Why ‘The Office’ Just Works

NBC comedy outsells ‘Parks and Recreation’ as the superior TV show

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The cast gathers around to catch the latest gossip.

Story by Molly Kyles, feature editor

A sitcom. Expected to be funny, consistently light-hearted, and all around loveable characters. “The Office,” however, takes a different approach. Behind the hilarious exterior, each character has a realistic core and heartfelt messages. It’s one of the few shows capable of bringing tears and laughs to an audience, sometimes even within a single episode.

There’s no character on television quite like Michael Scott. He is incompetent, offensive and dramatic. He runs the Scranton Dunder Mifflin office in the most inefficient manner possible. He is obviously undeserving of his position, and as a result, his management style is comedy gold. But, he’s also helplessly kindhearted and has a childlike love for everyone he works with (except Toby.)

While all the characters in “The Office” are flawed, none seem overly cartoonish. They are three dimensional and have reasons for the way they are; for example, Andy Bernard’s anger issues and warped view of romance can be attributed to his strange upbringing as a rich and privileged kid in a dysfunctional family.

In contrast, many “Parks and Recreation” characters seem over-the-top just for the sake of comedy, which makes the characters cartoons and not real people the viewer can get attached to.”

— Molly Kyles

Without question, the love story in “The Office” was superior to the one in “Parks and Recreation.” Pam and Jim are a better couple than Leslie and Ben because of how real they are. Yes, Pam needed Jim to realize how unhappy she was with Roy, but they were mutually dependent on each other

Not to mention, “Parks and Recreation” owes its entire premise to “The Office.” If “The Office” hadn’t introduced the documentary style of filming in a sitcom and the idea of following the lives of office workers, then “Parks and Recreation” most likely wouldn’t exist.

That brings us to one of “The Office’s” most criticized aspects— its first episodes. In the first episode, we meet a small paper company office in Scranton. While many claim that the first season of “The Office” is too awkward and slow to get through, it has justification. “The Office” which came before “Parks and Recreation” was taking a big risk when it premiered because it was an American remake of a British show.

Despite low expectations, the first episode got an astounding 11.20 million views. “Parks and Recreation” however, only got 6.2 million views. While ratings aren’t everything, it does indicate how much more well received “The Office” was, and it proves how new and unique as it is compared to “Parks and Recreation.”

“The Office” is a show about love and family, and the quest for meaning in life, and, as an added bonus, is hilarious. Its contrast of heartbreak and laughs mirrors that of real life. It’s a truly unique show. Everyone could benefit from a few hours overtime at “The Office.”