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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

TV Rewind | The Office: The sitcom that created a new template

The Office started as an adaptation of the British series but soon evolved into being an independent entity. The self-aware documentary format of the show clicked with the audience instantly that allowed the show to have a run of nine seasons.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2019 4:22:00 pm
the office steve carell The Office (US) set a new template for office comedies in the sitcom genre.

Last week, we revisited the Amy Poehler led comedy Parks and Recreation which was a great addition to the list of office-based comedies. And in the light of the release of Hotstar Specials’ The Office, now we revisit The Office and how the US show could be termed as the holy grail of office-based sitcoms.

Starring Steve Carell in the lead role of Michael Scott, the show first started as an adaptation of the British series of the same name but soon evolved into an independent being. The Office was shot like a documentary where the employees were completely aware of the cameras present around them and this added quite a bit of self-awareness to the actions of the characters.

It would be impossible to list down all the best elements of The Office through its nine-season run but here are some things that remained consistently top-notch through its run.

Steve Carell’s Michael Scott

Though Michael starts off as a horrible person who is unaware of the implications of his actions, he soon turns into a guardian-like figure to his staff at Dunder Mifflin. Michael gradually turns adorable and his actions prove that he might be silly but he means well. The makers softened his character by the second season and made him a leader who was unfit to lead but always knew that he had to look out for his staff-like-family.

Michael’s relationship with the other characters needed to be strong as he is the center point of the show. His quirky relationship with Dwight stands out as we look back at the journey of The Office. Though Steve Carell departed the show after seven seasons, his return in the series finale for Dwight’s wedding brought a perfect closure to their journey.

Jim and Pam’s relationship

In my opinion, The Office wouldn’t be as iconic as it is today if there was no Jim and Pam. The effortless romance of the two characters, played by John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, was the soul of the show. Their relationship could be stated as one of the best TV romances of all time as the sparks between these two were visible from the first episode itself. The ‘will they-won’t they’ game they had going on with the audience only made the audience cheer for their romance.

Jim and Pam’s unplanned pregnancy, their wedding, Jim’s eventual move for a better career opportunity and Pam’s growth in her career showed evolution in the individual as well as a couple.

John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer shot to fame after playing Jim and Pam.

The dry humour

The Office steps away from the traditional multi-camera setup with a laughter track and allows its actors to be truly creative with their performances. Since the characters on the show are aware of the cameras, they use it to enhance their timing. John Krasinski’s Jim often interacts with the camera and acts as the voice of reason on the show. His expressions often translate what the audience is feeling and this self-awareness adds to the humour.

The ensemble cast

The Office has an impressive ensemble cast that uplifts the show’s strong writing. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and B. J. Novak were part of the initial cast which eventually added names like Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper. The show was adapted from its British counterpart but soon after it took off, the makers developed it around the characters that the actors had created.

the office dwight Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute was one of the best characters of The Office.

Over its run of 201 episodes, The Office got 42 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations with five wins. The Office has inspired many sitcoms and at one time, it was proposed that the show would find itself in a crossover episode with Parks and Recreation, but this never materialised since Rashida Jones played a prominent character in both the shows. A spin-off series with Dwight at the centre was also in the pipeline but it did not happen.

The Office gave us a lot of laughs for a lot of years but it is yet to be seen if the same can be said for the Indian counterpart.

TV Rewind | The West Wing | Sharp Objects | Patrick Melrose | AHS Murder House | Arrested Development | Two and a Half Men | Girls | The Good Wife | Dead Set | Dexter | Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip | Parks and Recreation | Fringe | Broadchurch | Seinfeld | Lost | Mad Men | Sex and the City

The Office is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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