Posted by Marisa October 30th, 2009 at 04:04pm In General
Whenever they add new characters to the cast of The Office — or, lets face it, to Parks and Recreation, since those characters are basically in the same tableau as The Office — I’m amazed at how they always find a new way for a person to be funny. So many sitcoms rely on basic comedy types: the Overgrown Frat Boy (see Two and a Half Men), the Maladjusted Nerd (see Big Bang Theory), the Sarcastic or Surly Teenager (see any family comedy ever), etc. These types aren’t always used in bad ways — How I Met Your Mother does a great job with Marshall’s Overgrown Frat Boy type — but they’re easy for audiences to spot, recognize, and understand quickly, so lots of comedies use them.
All of the characters on The Office and Parks and Rec are basically Office Workers — they’re all in the same type. The shows have to work harder, then, to make sure that they’re all funny in different ways. They can’t all be wacky, and they can’t all be sardonic. Right now, I’m really tickled by Erin. While she doesn’t get so many punchlines, Ellie Kemper does a great job of making her sweet and people-pleasing, and the fact that she grates on Pam (the pervious sweet, people-pleasing receptionist) really gets me. Erin asking Michael’s permission to put out Pam’s candy (and his thanking her for asking), and her calling Michael and saying “people are asking questions” after he fell into the koi pond, to me was funnier than Michael’s squirm-inducing attempt to mock himself.
This is all just a really long way of saying I’m really pleased that Ellie Kemper is featured so prominently in the video for “Male Prima Donna,” the new hit sensation by Subtle Sexuality. The video is pretty amazing.