Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shakespeare in The [American] Office

"Free Family Portrait Studio." By B.J. Novak. Perf. Ed Helms and Catherine Tate. Dir. Greg Daniels. The Office. Season 8, episode 24. NBC. 10 May 2012. DVD. 

Ricky Gervais occasionally has a bit of fun with Shakespeare. Witness his "One Man Romeo and Juliet." Or look at his brief exchange about Tom Bosley as Lear. Alternately, you can ponder how he got Patrick Stewart to give us some Prospero.

None of that is strictly relevant to this post, since I'm talking about the American version of The Office, which starts off a bit like The Office Gervais brought to the BBC but then takes a different direction (for the most part).

As my Grandmother Jones used to say, I told you that to tell you this. I found a bit of Shakespeare in a late-season episode of The Office. Here, the Catherine Tate character is about to be called on the carpet by the Ed Helms character for the way she mistreated him when he was out of power. Now he's back in power, and he's about to enjoy the sweetness of revenge. Except his plans are altered. Note: The clip contains some NSFW language, depending on what you consider S where you W. It's bleeped out, but I thought you should be aware of it nonetheless.

Yes, Tate's character plays "the bard card," giving Portia's speech from the courtroom scene in Merchant of Venice to avoid the vengeance that she knows is coming.

I'll keep an eye out for any other Shakespeare in The [American] Office, but if you already know of some, let us know about it in the comments!

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the entire series of the American Office from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest