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Cancel The Office

Noo pleaseee don't cancel the office it's literally my favorite show! But yeah maybe it is cancellable in several different ways. You don't really have to go too deep:

The Office really does discriminate EVERYONE and makes fun out of them for whatever element of their identity it wishes. The show enlists a diverse cast portraying characters from different races, ethnicities and sexualities but each one of those distinguishing features are made fun of by others.

Nonetheless, this show remains one of the most popular TV shows of the last decade and although it ended its complete 9 seasons in 2013, the show was still the most streamed media product on Netflix in the year 2020. Just because everyone likes something doesn't make it right, but even so, there is something about the Office that does not warrant the same discomfort as its content suggests it should.

The Office is a mockumentary similar to the likes of Modern Family or Brooklyn 99 however the focus on satire is largely stronger. Despite having countless inappropriate and offensive dialogues in its script, the Office manages to depict these scenarios in such a way, that it becomes obvious to the audience that the offensive remarks were wrong. In fact, I believe, as an educational tool, the Office does really well to make the audience feel just how stupid and absurd the characters look when doing or saying something inappropriate.

In this sense, I think the show does a really wonderful job at discouraging racism, sexism and homophobia. It also uses popular tropes and stereotypes to show just how ignorant these attitudes are. One example of this strategy is Todd Packer. Todd's entire character depicts an extremely insensitive white man who will say all of the most problematic things imagineable.

However, it is pretty clear to everyone that Todd Packer is meant to be hated. His behavior is frowned upon and all the other characters show visible discomfort.

Besides this, one of the coolest things about this show is how it does not equate discrimination or stereotyping to stupidity. Even the smartest characters in the show like Oscar, can end up saying something wrong and it is met with strong disapproval. This show allows you to see the real life reactions and implications of being sexist, racist or downright ignorant. Characters like Micheal Scott, Angela and Packer, represent common people, with the exception that they are only saying exactly what they are thinking. When Angela makes degrading remarks about Pam's clothes, it is very clear that writers intended Angela to be seen as doing something harmful and not Pam. The show allows us to see real people behave as real people, doing good things and bad things, not being one-dimensional, and then gives us the space to analyze the positive and negative consequences of their actions and social behaviors.

We cannot rule out the possibility that this show may also have some harmful representations as well. Kevin, for example, is mostly seen as a one-dimensional character whose identity revolves around being fat, stupid and incompetent. We don't see any sort of growth in his character and it is a shame that fat-shaming is not represented as that big of a deal and feels rather harmless than other forms of discrimination in the show. Consequently, it may also be that some people are influenced by these portrayals negatively:

To conclude, as with any other media product, the Office has its perfections and imperfections. If I had more time honestly, this article could be 15 pages long and easily an hour's read. That is the level of diversity and unique portrayal that each character of the Office offers. Even characters that showed up for barely a full season such as Robert California have several elements of their personality that we can unpack and analyze. But I would just like to end the conversation with a really important question: Would the Office air today? or in fact: Should the Office air today?

In asking this question, we may truly be able to determine the criteria for what we consider harmful representation and what we think warrants being 'cancelled' or unsuitable for media consumption. Let me know in the comments below!

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