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Thoughts on The Office (2005) | Sam Debatin | Fri 05 Nov 2021 08:19:12 PM EDT You're probably thinking - wow, what a lame topic. Basic-ass show, The Office. And I would agree, but that's in part the point of this little piece (and by little I mean littttle, this could easily be a journal article with enough time and recklessness). I personally think the show is hilarious. Lukewarm takes aside, I find it interesting that so many people are so enthralled by the show, and that it has created such a niche for itself specifically among white suburbanites as the ultimate "comfort show." In my opinion, this has something to do with the way that the show essentially creates a little corporate utopia -- yes, there's conflict, but never more than "who is the real boss???" or "will Jim and Pam ever get together??" These conflicts serve as great plot devices for sure, but at the same time, there is a sense that whatever office environment these people are existing in is ultimately good. For many people, I get the feeling that this translates into a broader assumption about corporate workplaces. Perhaps it is possible to have a happy corporate life, they might assume. And maybe it is -- I write this not to drag the show for this quality, but instead because I find it fascinating and almost inspiring. I recently read Jose Munoz's Cruising Utopia, and have been thinking about the ways that he understands these microcosms as minor utopias. Maybe it is possible to have a beautiful quirkly little office, or at the very least, it's beautiful to think about.

I'm already getting exhausted just thinking about the way that the more hardcore marxists might respond to this -- accusing me of endorsing media that spreads corporate lies and encourages people to keep their heads down and just romanticize their horrible working conditions rather than actively fight for change -- and I totally see that criticism. I think it's not entirely invalid either. Again, it's no surprise that the show seems to be especially popular with young suburbanites majoring in advanced management and office studies or something of the sort. But I also have no desire to write off media that brings joy to thousands of people, especially when it seems to be just as possible to read as a study in interpersonal relations and the ability to reconcile and build solidarity as an office.

TL;DR: don't come at me, I know the show is "problematic" probably, but maybe we can read something good in it too?