It’s 2021 and I stumbled upon hilarious clips from The Office on YouTube. After watching a bunch, I was hooked and needed to know more about the show! In 2012, I saw memes with Jim’s face but didn’t know their source.
The Office is completely different from what I usually watch, which tends to be romantic dramas. It’s a mockumentary sitcom that follows the daily adventures (and misadventures) of the employees at Dunder Mifflin paper company. The story mainly focuses on those working in the Scranton branch, although we are introduced to some characters from other branches as well. This American adaptation of a British TV show shares the same name but ran for 8 years and 9 seasons! The show feels like a documentary about people working at a paper company – with almost everything being captured by the camera crew, including office drama, romance and even illegal activities. Instead of discussing the premise further, let’s talk about some of its main characters…
Michael Scott (Played by Steve Carell): The unbearable manager/boss of the Scranton brunch made all the office workers uncomfortable. He was racist, sexist, and homophobic – everything you wouldn’t want your boss to be. Michael’s character transformed throughout the seasons, possibly due to a conscious decision by the show’s writers.
“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this compulsive need like my need to be praised.”Michael Scott
Jim (Played by John Krasinski): If your girlfriend watches The Office, she’s no longer just yours – she belongs to Jim too. He was arguably the most relatable character on the show: talented, introverted and deeply in love with his best friend at work, Pam. Despite being a valuable employee of Dunder Mifflin, he feared getting stuck in a mediocre job that would leave him feeling unfulfilled. By the end of the series, however, Jim had taken steps to break out of his comfort zone and find a more challenging role.
“I think it’s great that the company’s making a commercial, because not very many people have heard of us. I mean, when I tell people I work at Dunder Mifflin, they think that we sell mufflers or muffins or mittens or…and frankly, all of those sound better than paper, so I let it slide.”Jim Halpert
Pam Beesly (Played by Jenna Fischer):
Pam began her career as a receptionist and remained in that role for many years. She struggled to speak up and couldn’t object to the inappropriate comments made about her at work. Additionally, she was in an abusive relationship with a coworker named Roy who worked in the warehouse. Despite these challenges, Pam enjoyed spending time with Jim, planning pranks together and sharing office gossip. After some initial hesitation, they became romantically involved and eventually got married and started a family.
Throughout this journey, Pam grew both personally and professionally by taking risks such as enrolling in art classes – something she had been passionate about for a long time – and requesting a position on the sales team. Furthermore, she provided emotional support to her colleagues when needed.
“Usually on sexual harassment day everyone harasses me… as a joke.”Pam Beesly
Kelly and Ryan (played by Mindy Kaling and B. J. Novak): Kelly was the only Indian girl/minority. Kelly is the mean girl, whom we can all appreciate from a safe distance.
“I don’t talk trash, I talk smack. They’re totally different. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like: ‘Your mom is so fat she can eat the Internet.’ But smack talk is happening like right now, like: ‘You’re ugly and I know it for a fact ’cause I got the evidence right there.”Kelly Kapoor
Ryan started as an intern and eventually became a permanent employee. He was talented but found the job at Dunder Mifflin too basic for his abilities. In the past, Michael had subjected him to unnecessary torment, but after Ryan graduated from business school, he took over his former boss’s position. Unfortunately, Ryan’s ambition and disconnection from reality led to legal trouble and subsequent arrest. However, Michael gave him a second chance by rehiring him.
“I’m such a perfectionist that I’d kinda rather not do it at all than do a crappy version.”Ryan
Dwight Schrute (Played by Rainn Wilson): The show wouldn’t be funny without Dwight. It’s hard to describe his character, but he’s always competing with Jim and coming up with strange ideas for the post-apocalyptic world. He tries to manipulate Michael into making him his assistant, but despite being mostly self-righteous, he becomes one of Jim and Pam’s closest friends. His scandalous office romance with Angela, as well as the Schrute family tradition, are sure to leave the audience in stitches.
