The Workplace Comedy


From Left and Top to Right (The Office, Abbott Elementary, Superstore)

What’s the funniest show you ever watched?

“Everybody Hates Chris”, “Parks and Rec”, “Community”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” or “Atlanta”?

Either way, the list goes on and on, but one choice that I think tops the list is “The Office”.

I mean what’s not to love, you have a dumb, comical boss in Michael Scott, a cute love story in Jim and Pam, an overeager assistant in Dwight and great side characters such as Stanley, Kelly, Angela and others who add another element to the show.

The show follows them as they navigate through the adventures of a paper-selling company that is slowly dying due to companies like big names OfficeMax and Staples taking their companies.

Now if you watch work comedies that might sound familiar to another show, “Superstore”, a show with a dumb comical boss reminds you of Glenn, the love story between Jonah and Amy is oddly familiar to Jim and Pam, I mean both women had boyfriends that treated them terribly before they got with Jim and Jonah.

The overeager assistant Dina is oddly familiar to Dwight, and even some of the side characters resemble The Office side characters.

Something that people may not know is that producer/director for the office, Justin Spitzer, also wrote for the show “Superstore”.

I mean if it is not broken don’t fix it and Spitzer helped make another great comedy show in Superstore following the same template that he used to help make “The Office”.

The smallest details like Stanley from the Office and Garrett from “Superstore” both having no regard for their other coworkers and pretty much hating their job to corporate being down both workplaces spines with hardships such as layoffs and downsizing which makes for some funnier yet drama-filled episodes.

Oh! Don’t forget they are at a dying retail store that is slowly dying due to competitors like Target and online shopping.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Obviously, it is not a direct successor to the office and has a lot of differences to make the show it’s own but “Superstore” follows a similar path that the Office did which is why it was such a great show.
Other creators have seen the template both shows have used and they are taking from the successful template.

Another show which is oddly similar to the shows is a new workplace comedy called “Abbott Elementary”.

It follows a group of diverse teachers in a Philadelphia elementary school.

What makes this show similar to the other two?

Well, step one of the Office template is to get a dumb boss. “Abbott Elementary” does that with their principal, Ava Coleman, who only got the job from blackmailing her pastor and it is made obvious she has no clue what she is doing as principal.

Step two, get two co-workers, bonus points if one has an existing partner, and sprinkle in some romance between the two workers and eventually break up the current relationship one of the workers was in.
“Abbott Elementary” is still only in season one but you can clearly see that trope with two teachers, Greg and Janine, Janine who has a boyfriend who is not that great for her, reminds you of Roy who was not that great for Pam from “The Office”.

I love all three of these shows but it is impossible to see how many tropes follow each other from one show to the other.

It is a new style of comedy but the single-camera mockumentary might be my favorite one ever.