is a satirical comic strip
about a micro-managed office environment featuring
software engineer. The strip, created by Scott Adams
, has run in newspapers since 1989
, spawning several books, an animated television series, and numerous tie-in products ranging from stuffed dolls to ice cream.
Dilbert's success can be traced to its all-too-accurate portrayal of corporate culture as a Kafkaesqueesque world of bureaucracy for its own sake: the boss has power, but no skill; the workers have skills, but no power - and as they learn that their skills are not rewarded, they become mere placeholders who see innovation as dangerous and count anonymity as success.
The humor emerges as we see the characters making obviously ridiculous decisions, and we realize that the artificial roles assigned to each member of the corporate culture often require us to do exactly the same thing.
Terms invented by Adams in relation to the strip, and sometimes used by fans in describing their own office environments, include "Induhvidual." The strip has also popularized the usage "cow-orker".
In 2001 Adams collaborated with IDEO, a design company, to come up with the "perfect cubicle". This was fitting since many of the Dilbert strips make fun of the standard Cubicle desk and the environment it creates. The result was both whimsical and practical.
The noun "induhvidual", meaning a stupid person or a person who does or says something stupid, was popularized in the Dilbert comic strip. It is based on an American English expression "duh!". The conscious misspelling of individual as induhvidual is a pejorative term for people who are not in the DNRC (Dogbert's New Ruling Class). Its coining is explained in Dilbert Newsletter #6.
- Dilbert, an often powerless engineer, MIT graduate
- Dogbert, Dilbert's dog, who doubles as an amoral businessman with fingers in every pie, and has aspirations of one day ruling the world and enslaving all humans
- Catbert, the evil director of human resources
- The Pointy-Haired Boss, clueless and occasionally cruel, abbreviated by readers to PHB. The term PHB has become a generic for this type of manager. The PHB is notably smarter in the TV series. (See also the U.S. Army Acronym REMF.)
- Wally, a lazy coworker always trying to work the system
- Alice, a constantly on-edge coworker, having trouble controlling her "fist of death"
- Asok, a brilliant but na´ve intern from India, IIT graduate
- Ratbert, a simple rat
- the World's Smartest Garbageman, philosopher and scientist, provider of solutions
- Dilbert's Mom, homely but intelligent
- Dilbert's Dad, an unseen character. He lives at the all-you-can-eat restaurant, because he hasn't eaten all he can eat yet, (technically not an unseen character, appears in the animated series)
- Bob, Dawn, and Rex the Dinosaurs (not extinct, just (usually) hiding)
- the Elbonians, the idiotic citizens of a mud-covered fourth-world nation
- Carol, the PHB's misanthropical secretary
- Tina, the brittle tech writer, feminist
- Stan, the all-too-slick marketer
- Mordac, Preventer of Information Technology
- Ted, the Generic Guy,
- Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light and ruler of Heck (a minor devil), and brother of the Boss. Rather than carrying a pitchfork, he carries an oversized "spork".
- Loud Howard, another coworker who, despite appearing in only one comic strip, became a regular character in the TV series.
Dilbert Animated Series Episode Guide
Production numbers are in bold.
- The Name - 101
- The Competition - 103
- The Prototype - 102
- The Takeover - 106
- Testing - 104
- Elbonian Trip - 105
- Tower of Babel - 108
- Little People - 107
- The Knack - 110
- Y2K - 109
- Charity - 111
- Holiday - 112
- The Infomercial - 113
- The Gift - 201
- The Shroud of Wally - 202
- Art - 203
- The Trial - 204
- The Dupey - 205
- The Security Guard - 206
- The Merger - 207
- Hunger - 208
- The Off-Site Meeting - 209
- The Assistant - 210
- The Return - 211
- The Virtual Employee - 212
- Pregnancy - part 1 - 213
- The Delivery - part 2 of Pregnancy - 214
- Company Picnic - 215
- The Fact - 216
- Ethics - 217