go into its second season on the BBC. Here’s a random YouTube clip and a profile in the Independent which tries to ‘unpack’ the success of the Gervais-Merchant combo: ‘It adheres, for example, to the first rule of British sitcom: failure is funny. We love a loser.’

That line reminded me of one of the classic British sitcoms: Hancock’s Half Hour, which my parents used to watch in colonial Rhodesia. Hancock alternates between pathos and comedy — sometimes you laugh at his pomposity, sometimes out of a sense of superiority or sometimes because you are relieved that someone else is going through extreme discomfort and not you. Or as Gervais puts it: “Comic characters should be precarious.”

YouTube again proves its value of as a repository of all manner of useless but amusing content by hosting this clip below.


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