By Scott Brown
Updated August 18, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT

When I say the words “Microsoft training video,” what pops into your head? Regular polygons? Corporate jargon? Images of you, slitting your own wrists? Surely, a cheesy training video from a company synonymous with Establishment must be the most intolerable 27 minutes this side of Yes, Dear.

Well, if you’re an employee of Microsoft U.K., you’d be dead wrong (or, in “English,” wrounge). For the Brit branch of the software behemoth has gone to the training video expert and hired David Brent (a.k.a. Ricky Gervais) to lay out their corporate values in these two brilliant half-hour bits, both of which should win some kind of international corporate training video Oscar. With Stephen Merchant as his interviewer and ever-annoyed foil, Gervais-as-Brent embodies the opposite of the company’s personnel goals. (This might be a dry run for Microsoft’s answer to the “I’m a Mac/I’m a P.C.” ads.) He goes reliably off-topic on every bullet point, rhapsodizing about his hero, Nelson Mandela (“Thirty years in captivity. He’s been out for, what, 13 years. And he hasn’t re-offended. He’s going straight.”), and defining “time management” thusly: “There’s no reason why you can’t utterly satisfy a woman in 20-30 minutes, do some paperwork, get eight hours of sleep.”

Oh, yes: And there’s a new Brent folk song. About homelessness. Brent fans, today is another day in paradise. Dare we hope the American HQ will not commission a Steve Carell version?