So far in Devil’s Advocate Month, we have talked about an underrated superhero movie from the 90’s and a decent movie overshadowed by its predecessor. But now it is time for the fun to begin! Let’s talk about something that everyone tends to love and give a dissenting opinion… AKA shit all over it. So today, I am going to be the Devil’s Advocate for the popular television show, The Office. One of the most popular series through the mid 2000’s and early 2010’s, The Office has been the inspiration for a lot of humor in adults we see today. To say that is influential is a foregone conclusion. But whether or not the series is actually good… Well that is an argument that I am ready to make in the less popular direction.
The Office is made mockumentary style that features a documentary crew covering the day to day activities as the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton Pennsylvania. The series revolves around the Regional Manager, Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) and his group of co workers like fan favorite Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), and more. The story follows them in their day to day antics as they run the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch.
The Cast are Amazing Actors and Have Great Chemistry
I will not take anything away from the cast of The Office, they are absolutely astonishing. Steve Carrell, as I have mentioned multiple times in the past, is an amazing actor. He may very well be one of the best in the business today. He is one of those few actors who can transition seamlessly from comedy to drama and do so with expert precision. I have no qualms with stating this and will put my critical integrity on the line when I say Steve Carrell is the most underrated actor in Hollywood today.
The supporting cast of actors as well steal the show as well. John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer are two of the most underrated situational comedians out there. They have amazing chemistry together, great comedic timing, and are all around great actors.
But of course the cult hero of The Office is none other than Rainn Wilson. Rainn Wilson took the Dwight character and that strange parting of the hair and made him into a cult hero. Whenever you hear The Office, you think of three things; Ricky Gervais from the British version of The Office, Steve Carrell, and Dwight Schrute played by Rainn Wilson. He is an amazing actor and his antics with the character Jim are the stuff of television legend.
I may have problems with The Office. But this area is not it.
Whether I like it or do not like it is besides the point to the fact that The Office has earned its spot in television history as one of the most iconic television shows of the mid 2000’s… Granted the mid 2000’s also gave us Lost, a hopeless slew of shitty reality television shows, and Two and a Half Men so that really isn’t saying much as far as quality is concerned.
But at either rate, The Office’s catchy opening and cast of lovable characters will be remembered fondly for years to come and I will not take that away from them.
The Show is Boring
One of the primary reasons I dislike The Office is a very simple one, it is just plain boring. A sitcom can be made out of anything. Seinfeld, Louie, and shows like that have shown us that slice of life is just plain funny and we can get enjoyment out of any situation. But when you focus over nine seasons on a group of people working in an office and is nothing more than their day-to-day work schedule, it just gets boring. Most episodes of The Office I watched had me dozing off in the middle of the afternoon or left completely disinterested. Beyond Dwight and Jim’s antics or Michael Scott’s off the wall plans, I just do not care.
Maybe this fits more into personal taste, but I have to say that without the charisma of the big four actors driving the show, The Office would struggle to make a second season due to the fact that it is a giant snoozefest.
I can get behind some pranks or some practical jokes as much as the next guy, as long as they are in good fun and not abusive. Which tends to be the relationship that Dwight and Jim share. But on the whole, there are several jokes on the part of Michael Scott and Jim that come across, not only as mean-spirited, but borderline bullying.
Some of Jim’s pranks on Dwight are kind of adorable. Where Jim attempts to convince Dwight that he is, in fact, Asian is funny and light-hearted. Such things as building a pencil fence, or convincing Dwight that a kid is a better Dwight than himself. These are funny and some harmless jokes towards a guy who takes himself too seriously.
But than there are ‘jokes’ where Jim puts all of Dwight’s possessions into a vending machine, posting Dwight’s resume online, locking Dwight in a room, or tricking him into trading a $150 telescope for some beans is not only mean-spirited but shows off Jim as nothing more than a bully picking on a guy who clearly has some social problems he needs to work out.
Some practical jokes are fun, but when they are so mean-spirited as some of these jokes are, they come across as distasteful and makes me dislike the Jim character as a whole because of it.
Than there is Michael Scott. While Steve Carrell plays him amazingly well, the fact that this man who is very much a verbally abusive lunatic can hold a regional manager position and not be fired is nothing short of astonishing. The character let’s rampant narcissism and delusions of grandeur cloud his mind into thinking he is this strange omnipotent being. He makes life in this office space seem to be a hell for many of the workers, especially Toby who is merely doing his job and preventing Michael Scott from running this branch of Dunder Mifflin into the ground with his ineptitude.
I can get behind some humor at the expense of others, but when it is done in such a way that is mean-spirited and in some ways just down right evil, I go from awkward laughing, to extreme distaste.
I would like to chalk up a lot of my dislike of The Office has something that just isn’t for me, but at the end of the day I still genuinely feel that this show isn’t very good. I can get behind some dry humor, but when a lot of the humor is just straight forward mean-spirited and it is wrapped in such a boring package as life as a worker in an office for a paper company.
As with everything else, if you enjoy something, I’ll never fault you for liking it. That is yours, you enjoy that. But in my critical opinion, I will always see The Office as a bad comedy series that somehow maintained a level of popularity that carried it over nine seasons.
Final Score 2/5
Thank you for reading and as always, if you enjoyed this review than please like and subscribe for more. Please come back Thursday for another review from me. Also on Sunday, beyond my regular review, check out Twitch Streamer Jate Nott at Nott in my House where I will guest host as we play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.