I really enjoy the show The Office. In my opinion it is one of the best acted shows on television. The writing and the humor is so over the top and so subtle at the same time that sometimes I am not sure what I am laughing at. There are also moments that the characters do some things that are so off the wall or so wrong that it makes me physically uncomfortable while I am watching. I can feel myself being embarrassed for the characters. To be able to achieve that type of emotional response from a viewer in a half hour sitcom, to me, is outstanding. It is one of those shows where you either get it or you don’t.
One of the greatest aspects of the show is that it is always funnier when you talk about it with other Office fans. There are three or four people that I talk to every Friday about the show from the night before. We discuss different parts and lines from the show that we found funny. More often than not, we all found different parts funnier than others. They get it.
About two months ago, I found out that J. and A., our neighbors down the street, are Office fans. J. and A.’s kids play with our kids and I have been in their company about 2 dozen times in the past two years. I know them well enough to consider them friends, but most of our interactions have been at birthday parties or holiday gatherings where I am usually in mixed company with other people that I do not know and that I try to be on my best behavior. So I don’t know if J. and A. get ME. Besides our kids, we have other common interests but I was very happy to learn that we shared an appreciation for the same show and we discussed different aspects of the show.
The main character in the Office, who often causes my embarrassment for him and for the other characters, is Michael. He is always saying or doing the wrong thing. One of his recurring wrong phrases is “That’s what she said.” For instance, if someone is talking about taking a difficult test, they may say to him “It was long and hard.” And he responds with “That’s what she said.” no matter how inappropriate.
A few weeks ago I was at J. and A.’s house for a birthday party. I went into the living room to check the score of a football game. On the TV was a Nascar race that no one was watching. I grabbed the remote, surfed through the channels, found the game, checked the score and put it back to the race. J. and his dad came into the room to catch up on the race when J. noticed that the race was no longer on the High Definition channel. I must have put the race back on, on the normal channel. J. clicked the remote and the picture changed to unbelievable clarity and, well, high definition. The surround sound was incredible.
As I turned to leave the room, I heard J. say to his dad. “HDTV. Isn’t it amazing?" He pointed to the race on the screen and said, "It’s almost like you can feel the rubber burning.”
Without missing an opportunity to show my quick Office wit to my newfound Office fan friend I said, “That’s what she said.”
I got no reaction.
I paused ready to explain myself but figured it may be a lost cause and I left the room. It bothered me the rest of the night. I kept thinking to myself, “Great, this guy thinks I am a total perv. Maybe he didn’t hear me. The surround sound was pretty loud. Maybe he did, but thinks I am an ass. Maybe he didn’t get the Office reference. Should I explain myself? No. Then I may look like a bigger ass. I will just let it go.”
But I couldn’t. I thought about it and thought about it. I was totally distracted by the thought that J. did not get it or me.
I bet if you were watching me, I would have made you physically uncomfortable.