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Existential Binge-Watching: 'The Office' and your crisis

I’m going to be as upfront, honest and straightforward as possible. When I hear the word “home” these days, I have a mini heart attack. My blood vessels clench, my lungs jump out and my brain collapses in on itself. "Home" truly confuses me now that I’m living my days as a college kid. If I were forced to define it, yeah, I’m going to say "home" is back home, my hometown where I grew up. Yet at the same time, it’s rather hard to imagine not dragging myself out of bed every morning from a tiny little dorm and walking miles upon miles up hills to get to classes that I don’t really enjoy.

OK, it’s actually not that bad but my point shines through.

College, so far, has been one of the craziest adventures of my life, but college is also really freaking terrifying. I like to describe my mental state as a seesaw of doom. One minute I’m up in the clouds, laughing, arms open to the next opportunity that presents itself. The next minute, I’m crashing haphazardly back down wondering how in the world I’m supposed to balance all of my classes and extracurriculars. 

So why am I spitting all of this out? Why are you reading the ramblings of a madman? Well, because I developed a bit of a solution. Amidst things like calling home every now and then, keeping in touch with old friends, having momentos from my old room, I realized there are two very important things when it comes to keeping your sanity at college: familiarity and relaxation.

You need something to relax with. I define relaxing as doing something that takes your mind off all the crazy existential crises it’s going through. For me, I chose to start watching shows on Netflix because who hasn’t done that in their life? And what did I choose to start watching? The Office. Why? Well one, because my parents have watched it and it’s always been highly recommended by literally the entire human race (familiarity: check). And two, it makes me laugh to an extent that I get weird looks from my roommate (mind distracted, relaxation: check).

The Office is one of those shows that was brilliant for its time and it continues to stand the test of time. It presents you with a simple premise, memorable characters and takes you on a little journey through every episode. Whether it’s Jim pulling another prank on Dwight, Michael telling one of his many “that’s what she said” jokes or Toby continuing to be the most underrated character every scene he’s in, this show is something to behold for people that just need to sit back and have a good time. 

With the dry humor, the awkward scenes and the actors putting everything they have into their personas, this show will make you smile. That is the best outcome any form of entertainment can have. And if you really want to see something amazing, I highly recommend watching the blooper packages put out on YouTube. Not only do you get the usual enjoyment of bloopers, but you see the actors and how they’ve formed a family in real life from the show. You see some “funny mistakes” that are in actuality takes they didn’t use, because of the sheer amount of improvisation on this show. The care, the talent and the effort is clear and absolutely breathtaking.

That all isn’t to say the show doesn’t have actual plot either. There are some very strong scenes throughout the series that could put any award winning drama to shame. The relationships, though often humorous, are believable and raw due to the nature of the show. Plot threads and jokes are carried throughout the seasons, making it evident that creators and writers care about the fans and will always throw in a service of loyalty. The more you delve in, the more you open yourself up to the craziness of The Office, the more you care about the characters and want them to reach their goals (even if it's just another birthday thrown by the Party Planning Committee).

Throughout my relaxation breaks, I’ve realized The Office really has saved my life in a way. It provides me that release from reality, and it can do that for you. It has heart, it has humor, and it truly has blown me away in how much it can makes me feel better after a long, bad or just boring day.

Yes, I have perhaps taken too many breaks due to my enthrallment with this program (It’s been four weeks, I’ve watched five seasons already. About 26 episodes a pop, you do the math), but The Office is what I define as a feel-good show (no, Full House makes me throw up).

Jackson Horvat is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.

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