Why do you think NBC's The Office is such a success? Is it the great writing? The hilarious characters portrayed by adept actors and actresses? The mockumentary style it so masterfully stole from the UK version of the show?
No, no, and NO! The Office is a success because people can relate to it! Everyone in the entire country works in an office! Who doesn't know a Pam (receptionist with dreams of being an artist), a Toby (depressed-looking HR guy) or an Angela (total cunt) from work? Whose boss isn't a bumbling idiot?! The Office shows exactly what it's like to work at any office in the entire world!
There's one major difference, though: While the show is only a half hour per week, you have to do that shit for 8 hours a day. Oh, and there probably aren't very many jokes. Maybe one or two a day if you're lucky, but not nearly enough for an entire episode.
Which got me thinking: The common workplace situations that end in hilarity on The Office would probably turn out a little differently if they happened in your office. Let's go over last night's episode and consider how things might have gone down in real life.
Incident: Two coworkers are caught getting all kissy-kissy in the break room.
In The Office: Michael demands the entire office's attention to inform everyone that they are about to "become one" today.
In Your Office: Rather than endure an awkward conversation, most of your coworkers would pretend they never saw anything and slink back to their cubicles to play Minesweeper, periodically minimizing the window when they hear footsteps.
Incident: A coworker gives his fellow coworker/girlfriend a feral cat named "Garbage" to replace her old cat (the one that he murdered).
In The Office: Angela rejects the gift, and Dwight throws the cat in a spare office and walks away.
In Your Office: No animals are allowed on company property. Haven't you read your employee handbook?
Incident: A former office temp who was recently promoted to an executive management position returns to the office and demands respect.
In The Office: Lots of noogies. When Ryan says he wants the same respect that Jan used to get, Michael says he doesn't "swing that way."
In Your Office: Temps don't get promoted to executive management positions. That's not a thing that happens.
Incident: A receptionist who routes incoming calls starts dating a member of the sales team.
In The Office: Phyllis tells Pam that even though she's dating Jim she still has to randomly assign sales calls and can't choose favorites based on who she's sleeping with.
In Your Office: Months upon months of passive aggression.
Incident: Your boss goes out to win back former clients "the old fashioned way."
In The Office: Michael, following driving directions on his car's GPS system, drives his car directly into a lake.
In Your Office: Form letters. Lots of them.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
It's easy to work the system and win these awards even if you don't deserve them.