|Last appearance||Christmas Special Part 2|
|Created by||Ricky Gervais
|Portrayed by||Mackenzie Crook|
|Occupation||Assistant "to the" Regional Manager|
Gareth Keenan (born 17 April 1971) is a fictional paper salesman on BBC's comedy The Office. He is portrayed in the series by Mackenzie Crook as a gaunt, self-important team leader proud of his alleged lieutenant status in the Territorial Army. He spends his days annoying his co-workers at Wernham Hogg with his steadfast enforcement of the rules and sucking up to boss David Brent, whom he views as a mate. Despite this, Brent often acts otherwise and corrects Keenan when he omits the "to the" in his job title: "Assistant to the Regional Manager". His counterpart on the U.S. series is Dwight Schrute.
Gareth flaunts his "team leader" status, despite deskmate Tim Canterbury's pointing out that it is a meaningless job title entailing more responsibility for the same pay. Nonetheless, Gareth takes the job very seriously. His attempts to throw his inflated sense of authority around the office rarely work, and it is clear that no one pays any attention to him. Tim plays endless pranks on Gareth, such as hiding his computer, putting his stapler in jelly (a prank that has been reprised in several other versions of The Office, including the US version), gluing his phone so that the receiver cannot be picked up (and then phoning him up) and playing on Gareth's naïveté by encouraging him to discuss warfare with language which could be interpreted as being homosexual in nature (e.g. 'the enemy has discovered your camp...and they've all entered your hole', 'taking a man from behind' or 'could you give a man a lethal blow?' could be interpreted in different ways) as well as distracting Gareth while stealing his keys and then locking him in his office. Gareth says "He's done it again!", showing that Tim does this practical joke repeatedly.
Gareth has mentioned in one of the early episodes that his compact disc collection includes George Michael, Queen and the Pet Shop Boys (all mentioned to disprove accusations of homophobia, pointing out "they're all bummers"). His favourite band of all time is Mike + The Mechanics.
Wherever possible, Gareth points out how his military skills might come in useful in an office environment, such as how to kill a man with a single blow. Despite his experience in the Territorial Army, however, he exhibits a petty, selfish nature and seems to be physically weak. It's quite probable Gareth inherited his love for the military life from his father, who was also involved in the army some years ago. Keenan also enjoys kung-fu films and he drives a Triumph TR3 which he bought for £1,200 and restored. The vehicle is now believed (by Gareth) to be worth around £3,000.
Despite the tough personality he displays, Gareth also appears to be actually very vulnerable and anxious. For example when David announces he'll have to be leaving Wernham Hogg, Gareth shortly afterwards enters his office and breaks down in tears. Evidently, Gareth admires Brent and is eager to follow his lead. However, in the two episodes comprising the Christmas special he expresses strong disapproval of his former boss's relaxed, jocular approach to management. Frequently comparing the mundane events that take place at Wernham Hogg with equivalent situations likely to occur on the battlefield, Gareth stresses the need for a shrewd, austere style of leadership. When impugning Brent's injection of comedy into the workplace he ridiculously attempts to justify his argument by suggesting that "in a battle situation" soldiers would more likely be inspired by a decisive, uncompromising leader than one who offered them jokes before their advance towards the enemy. Following Brent's departure, Gareth is made regional manager of the branch, although he still seems to command little respect - Tim's latest prank is to lock his boss in his office, requiring a desperate phone call to the receptionist's desk to secure his release.
On the social side, Gareth enjoys some success with women, often in the local nightclub "Chasers", but in contrast to Tim's interest in Dawn, Gareth's 'success' with women is sexual in nature rather than romantic. His attempts to woo female co-workers are never successful. Generally, he is disliked in most quarters, due largely to his pedantic and irritating behaviour, as well as his egotism. He does however have several close friends, some of whom include "Jimmy the Perv" (who lives up to his name by repeatedly paying Dawn Tinsley for kisses for Comic Relief, with increasing lasciviousness each time), 'The Oggmonster' (a very tall figure with astigmatism, played by The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant) and unseen characters known only by the nicknames "Fish Fingers" and "Gobbler".
- "You know the phrase softly softly catchee monkey? …I could catch a monkey - if I was starving I could. I’d make poison darts out of the poison off deadly frogs. One milligram of that poison can kill a monkey. Or a man. Prick yourself, you’ll be dead within a day. Or longer. Different frogs, different times."
- "Will there ever be a boy born, who can swim faster than a shark?"
- "I don't do sloppy seconds."
- "I'm not homophobic, look at my CD collection. You'll find Queen, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys... They're all bummers."
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