Essay on TV Show: The Office

Essay on TV Show: The Office

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The American version of The Office debuted in 2005 with the start of its six-episode first season. After the airing of the “Pilot” episode, a reviewer from the Deseret Morning News commented, “Maybe […] after The Office dies a quick death on NBC, the network will decide that trying to Americanize British TV comedies isn’t such a great idea” (quoted in Pilot (The Office)). Despite its original negative reception, The Office went on to run nine successful seasons and has become a television favorite of individuals across America. The show focuses on the misadventures of the lost souls employed at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton, a branch of a paper-selling company located in Pennsylvania. Under the management of clueless Michael Scott, characters such as Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert, and Pam Beesly must hold their jobs in the corporate world while facing company failures, romantic encounters, and lost dreams. Despite their seemingly superficial appearance, the characters of The Office reflect complex ideas about morals, existence, and free will through their comical fallacies. The popular television show The Office demonstrates existential ideas such as Sartre’s “bad faith,” Kierkegaard’s stages of life, and the theater of the absurd.
The actions of the receptionist Pam throughout season two and culminating in the episode “Casino Night” illustrate aspects of existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre’s ideas about self-deception. When Pam denies her growing feelings for her coworker Jim, she uses what Sartre deems as “bad faith” in order to avoid taking responsibility for her true emotions. Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre believed that individuals needed to free themselves from identifying with a particular ego. When people try to fit a preconceived n...

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...ience. Finally, The Office reflects the theater of the absurd through the audacious actions of Michael Scott, the ridiculous seriousness Dwight takes his job with, and the extreme uselessness of workers in an industry that sells something as boring as paper. With its surface reeking of pedestrianism, The Office forces viewers to wonder whether if they, like the characters they see on screen, have resigned themselves to a lost existence.

Works Cited

Burton, Neil. “Hide and Seek.” Psychology Today. 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.

Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy. New York:
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994. Print.
“Pilot.” The Office. Writ. Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Greg Daniels. Dir. Ken
Kwapis. NBC. 24 Mar. 2005. Television.

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