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how much would michael scott cost in legal fees?
February 13, 2007 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Steve Carell may be hilarious in the office, but how much would his jackass behavior cost in real-life? clips (youtube)
posted by tylerfulltilt (47 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The same concept as asking what would happen if superheroes really existed, only without the awesomeness of superheroes.

But if you are turned on[1] by HR legal issues, this may be your bag[1].

[1]No sexual overture implied by these terms, your mileage may vary, comment writer only carries $20, please don't sue.
posted by DU at 8:48 AM on February 13, 2007


I was prepared for humor, I found something humorless. A shame.

(DU-you can use [sup]1[/sup] to add superscripts1.

1-Also handy when you want to write 72.)
posted by OmieWise at 8:56 AM on February 13, 2007


I only read the first few lines, but OMG Toby is their HR Hero. That made my day.
posted by muddgirl at 8:57 AM on February 13, 2007


Toby is the secret star of that show.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2007


I'm thinking about doing a blog about the emotional cost that would result if MetaFilter was a REAL family.
posted by HuronBob at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2007


tylerfulltilt, are you a member of an NBC fan club? All three of your posts have been about that network.
posted by neustile at 9:10 AM on February 13, 2007


I ♥ Toby
posted by Mister_A at 9:16 AM on February 13, 2007


Wow. "Pedantic dissection of popular sitcom with estimated dollar amount of resulting litigation were outlandishly exaggerated scenarios depicted in said show to occur in real office environment" == wildly unfunny.

Is she trying to be funny? Or does she really think this stuff up while watching "The Office"? Either case is sort of a shame.
posted by hollisimo at 9:17 AM on February 13, 2007


Huh. Guess I really should've sued people when I used to get sexually harassed by jerks at work before people were PC. Maybe I could've bought a house or sumthin... damn.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:19 AM on February 13, 2007


Yo haters! This is as funny as HR people get so bacdafucup.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on February 13, 2007


I was prepared for humor, I found something humorless. A shame.

OmieWise, I think you're being unfair. I didn't get the sense that she doesn't get the joke or can't enjoy the show on it's own terms, just that she thought it would be interesting to imagine how the misbehavior on the show would play out in the real world. Teaching by counterexample can be very effective.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:22 AM on February 13, 2007


I... I found the blog really fun to read. Does that make me a dull person?
posted by verb at 9:23 AM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


SLB (OE?)

Also: dramatically uninteresting.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 AM on February 13, 2007


Damn I should have realized that MeFi was all up in there with the allowed tags when I saw the live preview. The limited list of em-buttoned HTML tools threw me off.
posted by DU at 9:26 AM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Very nice...thanks :)
posted by bullitt 5 at 9:27 AM on February 13, 2007


This illustrates one of my main problems with The American Office - I just can't believe Michael Scott wouldn't have gotten the-hell-out-of-fired years ago. It gets under my skin. The writing always tilts this side of unbelievable for me, and something about it irks me.

OTOH, I'll be tuning in for the Joss Whedon episode.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:27 AM on February 13, 2007


As an HR exec, I think this site is great; HR people can't watch The Office without doing a mental $$ tally anyway, and someone is finally articulating what we're thinking. This is a GREAT tool to help managers "get it", if they watch this show. People on my team have used pieces of The Office to illustrate key points in management or diversity training, since the show is just over the top enough to be obvious to everyone, but not so exagerrated as to be totally cheesy and unrealistic.
HR gets a bad rap but it's (partly) our job to protect the company and help it stay profitable. A good lawsuit can tank the annual profits of small branch like the Scranton Dunder-Mifflin office. A really good lawsuit or a DOL complaint can sink a year's profitability from the entire company, not just a branch.
posted by pomegranate at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2007


The concept is funny, I don't think they're going for comedy in every entry, but overall comedic premise.

I loved this blog but then I love Toby (the xmas episode with the robes was his highlight).
posted by mathowie at 9:29 AM on February 13, 2007


"HR gets a bad rap but it's (partly) our job to protect the company and help it stay profitable. A good lawsuit can tank the annual profits of small branch like the Scranton Dunder-Mifflin office."

Naw, they get a bad rap in this case because they take a funny show and try to get all real world on its ass. I don't watch the show because it's amusing to think about what would happen were it to be real life-- I watch it because it's escapism. It's TV. Applying this level of scrutiny to it sans humor is sort of missing the point as I see it.
posted by hollisimo at 9:31 AM on February 13, 2007


1. I yell at the TV when I see Macs in ads for stuff like banks and accounting departments, because I know realistically that's just not going to happen and it just irritates me to see Macs everywhere because they look pretty. So I can empathize with her purpose.
2. I beg to differ Mister_A, HR people are a lot funnier than this. And crueler too. I bet the stuff she doesn't put on her blog is actually much funnier.
posted by BeReasonable at 9:34 AM on February 13, 2007


HR people love to carbon copy other people only tangentially related to an issue in an effort to show how important something insignificant is.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on February 13, 2007


Now CPAs, they're some funny motherfuckers. I heard this riff the other day about this guy who tried to amortize the COGS for FY '05 over two years by folding it into a line item for CapEx at his offshore manufacturing facility—had me in stitches!

