"The Office" is such a widely known series that it is almost impossible to have a conversation with someone without referencing a joke or moment from the show. The internet is littered with Office memes, and people joking about only ever rewatching the series. People put Michael Scott quotes in their bios, their yearbook quotes, and their Tinder profiles. Why does this show, which has just as many cringy, immoral, distasteful, and insensitive jokes as it does sweet and kind moments, speak to so many people and demand a large role in so many peoples life?
I would love to see this explored more fully because I certainly fall into the category of "The Office" fans that you reference, rewatching it and using it as background noise for years. A couple of points that I would like to offer is that it seems like people relate to the mundane setting of the show that allows them to project hilarious moments and observations onto an office setting that they may have thought in the past but never stated. This deeper connection to the setting or overall atmosphere that the setting creates has the potential to provide escapism for people trapped in very dull work environments by finding the humor in less dynamic work places (obviously, not for everyone). Lastly, I think it's important to recognize that the immoral and distasteful jokes you note are usually presented as critiques since they are coming from characters that are lovable in some way but clearly presented as twisted personalities that should not be imitated. Younger or less critical viewers may be negatively influenced by these moments, but I would argue that that's not the intent (and I acknowledge that intent only goes so far). As I said, I would love to see this expanded because "The Office" is a piece of our zeitgeist that is thriving across generations since the early 2000s with its presence on Netflix. – Aaron3 years ago
"The Office" is not the first of it's kind to produce these outcomes. Pop culture references have been a long-term epidemic similar to reading the latest books or sharing the latest news and gossip. The normality of Netflix and additions to tv series provide individuals with a way of relating to others to feel accepted - this is most prominent in a digital environment which provides a social sense of reality that people potentially lack in their everyday mundane lives. – TheAuthortoria3 years ago
As Aaron stated above, I think The Office provides escapism for those who find themselves dragged down by boring and tedious corporate working environments. While the U.K Office used more dry and drawn out humor, the U.S Office failed to emulate this in season 1 and the writers instead went with a more upbeat, albeit unrealistic approach of an office environment. This does correlate more with U.S values, which are usually more optimistic and persevering. The characters in my opinion are what make the show. It's no surprise that Michael Scott and many of the other characters would be fired for various actions and interactions, but that's one of the show's advantages. It's an exaggerated take on the typical, American corporate work place inhabited by distinct and generally likable characters. The distasteful jokes are also done well imo because they're from the characters' distinct behaviors, who are portrayed as in the wrong and not to be emulated or praised. They're often sourced from their flaws. The Office also isn't the only show to have such type of crude comedy, see It's Always Sunny, Family Guy, South Park, etc. – ImperatorSage3 years ago