'The Office's' Most Important Lesson Was The Beauty In Just Being Ordinary

'The Office's' Most Important Lesson Was The Beauty In Just Being Ordinary

How a boisterous comedy contains a serious life lesson.

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"The Office" series ends with Pam Beesly mulling over the nine years the documentary crew has been filming her. "There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things," she says. "Isn't that kind of the point?" This last line may be the exact reason that the show is so insanely popular across all demographics. In a world where everybody seems to be achieving their fifteen minutes of fame; the average-Joe can come to believe that they are utterly unremarkable and nondescript.

People begin to wonder, if someone can get famous off of eating food on camera or being a snob on reality TV, why aren't we all famous? If someone can get famous so easily, there must be something exceptionally below average about each and every person who has not made their name.

But what "The Office" does seamlessly is remind us that it is the ordinary that makes us great. It is the ordinary that is the baseline and the foundation of society. And, it is exceedingly fitting that Pam is the one to drive this point home at the end of the series. After all, as much as we adore Pam, she is very ordinary. She's an average looking woman with light brown hair, who has an average life in the suburbs, she works as a receptionist, and she has dreams of being an artist that she doesn't fully achieve.

Yet, Pam's appeal is in this steady, easy-going, yet incredibly durable personality. This is why we love Pam, she shows us that we can be average, and still be exciting, interesting, and significant people. If we can love good-old, routine Pamela Beesly, then why can't we appreciate the rest of the average world?

Pam may be average, but most of "The Office" characters are noticeably abnormal. While some may say the characters are strange to an unrealistic extreme, I think this is necessary for the show's appeal. While it is nearly impossible for all of these odd personalities to appear in one office, school, or neighborhood, they do all exist somewhere. We all know a dulled down Kelly, Kevin, Toby, or Dwight. Everybody sees these characters and can think of someone they know that is similar to Micheal, Meredith, Oscar, or Angela. The exaggerated state of these characters in the show makes their personalities apparent enough to be recognizable, and therefore, ordinary.

In fact, the actors even look ordinary, there is no use of excessive makeup, and for the most part, no character is unreasonably attractive, they just look like normal people (unlike most television, that hires only the best-looking actors). The characters, although exceptional, are not archetypical. Despite their immensely unrealistic actions, the characters feel real because they do not follow the classical ideas of certain characteristics.

While Micheal may appear to be witless and out of touch, we see countless times that he is, in fact, a genius at sales.

While Pam may appear unambitious and quiet, she grows throughout the series and we see her stand up for herself many times.

While Oscar is a gay man, he isn't a flamboyant, feminine, airhead like we usually see in media. He is measured, smart, and masculine.

The value and beauty of these characters are that "The Office" creators take archetypes we are familiar with and twist them just enough to create dynamic, changing, and real characters that viewers can relate to on multiple levels.

The storyline of "The Office" reflects this "ordinary is beautiful" idea. We follow the relationship between Pam and Jim throughout the entire season. But it isn't a fairytale romance. While Jim does eventually win Pam over from Roy, their relationship is rocky at times. Unlike most love stories, Jim and Pam don't stay together after the first time they kiss. Pam still goes on to be in a relationship with Roy, and Jim dates Karen. Even after they are married, Jim starts a sports advertising company without Pam's knowledge, and their marriage starts to fall apart. They fix it, but it reflects the reality of love as something not enduring and perfect, but as something that takes work.

Other relationships reflect this also. Michael and Holly are clearly made for each other, but it takes them years to finally get back together after they are separated. Dwight and Angela have an up and down, on and off love for each other, but eventually, get married. Andy, who Erin broke up with, ends up being single at the end of the show, along with Toby, who was madly in love with Pam. And Oscar, who got publicly rejected by Angela's gay husband, doesn't find somebody either. What we know from this is that the love and relationships shown in "The Office" are not idealistic. Some relationships do not come to fruition, and those that do did not come to fruition with any amount of ease.

"The Office" is a breath of fresh air for generations of people who have grown up under the influence of media that presents pipe-dreams as realities. The thought that everyone will achieve their dreams, find 'the one' for them, and have a remarkably outstanding life is false and toxic. "The Office" is an unprecedented piece of media that breaks away from the norm and presents us with the realities of the unimportance of our own lives. But it doesn't leave us hopeless. We love the characters, we are invested in their lives, we think their experiences are amazing, and hilarious, and sensational.

