Why Is “The Office US” So Popular?

Pierce Garramone, Staff Writer

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If you were to approach any high school student or adult today and ask the question, “Have you watched The Office?” nine times out of ten you’ll get the answer yes. Not only has it won countless awards over the 8 years it was on TV, but it is one of the highest rated shows on review sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. And for the people who say no, it is guaranteed they’ll immediately get the follow-up question, “Why?”

In the year 2005, the pilot episode of The Office US was distributed to a group of random people that were used as a focus group to see if the show was worth continuing. The episode was very similar to the first episode of the United Kingdom version (a.k.a the “not as good one”), just more “Americanized” and like many would expect, it got very positive reviews. The show continued on with its next episode months afterwards, setting sail for a long and successful run.

So what about the show kept it alive for up to 9 well-sized seasons? Why do people still praise it to this day, 5 years after it concluded? What’s so special about it?

Let’s start with the cast. If you went into the cast list for the show right now, you’d probably recognize some familiar faces and names, such as: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Ed Helms. But if you were back in ‘05, you’d be scratching your head, wondering who these guys are. The reason for this is that The Office, being as big of a show it is, served as a startup to a lot of the actors and actresses’ careers. For example, John Krasinski, who plays prankster salesman Jim, used to play small roles here and there, sitting in the far end of every cast list he was a part of. The Office was his big shot, and is the reason he is recognized by so many people today. But for the already well-known actors like Steve Carell, who was already starring in bigger movies like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, they were part of the reason a lot of the adults watching the show were motivated to see more. So now that we’re in 2018 and you may be more familiar with who these people are, here’s your chance to see what they looked like 13 years ago.

One thing that makes The Office unique is its style, and by style I mean it’s documentary feel. The sloppy camera work and zoom-ins are often used for humor, and the brief parts of every episode where the characters are brought into a room to answer a few of the camera crew’s questions are some of the funniest. It’s obviously not a real documentary, but the entire concept of the show is the average workplace under the surveillance of a camera crew, where the characters feel like real people, not characters built entirely around being funny or evil or dumb (with an exception of Kevin). The characters were scripted to be believable, and it really brought something new to the table.

Every character is unique; their interactions are both funny and believable, and they are all very lovable in their own way. Some of the audience relate to them; some will cry for them. Like Michael, the inappropriate, easy-going manager, who doesn’t mind cracking a joke about any of his employees. Or like the interactions between salesmen Dwight and Jim, a love-hate relationship full of Jim’s pranks and Dwight’s frustration in response. As dull as an American office space can be, the show manages to make it work with a collection of well-written characters and stories.

So if you are the one person in the pack who hasn’t watched this show yet or at least given it a try, here’s the gist: The Office is the perfect show for binge-watchers who like to spend their free time watching a relaxing, life-like comedy with characters for which they can form an attachment.