Quarantine can be frustrating, but I’ve managed to stay busy. I’ve been getting a lot of things done that I never had time for in the past, like cleaning out my desk, journaling, and re-watching all of ‘The Office’ for the seventy-third time.
It felt so great to finally get back into my favorite show. It had been weeks since I completed my seventy-second re-watch of ‘The Office,’ and being stuck in self-quarantine left me with no excuse to keep putting off starting the show fresh. I was also able to plow through it much faster this time because I could play episodes in the background during meals, while doing chores, or working-from-home, so I never had to be alone with my own thoughts. Before the pandemic, I could have only achieved this most nights and weekends.
Well, that’s not to say I’ve been entirely alone. Luckily, I’ve been quarantining with my girlfriend, who had somehow only seen ‘The Office’ twice until I forced her to watch it with me on my last four run-throughs. Can you believe that there are people out there who have seen it so few times? I’m glad we’re isolating together—I’m hopeful that she’ll start to get my jokes, which mostly consist of lines taken verbatim from the show and a killer Kevin impression. Maybe she’ll be able to follow all my references after her seventh viewing.
I’m happy to say that the show holds up just as well as the first seventy-two times you watch it. And thanks to watch number seventy-three, I’ve come to appreciate aspects of the show I previously overlooked. Michael, Jim, Dwight, Pam, Kelly, Ryan, Meredith, Kevin and Creed used to be my favorite characters, no question, with Gabe, Todd Packer, Roy, Andy, and Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration—you know!) tied for second place. But now at the top of the list, I also have to include Toby, Angela, Oscar, Stanley, Jan, David Wallace, Erin, Holly, Karen, and Darryl.
I’ve been able to spot so many crucial details I had never noticed as well. Like I had no idea that three minutes and three seconds into season four, episode one, Jim says “oh, that sounds fun,” instead of “that sounds fun.” I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t caught that bit in any of the six-dozen times I’ve seen that episode. It’s exciting to imagine how much more I’m going to discover when I begin round seventy-four tomorrow night.
Actually, I should probably clarify that although I’ve seen every episode with Michael seventy-three times, I actually haven’t seen the post-Michael seasons too many times—I just don’t like those episodes that much. Regardless, it felt good to use this time trapped inside to give them a much-needed fifty-eighth chance, and while I’ll always miss Michael, I think I’m starting to warm up to the antics of Robert California, Nellie, Clark, and Pete. I suppose it’s unfair of me to be so hard on them, it really takes a few viewings of a show to appreciate its nuances.
Yet now that I think about it, my overall view count may be higher if we count watching YouTube clips, scrolling through memes, and following ‘Office’ fan accounts on Facebook and Instagram—I’d have to crunch the numbers to confirm. Thankfully, I tag my girlfriend in every ‘Office’ post I come across, and it might be fun to spend a few days of quarantine retracing all my comments to get an idea of how many watches I can add to my total, even if it hurts to remind myself that she’s never once replied or even ‘liked’ a single one.
Part of me worries, though. What if I get sick of the show? It’s happened before—upon my eighty-first completion of ‘Friends,’ the jokes simply didn’t land the same way. I don’t ever want to get to that point with my friends at Dunder-Mifflin (well, Sabre for seasons six through eight!). If I get the chance during this pandemic, I suppose I could try something new. I’ve heard good things about the British ‘Office,’ maybe I’ll try that.