But what we fail to realize is that our own lives are just as amazing, and hilarious, and sensational as theirs. "The Office" characters are just as average and simultaneously unique as we are. And, therefore, our ordinary lives hold just as much love, happiness, tragedy, and passion as their own.

What we learn from "The Office" is that we are allowed to not achieve everything, we are allowed to not be famous, we are allowed to not be in a fairytale romance, we are allowed to be regular people. The show takes place at a paper company in the middle of Pennsylvania, can you think of anywhere more unextraordinary? This little microcosm of the world that "The Office" shows us proves that in offices, cafes, schools, and other ordinary places all over the world, beautiful things are happening.

As Andy Bernard says in the last episode, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." He realizes that the days he regarded as boring and average, were actually significant in his life. It's time that we all start realizing this. There is beauty in the places we do not think beauty should be. "The Office" reminds us to look for it.

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36 Rules Of Life From 'NCIS's' Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Sometimes we all need a smack on the back of the head.
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I have been watching "NCIS" since the show began back in 2003, and season 15 will be airing this September. It is one of the longest running series and for a good reason, even though a lot of your favorite characters die off in the show they somehow still keep it alive. Anyone who has watched an episode or more knows about the infamous Gibbs's rules. Here's the list that we can gather from the many episodes:

Rule 1: "Never let suspects stay together." - revealed in the Season 1 premiere episode, Yankee White (episode).

Rule 2: "Never screw over your partner." - revealed in the Season 4 episode, Blowback (episode). McGee also stated this rule to Ned Dorneget in Need to Know (episode). McGee also mentioned to Abigail Borin in Ships in the Night (episode) that rule number one has been taken twice, showing that he knows that there are two number one rules.

Rule 3: "Always wear gloves at a crime scene." - revealed in "Yankee White."

Rule 4: "Don't believe what you're told. Double check." - again revealed in "Yankee White."

Rule 5: "Never be unreachable." - revealed in the Season 3 episode, Deception (episode) although Gibbs has been known to be intentionally unreachable. The rule was shown in Rule Fifty-One (episode) in the background when Gibbs opens the box.

Rule 6: "The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person - if you must. There is no third best." - revealed in the Season 4 episode, Blowback (episode)

Rule 7: "You don't waste good." - revealed in the Season 8 episode, Baltimore (episode).

Rule 8: "Never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness." - This rule has been mentioned throughout the series, but it wasn't given a specific number until Flesh and Blood (episode). The rule is also a direct reference to John Wayne's catch phrase in "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" (John Ford, Director). Wayne said: "Never apologize, mister, it's a sign of weakness." to subordinates in a military situation. DiNozzo notes the connection in Hiatus Part 1 (episode). Mark Harmon's career has paralleled John Wayne's. They both were quarterback of their southern California college football team, both went into acting. (Harmon's father, Tom Harmon, was a Heisman Trophy-winner and actor & announcer as well.) Note: This is continuously told to Tony, Ziva and Tim through a smack to the back of their heads.

Rule 9: "Always be specific when you lie." - revealed in the Season 1 finale episode, Reveille (episode).

Rule 10: "Never take anything for granted." - revealed in the Season 3 episode, Probie (episode) although Gibbs also quotes it as being "Never assume" during the Season 9 episode, Rekindled (episode).

Rule 11: "Never go anywhere without a knife." - revealed in the Season 1 episode, One Shot, One Kill (episode)although it's sometimes quoted as "Never leave home without a knife" or "Always carry a knife."

Rule 12: "Never get personally involved in a case." - revealed in the Season 7 episode, Obsession (episode) and again referenced by the new SECNAV Clayton Jarvis in the Season 9 premiere episode, Nature of the Beast (episode) as the number one rule in Washington politics.

Rule 13: "When the job is done, walk away." - revealed in the Season 6 episode, Semper Fidelis (episode).

Rule 14: "Never date a co-worker." - revealed in the Season 1 episode, Enigma (episode).

Rule 15: "Never, ever involve lawyers." - revealed in "Collateral Damage." Rule 51 is written on the back of the card containing Rule 13 in "Rule Fifty-One."

Rule 16: "Bend the line, don't break it." - revealed in Anonymous was a Woman (episode).

Rule 17: "Always work as a team." - revealed in Leap of Faith (episode).

