New shows are a gamble - sure, it might be getting lots of critical acclaim, but what if it just doesn't click with you? What if you're bored by the premise, or don't enjoy watching the characters, or find the dialogue lame? What if it just kinda sucks?
You know what DOESN'T suck? That show that you already know is great - The Office. You've seen it countless times, love the characters, know the storylines by heart, and can quote the dialogue easily. It's like an old friend at this point - it's comforting, but most importantly YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW GOOD IT IS, so there's NO RISK INVOLVED.
Hourlong dramas are asking SO MUCH of you - especially in the age of streaming, where hourlong dramas are often ACTUALLY ONE HOUR LONG. At least network and basic cable dramas have the good sense to stick to around 44 minutes long (to leave room for commercials). An hour is a really long time to commit to an episode of TV that you may or may not enjoy - especially because that means you can't really listlessly scroll on your phone for a full hour, otherwise you won't be able to follow the plot of this new show you're unfamiliar with. But you know what ISN'T asking too much of your time? The Office.
The Office is a breezy 22 minutes - that's practically nothing! Even if it isn't your favorite episode, it'll be over before you know it - and you can chill and spend most of that time on your phone. Plus, it's got commercial breaks built in, so each section of the episode of nicely divided and sectioned off. Even the few hourlong episodes are pretty neatly separated into a "Part 1" and "Part 2" structure so you can stop halfway through if you feel like doing something else.
You are so familiar with this show, it's not that big of a deal if you spend most of the time on your phone or making a sandwich or anything. You can drop in at any point in any episode and enjoy it, because you know the characters, you know the plotlines, and you can just enjoy the experience of watching The Office without having to pay constant attention to new characters, new plotlines, and other complicated background stuff that all the modern complex hourlong dramas shove into every episode.
And while you don't have to pay TOO much attention, you're so familiar with everything that you'll find yourself paying attention to the little details you may have never noticed before (since your eyes don't HAVE to be focused on whatever's in the forefront, 'cuz you know what's gonna go down between Jim and Karen anyways). Like in "Did I Stutter?", where Dwight's organizational chart has Creed's name in quotes, revealing that Dwight already knew that Creed was using a fake identity:
See? If you were watching Legion instead of an old episode of The Office, you wouldn't have caught that!
The Office is a legit great show - the premise is so simple and restrained, it became a playground for actors, writers, and directors to really hone in on a bunch of relatable, strange characters and the relationships they had with one another. We spend a good chunk of our lives at work - and most of us, at jobs we don't really enjoy. To get through each day at a miserable, boring job, we have to rely on finding some simple pleasures - a friendship, a crush, little pranks, playing games, making fun of the boss, etc. The Office captured that incredibly simple truth so effectively and so perfectly, which is why it continues to be one of the most popular shows around years after it left the airwaves.
And each rewatch reveals more about the show, and about yourself as you move through life - whether it's appreciating the way the show evolves Ryan from a nondescript blank slate to a heedless self-involved douchebag, or how effectively the show landed the Jim/Pam relationship (getting together star-crossed lovers is usually a death knell for most shows - but The Office found a way to believably build their relationship and keep it sweet and delightful without introducing a ton of extraneous and unbelievable drama), or how they created one of the saddest, most infuriating, most lovable characters ever in Michael Scott. It's a great show, featuring some of the best, most insightful writing and acting you'll ever see.
Sure, that new hot cool show that everyone's talking about may be great, but in harrowing times like these, sometimes we just need a big warm comfy blanket, and that's what The Office is.