Friday, May 17, 2013
Ramesh Ponnuru is a Dickweed
The most overused cliche in cultural criticism has to be "The Office has sucked for a long time and I'm the only one who knows that."
In point of fact, it's just a show. It has ups and downs like every other show. But sitting there, acting like a dick, and saying things like this indicates that either the person hasn't been watching the show or they want to appear hip and cutting edge.
This meme first appeared after the third season of The Office when people started making comments on the show's comment forum. Then, blogs and things of that nature started to pick up on the idea that the show wasn't good anymore. Never mind that it was doing well, survived being cancelled, and was consistently better than anything else out there.
Ramesh Ponnuru is entitled to his opinion, but his opinion is based on an inability to understand modern entertainment television and how it works. You don't start on a high note and make better and better shows until some magical moment where it all goes away. You start with a show and, through the creative and collaborative effort that comes from having over a hundred people make decisions and contributions, you build a body of work.
One of the best moments of The Office was when Jim and Pam convinced Dwight that Jim was actually Asian by getting a friend to pose for photos with Pam and his children. That is an epic prank, and it was all the more epic because Dwight panicked and bought into the prank just enough to be unsettled. As a moment of television, it was no more significant or disposable than any other, but it was a moment that worked and did what it was supposed to do for the audience. It fit seamlessly into all of the other pranks and moments and times when the show reached for a new level of quality and got there without revealing the effort behind the scenes or the pain that went into the process.
It entertained them. It was good. An untold number of people poured everything they had into making the show. If you can't appreciate human effort, then I fell pity for what you cannot comprehend.
For those that dump on the late season era of the show, two words. Catherine Tate. In many ways, she was one of the most unsung heroes of the show, bringing her skills and abilities to an ungrateful nation. Her work is amazing, and if being whiny means you don't want to find out what she did for the show, then continue to deny yourself.
I thought that the breakout star of the show was going to be Ellie Kemper. Somehow, the show she was supposed to go to after this part came to an end didn't get picked up. The final episode of The Office gives her a chance to do what few people ever get to do--dance. You gotta see it.
The Office entertained people and is thus a body of work that should be assessed as a whole. Saying there are good seasons and bad seasons is fine, but it creates a false impression of what they show actually was, and it was a show that reached the 200 episode mark. As a whole, these 200 episodes are a tremendously significant body of work that cannot be dismissed with a bitchy tweet.
Ramesh Ponnuru is a complete and utter ass clown. Did I say that already? Then let him revel in his own lack of appreciation for things that matter and things that are good.