“As the office becomes less and less attractive in real life,” wrote Carrie Battan in the New Yorker “On television, the office is becoming the best possible place.” Battan uses this premise to introduce an analysis of what three of the most popular series of recent times have in common: Industry, Bear Y Pull apart.
Industry is an HBO series about London high finance (which has not yet reached Italy and whose second season has arrived in the meantime). Bear is a series, also unpublished in Italy, about a chef who had more ambitious plans and who runs a modest family restaurant. Pull apart is the Apple TV series directed in part by Ben Stiller about a group of employees whose memory is, in fact, split: when they work they don’t remember anything about life outside of work, and they don’t remember anything about their work outside.
According to Battan, these three series represent more than a hint that, in a period in which many are deciding to change jobs and after many have become accustomed to a life other than that of the office, a particular subgenre of seriality is perhaps beginning: there television in the workplaceworkplace television.
“Industry, Pull apart Y Bear show very different workplaces, but each of these series highlights the ways in which work, and more precisely colleagues, allow people to compartmentalize their identities, thus giving some respite from certain personal turmoil, Battan wrote. Although it must be said that not everyone, nor always, in these series finds a solution to their problems at work. On the contrary.
There television in the workplace It’s nothing new. In the cinema and even more so in serials, it is very common to start from the limits, routines, roles and hierarchies of certain trades to make television series. Yes, very often it is done with doctors, lawyers or various police officers, and it has also happened quite often with stories set in the back rooms of television, newspapers or radio, or in a specific context linked to politics. In fact, although it was a very particular job, that of those who are working for the president of the United States, the west wing (as well as every other series written by Aaron Sorkin) was television in the workplace. and it was too much Crazy menset in a 1960s advertising agency.
Although workplace television can have very broad boundaries (even certain gangster stories can be considered, to some extent, workplace stories), for several decades series set in offices or related contexts have been primarily comedy. Of 30 rock a veepof scrubs a Silicon Valleyof Boris a call my agent, have counted dozens of series, laughing at certain works. So does the series that, from the title, is for many the best example of this trend: The office (both British and American).
Often as it does The officewe tend to take an apparently monotonous context or in any case not necessarily convincing and, taking advantage of the possibilities of defining roles and characters that the limitations of the trade grant, we try to exasperate and take familiar contexts and situations to the extreme, to generate comedy.
Unlike these comedy series, often sitcoms with episodes of half an hour or less, Industry, Pull apart Y Bear however, they are drama series.
Industry is set in the offices of Pierpoint, a prestigious (and fictional) London investment bank, with a focus on the lives (work and otherwise) of some young graduates who aspire to be hired by Pierpoint. Of IndustryBattan wrote that it succeeds in “equal parts uplifting and damning of the financial sector”, and that in addition to a “cold color palette, a dreamy soundtrack, a cast full of young talent, and a script full of dark terms that’s fun to repeat “Making the series ‘irresistible’ is the direct way it manages to tell certain social dynamics and behavioral taboos specific to the workplace.
“It was from the days of Crazy menBattan wrote, “that a series did not enjoy exploring so unabashedly the chaotic shadows that can develop when so many young people spend too much time together in an office.”
More specifically, Industry it often addresses issues related to the need to find (and some refusal to even try to find) a balance between life and work. From the first minutes of the second season, this issue is also addressed in relation to returning to work in the office after the pandemic. In fact, the second season of Industry stood out as the first to effectively describe post-pandemic life.
“Oneself Industry delves into the exaltation of a world of work without borders” (in addition to work, there is also a lot of partying and drugs), according to Battan Pull apart (which has been available since February and has been renewed for a second season) “exacerbates the monotony of a context in which life and work are perfectly separated”. Halfway between thriller and science fiction, the series is set in the offices of Lumon, a company whose own employees do not have a clear idea of what it does, and where some workers are asked to voluntarily undergo surgery. of excision, to truly and completely separate work from the rest of life.
“The Lumon offices,” Battan wrote, “are a corporate cleaning wasteland” where employees “find pleasure in the silliest pleasures.” And the series is at its best when “employees begin to create a new personal life within the office, creating rivalry and forging social bonds.”
In an article about Pull apart and “about a new genre that could be called “of the disturbing profession”, a kind of reflection of a series like The office or a movie like Employees…bad!“, the ringer spoke of it as a series that “the further it goes, the more resonant it becomes” because it is based “on a simple concept with complex applications” and because it manages to be “allegorical and surreal” but, at the same time, stimulate true reflections on “what what we owe to our works as well as what our works owe to us”.
However, television in the workplace, Battan wrote, is not just made up of “traditional offices where you come in at nine and leave at five.” Although a kitchen is obviously not an office, Battan does consider Bear a complete example of TV in the workplace. “Most of the series,” he wrote, “takes place right in the kitchen, a place where no jokes are required: the pressure and tension are very high there,” those who work there obviously don’t have “the luxury of choosing whether to work or not. at home »and most people« don’t seem to be able to distinguish between work and life.
“As the businessman on Wall Street,” Battan wrote, “chefs are notoriously some of the most overworked people, and Bear It shows it well.” As well as how a particular type of work counts (also often told by reality television, but rarely by seriality) Bear, which will probably arrive in Italy on Disney+ and of which there will be a second season, has been appreciated for the liveliness, often the frenzy, of its editing and has generally been considered realistic compared to what happens in many restaurants of that type. . as he wrote study magazine protagonist Jeremy Allen White has “the merit of maintaining Bear balanced on the fine line that separates the exciting from the exhausting.
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