Opinion/Study- The U.S. version of The Office is the greatest show in the history of television. Based on the BBC series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and developed for American television by Greg Daniels, this series makes me laugh more often in ten seconds of watching and re-watching than I do during a week’s worth of viewing the second best show in the world, Seinfeld. Obviously, upon my pondering the wonderment that is The Office, one question came to mind, which I had to answer: What are the parallels between television shows and popular music? And more importantly, if The Office was a rock band, which one would it be?
To answer this question accurately, I first had to analyze the history of both television and popular music and then point out the key parallels connecting them.
Part I: Why I Love Lucy is Elvis Presley
I Love Lucy, no matter how one feels about it, was the template. In this way, it is the “King” of television. It laid the groundwork for everything that followed (the first to use the what-is-now-standard five cameras; the first to even suggest sex ~ with the birth of little Ricky, e.g.). And it was damn good. For that reason, it is still popular today, decades and decades later.
So clearly, if I Love Lucy was a music artist, it would be Elvis Presley.
Part II: Why Seinfeld is The Beatles
All of the things that were great about I Love Lucy, but WAY BETTER! Seinfeld took all the rules of television and smashed them. Wholly inventive and imaginative, this groundbreaking series made its own rules and eventually became the new template. It could do whatever it wanted, and with seemingly effortless brilliance, raised the bar so high and so quickly that it made every show that came before suddenly appear a little stale at best. Just as The Beatles could never have existed without Elvis Presley, there would be no Seinfeld without I Love Lucy.
If Seinfeld were a band, it would be The Beatles.
Part III: Why The Office is Queen
What can be said then, in a musically parallel sense, about The Office? It contains the most talented group of writers and stars ever assembled. Together, they regularly churn out segments that are so rich and detailed, one must watch numerous times to catch it all. Often, one moment in the show contains more intelligence, humor, and heart than that which is found in an entire series of its competitors. Yes, once in a while it fumbles a bit momentarily and puts out, what is only self-comparatively, a stinker. Yet really, the worst you can say about it is that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. The Office could not exist without Seinfeld and, accordingly, I Love Lucy. And it will never be as popular as those shows were, despite the fact that it, in many ways, dwarfs those shows in sheer, over-all quality. But damn, The Office is so wondrous that it can even make the brilliant Seinfeld look, well, once in a while, a little stale.
Therefore, if The Office was a music artist, it would be Queen.
(Footnote: I am still trying to place the likes of All In The Family, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, etc.,in a music-history sense. Help in this regard will be welcomed.)