|Last appearance||"Christmas Special Part 2"|
|Created by||Ricky Gervais|
|Portrayed by||Mackenzie Crook|
|Occupation||Assistant "to the" Regional Manager|
Lieutenant in Territorial Army
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 rigid enforcement of the rules and sycophantic attitude towards David Brent, whom he views as a friend. David Brent often has to correct Keenan over his apparent job title "Assistant regional manager" to "Assistant to the regional manager". His counterpart on the US series is Dwight Schrute. The character was originally meant to be a tough and fierce character in the mockumentary, but after Crook's audition, Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant had to change his lines to fit his new personality.
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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. He does display certain concerns for his workers, mostly in the health and safety category. 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 discussing 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?'). In the Christmas Special Gareth has become manager but Tim still plays practical jokes on him by stealing his keys and then locking him in his office.
Gareth constantly shows naivety and unintended discrimination like David Brent. For example, Gareth attempts to disprove accusations of homophobia by mentioning that his compact disc collection includes George Michael, Pet Shop Boys and Queen mentioning that "they're all bummers"; Queen features prominently among his favourite music. His favourite band of all time is Mike + The Mechanics, which is mentioned derisively by Tim in the bonus features of the series two DVD.
Wherever possible, Gareth constantly boasts about his military skills and how they 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 selfish, egotistical 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. Gareth is also shown to have very little self-awareness, believing that his unthoughtful comments and occasional macho bravado are completely appropriate and will earn him the respect of his co-workers. His lack of self-awareness is also displayed when Tim and Dawn repeatedly insinuate homosexuality through questions about his military service without his understanding.
Despite the tough personality he displays, Gareth also appears to be very vulnerable and neurotic. For example, when David announces he'll have to be leaving Wernham Hogg, Gareth 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 laid-back, comical 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 portrays himself as somewhat of a ladies' man and does in fact enjoy 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 annoying and inappropriate behaviour, as well as his arrogance. 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". At certain points, Tim and Gareth seem to make up and be friendly. However, those instances are quickly overshadowed by more practical jokes thrown at him by Tim and Dawn.
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