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

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

How a boisterous comedy contains a serious life lesson.

49

"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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments