The Office was saved from cancelation by its first Christmas episode, according to stars of the series. The mockumentary-style workplace sitcom ran from 2005 to 2013, featuring a strong ensemble cast who portrayed various facets of its modern office setting. Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nuñez, and Brian Baumgartner play a trio of accountants on the show, with their clashing personalities and passive-aggressive remarks to one another offering many comedic moments throughout the series’ run. Despite its eventual resounding success, The Office took some time to find its footing, and was eventually saved from the constant threat of cancelation by a surprising source halfway through season 2.
Previously, it has been said that Apple’s decision to make the season 2, episode 10 installment “Christmas Party” available to download for $1.99 was what led to the show’s surge in popularity and therefore saved The Office from cancelation, making the inclusion of an Apple iPod as the must-have gift in the episode an amusing memento of that distant point in time. During a conversation with Yahoo Entertainment, Kinsey and Baumgartner recall that nerve-wracking time early in The Office‘s history when the sitcom was frequently on the brink of being canceled. See what the actors had to say below:
Baumgartner: “We were almost canceled two, three, four, 10, 12 times at the beginning.”
Kinsey: “We were struggling week to week.”
Baumgartner: “We had declined rapidly and then came back and [that episode] really served as a significant event for us. And from there we really took off.”
Kinsey: “After that episode aired, we were the number one streaming show on iTunes and all of a sudden we were like, ‘Hold up. We found our audience.’ It turned a corner from there and we were set.”
The Success Of The Office Christmas Episodes, Explained
Though The Office‘s first Christmas episode was the installment that turned things around for the sitcom, that result was more due to the show’s newfound availability on iTunes than a change in the series’ writing or comedic style. “Christmas Party” remains one of the best Christmas episodes of The Office due to the inclusion of nearly every central character. However, rather than revealing new information about them, “Christmas Party” leans hard into the traits that make every individual in the ensemble stand out, resulting in several memorable and hilariously on-brand moments from nearly every actor.
After “Christmas Party” provided some security to the struggling series, Christmas episodes became a staple of nearly every season of The Office, serving as important plot devices at times. As early as season 3, the pair of episodes titled “A Benihana Christmas” created opportunities for character development from Pam (Jenna Fischer), Karen (Rashida Jones), Jim (John Krasinski), and Michael (Steve Carell), leading directly to their arcs at the end of that season. Years later in season 7, the double-feature “Classy Christmas” brought Holly (Amy Ryan) back into the fold, which was essential since Michael would leave later that season to pursue a relationship with her.
Beyond their key impacts on the overall plot of the sitcom, the Christmas episodes of The Office are still beloved because they gave the characters space to let loose and have fun together. In a workplace sitcom like The Office, downtime is essential in order to make the characters feel human and relatable, creating a natural break in the show’s rhythm and inviting viewers in to celebrate with the characters. While The Office Christmas episodes occasionally got out of control, “Moroccan Christmas” most of all, they consistently offer a reminder of the heart of the series while delivering some of the most humorous moments, making it no surprise that the first one ensured the longevity of the sitcom.
Source: Yahoo Entertainment