Breaking down OFFICES in TV Series

Written by Domenico Di Maio
Illustrations by Diego Soprana

Week 38

If we look back in time, according to the dictionary, the office represented a charge, a function more so than a place: one of the first manifestations of bureaucracy within modern society. As often happens, connotations change with the passing of time, and the office has since become a place to exercise all professional activities outside of the home. It has evolved into a space where we often, not necessarily contentedly, spend most of our day, enclosed in aseptic and malodorous rooms.
On the other hand, the office can also convey its pleasantries, as a place of worship, especially if you practice the job of your life.
We like to think that the psyche of the practitioner can influence the environment around him or vice versa. We wanted to prove it, and for that reason, we have considered five offices from the most influential television series in recent years. This entails none other than the work place of famed advertising men from the Big Apple, the trivial quarters of the most unkempt lawyer of Albuquerque and a handful of others.

Who wouldn’t want an office inside Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?
These men who live and breathe the agency are strong, attractive, well dressed and most importantly, professionally accomplished.
Normal men, who must confront collective weaknesses: women, alcohol and cigarettes.
They “live” the office in an impetuous way, so it’s essential to have a comfortable sofa for a few minutes of rest of course, and less we forget a trolley brimming with booze. Rituals need to be adhered to. A glass of whisky during an uncomfortable shortage of creativity is a must.
Sterling Cooper is a jungle, the wind of competition blows strong in every direction and machismo, quite common in those years, is felt in every conversation. The office becomes the clear distinction separating the private and working lives of business professionals. In both realms anything can happen. But there is one rule that cannot be broken: make sure that ones working life and private life never cross paths.

The story of Fox Mulder is probably one of the most well known within the television series realm, and in all probability it is likely the most precise and unique. In his past, Mulder is the victim of events that have damaged his way of seeing and experiencing the world. Imagining to set foot in his office, you realise the introspective dimension in which the agent lives and operates. There are all kinds of material and objects, of course many of which are beyond human understanding. There are reports taken from police departments and databases from the global ufologist (UFO) community, photographs of sightings attached to a corkboard and the famous poster bearing the slogan “I Want to Believe”.
Fox Mulder is something of a bookworm, an impulsive accumulator, and his office is the only environment that can ease the burden of the strange experiences that have marked and come to define him.

Looks can be deceiving.
It’s the first thing that comes to mind following the developments of Breaking Bad, but especially the character of Saul Goodman played by the talented Bob Odenkirk.
At first sight, Saul is portrayed as an incompetent lawyer: a cheap strip mall office, a low-budget advertising campaign in the yellow pages of the city and an unattractive slogan – “Better Call Saul!” that blares on late night TV. Despite all this, Saul is a competent attorney, judged negatively by colleagues and police officers – but with excellent predisposition to solve by any means and at all costs the problems of his customers, using, in most cases, his ties to the underworld – which, among other things, will lead him to become extremely paranoid.
His office looks just like him, forcibly flashy with several plaques from the Open University of American Samoa for his studies in political science, an illusion indeed, like everything that encapsulates the life of the character.

Twin Peaks is a quiet, small and peaceful mountain town in the state of Washington. Apparently there was nothing remarkable about the place, until the famous discovery of Laura Palmer’s corpse.
Sheriff Harry S. Truman is discreet, thoughtful and above all generous, as is Twin Peaks itself, and the Sheriff’s office: a place not accustom to accommodating the climatic foibles of the television series.
There was never need for much space or the need for much staff, as demonstrated by the cold indifference of the receptionist Lucy Moran towards her environment, evidently used to receiving phone calls of little importance. This apathy however seems to fade with the arrival of FBI agent Dale Cooper, the first character who triggers a series of office upheavals that disrupt the tranquillity, and radically alter the life of Sheriff Truman.