Of all the things that brought me comfort during the immensely tumultuous 2021, The Office is right at the top of the list. The television show is set in a rather drab American town called Scranton. The daily lives of a group of unassuming office-goers, earning a decent living by working for a paper company without much motivation (there are always exceptions such as Dwight) hardly seems to be the plot for an iconic comedy show – except that it is.
The creators and writers of the show have managed to showcase friendships and relationships within the mostly limited workspace available to them and they have done a wonderful job of transforming it into a show which has remained popular eight years after it ended.
Over the last couple of years, I have lost count of how many times I’ve watched this show. Sometimes, I sit down to watch the show, laughing at jokes that by now I know are coming next, often saying the lines out loud. On other days, the show plays in the background while I drink coffee, cook dinner or go about the routine tasks of the day.
The humour in this rather simplistic show is often predictable, but I guess that is what brings comfort to me and many other viewers who swear its ability to lift their mood on the worst days. Whether it is Jim’s pranks or Dwight’s over enthusiasm or Michael’s incessant need to be praised, at the end of a bad (or even good) day, The Office is a source of comfort and familiarity – like a warm cup of hot chocolate at the end of a cold day.
Another great thing about this show is its marvellous meme value. If you are a regular social media user, the chances that you have come across a meme template or a GIF that has been taken from The Office are quite high.
Many research surveys have pointed out that the show, available on streaming platforms around the world, has continued to gain popularity over time. Singer Billie Eilish, who has been enthusiastic about her love for the show, even wrote a song dedicated to it. It’s called My Strange Addiction (mine too, Billie).
Finding consistent comedic value in something as monotonous as selling paper is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. But the writers of The Office have done an excellent job creating a memorable work that continues to resonate with viewers across the continents.
Read all the articles in the Comfort zone series here.