Rule 18: "If someone thinks they have the upper hand, break it." - revealed in the Season 8 finale episode, Pyramid (episode).

Rule 19: "Never, ever interrupt Gibbs during an interrogation." - revealed in the Season 14 episode, Privileged Information (episode).

Rule 20: "It's better to seek forgiveness than ask permission." - revealed in Silver War (episode).

Rule 21: "Always look under." - revealed in The Artful Dodger (episode)

Rule 22: "Never ever bother Gibbs in interrogation." - revealed in Smoked (episode).

Rule 23: "Never mess with a Marine's coffee... if you want to live."- revealed during "Forced Entry."

Rule 24: "There are two ways to follow someone. First way, they never notice you. Second way, they only notice you." - Jack Knife (episode) and "Rule Fifty-One."

Rule 25: "When you need help, ask." - revealed during Blood Brothers (episode).

Rule 26: "Always watch the watchers." - revealed in "Baltimore."

Rule 27: "If you feel like you are being played, you probably are." - revealed in Nature of the Beast (episode).

Rule 28: "Your case, your lead." - revealed in Bounce (episode) placing Tony as temporarily in charge of the team, and also in Phoenix (episode) with Ducky as leader.

Rule 29: "There is no such thing as coincidence." - revealed in Obsession (episode) although DiNozzo states that Rule 39A is "There is no such thing as a small world" during Canary (episode).

Rule 30: "If it seems like someone is out to get you, they are." - revealed in Borderland (episode).

Rule 31: "Never accept an apology from someone who just sucker punched you." - revealed in Psych Out (episode).

Rule 32: "First things first, hide the women and children." - This rule number was mentioned in Patriot Down (episode) but was not stated until Rule Fifty-One (episode).

Rule 33: "Clean up the mess that you make." - revealed in "Rule Fifty-One" although it's also stated as "Never leave behind loose ends" in Hiatus Part 2 (episode).

Rule 34: "Sometimes you're wrong." - Created by Gibbs in Rule Fifty-One" by writing it on the back of the card containing Rule 13. It is unknown if his coworkers are aware of this rule.

Rule 35: "Always give people space when they get off an elevator." - revealed in Double Back (episode)

Rule 36: "Never trust a woman who doesn't trust her man." - revealed in Devil's Triangle (episode).



While some seem to deal with Gibbs only there are some very great life lessons present. If you haven's started watching "NCIS" I suggest you start soon, it is all on Netflix.

"A slap to the face is an insult - a slap to the back of the head is a wake-up call." Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Cover Image Credit: CBS TV / Twitter

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10 Reasons You Should Be Watching 'Tickling Giants' Right Now

Are you brave enough to tell a joke?

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The streets of Cairo, Egypt erupt with protests over politics. There's one man giving a voice to those without power. He is representing the people through satirical comedy, directed at the ruling elites. That man is Dr. Bassem Youssef, and he is the subject of Sara Taksler's extraordinary documentary; "Tickling Giants".

"Tickling Giants" follows Bassem Youssef (the proclaimed "Egyptian Jon Stewart") as he pushes the boundaries of Egyptian regimes in a political satire comedy show. As the only one of it's kind in Egypt, "The Show" garnered over 30 million views each week, accounting for more than 40% of the Egyptian population (to put that in perspective, "The Daily Show," Americans ultimate political satire comedy, only reached 2 million views at the height of it's popularity)!

Egypt is not a country known for their freedom of speech and tolerance of dissent, so Taksler, the film's creator, was fascinated by the work Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon turned YouTube comedian turned late night television host, was doing in Egypt. She could never have predicted what was to come.

Find the trailer here, and think I hope you get the chance to then watch the film, because...

1. It's funny.

"Side-splittingly funny"

If you're at all familiar with "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart/Trevor Noah, then you know it's a comedy show based on intelligent and sometimes scathing satire. And as someone who used to watch it almost daily, I can tell you, it was hilarious.

Bassem Youssef models his comedy show, aptly titled "The Show," or "AlBernameg" in Arabic, off of "The Daily Show," but the stakes are much higher in Egypt's authoritarian regime. That doesn't stop Youssef and his team from giving comedy their best effort, and the result is a laugh-out-loud journey of jokes, success, and some of the hardest setbacks in the history of comedic television.

