Come on, you can admit it. The fun of #WFH has long since faded, and now you’re actually missing office life. All those things that used to drive you batty the bad coffee, the bad jokes – are now things that you’re nostalgic for. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the best television (TV) shows about office life – so you’ll know what to watch to remind you of what you’re missing.
are you actually missing office life?
Though working from home definitely has its charms (hello, pajamas), at this point we’re all starting to miss the office. There’s something special about going to the same place every day, and getting to make something important with the people we care about.
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If you too have found yourself feeling nostalgic for your morning commute, or sitting at your cubicle, or bouncing ideas off of your coworkers in person, we recommend having a little TV marathon to make you feel like you’re working alongside friends. Here are twelve great shows that are all about office-life. Some of them are funny and some of them are dramatic, and all of them will make great substitutes until the day you can once again step foot into your place of business.
What are the Best TV Shows About Office Life?
Though there’ a good chance you’ve already watched it – it is currently the most-watched show on Netflix, in spite of the fact that it ended in 2013 – we feel like we have to include The Office. There is something immensely comforting about Michael Scott and Dunder-Mifflin, so if you’re searching for a soothing office show to help pass the time, you can’t go wrong. And when you’re finished with all nine seasons (not to mention the British version), you can go back and watch two other beloved workplace comedies from creator Michael Schur – Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn 99.
Another classic from one of television’s most prominent showrunners (in this case, Shonda Rhimes) that you have likely already seen – but if for some reason you haven’t yet, quarantine is the perfect time to dive in. Sometimes the “office,” is the intense political scene of Washington D.C, or specifically, Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm. Full of drama (and the titular scandal), the thriller’s seven seasons never lagged in quality – a rare feat – making it one of the best-ever series about life in politics.
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If you’re looking for a show you’ve never heard of before, watch Slings & Arrows. In the case of this Canadian comedy, the coworkers are the team behind a declining Shakespeare festival. However, work gets a bit more complicated when the artistic director dies in a shocking accident, and comes back as a ghost to haunt the rest of production (very appropriate, since they’re performing Hamlet). If this sounds like the funniest thing you’ve ever heard of, you’ll definitely enjoy this delightful show.
For something that is still on the air: Superstore, starring America Ferrera, is the warm, honest sitcom about the employees of a fictional store called Cloud 9 in St. Louis, Missouri. Though the episodes are only half an hour long, they manage to masterfully and accurately portray both the horrors and humor of what working in a superstore is actually like.
Rather than include just one show starring America Ferrera, we decided to include two. It’s been a few years since Ugly Betty was on the air, but this wholesome and endearing comedy simply never gets old. Ferrera plays Betty, the charismatically clueless woman who starts working at a major fashion magazine under dubious circumstances. If you’re looking for something to watch that has the structure and arcs of an hour-long drama, but that is still sweet and entertaining, this is the one to start today.
If you’ve decided you definitely want to watch a show about a magazine, we also recommend The Bold Type. Based loosely on the life of a former editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, this is a lovely drama about three friends who work together at the fictional Scarlet, and are trying to find their way in the world. You get to explore both their personal and professional struggles, giving the show a perfect tonal balance. Production on their fourth season halted due to COVID-19, but we are excited that there’s more to come.
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The only thing more fun than exploring the overlap between work and friendship, is exploring the overlap between work and family. Terence Howard stars as Lucious Lyon, the CEO of a fictional hip hop music company called Empire Entertainment. In the pilot, he is diagnosed with ALS, and must pick one of his three sons to take over the business – a decision that is made more complicated when his ex-wife, played by Taraji P. Henson, is released from prison. Though the storyline has changed over the show’s six seasons, it has stayed equally engrossing throughout its run.
We’ve mentioned shows set in the entertainment industry, in politics, and in paper products. But what about an extremely mysterious, extremely corrupt, technological conglomerate? In this satire, Veridian Dynamics is the over-the-top nightmare company that is both absurdist and also probably more realistic than we’d like to think. They experiment on their employees, tell egregious lies to their staff and to the public, and stop at nothing to amass power. For an often ridiculous, always hilarious show that sometimes veers into science fiction, check out this two-season gem.
This British sitcom has an extraordinarily devoted base of fans, and for good reason. Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson star as the IT department of a large company, where they are often treated as less important than everybody else. They are awkward and socially inept, which is endearing, and also turns the episodes into comedy gold.
After The Office, Mindy Kaling created and starred in The Mindy Project, which is about a fictional medical practice in New York City. While it is technically a doctor show, it has none of the stress of procedurals, and instead turns coworker dynamics into an irresistible romantic comedy. For a lovable half-hour of wish fulfillment about work-life balance, check out this show’s six great seasons.
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If you don’t care about sports, don’t worry. Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night is as much about sports as The West Wing was about politics: though it creates the beautifully written backdrop for what’s happening, the dynamics between the characters are what really drive the story. This is a fantastic look at what running a nightly sports series would be like, with some deeply funny moments and plenty of heart.
In Contempt takes place in a legal aid office in New York City, with Erica Ash starring as public defender Gwen Sullivan. The show devotes most of its focus to Sullivan’s cases, spotlighting the racism and injustice of the legal system in the United States. Though there are only ten episodes, each is extremely well-written, with three-dimensional characters who come alive on screen. It is a must-watch.
the Best TV Shows About Office Life
That’s it! Our list of the best TV shows to watch if you are feeling somewhat nostalgic and need a reminder about the joys and woes of life in the office.
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.