Since this is a pretty entirely selfish blog, I'm going to start this entry in a selfish way by saying that: who knew a popular TV show set in your pretty crappy kinda-hometown could make you realize how much you actually appreciate your pretty crappy kinda-hometown? So Scranton wasn't my actual hometown, but it was the closest thing to a city that was in proximity to my hometown, and we went there anytime we wanted to 1) go to the movies, 2) go out to eat at some big chain restaurant, or 3) go to the mall. And really there wasn't much else to do in Northeastern Pennsylvania except for those three things, so, we went there a lot. In any case, anytime something local is mentioned on the show that I recognize my heart fills up with unexpected glee and I want to say "Hey, hey, hey, I know that!!!" in an excited/annoying type of way. Such as: 1) Crystal Club soda, which they seem to drink in copious amounts, which is okay since I grew up drinking it in copious amounts, 2) Dwight's Froggy 101 bumper sticker, the local crazy country station, 3) In an episode we just watched they were at Idle Hour Lanes, 4) Once Pam was giving out a fax number and it started with 570, and I said, "Hey, that's my area code!", 5) They mention Cooper's a lot, which is fun even though we never ate there much. The day they mention eating at Fresno's, my favorite Scranton restaurant as a kid, I will die happy. 6) Any general mention of Dickson City/Carbondale/Lackawanna County/The Steamtown Mall, 7) And of course the Booze Cruise episode, when the office takes a booze cruise on Lake Wallenpaupack, which actually is my hometown, and although it's very clearly not actually filmed at Lake Wallenpaupack, they got a Hawley, PA bumper sticker and displayed it inside the boat, so I was pretty much satisfied.
As for the show, I don't think I've ever watched something where the characters seem so real to me that I am pretty convinced I actually know most of them, although if this is the case I feel like real life should be more constantly hilarious than it is because this show is hilarious. Although what makes it good is that, like all good comedies, it is actually extremely heart warming at the same time. Let me tell you about Michael Scott. One episode, I can completely hate Michael Scott and feel completely frustrated by something he is doing; the next episode my entire heart and soul is rooting for him. This conflict makes him pretty much one of my favorite characters on television. Pam and Jim = amazingly sweet and endearing in a way that always makes you pretty much completely happy. There are only two things which I never find not entirely frustrating: 1) Whenever Michael is mean to Toby for no reason; 2) Whenever Jan is mean to Michael for no reason. Other than that, these are my favorite Office moments off the top of my head:
1) The Dundees
2) "I declare...Bankruptcy!!!!!"
3) Whenever Creed says anything
4) At the end of pretzel day when Stanley and Michael are bonding and Stanley does his one and only "that's what she said" joke
5) When Michael includes Ben Kingsley on his list of famous Indians
6) In general every office meeting & office party in the conference room
7) In general every single character on the show
And yeah, I'm too tired to think of more. I first got in to this show two winters ago when I was unemployed for a month, which made me really quite depressed. But I watched The Office on DVD every day like it was my job, and it was literally what I looked forward to every day. I'm not unemployed anymore, thankfully, but these people are still my people, and I love them, and root for all of them in their wanting-better-than-Scranton-but-loyal-to-Scranton-anyway lives, and really I love the writers who create them & their commentary on white middle class America so wonderfully.