When I’m doing things around the house, I like to rewatch some of my favorite sitcoms. Shows that I know well enough, and are simple enough, that I can drift in-and-out of easily. Right now, I’m in process of re-watching The Office, and I’ve noticed a few things I missed the first time.
Jim and Pam are the Worst
Karen gets it.
The first time I watched The Office, I thought Jim and Pam were so cute and romantic. Rewatching it, I have no idea what I was thinking. They’re completely obnoxious. They terrorize Dwight for fun, and never let up. They see their boss in an abusive relationship, and refuse him a place to stay. They make the entire building part of their relationship, and then get mad when people want to come to milestone events in that relationship. They’re unbelievably smug.
All that isn’t what makes them the worst though. After all, most those statements could be applied to Ryan and Kelly too. What makes Jim and Pam the worst is that they’re presented as an ideal. They’re presented as the heroes of the story. And they’re not.
Stanley is the Hero
Stanley is the true hero of The Office. He avoids most of the interoffice drama. He does his job (and his puzzles) and he goes home. He can’t believe he has to deal with these people every day. He’s sarcastic without getting personal. He’s the only one I believe truly has a life outside of that building. Stanley is the true “every employee” of this show. The one we can all relate to at the end of the day.
Why Parks and Rec Feels so Different
When Parks and Recreation premiered, I thought “just what we need, a clone of The Office.” But the show became so much more than that. And in my opinion, far surpassed The Office. I finally realized why. All the quirks of the people in the Parks department, add to their strengths. They use all these different personalities to come together and get things done. On The Office, all these quirks are things we’re supposed to laugh at. They’re shown as weaknesses and flaws. They get things done despite their differences, not because of them.
Don’t get me wrong, The Office is still a great show. But even three years later I see it in a much different light.