Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 6:30 pm ET (75-90 minutes)
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University
In what initially appeared a doomed effort to adapt a beloved and acclaimed British comedy for American audiences, NBC rolled the dice on its version of The Office as a late-season replacement series in March 2005. Featuring Steve Carell—still months away from his breakout role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin—the series seemed fated to wither in the shadow of its inspiration. Yet, by the time of its series finale in 2013, The Office had gone on to win five Emmys, three awards from the Writers Guild of America, and a Peabody Award for, among other achievements, “[being] able to tackle even more ground than its predecessor”. It boasted one of the finest ensemble casts in television comedy, including not only then-unknowns like Carell and John Krasinski, but also some of its most sharp-witted writers—Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein, B.J. Novak—who did double-duty as actors. The Office also paved the way for other highly regarded series like Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) and Modern Family (2009-2020).
Showrunner Greg Daniels, a veteran of both The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live, brought to The Office an insistence on breaking down the conventional divide between writing and performing talent, tapping into a synergy of scripted storytelling and improvisational acting that gave the show its signature style. Riffing on the mockumentary aesthetic, The Office managed to be both deeply cutting and serenely playful; a canny caricature of identity as reflected in the funhouse mirror of the banal modern workplace, while remaining a loving and ultimately humanizing recognition of the souls toiling in the machine. Since most of us have forgotten what it is like to work in an office over the last seven months, now is the perfect time to learn about—and be reminded by—The Office.
Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the class. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.
$15 for members, $20 for non-members