As a community of TV-lovers, I feel we have to talk about this. If we don’t, I’m not sure we can call this site a place for the TV-obsessed anymore. It’s a very important issue in the world of television, and it needs to be discussed, round-table style.
Unfortunately we don’t have a round table, so basically I’m just going to talk at you and you can respond in the comments with your thoughts. Close enough.
Cast members and writers are jumping ship right and left at this point as The Office continues to limp towards the finish line while we anxiously await the moment we can start an inspirational slow-clap from the sidelines.
Part of this last-leg-of-the-journey is the news that there is going to be a spin-off of The Office called The Farm, which will follow Dwight’s family as they run their beet farm.
I think it’s a gutsy move. The Office is one of the most popular shows of our generation. Nearly everyone you know has seen at least a few episodes or knows enough to get the jokes.
How will people react to a spin-off?
Spin-offs by nature are risky. You’re taking a successful element of a very popular show, breaking it off and planting it somewhere else in the hopes that it can grow in a new environment into something uniquely beautiful. I’m not an expert on TV history, but I think this has only worked hardly ever. See: Joey
Can Dwight hold up as a character without his banter with Jim or fight for leadership? Will we have the ability to let new characters (Dwight’s until-now-unmentioned family members) into our hearts?
On one hand I think it has a lot of potential for success, because it’s enough of a departure in environment that it won’t just be The Office: College Years. That episode when Pam and Jim stayed at the beet farm WAS pretty great, after all.
Disappointingly, however, Mose isn’t a main character, and he’s the only Schrute family member we’re familiar with outside of Dwight. Can we relate with just one person we know? Or is that actually an asset because we have no preconceived notions?
Let’s do a comparison to a similarly popular sit-com spin off, Joey.
The thing about Joey was that it it was essentially a continuation of Joey’s life from Friends. He moved, but that was about it. He was still pursuing acting and still doing the same idiot things.
The Farm is a completely different aspect of Dwight’s already-established life. It’s more of a backstory than a new chapter. If the spin-off followed Dwight’s journey as he uprooted and moved to Connecticut and started his own paper company–that would be a flop. But we already know about the beet farm and are intrigued to know more about it, and it’s a total 180 from an office environment.
Also, Friends was very dependent on the ensemble cast. Their characters were developed based off their interactions with one another. One can’t really stand alone, as evidenced by Joey. I never saw Joey, because I wasn’t into Friends yet at the time, but I can’t even imagine him carrying an entire TV show on his own.
With The Office, though it is an ensemble cast of sorts, they have individual personalities and quirks independent of one another. They don’t require one another to be who they are. They aren’t as tight-knit as a group. Which makes sense–they’re coworkers, not necessarily friends (pun very much intended).
I think The Farm has a lot of potential. I think it will be weird at first, as all new relationships are, but I think we might grow to embrace it once we get past the fact that it’s not The Office. It allows a lot of opportunity for different types of story lines, without giving up the same vein of comedy we know and love…quirky characters, off-the-wall situations, but still relatable.
If you’re interested in seeing the breakdown of the characters that will be on The Farm, click here.
What do you think? Is this destined to follow Joey right off a cliff, or do you think it will survive?