Of memes and mockumentarys
I'm currently watching the first season of The Office on the recommendation of Lucy and Chad, along with the interweb buzz that builds around most media products not shown on a major US TV network. It's filmed in the mockumentary style popularized most notably by This Is Spinal Tap and more recently by Best In Show. I haven't seen the former, and hated the latter, but I find The Office to be entertaining television. Perhaps it is because I can relate--the cast of characters in the show exhibit the same frustrating, hilarious, and just plain strange traits that one would find in any office in the Western world. The humor is of the dry British variety, and it's worth watching for the brilliant portrayal of the socially inept, two-faced protagonist, played by Ricky Gervais (who also writes and directs the show).
On another note, when I was back in Montreal last weekend, my buddy Brian turned me on to the cultural meme that is sweeping Canada: yet another mockumentary, this one from Showcase Canada, called The Trailer Park Boys. The show follows the exploits of three guys who live in a trailer park in Nova Scotia. Brian sent me back south of the border with the third season of episodes. The two I've watched have been solidly entertaining, but I've yet to jump into the show like I have with The Office.
As an aside, it's funny how when one lives in Canada, US cultural memes are rarely lost on Canadians--US media is so pervasive that it is next to impossible to be unaware of the latest TV show, fashion trend, or celebrity sex video.
Living in America, however, leaves me so isolated from foreign media that I am unaware of something like The Trailer Park Boys, even though it has been around for over three years in Canada. The web provides a means of obtaining more information about a cultural meme that originates in Canada if I actively seek out said information (for example, I was able to find out more about The Corporation on the web, which I discovered via word of mouth), but it does a piss-poor job of making me aware of things that I would likely be aware of if I lived and breathed in Canada (or China, or Denmark, etc.)