The comic strip originally revolved around Dilbert and his "pet" dog Dogbert in their home. Many early plots revolved around Dilbert's engineer nature or his bizarre inventions. Also prominent were plots based on Dogbert's megalomaniacal ambitions. Later, the location of most of the action moved to Dilbert's workplace and the strip started to satirize technology, workplace, and company issues. The comic strip's popular success is attributable to its workplace setting and themes, which are familiar to a large and appreciative audience; Adams has said that switching the setting from Dilbert's home to his office was "when the strip really started to take off". The workplace location is Silicon Valley.
Dilbert portrays corporate culture as a Kafkaesque world of bureaucracy for its own sake and office politics that stand in the way of productivity, where employees' skills and efforts are not rewarded, and busy work is praised. Much of the humor emerges as the audience sees the characters making obviously ridiculous decisions that are natural reactions to mismanagement.
Dilbert is a fictional character and the main character and protagonist of the Dilbert comic strip. He is a white-collar office worker who has a rare medical condition characterized by an extreme intuition about all things mechanical and electrical (and utter social ineptitude), an idea that an animated television episode explored and is titled "The Knack". He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Although his ideas typically are sensible and occasionally even revolutionary, seldom does anyone pursue them because he is powerless. He finds himself easily frustrated by the incompetence and/or malevolence of his co-workers (most often the Pointy-Haired Boss) and often is sarcastic and snide. Dilbert's unusual name was suggested to Scott Adams by a co-worker; Adams later found that the name likely came from a cartoon character, Dilbert Groundloop (an inept aviator), used by the United States Navy during World War II.
In an interview with The New York Times Adams said that he based Dilbert's character on someone he knew, saying: "I worked around engineers for most of my 16 years of corporate life. Dilbert is actually designed after one person in particular. Interestingly, that person is not aware that he is the model for Dilbert. I didn’t know him well and never mentioned it to him."
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