Love/Hate Relationships with The Office

Personally, I adore The Office. To me, every character is endearing in their own way. Jim and Pam, of course, are impossible not to love. Michael, as annoying and inappropriate as he can be, still has his redeeming qualities: he loves his job and the people he works with, even though he loves attention just as much. Even Stanley, whose infidelity made me livid, still makes me laugh almost more than any other character. There are certainly moments in this show that make me squirm with uncomfortableness, but as a whole, I love these fictional characters just as I would love my own coworkers and friends.

Image result for the office nbc

My dad, on the other hand, cannot stand The Office. I think that part of this is due to the depiction of corporate life. Parts of the work setting in this show are relatable. For instance, we all know a Dwight, who is constantly seeking approval and advancement. We all know an Andy, who is the silly one in the setting. We all know the experience of having an annoying boss who calls unnecessary meetings.

What is unrealistic, and what my father dislikes, is how the show is centered on complete awkwardness, strange interpersonal interactions, and a company that is still somehow alive despite its terrible performance. He cannot relate to such a dysfunctional workplace. The uncomfortable interactions between the characters makes him uncomfortable as well, because no one would truly act in these ways.

In my opinion, the comedy of the show and the dedication the characters have to one another makes the inappropriate comments unimportant. The fact that this show has been so long lasting and so iconic speaks to this, even if the strange relationships and interactions of the employees of Dunder Mifflin are somewhat improbable.

Alex Buter



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11 Responses to Love/Hate Relationships with The Office

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I can see how your dad can’t stand the show. While I find it hilarious like you, neither of us have office jobs and would honestly not find it funny if a television show were to make fun of something that takes a lot of hard work and effort to ensure that things fall into place. But I guess that is the nature of television and sitcoms, we expect a resolution and a happy ending. Overall, I thought this piece was short and sweet and to the point and I appreciated the personal aspect of your father that you brought into it.

    Kylie Long

  2. mediaphiles says:

    It’s funny that you say this because I am a huge Office fan, but when the show first came out and my Mom and I tuned in, we absolutely hated it. We joke now about how we made fun of the show’s first few episodes, thinking to ourselves “how could anyone possibly watch this?” The way the characters spoke directly to you felt awkward and new, and we couldn’t fathom how a show about a bunch of coworkers sitting in an office all day would be funny. Looking back, I still feel like the first season isn’t that strong because the characters hadn’t fallen into their roles yet – but I can’t help but feel a personal connection with all of the characters that makes me feel invested in the show in a way I hadn’t before. I think it takes a bit of time to really get into the show, so I would recommend your Dad tough out a few episodes in a row before writing it off! I’m certainly glad I did.

    -Adrienne Henderson

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I think it is rather interesting that your father does not enjoy the show. In my opinion, the awkwardness is what occurs in any office setting but it is not talked about. I think topics such as sexual harassment, race, and gender stereotypes are commonplace in many American offices but they are rarely discussed. My father loved the show and I believe he attempts to be lighthearted and upbeat much like Michael Scott is. The show is awkward but it is real even for a sitcom. The topics brought to light educate viewers while easing the overall pain of their reality.

    -Will Zurier

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Alex, this is a great blog post! I completely agree with what you are saying regarding a love/hate relationship with The Office. I have heard a lot of people share the same argument your father does, but I agree with you in the sense that the charm of the show is where the success comes from, not the reality. I compare The Office the Parks and Rec a lot, because they seem to have similar aspects of two offices that somehow are running, even though they seem a little pointless.

    -Kat Huber

  5. mediaphiles says:

    As a huge fan of The Office, I really liked your post. The thing that was most interesting to me was your reasoning behind why your Dad didn’t like the show. It seems like a large part of the reason you embrace and love the show is because of the unrealistic workplace depiction and the awkward and unique characters and social interaction, while it’s those very things that lead to your father’s dislike of the show. It’s always interesting to look at audience demographics and I’d be interested to see the average age of The Office’s viewers to see if the audience skews younger as your personal experience may suggest.

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I really enjoyed your post and I liked how you mentioned the differing views that audiences may have. I have never been a viewer of the show, however, a few weeks ago I sat down and watched the Pilot episode with my mom and dad. I laughed very little and could barely pay attention to the show. My dad, on the other hand, was hilariously laughing throughout the entire show and didn’t want to turn it off. I have no experience in the corporate work world, and my dad has been working in a setting like that for almost 30 years. He found humor by picking up on the little things that would only be comical to people who work in an office. I think this show is so successful because people who work can relate to it, and others find the unrealistic depiction of the work world amusing. I cannot say the same for myself, but I’m sure in a few years I will find the show comical as well. -Sam Ostmann

  7. marymdalton says:

    Good work!

  8. mediaphiles says:

    I liked your post, and I completely understand both sides of this debate. Some people are drawn to the antics of the show, others find it boring and unenjoyable. Personally, I love it!
    Good job capturing both sides!
    Sam Bishop

  9. mediaphiles says:

    I really enjoyed this post because my exact feeling towards it is more of a like/hate, never love. So many people praise it as one of the greatest shows ever, yet the inappropriate comments that make it funny is not done in the manner that makes me laugh and enjoy other shows. The dynamics between the characters as you noted is what makes me like it but also hate it; the small office with coworkers who cannot avoid getting involved in the personal lives of the others is what I like about the show, as it reminds me of the office setting of where I have worked the last three summers. The reason I cannot fully invest myself in such a show and agree with the praise it is given falls in line with your fathers perspective. The office dynamics in regard to the comments made and the way the characters act in relation to one another is always awkward, as I hear the things said and the way situations are handled I get goosebumps from discomfort because I think of the many different things that could have been said or done to avoid everything. I understand, however, that this is what drives the show and without it the continuously under-performing company branch would have no content and lose its plot. I know Michael Scott is meant to be disliked because of the way he conducts himself in an office setting, however, rather than another show where the inappropriateness is presented differently, it is an aspect that makes me dislike watching it so much. The role they want him to play is funny to some but creepy and uncomfortable to me. I think you did a great job addressing this, revealing both sides of the show as it is enjoyable for some, but just never lives up to the expectations of others based on their own preference.

    – Anthony Duran

  10. mediaphiles says:

    I at first could not get into The Office, but then after giving it a few episodes fell in love with it. It is uncomfortable and awkward at times, but also lovable and tender. I think there definitely can be some people that don’t like the show, but its success also talks for itself. Definitely a show that has a certain kind of humor to it…

    -Maia Scachi

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