The Office characters 'would be canceled by now': Is Mindy Kaling right?
- The Office is a mockumentary hit series from 2005 to 2013 that features typical workers consisting of “ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.” Michael Scott, Pam Beesly, Jim Halpert, and Dwight Schrute are some fan favorite characters.
- The Office was adapted from a UK series by the same name airing from 2001 to 2003 and starring Ricky Gervais and Martin Freeman.
- On “Good Morning America,” one of the original US The Office writers and stars, Mindy Kaling, was asked about the show in regards to today’s cultural atmosphere. She asserted, “That show is so inappropriate now [...] most of the characters on that show would be canceled by now.”
- According to Variety, The Office was the most-streamed television show in 2020 with 57 billion minutes noted. Following was Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, and NCIS.
- Britannica says cancel culture, “also known as callout culture, is the removal (“canceling”) of support for individuals and their work due to an opinion or action on their part deemed objectionable to the parties “calling” them out.”
The US version of The Office had a diverse cast compared to other sitcoms during its time, both in their backgrounds and their personalities. This created the three-dimensional and genuine experience of watching office interactions, which was the show's main premise.
Its realness continues its success. While some assert that themes of observable racism and sexism in the workplace would be 'canceled' today, one could argue that since these issues are still pronounced today, the Office's illumination and criticism of them remain valid.
Even jokes that were undeniably off-color were almost always, if not always, made at the expense of the characters that instigated lewd behavior or narratives in the first place. Notably, this was made clear to the viewer. The main character, Michael Scott, is portrayed as cringe-worthy, but it lands because the viewer can cringe along with Michael's employees while safely getting to laugh at him for his ignorance.
The show reveals consequences and humiliations for Michael and other characters for calamities provoked by their lack of sensitivity, something other raunchier contemporaries never did. It could be argued that, in an ironic and hilariously cringeworthy way, the show champions equity and equality by making an example of those characters while probing its viewers' self-awareness.
Although certain scenes or episodes of The Office could be rightfully discarded today, Ricky Gervais, the creator, and star of The Office UK, points out, 'the themes are universal: good and bad bosses, doing a decent job, boy meets girl, wanting to be loved.' For now, the show and its wacky characters remain even more than that; they're relatable to our real-life experiences in the workplace.
In recent years, celebrities like Dave Chappelle have been threatened with 'cancelation' due to what many deem offensive humor. These days, even 'Mr. Potato Head' cannot keep his real name, now known as Potato Head, due to the ridiculous culture of political correctness. Sadly we may be missing out on comedy gold due to 'cancel culture,' and if shows like The Office aired today, they would be buried in bad reviews.
If The Office aired today, it would have been canceled by now, showcasing how the 'woke agenda' has made our lives duller and entertainment worse than ever. The entire show centered around Micheal Scott's inappropriate and often offensive humor, but it wouldn't be just with Michael Scott people had a problem. Rather, every character on The Office would have a reason to be 'canceled' in today's societal eyes.
Mindy Kaling, one of the former staff writers of The Office and actor playing Kelly Kapoor, states the show would be canceled today because 'what 'offends people' has changed since the show went off the air nearly 10 years ago,' meaning there would likely be different headlines regarding the often controversial scripts today. In fact, an episode of The Office was removed from Comedy Central's lineup as recently as 2021, showing that cancel culture reigns today. Ironically, the particular episode removed involved the topic of diversity and inclusion.
Ricky Gervais, one of its creators, agrees with Mindy and says, 'I mean now it would be canceled.' Moreover, as Michael Scott himself once said, 'There's no such thing as an appropriate joke. That's why it's called a joke.' Maybe it's time to take a cue from The Office and learn to laugh again before cancel culture kills all true remaining comedy.
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