NBC claims that the American version of The Office, starring Steve Carell and a stellar supporting cast, is being fueled to its highest ever ratings on the strength of iPod-version video downloads of the show, according to TVWeek.com.
I understand that The Office is the most popular NBC video product on iTunes. And I viscerally feel all the requisite buzz of a hot techie buzz toy syncing up synaptic-like with an ancient school entertainment product like a television show. I get all of that.
But can't a television sitcom be given credit for achieving what is truly the rarest of feats? That is:
The Office is an often brilliant blend of slapstick humor and sublime romantic comedy, a mockumentary cocktail that is nearly compulsive watching. That it manages to consistently maintain these heights week after week (now mid-way through its second season) on a broadcast network and as a spin-off of one of the most unique and hideously awkwardly side-splittingly funny yet short-lived series of all-time is even more stunning.
So yes, it's nice that people like to first purchase and then download The Office to their video iPods. And yes, I'm jealous of all of y'all who own a video iPod, because I want one.
One would have to assume that NBC Universal executives are salivating over not just an increasingly popular and critically acclaimed sitcom, but an increasingly popular and critically acclaimed sitcom that iPod owners are willing to shell out cash to watch.
Here's a list of things that I hope the NBC Universal execs remember, when they're done salivating and dancing around the stone circle and beating the animal skin tom toms and chanting in exquisitely alien voices (huffing and grating and chortling and howling) into the darkest reaches of the television skied night and all of that:
* I hope they won't ignore the fact that they did something right in moving The Office from Tuesday nights, a good night to watch television, to Thursday nights, the best night to watch TV.
* I also hope they reflect upon the notion that keeping the one-two punch of My Name Is Earl, nearly equal to The Office in comedic strength, together with The Office in the move to Thursdays creates an hour-long reason to get in front of that box that glows once a week. That is, if you don't have one of those fiddly-diddly handheld contraptions that one can presumably enjoy whilst riding on the heated passenger seat of a top-of-the-line sport utility vehicle. Some of us will be watching TV the old fashioned way, in front of the tube with a warm can of Diet Shasta, thanks. Or taping it via DVR and watching later. But you know, either way.
* Finally, NBC Universal execs need to tattoo the following message upon their blackest stone cold hearts:
Never become Fox, who, by signaling the end to Arrested Development (after heart-knifing such golden glorious offerings from the TV Lords as Firefly, Wonderfalls, and The Inside) can only be relegated to a hell dimension conjured by a troubled firth-grader during a class session titled "Why is the Constitution meaningful to me?"
So, to sum up:
We hate people who own video iPods. The Office is glorious no matter what medium you choose to enjoy it in (and in whose sordid company). Television executives, while not really possessing stone cold death-hearts, are maddeningly forgetful. But we are mad persistent (and Noble) so we endeavor to remind with patience.
And drive less SUVs and hug trees more.