What TV Series Are Like The Office?
No other show in television history has had a more enduring legacy than The Office. To their credit, the original British show and its American remake provided fans with two very similar but very different takes on the same show, both equally good.
There is no doubt that The Office has done more for television than any other sitcom, whether you enjoy Michael Scott’s ever-cringeworthy Dunder Mifflin staff in the American version or David Brent’s oblivious Wernham Hogg branch office staff in the British version.
It’s true that shows like Seinfeld and the now somewhat tarnished Cosby Show had a global audience before The Office came along. However, none of them established their own distinct style of levity. Since its debut in 2003, The Office has been a major influence on a number of other sitcoms, including the box office success of Steve Carrell and the monetary success of Ricky Gervais, who is one of the wealthiest comedians alive.
Style, writing, and reception have all been influenced by The Office in these sitcoms. As a result of The Office, we’ll be delving into the bizarre world of comedy today.
1. Parks And Recreation
Mockumentaries like Parks and Recreation, which use a painfully similar style of shooting, are an obvious starting point. It’s no secret that Parks and Recreation borrows heavily from The Office, with several of the show’s writers having moved over to the former.
Even though such blatant plagiarism should have earned the series a lot of derision, it has had the exact opposite effect. Leslie Knope and her colleagues more than hold their own despite the obvious similarities in cinematography and setting (both are primarily shot in an office). The show has also amassed a large cult following over the years.
Do not be fooled by the premise of “office-based comedy,” which appears similar on paper. The plots of Parks and Recreation and The Office are diametrically opposed. This sitcom is based on the life of Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope, a never-say-die overly enthusiastic public official, and her group of (to put it mildly) eccentric coworkers and friends in Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation does a remarkable job telling the story of a group of office workers in a completely different light than The Office did. Amy Poehler’s portrayal of Pawnee’s doe-eyed bureaucrat is top-notch, adding a layer of hilarity to the film. You can’t help but root for her because she exudes such a whimsical charm.
Not to mention Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, and Rob Lowe, to name a few others, who all turn in strong performances. The series’ April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer leads are played by Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, who leave audiences in stitches with their hilarious banter and surprising chemistry.
Aside from Leslie’s naivety, April’s apathy, Andy’s upbeat outlook, and Nick Offerman’s standout performance as Ron Swanson, the show has numerous opportunities for hilarity to ensue, which it uses to devastating effect.
It’s been seven seasons, and Parks And Recreation is a testament to The Office’s star power, showing that even a “carbon-copy” of an original and captivating work of art can achieve immeasurable success. Guests on the show include real-life politicians like John McCain and Joe Biden, as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Just for that, Parks and Recreation owes a debt of gratitude to The Office that is immeasurable. Parks and Recreation: The Complete Series is available to stream on Netflix in one sitting.
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, another fan favorite, was inspired by The Office. It was recently confirmed that the show would be canceled after Fox canceled it after five seasons, which came as a mild shock to fans. To the delight of fans, the show was renewed by NBC for a second season despite the prevailing senselessness in Hollywood.
Through the eyes of Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg of “Lonely Island” fame), an immature but talented NYPD detective in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct, and his colleagues, the series tells the story of a police precinct using the mockumentary shooting template made famous by The Office.
There’s hilarity in the characters’ misadventures trying to do their jobs, and that’s what drives the show’s hilarity. For example, there’s Andre Braugher’s stern Captain Raymond Holt, Stephanie Beatriz’s tough Rosa Diaz, and Terry Jeffords, a muscular but emotional sergeant (Terry Crews). Joe Lo Truglio is Jake Peralta’s best friend, played by Melissa Fumero as a “goody-two-shoes” cop.
Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller portray Michael Hitchcock and Norm Scully, respectively, as soullessly comedic characters, painting the show with all the hilarity necessary to keep an audience entertained. Also, compared to The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a bit more action, which is typical of police-themed shows. As a result, this entry deserves praise for pushing the boundaries of this type of comedy.
Currently, it’s available on Netflix, where a seventh season has been ordered. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will appeal to fans of The Office because it has a lot in common with that show.
3. Arrested Development
Many Arrested Development fans will be incensed to hear their favorite show compared to The Office, pointing out that The Office premiered in 2005 while Arrested Development hit the big screen in 2003. Arrested Development: The Motion Picture Part of what they say is correct, but their argument collapses due to the omission of this crucial detail.
