Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Avast, me hearties! Office Pirates sucks the bilgewater

Shiver me timbers! The landlubbers at Office Pirates, the spankin'-new online magazine from Time Inc., have created something slightly less predictible than my lame pirate-speak but only marginally more funny. If you dispute that point perhaps I will add a masturbation joke to even the playing field. I wanted to like Office Pirates, truly I did, but it's hard to appreciate something that is so lowest-common denominator and gender-exclusive.

From Office Pirates I learned:
(a) That there are very few women in offices
(b) That said few women typically parade around the office in just their bras
(c) Or, failing that, are available to have sex with on a conference room table (just dial extension 69, dude!).

Sexism isn't all Office Pirates has going for it -- there's some vaguely homophobic stereotyping, too ("vaguely" is generous). Bathroom humor! Insinuations that promotions are earned through fellatio! Multiple suicide references! Stop it, you're killing me!

This is not to say it is all worthy of being chucked off the plank. I am a big fan of the jokes section, less for the actual jokes (intentionally hackneyed) than for the hilariously thoughtful, Jack Handey-channelling editor's notes that follow (this one legitimately cracked me up). The staff is obviously talented -- little details bring the real funny in subtle bits througout -- and they clearly have a budget. Also, the production values are terrific, and there is some real artistry at work (the "Crying Shame" video is particularly well-shot).

One final note: I was delighted to see my former UCB improv teacher, the hilarious and talented Julie Brister, featured prominently in this video. Julie, I still have all my notes from class, and I still remember one of your cardinal rules: pirates aren't funny.

Office Pirates, you can do better than that. Please. Dump the bilge, hoist the sails, and put your seamen to work. This scurvy wench looks forward to seeing what kind of treasure you come up with. Here's to fair winds ahoy.

Office Pirates [OfficePirates.com]
Time Inc.'s Office Pirates Seek Web Booty [NYP]

p.s. The seaman joke, that one you should have gotten to first. You're pirates, for God's sake.

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