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The legacy of “The Office”

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Dec. 31, 2020 marked a dark day for fans of the hit NBC comedy show, “The Office.” This was the show’s final day on Netflix before moving to NBCUniversal’s new streaming platform, Peacock.

After an initial eight-year run on NBC, the series launched itself into the center of pop culture when it arrived on Netflix. It became the most-watched show on Netflix in 2018, with 52.08 billion minutes streamed by users. Comparatively, the second most-watched show on the site, “Friends,” had only 32.6 billion minutes streamed.

The show originally aired from 2005 to 2013 and was an adaptation of a British comedy series with the same name. It was set in a fictional paper company known as Dunder Mifflin and followed the hijinks that ensued with its employees there. It follows a documentary-style format led by loveable goofball Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) as he tries to maintain the balance of being both a boss and a friend for his staff.

During its run, the show scored 42 Emmy nominations, turning five of those nominations into actual wins, including ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ and ‘Outstanding Writing for a Comedy.’ The show concluded its impressive nine season-run in May 2013.

While it was successful before, it truly exploded when Netflix bought the rights.

It became the most-watched show on the streaming platform. Fans did rewatch after rewatch. Reaction gifs using scenes from the show circulated throughout Facebook and Twitter. People started adding “Just a Jim looking for their Pam” to their online dating profiles. And the memes, oh the glorious memes this show created. It brought in a whole new group of viewers, myself included, that had heard about the show and were now getting to experience it for the first time.

It became a massive success with Millennials and Gen Z members. People like Joeli Toscano, a senior communication studies major at UMKC, went through the series twice before it left Netflix.

“I love how well written and rewatchable the show is. It gets better every time you see it,” Toscano said. “I also think it’s amazing how there are characters that you hate and some you love. The very bland workplace setting acts as the perfect blank canvas for shenanigans.”

Even for the more casual fans, the departure from Netflix was an unfortunate loss.

“I never watched it on Netflix a whole lot, but I’m addicted to watching funny bits of it on Youtube,” said Anton Owens, a business student at UMKC. “I think the show overall is a little slow-paced for me, but it’s one of the best ever made and I think it’s really sad it’s off Netflix.”

I had always been more of a fan of shows like “Parks and Recreation” or “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but I could not deny the quality of “The Office.” The absence of a laugh track, the fact it’s in a documentary style and the setting of bland office space made it seem real and less staged like other sitcoms. It was funny, and it had a sense of sincerity to it. 

Let’s also not forget about the king and queen of “will they, won’t they” couples: Jim and Pam. Every sitcom has those two characters that are just destined to be together but spend seasons flirting with each other leading up to them finally getting together in the end. It is a classic trope, and I am here for it. Their actors, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, have great chemistry together and bring a genuine sweetness to their relationship. It is no wonder many people put that they are looking for what those two have in their dating profiles.

The first two seasons are available to stream on Peacock for free with ads or you can pay $4.99 a month for all nine seasons with ads. There is an additional ad-free option that costs users $9.99 a month. The number of streaming services is rising, so many viewers are having to choose whether they want to follow the show to the service or if it is time to find a new series to binge. For Toscano and Owens, both expressed they would not be following the show to Peacock.

cbskbf@mail.umkc.edu

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