I enjoy the American version of The Office, but a few things have been bothering me about it recently. To wit:
Documentarian ethics are being ignored:
I can understand when National Geographic producers don't intervene when a crocodile leaps from a river to eat a baby zebra. But the rules are different with human subjects. The people filming Dunder-Mifflin apparently let Andy Bernard wallow in the water for hours, even as he cried for help, and rather than rescue him, they recorded his distress. If any readers have a better knowledge of journalistic ethics, please correct me, but I think it's clear that this film crew is a bunch of assholes.
Blatant product placement is annoying:
There's no joke at all in the above scene: it's just a commercial for Outback Steakhouse. It's not even consistent, character-wise. The previous week's episode focused on weight-loss and the staff's varying attempts at healthy eating. This one was built around a "product integration" buy from Outback, home of Aussie Cheese Fries, AKA, the worst food in America. One week earlier, the show highlighted Stanley and his effort to drop seven pounds. This week, Stanley was stuffing his face with ribs as they went to credits.
From the NY Mag story, about a Toyota Yaris ad on Mad TV:
Showing the Yaris wasn't sufficient, said the rep from Madison Road. The characters must praise the car’s features: its roomy interior, its sleek lines. The writers pitched a spoof of a commercial, with a young couple making out in the Yaris, panting about its fuel efficiency. No, said Madison Road. Cut the parody bit. The skit should just feature the couple panting over the Yaris. They aired it.
I thought you were better than that, American Office.
Dragging out a romantic subplot only works when people like those characters:
Stretching Jim and Pam's courtship for three seasons: acceptable. Stretching out the love triangle of Dwight and Angela and Andy: unacceptable. When the annoying rageaholic a capella guy is the most likable one in a threesome, it's time to rethink that entire plotline.