Jason Linkins, a man whose web writing career I greatly admire, has an interesting piece up today involving two videos fresh from the Romney campaign. Read the original piece for Linkins’ take on how Mitt Romney is like Michael Scott. Regarding the comparison, he’s right on the money that Scott has an uncanny ability to catch a big break when he really needs one. But the alchemy that makes Michael Scott shine in those moments (like when he destroyed Wallace at the negotiation table a few years back) involves the extent to which people underestimate him and the sheer likability he never completely loses, even after his worst and most offensive gaffes. You always know Michael’s never trying to hurt anyone, and that most of the time he’s trying too hard to love and be loved. You’re always rooting for him to get these things right: office trainings, relationships, business, and love. You hated Holly for toying with his faithful heart. Apart from the pilot (where he’s really hard to take), the creators, writers, and Steve Carell did a masterful job of making you care about Michael Scott and turning a dislikable character into one for which you felt empathy, compassion, and, finally. affection.
Typically, that progression describes the swell of feelings an audience feels over time toward a classic anti-hero. But Michael Scott isn’t that. In scenarios that, minus his more manic moments, look a lot like our lives, Michael Scott is a well-meaning friend, a lonely romantic, an overgrown kid that fate seldom favored. Those later points don’t really scream “Romney.” I think Romney, if short on substance as Linkins suggests, is probably shrewd. Probably personally likable. Probably very much in his element directing large sums of money and executive structures. His wheelhouse is organization and administration, not Michael Scott strong suits. Though he very much leads the GOP field because he came in second last time, Romney hasn’t exactly walked into this situation. That said, he’s had a leg up on money and power since birth, something that certainly can’t be said for all the other GOP hopefuls or for the President.
I’m posting the first of the two videos below. Like Linkins, I think this spot is largely a tactical success. The once piece he doesn’t mention, though, is the tag at the end. At what point does presumptive become presumptuous? And at what point does “frontrunner in June after one debate” become presumptive in the first place?
What do you think of this video? Effective? Stark? Compelling? I think it’s got elements of all of those things. Does Romney?