The Office: Gender Inequalities in the Workplace

The Office is a sitcom television series that depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The Office uses satire to play on issues that exist in actual corporate offices such as sexism, racism, and other stereotypes through humor.

One episode that touches on sexism in the office place is “Boys and Girls.” In this episode, Jan, the Vice President of Sales at Dunder Mifflin, takes the women to a seminar called “Women in the Workplace.” This meeting is to discuss issues that women face in the corporate setting, but Michael, the branch’s regional manager, gets upset because he feels excluded, therefore he forms a seminar for the men to talk about “men things.” 

Michael centers his seminar on the idea that it is a “guy’s gripe session” where they can use the time to discuss their issues with women in the office and women in general. The whole idea of pitting women against men plays into gender differences because of how often men and women are pitted against one another in the corporate environment. Michael also mentions how the break room was once made into a “lactation room” which he finds disgusting and hopes that the women are not planning to do that again. The show uses humor to touch on the issue of breastfeeding in the workplace and how it is viewed often times viewed negatively by men. Michael was also demeaning Jan for her traditionally “masculine” qualities like her authority and assertive nature. This was illustrated when Michael called her a bitch shortly after her departure in order to relate and fit in with the other guys, which is reflective of how powerful/successful women are often labeled this way in the workplace and society in general. The episode ends with Michael saying that you need both men and women in the office because the purpose of women is to create sexual tension to keep things interesting. This line was particularly satirical because sexual harassment in the workplace is often fueled by this ideology. 

The Office mirrors actual societal views and issues that are present in society and the corporate environment. This episode, “Boys and Girls” does a great job of satirizing actual gender differences that exist in the workplace. In The Office, the gender representations, while exaggerated for humor, carry an important message of how inequalities still exist in office environments across America.

“How do we Treat Teachers in The United States?”: The Bigger Question Presented by Key and Peele

We are all too familiar with major sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and many others. I think that almost every American could name at least three major league American athletes, but can Americans name three important and extremely influential famous educators? The answer is most likely no.

Key and Peele’s sketch on Comedy Central’s YouTube page titled “TeachingCenter” centers around a fictional teaching report television program, and has a similar structure to that of ESPN’s SportsCenter. The satire details the news for teachers in the United States, such as the teaching draft, teachers taking offers from new schools with $80 million contracts, teaching highlights and even listing the school rankings at the bottom of the screen.

This sketch is both brilliantly written and performed, as it almost identically mimics the structure of ESPN’s SportsCenter. This sketch is quite comedic because the announcers (Key and Peele) are talking about teaching as if it is a professional sport, where athletes are nationally praised for their athleticism and are paid millions and millions of dollars to play.

I also really enjoyed this parody in that it highlights a bigger issue in the United States, how we respect and praise our very own teachers. Teachers open so many educational and life doors for students, and a good teacher can be the difference between a student succeeding, or falling between the cracks in life. Many teachers make salaries that they can barely live on, while professional athletes boast their luxury cars, private jets, and million dollar mansions.

This satire truly puts into perspective what we see as important as Americans. Teachers, who work tirelessly to set students up for a bright future are put in a much lower place in society than professional athletes.

I found this sketch both very comedic and powerful, because it gave me a good laugh, and it made me think about the importance of education to the American people.

What happens when you fail at the American dream.

The show It’s always sunny in Philadelphia is unique among other television show. It is both a beyond pitch black look at the black, disturbed and screaming heart of the American underclass as well as the funniest show on air. To truly understand the demented brilliance we must understand 2 things, its characters and the American dream. Lets start with the former.

The show follows the exploits of 5 people in Philadelphia (called the gang), mostly centered around their bar they own. Theirs Dennis, what would happen if the human embodiment of lust had a baby with the human embodiment of pride. A man who to feed his never ending need for self validation treats manipulating women into sex with him as the ultimate act. As well as being a borderline predator he is also heavily implied to be a serial killer or at the least having the personality of one. Next we have Mac. A self professed body builder and Karate master as well as a Catholic fundamentalist and closeted homosexual. He vehemently denies being gay despite it being obvious to the gang and makes up to it by explosive rage and zealotry. After that is Dennis’s twin sister Deandre, called Dee. She is the target for the gangs collective rage. Don’t feel sorry for her, she is still extremely vindictive, selfish and mean. Then their is Charlie, the semi-illiterate, idiotic, bleach addicted janitor for the bar whose hobbies include sewers, magnets, ghouls, and having tangential grip on the world around him. He lives in squalor with Frank. Frank is the father of Dee and Dennis. He is a multi millionaire who for some reason is content to live in a dilapidated apartment, eat trash and bank role the gangs stupid ideas.

Now lets move on to the American dream. For all the talk about people saying its dead or whatever, we must first ask ourselves, what is the American dream. The way I and many others see it, it the ability to start out any were in America and end up with hard work and dedication any were you want. To follow your dreams, to make your fantasies into reality. But this does not not happen by magic. It takes actual work, effort put into it. nothing comes for free. This flies completely over the head of the gang.

You see, for the gang, hard work for something with no immediate gains is a taboo. what is an even bigger taboo is personal growth and devolopment. Take Mac. He claims to be a body builder and black belt but is in fact over weight. He claims to protect the bar but the bar is infamous for it many stabbings. While he does eventually come out of the closet, he only does so he can have a lottery ticket worth thousands of dollars. The characters all want the benefits of the American dream with none of the work. This is even more pathetic for Dee and Dennis. The were born in the lap of luxury and somehow managed to stuff it all up, landing themselves here. Frank arguably achieved the American dream. Sure the vast majority of his wealth has been aquired through morally dubious means ranging from Vietnamese sweatshops to actual drug trafficing. And after all that wealth he eventually realizes what he secretly wanted to due all along, live as feral human on the fringes of Philadelphia. Sharing a broken pullout couch with Charlie to sleep on after a long day of wading through the sewers naked to find treasure.

In the end the show shows the result of failing at the American dream. To actively shun self betterment in favor of staying in the horrible place you are at. The true satire of it all comes when we see the depths of madness and darkness in each characters lives. mocking them all the down.

Satire in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a dark satirical comedy about five people who own and run a bar in Philadelphia. Most of the plots in each episode revolve around and easily solvable conflict that is made far more difficult by the character’s ignorance and stupidity. This style is often great at pointing out the absurdity of social and political issues.

For example, throughout most of the series one of the main characters, Mac, is a closeted homosexual. However, being a “devout catholic”, he is very homophobic and becomes extremely defensive when his sexuality is questioned. There is plenty of dramatic irony as Mac thinks his friends believe he is straight when in reality they all know the truth. Once he comes out officially, he is met with complete acceptance. He was the only one uncomfortable with his sexuality. In this way, the show uses satire to show how belief systems can sometimes lead to irrational thinking such as homophobia.

While the show could be seen as condemning catholisicm, it is merely trying to point out how belief systems can become so ingrained in our heads that we end up denying who we actually are. Mac always believed that he would be punished by god for coming out and kept it in for years. In this way the show is pointing out the absurdity of this mindset in hopes that people realize it is best to be themsleves.