HR people are all, "Hey, I like milk."
posted by Mister_A at 9:51 AM on February 13, 2007


Fun fact to know and tell: The guy Creed in the show (older creepy guy, klepto) is actually Creed Bratton, who was in the Grassroots.

I didn't click on the OP's link because I like my comedy segregated from real-world concerns. That's just how I roll.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:58 AM on February 13, 2007


Fun fact to know and tell: The guy Creed in the show (older creepy guy, klepto) is actually Creed Bratton, who was in the Grassroots.

I think they made Creed crazy this season due to his real past. If you watch the first season on DVD, he's pretty much just a weird background character with not much to say or do, but the crew on the commentaries says he had insane stories in between takes, about his life on the road in the 60s. Once the second season of the show started, I noticed a huge change in the character on the show, as he went from background decoration to funny crazy guy that sometimes tells a wacky story of some drug bender gone wrong.
posted by mathowie at 10:09 AM on February 13, 2007


I think Paul Lieberstein (who plays Toby) is hilarious. Watching him trying to deflect an oncoming Michael Scott train wreck is often the highlight of the episode for me.
posted by EarBucket at 10:15 AM on February 13, 2007


I haven't actually tabbed over to the link, yet, but I'm terribly afraid I'll be exposed to a lethal dose of dusty cat curios, some of those criminally insane "Motivators" posters and too much cheap perfume and/or cologne. I will probably be offered a dusty, tasteless mint before they rip my spine out through my nose and whip me with it.

I hate HR. Every HR department I've ever had the extreme displeasure of dealing with is populated by some of the least imaginative and most sadistically cruel sons-of-bitches the world has to offer. It's like they clone these people for the single purpose of being HR zombies.

Actually, come to think of it, HR departments the world over are probably the training and killing fields for DMVs. They only send the particularly durable, slow-witted and extra nasty ones to work at the DMV.
posted by loquacious at 10:33 AM on February 13, 2007


*tabs over to the link in question*

No, thank you, I'm not a huge fan of mints. OH GOD YOU JUST RIPPED OUT MY SPINE WHY ARE YOU BEATING ME WITH IT OH GOD THAT HURTS SO MUCH PLEASE GOD STOP MAKE IT STOP IT HURTS OH GOD THE PAIN.
posted by loquacious at 10:38 AM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lot of HR hate around here. I don't get it. I think they're fabulous sport. They're usually fit and healthy, and put up a real fight when cornered. I look forward to HR season every fall.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every HR department I've ever had the extreme displeasure of dealing with is populated by some of the least imaginative and most sadistically cruel sons-of-bitches the world has to offer.

You know what's painful? When the HR person assigned to pull out your spine through your nose and whip you with it just happens to be a gorgeous/fine/hawt member of your personal sexual preference, and you can't hit on this person because your spine, well, it's got a lot to deal with already.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2007


If nothing else, "HR Hero" demonstrates that "road warrior" is in fact not the lamest phrase in the English language.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:48 AM on February 13, 2007


My girlfriend is a senior HR person and she finds the show unbelievably frustrating because she keeps putting all of Michael's actions into the personnel file in her head.

I imagine she'll have more fun with this than she did with the show.
posted by aubin at 11:24 AM on February 13, 2007


"I yell at the TV when I see Macs in ads for stuff like banks and accounting departments, because I know realistically that's just not going to happen "

Our accounting department is full of Macs. It does happen. :)

Eh, it's a TV show. This is similar to how doctors & other health care professionals can't stand watching ER or any of the other forensic drama type of shows. CSI is a good target.
posted by drstein at 12:05 PM on February 13, 2007


...and you can't hit on this (HR) person

Oh. Yes you can. You just can't want your job that bad.

You would be surprised how often those HR types are secretly harboring the desire to violate all the rules. Like ministers daughters.
posted by tkchrist at 12:09 PM on February 13, 2007


I ♥ Future Dwight
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:10 PM on February 13, 2007


OH GOD YOU JUST RIPPED OUT MY SPINE WHY ARE YOU BEATING ME WITH IT OH GOD THAT HURTS SO MUCH PLEASE GOD STOP MAKE IT STOP IT HURTS OH GOD THE PAIN.

