Office Space

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Heeeeey, Troper. What's happening? Yeah, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and describe Office Space here. If you could get that done by Monday, that'd be greeeeeaaaat. Mmkay?

A comedy by Mike Judge, Office Space introduced us to the world of Initech, a soul-crushingly inane software company presided over by Bill Lumbergh, a soul-crushingly inane boss obsessed with TPS Reports -- a soul-crushingly inane bit of paperwork -- who is slowly driving employee Peter Gibbons out of his mind.

Then Peter gets de-stressed by a dose of hypnotherapy and stops caring about his job. Soon after that, some outside consultants interview him, trying to find people to lay off. Instead of puffing up his importance, Peter tells them exactly how the bloated bureaucracy of the company stops him from ever doing anything. The consultants, of course, take this as sheer brilliance. Peter is fast-tracked for a promotion, but also discovers that two of his only friends, Michael and Samir, are going to be getting the axe. When he shares the news, the three decide to do the only logical thing -- rob the company.

They come up with A Simple Plan, but fail to notice a few very important details, and everything starts to spiral out of control.

Office Space is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Office Space include:
  • Adaptation Expansion: Of the "Milton" animated shorts Mike Judge did for Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s, from which the characters of Milton and Lumbergh (who was unnamed at the time) were taken. The bit where Milton's stapler is taken away was lifted wholesale from the first short, and dialogue from the last two shorts (Milton being moved to the basement and being asked to take care of the cockroaches, respectively) was also used. For those who remember these shorts, it is ridiculously satisfying to see Milton finally burn down the building (and, in a deleted scene, kill Lumbergh) after having promised to do both for almost a decade.
  • Angrish: Samir, caught in traffic in the opening.
    • Samir gives the impression of having not quite mastered English-language swearing: "This is a f-fuck!"
  • Armchair Psychology: Bill Lumbergh and his infuriating speech patterns.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Red Stapler.
  • Asshole Victim: The printer.
  • Bad Boss: Good God, Lumbergh.
  • Berserk Button: Milton loves that stapler.
  • Bowdlerization: The re-dubs of swearing for network TV are truly terrible. They say "deep slime" instead of "deep shit" and "pound me into ash" instead of "pound me in the ass".
    • And Samir's incoherent swearing ("This is a fuck!") is changed into the equally incoherent "This is a suck!"
  • Buffy-Speak: Joanna rants that Peter has become a "penny-stealing...wannabe!"
  • Burger Fool: Are you wearing your flair today?
  • Butt Monkey: Milton. He is told to move his desk around at least three times a week. It turns out he was laid off five years prior to the film, but no one ever told him and the payroll was never updated, meaning he kept getting a paycheck. Lumbergh decides not only to continue not telling him about his lack of employment, but move him to the basement. All the while Milton keeps coming in, wondering about his missing paycheck, and Lumbergh keeps on being an ass to him and not telling him any of the above.
  • Ceiling Banger: Peter and Lawrence's apartment walls are not very thick.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted: The hypnotist faints before snapping his fingers, suggesting that Peter will return to normal after hearing a snap. This never happens, and he stays in his relaxed state until the effect wears off on its own.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Milton. "I could set the building on fire."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Fraud, embezzlement, and arson have never been so funny. Lampshaded by Joanna when she tells Peter off for thinking he's entitled to engage in antisocial behavior just because he doesn't like his job.
  • Completely Missing the Point: It's the Office Space "Case of the Mondays" Fun Kit! Comes with lots and lots of flair, TPS reports, and a Jump to Conclusions mat! Though seeing how it's supposed to seem like the kind of stupid-ass thing Initech would do, that's pretty much the point.
  • Covers Always Lie: Jennifer Aniston is all over the back of the DVD cover, even though she only has a small role.
  • Creator Cameo: An uncredited Mike Judge plays Joanna's passive-aggressive boss.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: This song was used to great effect to show how much Peter hated Initech.
  • The Dilbert Principle: The two Bob's think Peter's a great candidate for the management track, while they want to fire two of the most competent workers.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Trope inspiration. Michael beats the faulty fax machine to a pulp with his bare hands. The whole sequence is set to entirely appropriate music.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Played twice with Samir Nagheenanajar and, of course, Michael Bolton:

Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Na-ghee-na-na-jar. Nagheenanajar.
Michael Bolton: Yeah, well, at least your name isn't Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know, there's nothing wrong with that name.
Michael Bolton: There *was* nothing wrong with it... until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.
Samir: Hmm... well, why don't you just go by Mike instead of Michael?
Michael Bolton: No way! Why should I change? He's the one who sucks!

  • Foe Cooties: Or so he thinks.
  • Funny Foreigner: Samir.
  • Godwin's Law: "You know, the Nazis had little pieces of flair that they made the Jews wear."
  • Gratuitous Rap
  • Hollywood Dress Code: Bill Lumbergh and his infuriating suspenders.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Averted, more or less. The therapist feels greater and greater distress while talking to Peter until he keels over.
  • Hypno Fool: Peter.
  • If I Were a Rich Man: Peter and Lawrence have a discussion to this effect. Lawrence comes to the conclusion that he'd do "two chicks at the same time." Peter would "sit on [his] ass and do nothing" (that or do two chicks at the same time).
  • Incompetence, Inc.: So what does Initech do, anyway?
    • Why, they were updating bank software for Y 2 K, of course.
      • This might be missed by a lot of people since the movie referred to it as the "Year 2000 Problem," which is what it was called in computing circles before the Media got their hands on it. This was most likely intentionally done to make Peter's job sound all the more boring. And of course, in spite of the panic the Media stirred up over the event, Y 2 K was essentially an incredibly boring bit of debugging.
  • Inventor of the Mundane: Tom Smykowski uses the settlement from a car accident to fund the invention of his "Jump to Conclusions" mat ("Have a problem? Just take out the mat and jump to a conclusion!"). In universe, it was wildly successful.
  • Karma Houdini: All of the protagonists in that they get away with their attempted crime (although they also lose the money), but most notably Milton. He gets sick of his job and burns the place down, in the process finding thousands of dollars lying on the floor and escaping to a tropical resort. Subverted somewhat in that he seems to be equally miserable when he gets there.
    • Or maybe Milton was Initech's (or just Lumbergh's) karma. Their treatment of him was downright illegal.
  • Kill It with Fire: If you take his... his s-s-stapler he'll, he'll, he could... he'll set the building on fire.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy
  • Mean Boss / Pointy-Haired Boss: Bill Lumbergh and his infuriating SELF.
    • He might genuinely believe that never raising your voice is all it takes to be considered "nice" by the rules of divine judgment.
      • Managers speaking in measured tones, using a lot of euphemisms & buzzwords, and acting passive-aggressively is often Truth in Television.
  • Named Like My Name: Michael Bolton. "Why should I have to change my name? He's the one that sucks!"
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: One unpronounceable name: Samir Nagheenanajar.
  • Never Heard That One Before: "Michael... Bolton? Any relation to the pop singer?"
  • Never Say That Again:

Peter: When you come in on Monday and you're not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays"?
Lawrence: No... No! Shit, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked saying something like that, man.


Michael: "How is that all these stupid, Neanderthal mafia guys can be so good at crime, and smart guys like us can suck so badly?"