Thursday, December 3, 2020

Shakespeare Allusions in The Office: Two Romeo and Juliets and a Possible Julius Caesar

"Branch Closing." By Michael Schur. Perf. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Mindy Kaling. Dir. Tucker Gates. 
The Office. Season 3, episode 7. NBC. 9 November 2006. DVD. 
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2018.

"PDA." By Robert Padnick. Perf. Jennifer Celotta. Perf. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Ryan. Dir. Greg Daniels. The Office. Season 7, episode 15. NBC. 10 February 2011. DVD. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2018.

"E-Mail Surveillance." By Jennifer Celotta. Perf. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Mindy Kaling. Dir. Paul Feig. The Office. Season 2, episode 9. NBC. 22 November 2005. DVD. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2018.

You may remember the time the American version of The Office had a character play "The Bard Card" (for which, q.v.).

But what about the other small, sporadic, offhand allusions to Shakespeare?

You're in luck.  I've collected three in this video clip.  The first two are places where characters mention Romeo and Juliet—Kelly specifying "the Claire Danes version" in her overly-dramatic threat and Michael somehow thinking that a dragon is in the play's Dramatis Personae

The third one is a bit more obscure—indeed, it may not be a conscious allusion to Julius Caesar, but I would like to assume that it is.  Jim has invited everyone in the office to a party at his house—well, everyone but Michael. Jim told Dwight that it was a surprise party for Michael so that he wouldn't talk about it in front of Michael, but Michael has learned about it nonetheless.  As Dwight leaves for the day—after everyone else has left, each trying to avoid Michael's inquiries about what they're doing that night—Michael says, "You, too, Dwight?"  If that's not The Office's version of "Et tu, Brute?" from Julius Caesar, I'll eat my Shakespeare action figure.

Take a look and tell me what you think! 

Links: The Show at IMDB.

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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.
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