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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Due to the nature of working in the tech field and a viewer's knowledge thereof, several characters qualify for these.
    • While Lumbergh is clearly a dick, there are some who see his behavior as intended to help the company (with the exception of his treatment of Milton). He clearly shows up to work on the weekend when everyone else has to and most of his annoying commands are basic details of Peter's job. The problem is that this interpretation only looks at the surface details of Lumbergh's behavior without considering the effect his actions have for the company at large. To wit: he has everyone stop what they're doing so he can give speeches on how they need to help the company, adds make-work and red tape to everything, doesn't seem to actually do any work himself, spends money on consultants just so they can tell him to fire his most competent employees (and argues with them when they make a decision he doesn't like), kills efficiency and productivity by asking people to work 7 days a week to catch up on projects, steals personal property from employees, etc. Not to mention Lumbergh clearly happily takes place in constantly tormenting Milton, ranging from the simple task of moving his desk to intentionally sidestepping saying he was fired, effectively making Milton work for free.
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    • Peter does literally the bare minimum he can and then decides to rob the company because they dare to expect him to do work for his paycheck (and convinces his friends to help based on their oncoming layoffs) which leads to near imprisonment for his friends. On the other hand, he only planned the robbery when he was told about those friends getting fired despite their greater competence and work ethic, lacks work ethic himself because he's disincentivized to do any more than the bare minimum, and when things started going wrong he chose to take the blame to protect his friends.
      • There are major movements within software development that are based around the conclusion that over-managing people can make them less productive as they are stripped of all initiative and become completely dependent upon their bosses. It actually parallels research showing much lower achievement for children of helicopter parents - being constantly monitored, they don't develop sufficient independence. While there are those who are unproductive because they are legitimately trying to do the bare minimum, there are plenty who are doing the bare minimum because they have been stripped of all motivation. That was the core of Peter's meeting with the Bobs: he's not lazy, he just has been given no reason to care.
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    • The Bobs: they've interviewed dozens or hundreds of employees, most of them likely lying about their work ethic or accomplishments or daily routine or how they feel the company is doing, clearly interested in saving their own job. Then they interview Peter, telling the absolute truth to them about how Initech has serious problems and he has no incentive to help beyond his job description. There's a good chance they feel he's someone who can help turn the company around by actively fixing problems rather than push them aside or cover them up like others. Granted, they don't know that Peter is going to just rob the company, and Tom sincerely believes they are there for one and only one reason - fire as many employees as they can in order to drive down costs.
    • Tom: from his explanation, it's entirely possible he had a job back when the company was young, before the Internet bubble started and his fax machine and secretary imperceptibly made him superfluous, and getting rid of him is exactly the kind of thing the Bobs should do, and he's right to be worried.
      • Tom's job is actually incredibly important at any tech company (essentially, it requires an understanding of how to turn generally loose, vaguely-defined customer requirements into concrete specifications that the engineers can do something with, while also conveying to customers exactly what is and isn't possible; as such, it requires two discrete skillsets that not many people have.) He just does a terrible job explaining it, which could be attributed to how on edge he very obviously was when the interview took place.
      • Moreover, the suggested replacement of customers interacting directly with engineers is itself disastrous, as any time engineers spend explaining their job is time spent not doing it. Given one of the hidden aspects of Tom's job is to prioritize and collate these issues before talking to the engineers, he's preventing redundant reports from tying up the engineers' time. This (as well as the other decisions by the Bobs) is meant to underline that the Bobs don't know what they're doing.
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  • Ass Pull: Peter is disgusted when told that Joanna slept with Lumburgh and breaks up with her. He later learns that this was referring to another previously unmentioned character with that same last name, which somehow never occurred to him (admittedly it's not the most common last name).
  • Awesome Music:
    • The Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster! montage has the song itself to match.
    • Also from the Geto Boys - "Still" playing during the printer-destruction scene. Must submerge the urge to smash a hated piece of technology in the office...
    • Scarface's "No Tears" bumping in Michael's car in the opening scene.
  • The Catch-Phrase Catches On: Several turns of phrase from the film have become fairly commonplace in Real Life,e.g. "TPS Report", "pieces of flair", "a case of the Mondays", "Did you get that memo?" etc. Not to mention Michael Bolton being described as a "no-talent ass-clown".
  • Catharsis Factor: The printer smashing scene.
  • Cult Classic: For almost anyone who has ever worked at a white collar office job. Hell, anyone who has ever had a job in a professional career field, blue or white collar, can in some way identify with the numerous annoyances the main characters are forced to put up with at Initech and Tchotchkes'. Or anyone who has any idea what a job in a professional workplace might be like.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Despite only appearing in a few scenes, Peter's neighbor Lawrence has become one character from the film that almost everybody remembers, largely due to his hilariously stone-faced delivery of the line "Two chicks at the same time," or his matter-of-fact refusal of Peter's offer to come over. "No thanks, man. Don't want you fuckin' up my life too."
