Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Michael Violates Expectations

The Expectancy Violation theory is all about boundaries. In my blog entry "Give Me My Space," I explain that this theory, established by Judee Burgoon, deals with the positive and negative possibilities of violating spacial norms set by society.

An interesting part of the expectancy violation theory is that it is sometimes very rewarding to violate the social norms. If the recipient favors your violation, it could bode well for you.

A very recent episode of the tv series The Office is a perfect example of this type of reward. Michael is the boss of the office, but he is notorious for doing absolutely idiotic things. In the episode 23 of season 6 "Body Language," Michael decides that he will impress a lovely lady while trying to sell her printers. He is very obvious in his advances. At one point, he completely breaks into her intimate spacial zone by eating a mint out of her hand.

Everyone in the office tries to tell Michael that he has ruin any chance he had with the woman, and in vain they tell him to give up the fight. However, Michael's violation of social expectation works out really well for him. He finds the pretty lady, she admits her feelings for him, and they kiss in the parking lot. Go Michael! Too bad no one was there to see it, and no one from the office believes him.

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