The Office premiered on March 24 2005. It is actually based on the Ricky Gervais UK series of the same name. Greg Daniels (creator of King of the Hill and former writer on The Simpsons) brought together an aamazing group of talented actors. Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, Ellie Kemper, are only some of the big names that we saw on the series. Since its launch and after all these years, The Office became and remains to this day one of the most influential TV series ever. How The Office changed pop culture however, is due to many factors. Some of them even the fans of the series don’t know.
The series became mostly relatable for its setting, “The American workplace”. Being in the same time fastastical as much as relatable and funny, it is set in a bland office park in the middle of Pennsylvania. Antics like fire drills and heart attacks, as well as the unforgetable dinner parties are at least impressive and actually very funny and felt much bigger and unproductive from our own dull cubicles.
The characters of this show were as enjoyable as its settings. From the buffoonish boss, the over-the-top toady, the everyman prankster and the sweet receptionist. We must recognize also the talent of the amazing writers behind them. They managed to turn the borrowed from its British parent cult heroes, to their own unique creations.
When The Office reached the end of its first season, which was six episodes, noone imagined that they would make more. The ratings were too bad. Of the 156 shows on broadcast networks that TV season, The Office stood in place 102 in total viewership. By the final episode, 57 percent of the 11.2 million people that watched the premiere lost interest. Additionaly, Michael Schur, a writer on that first season would go on to create some very successful TV shows of his own, after the end of that first season. Everything looked doomed. Nothing signaled that the series would become not only a pop culture classic, but that it would change pop culture also.
However, NBC unexpectedly renewed The Office, banking on the track record of creator Greg Daniels. In addition they brought in Steve Carell, who was breaking out as a genuine movie star in the then-upcoming The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The bet paid off. In its second season already the show became a cult. That year it also won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. By its sixth season, it was just a hit, period, the 11th-biggest show on TV among younger viewers.
Since then The Office merch on Amazon is among the highest selling ones. Pop star Billie Eilish — a teenager! — samples the show in a song on her Grammy-winning 2019 album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Moreover in the midst of the Covid-19 quarrantine the show’s stars reunited not once but twice for goofy YouTube talk shows hosted by John Krasinski, who played Jim. The series also lives on through the hundreds of GIFs, with most popular the NOOOOOOOO GOD NO one. But why it worked. Well, it was relatable to the audience of course.
The Office takes place in a world where you wear a tie to work, drive every day to a dull office park, where the closest thing to excitement is playing a prank on a coworker. The series features a kind of social realism largely missing from more current notions about the importance of “meaningful” work. Every good show is about relationships between the characters, but also between the show and its fans. This is the main reason why this show still shines bright in 2023. For sure, it will continue to be in the future. Because, this is how “The Office”changed Pop culture.