Why ‘The Office’ Wouldn’t Work Today

The Office is an American mockumentary sitcom that aired on NBC between 2005 to 2013. During this time, it was one of the most popular shows on TV. It received critical acclaim for its unique characters which were flourished with observational and dark humour. When The Office was added to Netflix, it garnered even more fans that clamoured for some sort of reunion for the series. However, the show might not be cut out for today’s audience. 

The Office has been nominated for 163 awards, out of which, it has bagged 30 of them. The show pretty much skyrocketed the popularity of John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer who were relatively unknown before the show’s airing. 

The representation of LGBT+ or coloured characters in the show is definitely questionable. Jokes on their race or sexuality are a repetitive and common element in the show. Most of the female characters are rather bland in nature with male characters being their main motivation. On top of it all, Dunder Mifflin’s boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is constantly seen making lewd or offensive remarks to the employees.

Don’t get me wrong. I personally love the humour and character of Michael Scott. The characters and the absurdly hilarious scenarios they find themselves in provides for some much-needed comedy in life. But think about this for a moment. Today, we find ourselves in a world that is educated, social issues are becoming more prominent, in short, the world is changing.

Image: NBC

Not a day goes by where I don’t come across a post where someone is offended by a ‘joke’ made by someone else. That someone could be a celebrity, a comedian or perhaps some line that a character says in a show. Needless to say, people get offended, rather easily these days.

In an interview for Esquire’s November’s cover story, Steve Carell stated that he doesn’t think that ‘The Office’ would work in today’s social climate. 

“But apart from the fact that I just don’t think that’s a good idea, it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago. The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behaviour. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss,” 

“A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now. There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today — which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.”

Carell definitely makes some great points about why the show wouldn’t work today. The Office was an enjoyable show during its time, and still is to those people who watch it today. However, it’s best we keep it that way.