Many of us dream of the day when we can escape our jobs and fantasize about cursing our bosses before leaving the office and living a happy life. For many, work isn’t a place we want to return to in our free time, but these TV shows at least make us feel better about them.
Whether you’re watching a work-themed comedy like “Parks and Recreation” or the dramas of a multi-billion working empire like “Succession,” you can take comfort in the fact that your workplace is probably not so dramatic – at least we hope.
Succession // Diana Velasquez, cultural editor
Do you think you have problems with dad? Try to wage war on him for control of the world’s largest media conglomerate. When he basically calls you a worthless excuse for a son amid falling and rising stock prices, then you’ve felt the real sting of a family business.
“Succession” is HBO’s critically acclaimed show based on the real life of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the owner of NewsCorp. In “Succession”, Murdoch’s proxy is one Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the CEO and founder of Waystar Royco. The show focuses on who exactly will inherit Logan’s media empire after his retirement, specifically which of his children will come to power.
Initially, it looks like his second son, Kendall, will take the job, but he faces intense competition from two of his siblings, Siobhan and Roman. And while a good chunk of the show is devoted to their bickering, the overarching conflict is the conflict between the children and their father. The best lesson learned from this show is to separate your business and your family.
Parks and Recreation // Patrick Swain, Editor
Any Monday, mustachioed libertarian Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is all of us. This quote sums up his work ethic – “Normally, if given a choice between doing something and doing nothing, I would choose to do nothing. But I will do something if it helps someone else doing nothing. I would work all night if it meant nothing was done. His exasperated pessimism coupled with his almost gleeful aversion to productivity helps him pursue his goals of destroying the state from within – doing his part to hamper any effectiveness in the local government of an Indiana town in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” which focuses on the Pawnee Parks Department.
His cheerful and idealistic colleague Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is Ron’s polar opposite. In her office are framed photos of stateswomen such as Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
“I have America’s most precious commodity – the blind, stubborn belief that I’m doing what’s right,” she once said.
Leslie’s genuine and often naive altruism clashes with Ron’s grumpy individualism to foster a chaotic workplace, bolstered by an eccentric cast of characters and their absurd antics – a perfect microcosm for the unglamorous world of bureaucracy at low level.
New Girl // Julia DiPietro, Editor
Yes, “New Girl” is one of Netflix’s most popular shows. Yet no one really talks about the two underrated budding job plots throughout the series. First up we have Winston Bishop as he works to become a cop at the Los Angeles Police Department. There are some great episodes surrounding this process, including my favorite in Season 4. This episode, titled “Background Check,” involves a bag of meth and a very sweaty Nick Miller (Jake Johnson). But the main development is the romance between cop partners Winston Bishop and Ally Nelson.
Then, although not one office in particular, Nick Miller and Winston Schmidt (Max Greenfield) spend a lot of time working the bar and becoming co-owners of the establishment. Their bromance is boosted to a new level as they add business partners to their list of accomplishments.
The plot brings out the ambitious and driven side of Nick, as he tries to run the bar and keep it running, in his own way, of course. The two go through many bumps in the road trying to make the bar run smoothly to make it a suitable working environment, and sometimes fail in the process – Nick has been noted to be more like a “nutmeg wholesaler than to a leader. These two scenarios add a special touch The work environment leans towards the classic nine-to-five office space and offers some of the best scenes from episodes of the series.
The Right Place // Jamie Sheppard, for Pitt News
Imagine a chaotic workplace where one wrong turn in the office brings you to the crossroads of all dimensions – there are 10 to be exact – and it takes millions of years to get promoted. In this work, the retreat, also known as the “eternal cry”, means that your soul will be disintegrated and your essence will be drawn from your body with a flaming dipper and poured over hot diamonds. That doesn’t sound too nice! This is the reality of the architect of the “bad place”, Michael (Ted Danson) in the show “The Good Place”. His boss Shawn, along with many other architects, hates new ideas and change, and if anyone annoys him, he could encase them in a green, slimy, inescapable cocoon for an unknown period of time.
Michael challenges these old ways of thinking, and in his journey to happily torture the humans in his care, he sets new precedents for his profession. During his journey with the four humans of his experiment, Eleanor (Kristin Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) – Michael ends up experiencing an existential crisis, the cornerstone of the human experience, which makes him change sides in the “right place”.
He dismantles the wrongs of an age-old system, defeats his own boss, and finds a compromise between heaven and hell. Maybe some of our own workplaces here on Earth could learn a thing or two.