Almost a Decade off the Air: Why The Office Is More Popular Than Ever?

Six years after wrapping up its series, NBC’s The Office, has not lost its place in pop culture fandom. Even after years off the air The Office still remains one of streaming giants, Netflix, most watched shows. In 2018, Netflix reported that The Office accounted for 3% of all minutes watched on the streaming platform, accounting for almost 52 billion minutes. Even with this impressive numbers it was announced in June that NBC would be buying the series back from Netflix in 2021 (costing NBC about $500 million) to move to the upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service. 

The Office has taken up a remarkable amount of time in my life. I still remember watching the series on NBC when season two debuted in 2006. I would be lying if I said I understood the humor at 15 years old, but as I have gotten older the series has remained a go to for me. Since graduating college in 2015 I have rewatched The Office 19 times now. I have won bar trivia contest dedicated to the show. I also have continued to open others up to the show as well. 

The Office debuted in 2005 to a less than enthusiastic reception from critics and viewers. Based off the hit UK series of the same name, the first season tried too much to copy its predecessor. However, once season two rolled around that the show was comic gold. Picking up award nominations and wins it still was never the ratings hit like other comedies of the time like Two and a Half Men and Modern Family. These factors undoubtedly have to do with why The Office is a Netflix stable. For those that missed it the first time around, there are now multiple chances to catch up. 

The series and cast alone are huge reasons for its continued popularity. The cast is more popular today than ever. Making star out of actors like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson just to name a few. Even though there are big names that came from the series the overall cast truly makes the show so rewatchable. Michael’s genuine ineptitude, Jim and Pam’s romance for the ages, and the Jim and Dwight prank wars are just a few parts viewers never tire of. 

The older audiences get the more relatable the series becomes. With many adults nowadays working in an office environment the show can sometimes feel like it mirrors a typical office setting. Many people nowadays going into work in an office setting look to find their office “Michael” or “Dwight.” 

The most rewarding aspect of rewatching The Office is how the warmth of the series comes into view the more you watch. There is so much comedy gold that sometimes how genuinely thoughtful the show is can get lost. Yes, the series is one of the best shows to throw on for “background noise” but this show has layers that take some fans several viewings to catch. The show is not necessarily about just an office but more the idea around relationships: How they form, why they matter, and how to nurture and grow them. The older a viewer gets the more meaning for the show gets and certain episodes can truly pull at the heartstrings. 

With the series leaving Netflix, there is no telling what will happen to The Office. My hope is that viewers continue to find the joy and love the series promotes. That those who may not want to give it a chance finally give it a shot and watch. I hope that the fans of the series continue to discuss and share the series with others. Most importantly I hope it is a series that I can show my kids in the future and they get the same feelings the show has given me for well over a decade.

Jake Riggs

He/Him/His - Pop Culture Junkie - Community Organizer - LGBTQ+ & Proud - #SupportTransWomenOfColor #ProtectTransKids #LoveIsLove

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