Last night, my favorite episode of The Office, “Diversity Day,” aired on TBS. It is actually the second episode ever aired and the first with original jokes (many of the pilot episode’s jokes were taken from the British version of the show).
The plot goes as follows. The corporate office of Dunder Mifflin has sent a diversity specialist to the Scranton branch because the boss, Michael Scott, in his cluelessness, thought it would be funny to tell a Chris Rock comedy routine to the office, even though the bit is about black people.
Michael is scared of being labeled a racist, so he creates his own curriculum for Diversity Day. He places a sheet of paper with the name of a race on their foreheads. Without knowing who they are, the members of the office walk around and talk to their peers using stereotypes for the race on their peer’s forehead (you can watch it at the bottom of this post).
Everyone seems uncomfortable with this exercise. That is, except for Dwight. He goes up to Pam, who has “Jewish” on her forehead, and says, “Shalom. I’m interested in taking out a loan.”
See, that’s funny. Yet, for some (obvious) reason, when you take that same joke, in another context, it is less funny. Take the latest controversy surrounding the comic Doonesbury.
In Sunday’s strip, the comic referred to the Old Testament as “crabby and snarky,” while the New Testament is “about love.” Even worse, the comic claims the only time that Jesus gets angry is when he responds to the “money-lenders.”
Check the comic for yourself here.
The Anti-Defamation League is already on the case, asking Doonesbury creator, Garry Trudeau to publicly apologize.