When Greg Daniels decided to adapt The Office for American television, I wonder if he knew that he was about to create the single greatest sitcom of all time. The Office was adapted from a BBC series of the same name which was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in 2001. The adapted U.S. version originally aired on NBC in 2005 and lasted a total of nine seasons.
The Office depicts the everyday lives of employees from the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company working at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch. The main characters at the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch include Michael Scott played by Steve Carell, Dwight Schrute played by Rainn Wilson, Jim Halpert played by John Krasinski, and Pam Beesley played by Jenna Fischer. Also, it’s worth noting that two of The Office’s head writers, B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling, also play the characters Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor on the show.
With its debut in 2005, critics were unsure if this unique and quirky mockumentary-style sitcom would translate to a wider American audience. However, it did and became what I believe to be the greatest sitcom of all time. Over its lifetime, The Office was nominated for 42 Emmy awards and took home 5, including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006.
There exists much debate around which television show should be deemed as the greatest sitcom of all time. The Office faces plenty of competition, including highly successful sitcoms such as Friends, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, M*A*S*H and Cheers. However, I truly believe that The Office is the greatest sitcom of all time and I will highlight the top two reasons why.
The Office is the greatest sitcom of all time due to its carefully-written, complex yet relatable characters. When you watch The Office, you can’t help but identify with at least one of the characters. Whether it’s Jim, the clever paper salesman who’s head over heels for the quirky receptionist named Pam, or Dwight, the weird but intriguing beet farmer who secretly hides weapons around the office. You may even identify with Michael, the deeply flawed but lovable boss who often makes things harder than they need to be (insert your favorite Michael Scott quote here).
A documentary-style filming technique allows The Office to be so relatable. Throughout the sitcom the characters interact directly with the audience through the camera, giving viewers a real sense of who each character truly is. It’s easy to forget that you’re watching a sitcom when the characters speak to the camera as if it were a person and ask the viewer questions. The Office’s ability to be relatable through its characters and filming technique is one of the reasons why it is the greatest sitcom of all time.
It’s Both Humorous and Meaningful
Now time to dive into the second reason why The Office is the greatest sitcom of all time. What comes to mind when you think of The Office? Grossly inappropriate and often offensive humor, of course. However, you do not become the greatest sitcom of all time by solely being humorous.
The Office’s greatness lies in its balancing act between humor and meaningfulness. The Office is beautifully written to make its viewers both laugh and experience a whole array of emotions such as happiness, sadness, romance, excitement, awkwardness and triumph. The Office is a sitcom that can make its viewers chuckle one moment and evoke strong meaningful emotions the next. This perfect balance of heart and humor make The Office the greatest sitcom of all time.