Two versions of The Office exist; the British one debuted on television in 2001, four years before the American one and two before Arrested Development. The similarities between The Office and Arrested Development are undeniable because of the camera work and the absence of laugh tracks, which were common in the industry at the time. After three seasons on the air, the show was canceled in 2006 and only returned in 2013 after The Office’s undeniable success. To emphasize how much The Office aided Arrested Development, it’s worth noting that
Why? It wasn’t until The Office became such a huge success that people realized the potential of Arrested Development and renewed the show. The similarities between Arrested Development and The Office end at the single camera style.
Arrested Development, in contrast to The Office, focuses on the lives of the morally bankrupt Bluth family and their lone son Michael (Jason Bateman), who tries valiantly but ultimately fails to keep things in order.
Whether it’s Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter), Michael’s manipulative mother, or Buster Bluth (Tony Hale), Michael’s naive younger brother, the show features an impressive cast of characters with diverse motivations, all of which culminate in a highly dysfunctional but clearly interdependent family dynamic. This gem of a show is quirky and full of bizarre premises thanks to strong performances from Will Arnett as the deadbeat older brother-slash-magician and Michael Cera as the awkward teenage son of Michael Bluth.
It’s a blessing in disguise that The Office was able to save this screen original and bring it back to life. Arrested Development is available on Netflix in its entirety, spanning five seasons.
4. Trailer Park Boys
The Office uses a vehicle (mockumentary style of filming) to tell its story, but Trailer Park Boys uses it as the basis for the entire show. An episode of Trailer Park Boys follows a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, as they try to make ends meet in a fictional Nova Scotia, Canada, trailer park.
This show has everything you could hope for in terms of ignorant, redneck misbehavior. The humor is outrageous, but it fits perfectly with the characters’ bumbling antics in the Sunnyvale Trailer Park fictitious universe. However, to be fair, claiming that The Office spawned Trailer Park Boys may be unfair to the show, as Trailer Park Boys premiered in 2001, immediately after the release of the 1999 film of the same name.
Though well received in Canada and a few other countries, the show failed to make an impression on the rest of the world, possibly due to its distinctive brand of comedic storytelling, which isn’t to everyone’s taste. There are rumors of a thirteenth season as an animated series for the show, which has now aired for a whopping twelve seasons.
Trailer Park Boys is a good choice for fans of The Office who want something a little different.
When a show’s influence extends far beyond the screen, it bestows unmatched star power on its actors, directors, writers, and producers, making it difficult to turn down any request from them.
Ricky Gervais was the victim of this exact situation (the creator of The Office). Extras, his follow-up hit comedy, benefited from his star power. It all begins with a British sitcom about extras who work in television, film, and theater across the country. Ricky Gervais returns as Andy Millman, his platonic friend Maggie Jacobs appears as Ashley Jensen and Darren Lamb (Gervais’ longtime friend and creative partner Stephen Merchant) plays Andy’s substandard agent and part-time retail employee as Millman attempts to “make it big” in the world of show business.
Extras has excellent writing, and while comparisons to his breakout first show are inevitable, Extras stands on its own as a valuable addition to the current canon of comedic fare. Though the show ended after two seasons due to low ratings and widespread praise, it did leave a lasting impression with critics, earning an impressive 81/100 on Metacritic in the process. It’s a good thing that The Office was a hit because it allowed Ricky Gervais to realize another brilliant idea. Extras can be downloaded from the iTunes Store.
6. The Office (U.S. Version)
Yes, you read that correctly. Nothing on this list owes The Office a greater debt of gratitude and admiration than…The Office itself! The American TV show has been so hugely successful that it dwarfs its British counterpart. According to awards alone, the U.S. version of The Office received 42 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won five awards for outstanding comedy series, outstanding comedy writing and outstanding directing and editing of a comedy.
There’s still more! As a result of his role, Steve Carell was honored with the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. AFI named it the best TV show of 2006, and it won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Series and a Peabody Award that same year.
To top it all off, The Office continues to be one of the most “memed” shows on the internet, with its characters serving as inspiration for content creators looking to reach a wider audience with their work.
In contrast to my previous list, this one was concise and focused on deserving candidates only. Please let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed out on any shows like The Office (either version).