Why "The Office" mattered: It adapted scripted TV to the reality TV era

As "The Office" exits tonight, James Poniewozik explains six ways "The Office" was hugely influential in TV, including bringing hard reality to the workplace sitcom and helping mainstream the cringe factor. But perhaps most importantly, "The Office" applied reality TV tropes successfully to he sitcom format. As he explains, "to NBC’s primetime audience, its signifiers–the confessional interviews, the cameras rushing to keep up with the action–were more immediately familiar from reality TV, which in 2005 people were talking about replacing sitcoms altogether."
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Why we loved and hated "The Office": It was pure escapism that was meant to look real
What made "The Office" great is what ultimately killed it
Jumping the shark: Key moments in "The Office's" decline
Should "The Office" finale signal the end of the mockumentary sitcom?
"Office" breathed new life into the sitcoms -- but the change it ushered is going away
The floppy evolution of Jim Halpert's hair // "Office" and "Mambo No. 5"
"The Office" gets a "Six Feet Under"-style sendoff
"The Office" will live on thanks to Staples' Dunder Mifflin paper
5 ways "The Office" ruined her life // 59 reasons to miss "The Office"
Greg Daniels knew from the pilot that "The Office" would be special
Director Ken Kwapis directed the first episode and the last episode
"The Office" is ending like it began -- as an afterthought
See Ellie Kemper's farewell photo album // 19 best sports moments
Cast members reveal what they took home // Here's the real "Office" in Van Nuys

Norman Weiss has been doing TV Tattle since the week "Freaks and Geeks" was canceled. He is a Hollywood outsider who was born and raised in Hollywood. "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" are broadcast 2 blocks from his high school.