What “The Office” meant to all of us…


by @DavidAPortney

Normally I’d like to keep this blog social media driven, but I’m going to stray slightly from that path for this one.  Why?  Because my favorite active running television program had their season finale last week, and I felt compelled to share a few thoughts about how and why this British adaptation has had such an impact on our lives.

Similarities to an actual office.  Now, the last few seasons got a little out of hand, but for the first five seasons or so “The Office” gave us very realistic office scenarios.  Obviously, they spent very little time showing the employees of Dunder Mifflin actually selling paper, but instead how they interacted with one another.  Much like our own experiences, the relationships we build in an office are what we remember after we leave.  Whether it’s office politics, pranks, jokes, lunches or happy hours, as we look back at our professional lives those stick out a heck of a lot more than an e-mail exchange with an unhappy customer.  “The Office” did a great job of setting up those social office scenarios we can relate to.

Additionally, it really helped the actors were a bunch of relative no-names when the show started.  This helped us believe what we were watching was a real documentary in a Scranton office.  If Will Ferrell (who came along to fill Steve Carrell’s role for a handful of episodes) was the regional manager from the very start, we would have had a serious problem looking past his celebrity.

The shooting style.  The very first episode I saw, “Basketball,” inclined me to ask my brother (who was watching it in the living room) if this was a real documentary about real employees.  Naturally it wasn’t, but it just seemed so damn real.  This kept us coming back for more to see why these employees were being filmed in the first place.

Now I can make the social media connection:  the shooting style humanized the show, much like humanizing your brand has become the most effective way to reach the public.  This wasn’t a Seinfeld-esque sitcom with laugh tracks and live studio audiences, it was REAL.  Much like what we’ve been doing at the AVCA, we want everyone to know the personalities that make up our organization, and that’s the same portrayal we had from the show.  It wasn’t Steve Carrell, it was Michael Scott because there he was right in front of us!  The documentary style made it all very easy to believe, which made the series finale that much more emotional.  We followed the lives off these people, and when the show ended it was saying goodbye to old friends.

So for one final time to everyone at the office…THANK YOU.  It will take awhile for Thursday evenings to not feel a little empty.


About dportmedia

Thanks for checking out my page! The purpose of this blog is to touch on the interaction between media and society. I don’t profess to have all of the answers, but hopefully we can have meaningful and cordial discourse on the topics most relevant to all of us. Follow me on Twitter @DavidAPortney
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