After a long shift at work, sometimes the temporary escape into the world of a television series can be just what the doctor ordered. That is until you completely lose track of time and realize you've spent the entire weekend living between two cushions and eating a steady diet of pub-mix pretzels.
I tempted fate recently by rewatching a show that I was enamored with as a teenager — “The Office.” While I survived the adventure by implying rules of moderation, I came away with a few interesting takeaways about what I think makes the show so addictive as a viewer.
The American version of the show aired in 2005 and ran until 2013, starring Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski, along with many other cameos and traditional characters.
For those of you who don't know, the show is a mockumentary of a group of typical office workers at a fictitious paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The branch manager, Michael Scott (Carrell), is the stir that mixes the delicious cocktail of awkward situational humor, practical jokes and political incorrectness.
In fact, my biggest takeaway from rewatching the show is that this would never have been made in today's cultural climate. Maybe that's what makes it so appealing as a rewatchable show. I think most of the loyal “Office” fanatics would agree that the secret edginess of the show adds to its mystique and rewatchability.
Another reason I find “The Office” such an enjoyable adventure as a repeat viewer is that it is relatable in a multitude of ways, and those ways change depending on your current life situation.
If you're watching the show while in a new, budding relationship, maybe you connect with Jim and Pam's long road to romance. If you work in an office, I'm sure there's a Dwight Schrute-type that is absurdly comical, or a manager like Michael Scott, who seems to have no hands on the steering wheel of the branch, as he flaunts his Halloween costume around.
There are also people who connect with the crazy cat lady ways of Angela, the boyish charm of Kevin and the eye-rolling antics of Stanley, just to name a few.
I also think “The Office” has a way of making you feel at home.
If you've watched the show once, you've probably watched it several times, or at least re-watched the classic episodes on a handful of occasions. That has a calming effect on a viewer, as they know what's coming in the dialogue and yet, it's still funny to us.
Another takeaway I had from rewatching the show is that everyone's favorite secretary, Pam Beesly, is kind of a terrible person.
Not only does Pam string along her fiancé and then cheat on him with Jim, but she also toys with Jim's emotions and forces him to leave the Scranton office.
Once Jim returns to Scranton with a new girlfriend, Pam decides to sabotage Jim's new relationship, instead of moving on like an adult. When that doesn't work, she tries to get back together with her ex-fiancé, Roy. She admits to Roy that she cheated on him with Jim, which obviously starts a fight between the two men. Luckily, Dwight (of all people) stops the melee from happening.
Pam then tries her hand at art school and fails pretty miserably. Instead of owning her own situation, she blames everyone else around her.
But wait, there's more.
Once Jim and Pam ultimately get together, Pam's neediness forces Jim to turn down multiple chances at advancing his career and pretty much zaps his ability to chase his dreams because he would be "too far away" from his beloved Pam. And the kicker, Pam then accuses Jim of cheating on her (the one who cheated on her fiancé earlier in the show) because a new employee is pretty and Pam is ultra petty.
“The Office” really is a modern-day version of “Cheers,” in my opinion.
People connected to “Cheers” because it was so relatable, and who doesn't understand the hustle and bustle of office life nowadays? The drama, romance and comedy combined with the real-life connectability of the characters make “The Office” one of the most enjoyable television series in today's cultural and the show ended in 2013.
That's pretty absurd if you think about it. But then again, so was the show.