The First Long-Running ‘The Office’ Gag Might Not Be What You Think

The American version of The Office first hit the air in 2005 and was instantly one of NBC’s biggest hit shows. During its nine-season run, the show featured a number of quirky characters and several hilarious jokes that would make fans laugh until they cried.

While the show was filled with funny punch lines and subtle humor, it was the long-running gags that made the show’s viewers tune in every week just so they could see how far the writers were willing to go with a single joke. Here is a look at the first long-running gag that was ever features on The Office.

Many fans consider the mockumentary theme to be the first longest-running gag

Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Chris Haston/NBC/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

One of the things that made The Office so popular is the fact that the entire show had such a unique premise. It originated in the UK.

And instead of having a regular comedy show about the funny stuff that can sometimes take place between co-workers in an office building, it was made to look as if the audience was watching a documentary and had just happened to catch the workers in awkward and funny situations.

This gave the show a more authentic feel to it, which helped to make every joke even funnier.

After seeing how much the UK loved this mockumentary, the show’s creator, Ricky Gervais, decided to bring it to America to see how well it would do. And Apparently, Americans love mockumentaries even more than the UK.

The fact that Jim (played by John Krasinski), Dwight (played by Rainn Wilson), and other characters would sometimes look into the camera only helped to accentuate each joke. Actors being able to look directly into the camera was a fairly new concept back then. And it seemed like each time they would stare into the camera, each character was silently telling their own joke.

Because this was seen as a joke to many people, several fans consider the mockumentary-style to be the very first and the longest-running gag.

Dwight and Jim’s hilariously complicated relationship

Another long-running gag that The Office had was Jim and Dwight’s relationship. From the very first episode all the way to the series finale, Jim was constantly coming up with new ways to prank Dwight. In the first episode, Dwight went to open his desk drawer to pull out his stapler, only to find that Jim had completely encased it in Jell-O. 

In season two, episode 11, Jim took his Jell-O prank one step further by putting all of the items from Dwight’s desk into a vending machine. When Dwight went to look for his stuff, he saw that his pens, pencils, nameplate, and even his wallet were safely tucked away inside of the vending machine. Because he didn’t have his wallet, Jim had to give him a bag of nickels so that he could “buy” back all of his stuff.

For the next seven seasons, almost every episode of The Office featured Jim pulling a prank on Dwight. From Jim convincing Dwight that he had been recruited by the CIA, to Dwight being trained to eat an Altoid every time he heard the chime of a computer, it seemed like throughout the entire series, poor Dwight could not catch a break.

Even celebrities love to watch the show’s many gags

Throughout the series, the writers added in several other long-running jokes that help to build the show into the iconic masterpiece that it is today. The way Michael Scott said “That’s what she said,” at the most inappropriate times, the way Michael relentlessly bullied Toby, and Dwight’s love for beets and beet farming are just a few examples of the long-running gags that kept viewers coming back each week.

The show aired its final season over six years ago, but thanks to Netflix, it still has a cult-like following. Everyone seems to still love this quirky and unique show. Even celebrities are addicted to watching The Office. In the past, Billie Eilish stated that she is obsessed with it.

She even played a trivia game about the show with Rainn Wilson and proved that when it comes to The Office, she knows her stuff.

Not only does she like the show and its long-running jokes but she has actually incorporated one of its long-running gags into her music. For her single, My Strange Addiction, Eilish had sampled a song from Michaels Scott’s movie, Threat Level Midnight. 

When talking about why she chose to use a piece of audio from The Office in her song, Eilish had said:

“When we made the beat for My Strange Addiction, It reminded me of a song they play when they do the Scarn dance. I thought that was really funny, so we literally just ripped the audio from Netflix and put it in the song, not at all thinking that they would say yes to it and we would be able to put it out.”

Fortunately, the creators and actors did say yes. And now whenever you hear her music, you can be reminded of one of the greatest comedy series of our time.