So, it’s been about one day since school started and I’ve already experienced the crushing pressure of high-school about 12 times! Because obviously if I don’t get all my work done I won’t get a good grade, which means I won’t get into a good college, which means I won’t get a good job, which means my life will be spent unsatisfied and unhappy. Right? Well, recently I’ve started thinking maybe not. And what prompted this shift in perspective, (asks no-one)? An office. But not just any office. THE Office.
In my humble but always correct opinion, The Office is one of the greatest sitcoms, if not THE greatest, to ever grace our television and computer screens. It’s ridiculously funny but not obnoxious about it with a laugh track(maybe I’ll make a future post about my hatred of laugh tracks), it has well-developed characters that grow and, most importantly, it taught me a lot about the stresses of high school.
One of my favorite things about The Office is that the premise is so seemingly monotone and drab it’s a wonder how anyone thought of making any TV show out of it, much less a timeless and legendary piece of comedy. It’s hard to imagine something more bland than the lives of a few workers in a regional paper company, but the way the show reveals the colorful, vibrant, hilarious lives that these average people lead is truly something to marvel at.
Jim doesn’t just sell paper, he plays pranks at work and designs games for his coworkers and starts his own business. The humble receptionist Pam goes to art school, invents her own job, and paints murals for the building and the city. Dwight owns a beet farm and comes into work dressed as a Belsnickel. Each and every one of the people who work there is an interesting character that we grow invested in and become intrigued about, despite them being nothing but paper salesmen and accountants in a mid-sized distributor.
Creator Greg Daniels used a visual metaphor to describe the atmosphere and feel he wanted the show to have. He described the show as a paved over concrete parking lot with one single flower peeking through a crack in the pavement. What I think he meant by that is that the show is a satire on this bleak office environment that the majority of Americans inhabit, but it still has this soul. That one flower coming through the crack symbolises the heart of the show, the potential for growth, the beautiful little things that go unnoticed in our busy lives.
In high-school it’s easy to feel like if you’re not doing “enough” (whatever that means) to be outstanding and a valedictorian that your life will eventually end up boring and meaningless, nothing but a grey, empty, flat parking lot. I used to think like that, anyways. But I think The Office showed me that wasn’t necessarily true. You could have the funniest, loveliest, most interesting life in the world even as a salesman at a regional paper company. All you have to do is slow down and smell the flowers in the cracks between the pavement.
So enjoy life. Take challenges one at a time and appreciate the little things that make it fascinating. Don’t make it hard for no reason. And as Michael Gary Scott would say, that’s what she said.