With key actors onboard, a potential slot on a new streaming service, a dishy new podcast, and a larger fanbase than ever, we’ve never been closer to a comeback for The Office, and that’s… pretty depressing, actually.
John Krasinski, who turned lovesick paper salesman slacker Jim Halpert into one of the most iconic TV characters ever, said he’s eager to return to the role during the press tour for A Quiet Place II.
“The Office was absolutely everything to me,” he told Esquire. “It was the first creative family I’ve ever had. In many ways, they will always be the most important people in that most important experience in my career… if they did a reunion, I would absolutely love to do it.”
I get the sentiment. The Office had a big impact on my life: when it aired, I was stuck in my own lifeless office job, and watching the small rebellions of the employees of a Northeastern Pennsylvania-based mid-size paper company was something like therapy.
The show’s relatable hook was that its characters made the best of jobs they hated, enduring a clueless manager’s abuse because they needed a paycheck. On a meta-level, they were also trapped by the show: no one was allowed career success because it would’ve changed the dynamic too much. If Jim tried for a big promotion or Pam quit to go to art school, they inevitably wound up back at their desks after a few episodes.
But being mired in a directionless job is actually a downer, which is why a return to Dunder Mifflin is a fraught proposition. The series finale allowed the characters to move on—Jim started a career in “sports marketing,” Oscar ran for political office, Tobey wrote a book, Kevin opened a bar, Dwight got that promotion. Bringing them back together would either require the characters to backslide or change the premise so much that it wouldn’t really be The Office.
Either scenario risks tainting the legacy of a show that was about a bunch of imperfect people bouncing off one another in the pressure cooker of a soul-killing job. I don’t want to know Phyllis has been sitting at the same desk for 10 years. I also don’t want a convoluted reason for the scattered group of ex-coworkers to work together again.
Steve Carrell says he loves what the show was too much to ever return to it and has sworn off a reunion. His instincts are good. I’m happy to revisit my friends in Scranton on Netflix (and will follow them to Peacock when the show moves to the new NBC streaming service in 2021), but I’d rather not know what they’re up to now, thanks. Because chances are excellent it would be a huge bummer.