The concept of a documentary-style series that follows the regional branch of a paper-distribution company in Scranton, Pa., doesn’t sound like it’d amount to one of the most successful comedies of all-time. But fill it with excellently crafted characters, an incredible cast and some of the most intensely uncomfortable moments you’re likely to witness on television, and 15 years later, “The Office” is one of the most popular comedies in history.
At its best, the series manages to strike a balance between the extraordinary levels of awkwardness the workplace can foster, given the right circumstances, and a genuine earnestness about exploring people’s wants and desires. At its worst, it’s just not as iconic as you know it could be.
This list was not easy to compile, but if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that “The Office” absolutely follows the Michael Scott ethos: “Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked, I enjoy being liked, I have to be liked, but it’s not like this compulsive need to be liked — like my need to be praised.” And let’s be frank, when it comes to this show, there’s more to praise than not.