“My perfect Valentine’s Day? I’m at home. Three cell phones in front of me. Fielding desperate calls from people who want to buy one of the 50 restaurant reservations I made over six months ago.”Dwight
Angela Martin (Played by Angela Kinsey): Short, white, blonde Angela was a Christian girl on the accounting team. She disliked most of her colleagues and maintained her own standard by avoiding chitchat with them. Angela was private and had cats that she sometimes licked to clean. She dated a homosexual mayor and secretly liked Dwight for years before marrying him in the final season.
“If you pray enough you can change yourself into a cat person.”Angela
Kevin: Kevin was fluffy guy and seemed to have no grey cells in his brain- still managing to work in the accounts for many years.
“Me think, why waste time say lot word, when few word do trick. When me president they see. THEY SEE.”Kevin
Oscar: Oscar was the only gay employee and served to highlight Michael Scott’s insensitivity towards LGBTQ+ individuals. He valued factual accuracy, as we all should. The drama increased when Angela’s fiance, who happened to be the mayor, began showing interest in Oscar!
“What exactly is my responsibility here? To comfort an insecure heterosexual man? That can’t possibly fall to me.”Oscar
Stanley: Stanley, the senior black employee, was generally unconcerned about what was happening in the office. He silently waited for his retirement.
“I wake up every morning in a bed that’s too small, driving my daughter to a school that’s too expensive and then I go to work to a job for which I get paid too little, But on pretzel day, well, I like pretzel day.”Stanley
Creed: A man, likely too old to work, kept his true identity a mystery. Creed was known as the shady guy with many dark secrets.
“I’m a pretty normal guy. I do one weird thing. I like to go in the women’s room for number two. I’ve been caught several times and I have paid dearly”Creed
Meredith and Phylis: They were both middle-aged women working in the office. They weren’t involved in any drama, yet they both inexplicably hated Pam…
Toby: Toby, the HR representative, had little influence. He warned Michael to act more professionally but was seen as an enemy of “fun.” Toby harbored feelings for Pam but never expressed them. Sending a memo about PDA after Jim and Pam got together revealed his jealousy. Michael despised Toby for being a buzzkill.
Michael: I know what you wanna ask me, did your mom ever see you naked?
Toby: We can do this with more privacy.
Michael: So you can molest me? Okay, I don’t think so. We’re gonna keep the blinds open so everyone can see what a big failure you are.
David Wallace: David Wallace was the boss of all the brunch managers, including Michael. He was a middle-aged dad who showed patience not only to his own daughter but also to Michael.
“I was happy to send Michael on this trip. He’s been feeling pretty down since we had to transfer Holly up to New Hampshire and… But this little perk really seemed to turn him around. And it’s pretty tough to find somebody who wants to go up to Winnipeg mid-November.”David
Andy, Errin, Karen:
There are so many characters introduced in the later seasons that it’s nearly impossible to talk about all of them. Andy had anger issues and tried too hard to become friends with Michael. Erin became the next receptionist and was Michael’s perfect partner in crime. She was probably the golden retriever of humans. Lastly, there is Karen – the only one we can’t hate who definitely doesn’t want to speak with a manager.
Jim met Karen and Andy while working at a different branch before they moved to Scranton. Although Karen loved Jim, he couldn’t ignore his spark with Pam when she arrived at Scranton. They inevitably broke up, leaving heartbroken Karen to join another branch…
Now that I have covered most of the important characters let’s talk about some of the plots from the long-running series…
Michael’s Love Life: Obnoxious boss at work and submissive, abused partner at home… Michael was secretly dating his immediate supervisor Jan. Their relationship exemplified a power struggle and dysfunction. In later seasons, he briefly dated Pam’s mother – which was bizarre considering his shameless attempts to flirt with Pam in the early seasons. However, Michael’s one true love was undoubtedly Holly who temporarily replaced Toby in HR. She perfectly matched Michael’s chaotic energy like no other person could.
“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”Michael Scott
Jim and Pam:
They’re one of my favorite TV couples. Jim and Pam started as work friends, but it’s unclear who developed feelings first. However, Jim made his confession before Pam realized her own feelings while still with her abusive fiancé Roy. Though Pam rejected him at first and called off the wedding, she eventually owned up to her feelings after Jim left for a different branch of their company.
After dating for a few months, they got married – but unlike other TV couples, life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for them. They faced many roadblocks when it came to career choices, finding the right house to live in while raising two kids (with Jim occupied by passion projects). They bickered and questioned their choices but ultimately stuck together as a team!
” Jim is not allowed to talk until after he buys me a coke. Those are the rules of jinx, and they are unflinchingly rigid.”Pam Beesly
Dwight and Angela: Dwight and Angela were a secret couple who couldn’t escape the camera crew’s attention. When Angela got engaged to the mayor, it broke Dwight’s heart. She didn’t want him to propose just because of her surprise pregnancy, so she stayed quiet. But when Dwight did propose and said he would accept her child no matter who the father was, she confessed the truth about her husband’s affair with a colleague who was also gay – quite an interesting plot to watch!
“I love you, and I don’t care that Phillip’s not my son. I will raise a hundred children with a hundred of your lovers if it means I can be with you.”Dwight’s proposal to Angela
Dwight and Jim’s Prank War: Dwight could treat Jim like his mortal enemy but he was his closest friend as well. Honestly, I can never get tired of watching the prank wars between the two.
“Jim is my enemy. But it turns out that Jim is also his own worst enemy. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So Jim is actually my friend. But, because he is his own worst enemy, the enemy of my friend is my enemy, so actually, Jim is my enemy..”Dwight
Kelly and Ryan love-hate relationship: Another toxic but intriguing office couple was Ryan and Kelly. Kelly acted as the mean girl, being manipulative, talkative, and demanding. Meanwhile, Ryan was incredibly selfish and always prioritized his own interests. Despite Ryan “using” Kelly, he still found himself occasionally manipulated by her tactics.
“I’d rather she be alone than with somebody. Is that love?”Ryan
They split up for a few years. Ryan’s girlfriend left him with their child, and Kelly was dating an Indian doctor. They reunited at Dwight and Angela’s wedding and decided to leave the child and doctor behind as they rode off into the sunshine together!
“Fall in love, have babies, spend every second together. But don’t tell him that, OK? Just tell him I’m like up for anything, I mean I’m not a slut, but who knows?”Kelly Kapoor
My Final Thoughts on The Office
In the final note, I’d say that Michael Scott is definitely the heart and soul of “The Office” series. At first, he was a narcissist and intolerable, but he grew up to be a boss who supported his employees like family. He showed up to Pam’s art exhibition and took Jim to Hooters after learning about his heartbreak. He put his faith in Ryan when he was a lost cause. When he resigned from Dunder Mifflin, he built Michael Scott Paper Company with his sidekicks – Ryan and Pam. Although the small company wasn’t profitable and created enough of a threat for David Wallace to buy back the new competitor and offer revised salaries, somehow Michael managed to make his employees stick together and perform much better than other branches. You have to give him credit for the “That’s what she said” jokes if nothing else! The last couple of seasons without Michael weren’t as good; they had few good moments here and there…
I was blown away to learn that Steve Carell (aka Michael Scott), Mindy Kaling (aka Kelly), B.J. Novak (aka Ryan), and other characters also worked as writers! The Office was a great show, which I will continue to appreciate for years. However, I don’t think it would have appealed to me as a student or teenager. It seems more geared towards those who have worked in corporate environments.
I’ve included some of my favorite quotes that describe the characters, but there are so many more! What’s your favorite episode from the show? Mine are “The Fire Drill” (Dwight stages a fire incident to raise awareness, making it life-threatening for his colleagues) and “Casino Night” (Jim proposes to Pam).
If you like this you may also like another work-place mocumentary/political satire-