2. It's interesting.

"The Show" with Bassem Youssef

"Tickling Giants" not only tells the story of Youssef, it also chronicles the efforts of his staff, the evolution of his show and the changing political environment of Egypt. With beautiful and eye-opening footage, as well as a collection of interviews with both supporters and protesters alike, there is not a second of the documentary's 111 minutes wasted. Fans of satire and drama, political news and late-night tv alike will find something to love in Taksler's masterpiece.

3. It’s a cautionary tale.

"Not now?" Trailer Screenshot

"This show is about holding authority accountable, regardless of who's in charge." Youssef can be found saying in the trailer and publicity events beyond. This documentary and Youssef's journey perfectly show the dangers of a regime that is afraid of comedy and demonizes/tries to limit the press. It quickly shows the erosion of rights that we take for granted in the Western world and clues us in on just what we need to notice in order not to lose those rights.

Words are powerful. And when an authority in power tries to inhibit control, it may be time to start "tickling giants".

4. It's got some fun animation.

Flappy Giants

Advertisement for free Tickling Giants game

On staff at Youssef's "The Show," there was an expert animator who contributed his talents to the film. These drawings perfectly encapsulate what the documentary, and Youssef's actions, are about. With huge Godzilla-like dictators stomping on cities to Youssef's character running around the streets brandishing his feather like a weapon, these little scenes add a whole new element unique to many documentaries that come before.

5. It's professional.

Everything about the documentary is well-put together, well-said, and all around expertly done. With clear film from interviews, snippets of Youssef's show and footage from many riots and protests throughout the streets of Cairo, it is no secret that this film is built to last. And last it should, because it's messages and ideals are a privilege for anyone to learn (more on that below).

6. It's powerful.

"If your regime is not strong enough..."

"There's a lot to laugh at, and to learn from, in Tickling Giants," says New York Times critic, Ken Jaworowski. Director Sara Taksler would agree.

I got the chance to meet her, and besides her well-spoken ideals about the power of comedy in the political sphere, she told me that if nothing else, the main lesson she wants to impart on people through her film is this: "Find creative, nonviolent ways to express yourself when you see an abuse of power."

This is what Bassem Youssef is doing through his show, and as you observe his journey from surgeon to late-night comedian, you'll begin to fully appreciate the life you have and hopefully come away with these 5 takeaways.

7. It's eye-opening.

YouTube Tickling Giants Trailer

It's obvious to many that Western powers largely possess a certain stereotype and stigma around the Middle East. These prevailing generalizations many hold, from ideas of Middle Eastern culture, religions, peoples, etc., can prevent us from really attempting to learn about different parts of the world. "Tickling Giants" gives Western audiences, who Taksler often stated was her target audience for making this film, a chance to peer into this other area of the world and realize that culture and people are not something to be stigmatized, but something to be appreciated and understood.

Not only is it opening eyes to another culture, the film also reminds audiences how lucky they are to have free speech, an idea that's under attack in many areas of the world. Youssef's struggles throughout making this show (of which we see plainly through the lens of the documentary camera) remind us just how powerful our words are, and to not take them for granted.

8. It's really good.

"First rate documentary"

I've watched the entire thing, and would do so again in a second. Every part of it is engaging and it's hard to know what comes next. Everyone I've talked to in my life has loved it, but don't just take it from me or my community. Take it from these well-known reviewers:

""Tickling Giants" is a terrific movie that leaves you cherishing (a little more) the freedom we have, and holding in contempt (a little more) those who would compromise it."-Variety

""Tickling Giants" surprises us on several levels."-LA Times

"A beautiful, funny, charming, insightful, laugh until you cry, and then cry until you laugh film."-Huffington Post

"A first-rate documentary"-The New York Times

And more! (Plus it has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes "Tomatometer" so you can't really argue with that)

9. It's easy to get.

Tickling Giants Availability

Note: these dates are for 2017 so you can get the movie now without waiting

After you watch the trailer (and finish this article), you can find "Tickling Giants" almost immediately wherever you are. Here are some of the best places you can find this extraordinary documentary:

Tickling Giants Website

Amazon Prime

YouTube

Vudu

Google Play

Itunes

10. It's human.

I'll let that point speak for itself.

I hope this article has convinced you to watch "Tickling Giants", or if you have already watched it, reflect on the many positive aspects of the movie.

Tickling Giants is daring, funny, and more timely than ever. I hope you get a chance to witness it.

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