The good, the bad, and The Office

This show has a special quality to it that I have not been able to find in many other comedies.


he Branch Manager Michael Scott from the TV series The Office, found on wikicommons

Kennedy Bailey, Reporter

In this mockumentary series covering the 9-to-5 antics at a Pennsylvania-based paper company branch, there isn’t a lot of actual work getting done,The Office is a mockumentary about the fictional paper company of Dunder Mifflin, said to be located in Scranton Pennsylvania that first aired in the US in 2005.

The show centers around the manager Michael Scott, and his fellow employees, and follows them through not only their careers with the company but their personal lives as well. Which include wannabe manager Dwight (Rainn Wilson), who runs the family beet farm when he’s not functioning as the office hall monitor; cat-loving accountant Angela (Angela Kinsey), Dwight’s former office lover ; an everyman Jim (John Krasinski), an underachieving sales rep who’s in love with his co-worker Pam (Jenna Fischer). Last but not least you have the bumbling branch manager Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell who really set the bar high (and won a Golden Globe Award) by creating a character who was both offensive — and oddly endearing — for seven successful seasons.

And though some viewers might find it difficult to adapt to this series’ painfully intentional awkwardness, for older audiences, it’s well worth the investment. The mockumentary style is utilized so well. Every cutaway scene or pan over to Jim is so well timed and hilarious and really allows you to see what the characters are thinking in certain situations.

I really do not like laugh tracks on shows, and I love that The Office uses these subtle moments to suggest emotion rather than fake audience laughter to tell me I’m supposed to think something is funny.The show is also able to make hilarious episodes over the simplest concepts.

While the mockumentary style of filmmaking has been around for a while, I think it is safe to say that The Office helped make it a more popular form of storytelling on the small screen. Without it, shows like Parks and Rec and Modern Family may not have existed or been set up in the same way. While the premise of watching a bunch of average people working in an office setting sounds like a very boring concept, it is, in fact, that concept that makes The Office work so well. One of my favorite episodes, for example, revolves around a very uncomfortable dinner party and has some of the funniest one-liners I’ve ever seen.

Along with some other episodes like The Fun Run, which is also known as the episode where Michael hits Meredith with his car, this episode is another one that has me laughing the whole way through. The fact that Michael ends up coming to the conclusion that hitting Meredith saved her life when they discover she also had rabies, pretty much sums up his character. And, the run he creates to help raise money for rabies, a disease which already has a cure, is hilarious. But on the other hand there are other moments that happen that I get are supposed to played for laughs, but all it does it make me so sad. For example when Kevin is excited to share his chili with the office for their potluck,  he drops it on the floor and the look on his face absolutely breaks my heart.

This show has a special quality to it that I have not been able to find in many other comedies. It has the ability to both make me laugh till I cry and also warm my heart. It is at times very ridiculous, and others so realistic it makes you feel like you are watching people in your own office. Ultimately, it was these qualities that made the show so unique, and why it will always be one of my favorite comedies. As Pam says in the finale, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” And that quote certainly summed up this show perfectly, a show about seemingly ordinary people that managed to capture such a huge fan base for many years.