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In this paper, I argue that NBC’s “The Office,” which ran from 2005 to 2013, transformed television through its satire and development of a new sitcom genre, cringe comedy. The American series, adapted from a British TV show that ran from 2001-2003, could be seen a major part as one of the last great stands by network television, as NBC received tremendous ratings for their Thursday night lineup during the show's tenure on the network. Yet while the show was designed for network television, "The Office" has been able to transcend broadcast media as it has carried on through streaming media giant Netflix to become a “binge-worthy” comedy, allowing its cult-like following not only to live on, but grow with millennial audiences. The show can attribute its success to many things, among which is its mockumentary storytelling techniques that allow the show to satirize other forms of media, such as reality television and documentaries, as well as helping the audience identify with their own lives and struggles in the workplace. It was also the first American example of cringe comedy, comedy that makes viewers laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time. This paper explores "The Office" as a satire of network television and as the beginning of a new comedy genre in American television.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 23 March 2018

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Merrill Morris