    • Milton remains this from the original cartoons.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Milton's ramblings about his stapler are actually accurate. The Swingline brand stapler is a far more reliable model than the cheaper, flimsier Bostedge brand. Also counts as Fridge Horror when you realize that you've been working a white collar office job long enough to appreciate that.
    • The cake scene also makes sense in regards of Milton once you realize that Milton has ceased being an actual employee long before that point.
  • Fridge Horror: Peter is bugged over his TPS reports by no less that five people - Lumbergh, Dom, Michael, Samir, and an unnamed person on the phone. Later on, he mentions he has eight bosses, all of whom hassle him every time there is a screw up. This means that he was nagged five more times offscreen over the TPS reports.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Peter takes a job in construction after being laid off from his ostensibly higher paying/skilled work in the office. After the 1990's internet boom ended, many middle class workers, displaced from factory and office jobs by automation, were absorbed into the then booming construction industry. Those extra construction jobs then disappeared in the 2008 Great Recession and have yet to be replaced by anything better than low wage service sector work.
  • He Really Can Act: Gary Cole's deadpan delivery convinced Mike Judge for a while that he wasn't sure if Cole knew the movie was a comedy — it took giving him a coffee mug to hold during the dream sequence for Cole to corpse. Knowing his later roles, it's not a surprise that this was in Star-Making Role in the comedy genre.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one scene, Peter tries to shut down his Mac quickly. It shows an MS-DOS-like command line, which Macs in 1999 did not have until a couple of years later with the release of the Unix-based Mac OS X. This was actually intentional on the part of Mike Judge. In the way that character traits are combined into a single person to make an "everyman", elements of Windows and macOS were combined to make a "generic" computer that anyone could relate to, whether they used Windows or Mac.
    • This movie features Ron Livingston as a guy who is treated like crap by his boss. Thirteen years later, Livingston plays a Lumbergh-like boss in The Odd Life of Timothy Green who treats his employees like crap (makes fun of the title character for not being a good soccer player and even steals patents from his employees). In fact, this character may actually be worse than Lumbergh.
    • Michael Bolton's trashing of his namesake, singer/songwriter Michael Bolton became this after Bolton the singer got a renewed surge of popularity after being featured as a guest vocalist in The Lonely Island's song "Jack Sparrow."
    • You know that plan to rip off the company with endless micro-transitions? Aside from being an homage to Superman III, someone tried that themselves. It's common enough that it's got a name. Check out Salami slicing on The Other Wiki. It's even funnier than that when you consider this quote by Michael Bolton: "And a bunch of hackers in the 70s tried it as well. One of them got busted."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The printer scene, arguably the most-known scene to everyone who hasn't watched the film. Parodied by Family Guy here and Smosh here.
    • "I believe you have my stapler?"
    • Michael's description of federal prison.
    • "Yeeeaahh, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and...", etc. And to a lesser extent "That'd be greaaaaaaaaat."
    • "Two chicks at the same time."
    • "What exactly is it you do here?"
    • "No-talent ass-clown."
    • "I'm going to set the building on fire."
    • "Flair."
    • "I was told that..."
  • Misaimed Fandom: Ron Livingston said that a lot of people have told him they quit their jobs because of the movie. Probably not the best lesson to learn from the movie considering the efforts of Peter, Michael, and Samir to get out of work for life nearly get them sent to prison, and at the end of the movie they're all relieved to have jobs again.
    • Of course, you could look at it as encouraging people to quit being in jobs they despise that drain them and go for a job that they might enjoy.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Some reviewers have criticized Idle Profits for promoting the vapid work environment the movie was making fun of, for example, being more productive to climb the corporate ladder and increase profits. Even burning down the building becomes a regular obligation instead of an act of rebellion.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When it comes to his treatment of Peter, Bill kind of has a point. Peter admits to the Bobs that he always shows up late, zones out at his desk, goofs off, and rarely ever gets any actual work done. Given how production-oriented being a software engineer is, this likely means his co-workers have been forced to pick up the slack.
  • Values Dissonance: Due to the economic recession of 2008 and the shaky recovery since (marked by high unemployment rates and difficulty many have had in finding sustainable employment), Peter's constant whining about how much he hates his job has made him look pretty unsympathetic to some people. This is even lampshaded by Samir, when Peter asks "What if we're still doing this when we're 50?" and Samir says "It would be nice to have that kind of job security." That being said...
  • Values Resonance: Bureaucratic crap like the TPS report cover sheets and mission statements and timesheets, getting hounded by multiple bosses for trivial things, passive-aggressive faux-polite supervisors, and having to pull weekend shifts because the company has started laying off other workers (even good coders like Samir and Michael) are things that still happen today and can be pretty damn annoying.
    • To say nothing about the printer. You'd think that 20 years later this would have been fixed, but people still say they want to re-enact the printer scene due to how annoying they can be.
  • The Woobie:
    • Milton by far.
    • Anyone who's felt trapped in a boring office job will probably have a lot of sympathy for Peter.
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