Why ‘The Office’ Would Not Work on TV Today

Ever since The Office went off the air in 2013, fans have wanted some sort of reunion. This wish was spurred even more when The Office was added to Netflix and garnered new fans. However, there is a chance that a reboot of The Office would not work on TV the same way it did when it first premiered.

The Office
The Office | Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Steve Carell does not think the show would work nowadays

In 2018, Carell shocked fans when he said that he did not think The Office would work on TV anymore. In an interview with Esquire, Carell said that he feels fans would no longer tolerate his character Michael Scott the way viewers used to.

“But apart from the fact that I just don’t think that’s a good idea, it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago. The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss,” Carell said.

He continued, “A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now. There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today — which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.”

The actor has a point about ‘The Office’

Part of the point of The Office was that all of the employees at Dunder Mifflin were terrible, not just Michael. Since The Office went off the air and viewers have been able to watch the show constantly because of streaming, some fans have realized just how awful the characters were.

“I’m just now watching the series for the first time, and I’m on season 4, and I still haven’t grown to like him. I like him at times, and especially in the moments where the writers make it obvious that we’re supposed like him, but for the most part he’s just awful. He doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes or when someone tells him that something he did or said is wrong,” a Reddit user wrote about Michael.

While Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly were fan-favorite characters while the show aired, some people have less than favorable opinions of them now.

“If Michael is the obvious villain, then Jim, the erstwhile hero, is the man who sees the abuse and stays silent for his own benefit,” Jaya Saxena wrote in GQ. “Everyone on the show is a little bit complicit, but Jim feels like the guy you tell about your trauma, only to have him commiserate and then do nothing.”

Some fans find the show to be problematic

To some viewers, it’s not just the characters that were problematic, it was the entire show. It seems Carell was right in saying the way the show handled certain story lines would not be tolerated on a TV show today. In Affinity, Kassidy Groner criticized the show’s problematic writing.

“All of the POC and the one LGBT+ character on the show are constantly harassed and teased about their race/sexuality. The female characters are written passively and blandly, and for most of them, male characters are their main motivation. A serious abusive relationship between two characters, Jan and Michael, is glossed over because Jan is the abusive one, and when men are abused, it’s comedy, apparently,” she wrote.