The Office

'The Office' Producers Are Creating A New Comedy Inspired By Your Zoom Meetings

by Ani Bundel

It was only a matter of time before the new way of life became fodder for a new TV series. The sheer scale of lifestyle changes forced upon the world by COVID-19 has taken workers out of the office and made them all work from home. This en masse movement to online work life is one of the biggest societal shifts in generations, and with it comes the good, the bad and... the funny? Since everyone's left the workplace, it shouldn't surprise fans The Office producers are creating a new comedy about life without an office.

At this point, anyone who has needed to use Zoom, or Google Hangouts, or other video meeting software has probably experienced a hilarious yet embarrassing glitch. Whether it's malfunctioning audio, pets or children suddenly turning up in the frame, or a significant other yelling something embarrassing from another room, it's happened.

The very sudden shift from in-person workplaces to remote ones has meant a giant swath of middle-class, white-collar workers have had to learn remote work on the fly. Between becoming their own IT problem solvers and carving out a workspace in a home not designed with one in mind, accidents will occur. And they will be funny. Of course the comedy team behind The Office took one look at the new world and immediately saw the potential for a show with an elevator pitch of "It's The Office minus the office."

According to Deadline, which broke the news:

Ben Silverman and Paul Lieberstein, former executive producers of one of the most popular workplace comedies ever, The Office, are taking inspiration from the current situation for a remote workplace comedy series... [T]he series is set around a wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.

As Silverman pitches it:

So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.

Or, in Lieberstein's far more blunt estimation:

Start with the office comedy, lose the office and you’re just left with comedy. The math works.

The as-yet-untitled series is still in early development, so no stars or release timetable has been set thus far.

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