Some might think that The Office series would not sail through amidst woke culture. But we beg to differ and here's why:

Years after the writers of The Office concluded the show, the series continues to be a reigning favourite of many. Yet, Ricky Gervais, writer and director of BBC's The Office, thinks that the mockumentary would be under fire if it were aired in an era where Cancel Culture is very much alive.

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While this might be true, the consistent outpour of support on the series' social media pages shows otherwise. On the contrary, it appears the show has reached an all-time high in 2020; according to Nielsen, viewers excluding those outside the US, have watched over 57 billion minutes of The Office.

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Photo: NBC
Above Photo: NBC

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Admittedly, I had only begun watching The Office only recently despite constantly seeing memes on the internet that uses famous lines from the show. In an attempt to understand how the series became a cult classic, I watched the first episode which immediately introduces the audience to Dunder Mifflin's almost-bankrupt Scranton branch. Little did I know that the experience would open a door to an office room that I—and many others—would grow to love and know by heart. 

The show takes risks

Capturing the audience's attention without shame is Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), Dunder Mifflin's long-time boss. Few episodes in and you'll notice Michael's bigotry and immaturity that keeps the show extremely eventful. There are a few scenes that aged like milk in episodes like "Gay Witch Hunt" and the two-part episodes of "A Benihana Christmas" in season three. But while some might find these scenes made in poor taste, others consider this a strength. 

"This was a show about everything. It was about difference, it was about sex, race, all the things that people fear to even be discussed or talked about now in case they say the wrong thing and they’re ‘cancelled'," Gervais said.

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Photo 1 of 2 Photo: NBC
Photo 2 of 2 Photo: The Office / Facebook

Evergreen humour

The comedic timing, cringe and physical humour that The Office brings us is what lures us in. Surprisingly, this wasn't the intention of the show creators. "[It] was so much funnier when someone who was trying to be funny said a joke and then you heard the silence and then you just sat in the silence. I don’t know why — Ricky and I just found that so funny," Stephen Merchant said.

There's just something liberating about being able to find humour in the worst possible times, according to the show's director Paul Feig. He said, "To me, the most awful embarrassing moments in your life are so hellish when you’re going through them, that to sit like a horror movie in a safe position and watch somebody else go through something that you’ve been through, is so liberating".

But blending these types of humour with drama is what makes the audience stick around. We find ourselves empathising with these characters as we get to know them through each episode.

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Photo 1 of 2 Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski, and his famous smirk. | Photo: YouTube
Photo 2 of 2 Brian Baumgartner stars as Kevin Malone in The Office. | Photo: YouTube

From reel to real

On the face of it, one can immediately see that The Office features talking-head videos as part of the mockumentary, which often shows defining moments in its characters' lives. The viewers have nothing to do but follow wherever the character takes them. This single-camera setup creates a sense of reality using natural lighting and set design. This sets The Office apart from other sitcoms as it would never work if it was taped with a live audience.

Some members of the cast, who use their real first names on the show, are also notable for their acting chops that will start to make you wonder if some scenes were real. For instance, Creed Bratton's natural way of portraying an odd character has earned him a regular spot on the show.

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Photo 1 of 5 Photo: The Office / Facebook
Photo 2 of 5 Photo: NBC
Photo 3 of 5 Cubicle buddies Angela and Pam in 'The Office'. | Photo: NBC
Photo 4 of 5 Angela Kinsey and Rainn Wilson on the set of 'The Office'. | Photo: NBC
Photo 5 of 5 Photo: The Office / Facebook

Incredible cast chemistry

The film technique that The Office uses helps establish a connection between the characters and the audience. It's almost comparable to watching your friends on-screen. Fortunately, the chemistry that the audience sees when the cameras are rolling—which makes the show seem so genuine—also translates behind the camera.

This is why Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly's (Jenna Fischer) on-screen romance felt almost too real as the two shared a special friendship. It also explains why they had to retake Michael and Jim's goodbye scene 17 times.

"It was very difficult for me to leave because I loved everybody," Steve shared in a podcast. And it seemed the feeling was very mutual as everyone ended up teary-eyed on the world's best boss' last day. Even more so on the show's last episode.

It was heartbreaking for the cast and film crew to depart the show which had to end after nine seasons. And this bond, it seems, is the secret to what makes The Office even more special.

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