Knope v. Scott 2020


“It’s so stupid that all you do is laugh. It’s absolutely hilarious.”
– Davis Meux ‘24

The Office and Parks and Recreation are two of the most popular comedy tv shows. Known for their signature workplace humor, they are widely loved in the Bolles community.

The shows are quoted in daily conversation and many students own merch. “I am privy to the t-shirts, I think my friends have the Schrute Farms t-shirts and I have a Dunder Mifflin t-shirt myself so I get the hype now,” said junior Yasmeen Ibrahim.

Yasmeen Ibrahim ‘22 started watching Parks and Recreation a little over a year ago after finishing The Office. “It does have a soft spot in my heart,” she admits.

While The Office is a classic, Ibrahim argues that Parks wins in funniness. “I love the characters that they played, like Leslie Knope, she’s a female lead and all the characters you can relate with.” said Ibrahim. “Everyone has their own favorite character that is so absurdly funny for no reason, and I feel like you can’t really get the same with The Office.”

As for Yasmeen, the character she relates with is Tom Haverford, a sarcastic employee at the Parks department. “He’s definitely a character that I wouldn’t mind being for a day and seeing how he lives his life” said Ibrahim.

Like The Office, the short length of the episodes in Parks and Rec makes it the show to watch for a quick laugh. “I think they’re definitely easy to watch when I’m on the go.” mentions Ibrahim.

Parks and Rec’s simplicity makes it universally enjoyable. “I think it’s a great way to connect with friends because it’s something everybody enjoys,” said Ibrahim. “It’s not something that’s for an acquired taste, and it’s not as long as a movie.”

Something that sets Parks and Rec apart from The Office are the characters who have a passion for their small office jobs and demonstrate the value of hard work.

Leslie Knope is one of these characters, and she doesn’t let anything discourage her or hold her back. “The way she makes every small occupation that she has- like her being the head of Parks and Recreation, as small as that may seem, some people really take it to heart” added Ibrahim. “I think love for what you’re doing in any situation no matter how big or small is something that I really admire.”

The Office has always been a popular show to watch for a guaranteed laugh, and its popularity only grew through being easily available on Netflix. But why is this seemingly simple show so appealing?

Sloan Donaldson ‘23 is an avid Office fan. “During Hurricane Irma in 7th grade. I was really into comedy,” said Donaldson, “and I thought I’d give it a try, and I was bored and I was stuck in the house, so why not?”

The short length of episodes in The Office is actually part of what makes the show so appealing. “It’s not intense, it’s 20 minute episodes, so that makes it great to watch a short one that you think is going to be really funny.” said freshman Davis Meux.

The Office is filled with moments of laughable senselessness. “I feel like I just felt bad for Michael Scott a lot of the time,” said Ibrahim. “But you know that he’s not the smartest tool in the shed.” Meux argues that the workplace setting of The Office contributes to its hilarious moments. “It’s so stupid that all you do is laugh.”

Older shows like The Office have become increasingly popular with younger viewers. So what’s the appeal of one of these shows over a new one? Donaldson points to the show’s simplicity and ease. Compared to The Good Place, a show of the same nature that has a complex metaphysical background and storyline, The Office is fairly basic. “I feel like older shows are more relaxed so I don’t have to worry about that as much.” Ibrahim agrees, “Older shows really have that kind of relaxed tone, like they’re not trying too hard.”

These shows offer a break from the chaos of 2020. “I don’t want to be worrying about the current situations that are happening in the world because I already am most of the time,” said Donaldson.

Even though their strength is comedy, The Office has it’s heartfelt moments as well “I really liked the last episode where they all got together, and it made me cry.” admits Donaldson.

One of the most loved parts of The Office is the relationship of Jim and Pam. While some criticize details of the relationship, it is undoubtedly one of the most key parts of the show. Over the course of the show, viewers see the pair transition from work friends to a family of four. “We really start to see Jim and Pam’s relationship develop, which makes me really happy.” said Donaldson.

Meux agrees that some of the best episodes of the show are the best episodes of the show are the ones that feature their wedding, not only because it was a very heartfelt moment for the show, but also because of the comedy that the show could not go without. “There were amazing jokes and hilarious moments,” said Davis. “It was a big moment for the show because it was their wedding and it wasn’t at the Dunder Mifflin setting.”


A British Office

Almost everyone you ask is familiar with the iconic show, The Office. What some people might not know, however, is that the show was actually created in the UK first. The British Office is set in the same workplace environment, displaying the  “cubicle culture” that is seen in both The Office and Parks and Rec.

While the characters from The American Office align with the characters from the British version, they have different names and slightly different storylines.  The Office (UK) was created in 2001 by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and Gervais stars in the series as the equivalent of Michael Scott.

So, is the popular American Office better than its lesser-known predecessor? Reviews from students are mixed, but it is agreed that the British style of jokes and humor is harder to understand. “My culture is American comedy, and the British take on comedic TV shows and movies is totally different.” said Donaldson. The show can undoubtedly be harder to follow than the American version. “You have to be focused because the British slang is different and the way they talk is different.” said Ibrahim.