The upside I guess is that, with your spine gone, you wouldnt feel it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:11 PM on February 13, 2007


CSI is a good target.

Oh boy. Is it ever. A good bud of mine is an ME. He says his average "mystery" is finding a junkie four days TU in a bowl of Top Ramen who has been nibbled on by the cat. Sucks the sexy right out of the job.

Self Promotion Filter: I wrote a little sketch for local comedy group on the topic. It was called CSI Enumclaw (being the local Red Neck suburb). The story line involves the CSI Enumclaw team attempting to track down the hit and run killer of a Possum by the inverted imprint of a partial license plate they find in the Possums skull. It turns out they did it.
posted by tkchrist at 12:22 PM on February 13, 2007


Pretty unrealistic there, tkchrist. Unless that roadkill were still attached to their bumper, it would long since have been served up in an Enumclaw diner.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2007


CSI: Enumclaw
posted by Tenuki at 1:35 PM on February 13, 2007


Pretty unrealistic there, tkchrist. Unless that roadkill were still attached to their bumper, it would long since have been served up in an Enumclaw diner.

DUDE! Your ruined the ending!
posted by tkchrist at 1:41 PM on February 13, 2007


I lol'd

I too am the type of person who overly critiques computer depictions on TV. I can totally relate.

Add to that, I just went through a Sexual harassment training and I wish I hadn't. This makes all that training seem worth it though, so now I can get frustrated watching the office and wondering what it will take to get this jerk fired.


Incidentally, I think this is why I liked the UK version better. While David was a moron and a bad boss, I dont recall him doing anything TOO illegal or outrageous. It was a lot more believeable. Damn 'Mericans, cant handle subtlety.
posted by subaruwrx at 2:52 PM on February 13, 2007


Yes, but at the same time you never saw David Brent actually doing anything for the company, while Michael Scott seems to get contracts and do boss-like things here and there.
posted by cell divide at 3:12 PM on February 13, 2007


Yes, but at the same time you never saw David Brent actually doing anything for the company, while Michael Scott seems to get contracts and do boss-like things here and there.

As someone pointed out to me, in the US Office, you can actually see why he was made the manager, he was a great salesperson who was promoted beyond his skills (the peter principle in action), in the UK version, David Brent really makes no sense as a manager.
posted by drezdn at 3:47 PM on February 13, 2007


Yeah, I actually prefer the American version, which I didn't when it first aired (didn't even see most of seasons 1 and 2 because I figured it would be awful), for the same reasons cell divide hints at.

While his goofs and mistakes are more outrageous, Michael Scott is overall shown as more human than David Brent (tangential: I'm loathing season 2 of Extras, it's simply awful, and the awkward scenarios have moved beyond simply humorous to cringe-inducing and unfunny, a la late-era Seinfeld). I think that's largely because the characters have had more time to be developed and refined, and as such there are nuances and complexities you don't see in most sitcoms- a lot of the story is conveyed via wordless exchanges and zooms, with the impact of the faux-documentary style and the editing it implies, so that a lot is understood by way of slight eye movements and not by broad caricature and words.

For example, Michael is an idiot and a buffoon, but at times you see sides of him that are likable, or sympathetic, and you see that he is a great salesman- that in fact it's more a case of the Peter Principle (he was promoted one step beyond where he should have been) than Michael being innately bad. All the characters, except Creed, are written that way: Jim torments Dwight, but at times you can also see a bit of humanity there, and an awkward fondness. Everyone thinks Michael is an idiot, but they also know that he's generally just a sad character, and needy, and means well. Most sitcoms write in such broad strokes, it's all just set-up -> gagline, set-up -> gagline. The Office gives all the characters- and likewise the audience- more credit than that.

on preview: I see drezdn made the same point- this'll learn me to type a comment, then get distracted by work for 20 minutes
posted by hincandenza at 4:09 PM on February 13, 2007


The New Yorker on The Office(s).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:54 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thirty-three states ban sex with animals, he said. Matter-of-fact quote from Tenuki's link.
posted by cgc373 at 7:39 PM on February 13, 2007


Never found Carell that funny.
posted by MadAboutPolitics at 8:22 PM on February 13, 2007


Thanks for this, I've often wondered to myself how much a lawsuit against Michael Scott would be worth, now I know.

Armitage Shanks: The New Yorker article is pretty awesome as well. I've often wondered why I personally prefer the American version to the British (which I find totally and utterly unwatchable) and know I know. It's because Americans (like me!) need some kind of consolation and so our assholes are lovable (or at least pitiable) assholes.

Also, the side characters are actual characters. This example was perfect.

CREED: You know, a human can go on living for several hours after being decapitated.
DWIGHT: You’re thinking of a chicken.
CREED: What’d I say?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:39 PM on February 14, 2007


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