A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
For the most part, corporate culture is portrayed as dysfunctional and grossly inefficient. Overarching message that you can be completely incompetent and still keep your job, as long as you're loyal to the company. But there's also a lot of heart, teamwork, and self-control -- as well as love and friendship -- on display.
Positive Role Models
Core characters are a mixed bag, with plenty of flaws and foibles, but most mean well. At least a handful seem to actually like their jobs. Jim and Pam are kind and can be relatable. Dwight is extremely loyal to the company, sometimes to a fault. Michael tries his best to have his team deliver excellence.
The central characters are all White. Diversity is found in supporting roles, including Black, Latino, Korean American, Indian American, fat, LGBTQ+, and devout Christian characters. They generally avoid stereotypes but are primarily tokens. The main character, a White male manager, frequently stumbles into discriminatory behavior, such as being unable to tell two East Asian women apart. While he clearly takes the brunt of such jokes, the formula -- a White man treats his employees poorly but is begrudgingly forgiven each time -- wears thin over time. Women don't always have the biggest storylines but they remain some of the most interesting characters thanks to the writing and the actors.
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Violence & Scariness
Some incidents are played for comedy, such as an employee getting injured on the job and having to be hospitalized, punching a wall, getting slapped, etc. Characters comment on a woman's breasts and make inappropriate jokes about her body.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent jokes about sex and some sexual innuendo, but nothing overt. Occasional (but comical) blurred nudity. Some co-workers are involved in on-again, off-again physical relationships and/or interoffice affairs.
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Inappropriate comments about race and gender are either ignored or met with disbelief. Occasional use of words like "bitch," "damn," "ass," "hell," etc. Stronger words are bleeped for comedic effect.
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Products & Purchases
Some product placement -- notably by Staples. One episode takes place at Hooters, another at Chili's, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character has an ongoing problem with alcohol (played for laughs), occasionally getting drunk at office functions where it's served. Another has a history of drug use and still uses marijuana, etc. References to cocaine, and it's implied that one of the characters sells illegal drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Office is Greg Daniels' extremely popular American version of the British mockumentary series originally created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It paints a pretty bleak -- but hilarious -- picture of corporate culture, mining most of its laughs from management faux pas. There's some sexual humor, including interoffice affairs, as well as some low-level violence (a man punches a wall, characters wrestle, etc.) that's played for laughs. In addition, characters make racist and sexist remarks, but they're often taught lessons about acceptance. Expect references to drugs and smoking, drinking (including one character who abuses alcohol, which is played for laughs). The central cast is White; supporting characters span body size, race, and religion, but are mostly tokenized.
Is It Any Good?
Though some viewers might find this series' intentional awkwardness uncomfortable, others will think it's well worth the investment. Inefficiency runs amok in The Office, a deft remake of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's classic BBC mockumentary that cemented its status as a stand-alone hit. As Michael Scott, Carell set the bar high (and won a Golden Globe Award) by creating a character who is both offensive and oddly endearing. While The Office became a different sort of workplace for sure once he left the show after season 7, it's still one that keeps fans punching in for more.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.