Plot Summary: A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium. Based on the hit BBC series.
Creators: Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Stars: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer
Serious Jest: (Queue It) Despite the increasing popularity and implementation of telework, a significant portion of Americans work or have worked in an office. Chances are, those Americans have experienced water-cooler talk, break-room talk, schmoozing to get ahead, petty disagreements, inappropriate comments (intentional or unintentional), silly reports, IT problems, redundancies, inefficiencies, and questionable leadership. That’s why movies like Office Space are so popular, and why a show like The Office has unlimited potential…we can relate!
I highly recommend that you watch this show in order from the first episode, so that you can fully appreciate its development. The first couple of seasons were simply outrageous and LMAOROTFL-funny, especially during the time in which they were released (it was a pioneer in many aspects of this type of mockumentary). At some point, the same formula began to get over-used, and the show’s focus switched to character development…the series became more sweet than funny, and fans stayed tuned to find out what would happen to certain characters, more so than to laugh. In Season 7, a dramatic cast shakeup happened, which I believe has actually been good for the show, despite the fact that a major character played by a very funny actor left the show. As I touched on above, the jokes surrounding that character were getting repetitive, and it was time to breathe new life into the series.
The latter point demonstrates that, while actors, and the jokes surrounding their specific characters, may get tired and begin to lose traction with audiences, the subject itself is an endless well of comedy. As long as offices exist, people will search for witty comedy to mock those offices, as well as validate office workers’ frustrations and views of their workplaces as Hell on Earth. After all, human beings were not meant to sit in cubicles, stare at computers, and grow FUPAs all day…it makes us feel a little better when a show illustrates what we often want to write or talk about but fear doing so because of the prevalence of corporate monitoring…misery loves company. Anyway, getting back to the point of this paragraph, I would continue to rotate the cast out, as would happen in a real office…workers come and go, especially in offices where morale is low. This series could have become kind of like a Saturday Night Live-style drama, with various up-and-coming actors periodically injecting the show with new energy, then both the actors and their characters moving on to bigger and better things.
Don’t get me wrong, the cast is awesome, and many of the actors have been very successful in other projects: i.e., Wilson in SUPER; B.J. Novak in Inglourious Basterds; Ed Helms in The Hangover; Ellie Kemper in Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street; Craig Robinson in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Pineapple Express; and Steve Carell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Evan Almighty, Little Miss Sunshine, Dan in Real Life, Dinner for Schmucks, and Date Night (omitting some big stars for time and spoiler-avoidance purposes). I just think that shaking the cast up more frequently can help keep the comedy fresh. Season 8 has been proving my point, as the influx of new characters has rejuvenated the show, pushing it back to its comedic roots, with a different spin and flavor. I don’t care how many seasons this series runs; I hope it never gets cancelled.