Dunder Mifflin might be back in business.
A reporter from Puck News revealed NBC is planning a reboot of one of TV’s greatest sitcoms.
“The Office,” spun from the British comedy of the same name, is reportedly prepping a comeback of sorts The original series following the travails of Scranton, Pa.’s signature paper company ran for nine seasons. The last two soldiered on without Steve Carell’s Michael Scott.
This isn’t the first attempt at an “Office” spinoff. A show built around Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute, dubbed “The Farm,” never materialized. Nor did a sitcom featuring Leslie David Baker’s crusty Stanley Hudson, despite a crowdfunding effort for the cause.
We have no details about the “Office” reboot, which leaves plenty of questions. The most important one is obvious:
Why attempt to recreate an iconic series in the first place?
Yes, it’s been done before with “Mad About You,” “Roseanne” and “Will & Grace,” but the results have been mixed to poor. “Roseanne” fared the best until ABC fired star Roseanne Barr for one racially noxious Tweet.
“Mad About You” got ignored by the public and faded after a single “comeback’ season.
“Will & Grace” found brief commercial success, but the show’s creative team weaponized the storylines for political purposes and viewers eventually fled.
The upcoming “Frasier” reboot on Paramount+ hopes to revive the wit and style of Kelsey Grammar’s classic sitcom, a very tall task.
A new “Office” sounds like the worst idea of the bunch.
“The Office” carried on for two seasons without Carell’s over-the-top boss, but it just wasn’t the same. Carell’s performance on the show evoked memories of Archie Bunker, another deeply flawed character we couldn’t help but love. His manic energy and need to be in the lives of every “Office” mate powered the show and gave it purpose.
Carell embarked on a dramatic acting spree following his “Office” exit (“Beautiful Boy,” “Last Flag Flying”), and he snagged an Oscar nomination for 2015’s “Foxcatcher.” He still makes us laugh, now and then, but at 61 he’s more intrigued by voice-over work and dramatic roles (“The Morning Show”).
Can They Still Be Funny in Woke America?
Two “Office” alum have looked back at the series and noted the jokes couldn’t be told again today. That’s not cultural progress. That’s woke on steroids, one reason modern comedy is more predictable and less hilarious today.
Co-star and writer Mindy Kaling went so far as to say she might not even show the series to her children one day. Carell noted a character as ignorant as Michael Scott wouldn’t fly in the current climate. Revisit “Diversity Day” from Season 1 and you’ll know what he means.
Yet that’s partly why we still love “The Office” reruns. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, and we miss unfiltered comedy.
Will the Old Gang Return?
“Office” alum John Krasinski found post-show fame as both a director (“A Quiet Place”) and action hero (Prime Video’s “Jack Ryan”). Would he be interested in playing Jim Halpert again? It’s doubtful.
Other stars have kept the “Office” light on via podcasting, including “Office Ladies” duo Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey and Brian Baumgartner.
Who knows if Creed Bratton, who once played with The Grass Roots in the 1960s, would grace the reboot with his mercurial presence?
The old show successfully integrated new characters into the mix over time, including Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper. Can new blood make the reboot a worthy decision?
Who Still Works in an Office?
The 2020 pandemic forced many working Americans home, and plenty decided to stay there in perpetuity. Many office types now toil at least part-time from their homes or coffee shops, changing the workplace dynamic forever.
The work culture parodied on the NBC staff is no more. Any new “Office” must incorporate that into the equation. Working five days a week with the same people creates friendships and friction, while at-home work yields a different set of circumstances.
The latter sounds far less uproarious, no?
“Jaws” will forever be known as the greatest shark movie of all time, but three increasingly bad sequels cling to its legacy like a barnacle. The same holds true for “Caddyshack,” a classic comedy known for inspiring one of the worst sequels of all time.
Sequels, prequels and reboots occasionally enhance a property’s reputation – think “Battlestar Galactica 2.0” and the 2011 “The Muppets” project.
Much more often than not, they stain the material in question, forever reducing them in the public’s eye.