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Brent often asks other characters how old they think he is, only to be dismayed and offended when their guesses — even when accurate (39 in series one) — are older than he wishes to hear.He has a consistent need to be acknowledged as a Renaissance man and to be recognized as exceptionally skilled at his many desired accomplishments.Neil performs a well received charity dance with another staff member and in anger and frustration Brent recklessly announces himself to be a great dancer the style of which he describes with typical false modesty and inaccuracy, saying "I've sort of fused Flashdance and MC Hammer shit".Although depicted on-screen as incompetent, it is suggested that he has been successful in the past. raising profitability without losing staff), and in the second series he is both interviewed for a trade magazine and invited to be a motivational speaker, suggesting that his reputation is not as bad as viewers are led to expect.In series two, Brent thus has to deal with the arrival of Neil Godwin in a role immediately above his own.Unlike Brent, Neil is handsome, hard working, slimmer, genuinely confident in himself and actually commands respect among his staff.For all his many unlikable and contemptible characteristics, Brent is not without redeeming merit and is largely depicted as a tragic figure, increasingly so as the show progresses: a lonely and somewhat forlorn man who places too much value on his unrewarding job.At several points, the audience is prompted to feel sympathetic towards Brent.

In truth, most of his statements are only direct quotations from such famous writers as George Bernard Shaw and Confucius, which Brent has difficulties in admitting.He imagines his workers find him very funny and enjoy his company, while still respecting him and looking up to him as a boss, even a fatherly figure.A key aspect of the character of Brent is his obliviousness to how other people actually see him, causing him to lash out whenever the veil of ignorance and vanity he maintains is pierced.From this point on Brent spends much of series two trying to attempt to upstage him and prove himself to be the popular and respected boss at every point.The staff arriving with Godwin during the company merger also quickly grow to disrespect and, to some extent, humiliate him.

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