The Naked Office Review: The Cheek Of It

May 18, 2010 by  
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The Naked Office embodies the kind of obscure philosophies and techniques that could only exist in a misguided 21st Century. Instead of sitting down and sorting out problems in the workplace with your clothes and sense intact, this show uses ‘behavioural experts’ to harp on about the symbolic team benefit of exposing your disgusting bums, cocks and thighs in the office for the good of the company.

This week in the naked empowerment factory, we’re in an organic fruit and veg warehouse in Wigan that wants to expand with the help of this theory. There’s plenty of lazy allusions to the stress of a working environment, just so the ridiculousness of what follows can be somewhat justified. “It gets a bit stressful” says one heavily edited worker. Oh. Right.

Before long, Seven Supi is on the scene. She’s one of these people who’s just decided she’s successful. If you’re a self-titled ‘behavioural therapist’ in a nice suit, get your hair and make-up right, and people will believe you can tell them how to improve themselves without bothering to think about it on their own. She begins with a lot of twatty teamwork exercises you conducted when you were 13, all the while hinting at this wonderful experience of getting naked later on. “If those people can get naked in front of each other – what else can they do?” says Seven wistfully. I don’t know? Throw urine at each other? The fact that getting naked is simply surprising, rather than meaningful, is lost on everyone.

At the end, it’s reported unanimously as some kind of cathartic and educational undressing of problems. In actual fact, the experience everyone is mistaking for a momentous one is simply the mild adrenaline rush you feel when you do something you’ve never done before. They might have just as easily all come into work with their mothers. Or dressed in Burkhas.

Indeed, there is one particular moment which exposes the behavioural technique as something for satire. The release of a random naked man into the office (presumably to ease the employees into the idea of nudity) reminds me of the spoof office environment in The Day Today. ‘Lester Beck’ – not too distant from our Seven Supi – comes to boost morale and teamwork. He begins with the same rot that Seven does, “So what we must do is construct a raft, and onto the raft we will put ourselves.? And continues until he finally unleashes a pig into the office to see how the inhabitants will react. “What would happen? Would you be able to cope? Let’s see. Please release the pig! Release the pig!? This nonsense exercise results in the mayhem the absurdity of the idea deserves.

Equally illogical is the notion of getting naked, unless you absolutely have to. Because everyone looks ridiculous naked. Added to this, you really can’t overcomplicate the fact that humans get pissed off with other humans, epecially when forced to work in a room with one another. And disrobing yourself, or releasing farmyard animals for that matter, ain’t going to change anything.