You never thought you’d say this, but you miss your office, don’t you? These are crazy times, so don’t feel bad about thinking crazy thoughts. Plus, you’re not alone. Staying home day and night for weeks on end will make anyone yearn for a change of scenery. We never thought we’d find ourselves reminiscing over our desks, that water cooler that’s just a hair too far, and the office gossip — oh, the office gossip! It’s just not the same over Zoom. Thankfully, there are plenty of workplace comedies on Topic that provide a much-needed escape from all the board games and sourdough making. Here are our top five picks that will transport you back to your sweet, sweet cubicle.
This is the ultimate workplace comedy — the banality of the name says it all. Don’t even try to argue that the American version is better. There would be no Michael Scott if it wasn’t for David Brent. Ricky Gervais’s “Office” is more subtle, and the humor is much, much drier. It doesn’t hit you over the head with jokes, but when you catch the little nuances it’s a far more rewarding experience. Many of the characters you know and love are here in the form of their British counterparts, like the office hero, Tim, his receptionist love interest, Dawn (note the dishwashing soap theme), and the office buffoon, Gareth. Believe it or not, Gareth might out-weird Dwight, with his bug eyes, bowl haircut, and overly confident quips: “I could catch a monkey. If I was starving I could.”
Two young, ambitious friends try to start a business together in one of the biggest cities in the world — easy, right? Ha, let’s find out the hard way, shall we? “Enterprice” follows two aspiring entrepreneurs in South London, Kazim and Jeremiah, who are trying to get their home delivery start-up, Speedi-Kazz, off the ground. They’ve got the best intentions, they’ve got gumption, but do they have business savvy? Judging by their very awkward investor pitch, in which Kazim acts out their delivery process with way too much detail (“I was just cooking fish fingers. Tiffany, put down the sausage!”), they could use some work, but at least they’ve got each other? Each episode sees different obstacles threatening their fledgling business, from parents to girlfriends to big secrets, but will their start-up threaten their friendship too?
I know what you’re thinking: ever since “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” you’ve been hankering for another gigolo story, am I right? Talk about an underrepresented demographic! Thankfully, we’ve got “Callboys,” which gladly invites us into the day-to-day goings-on of a male escort service. Set in Belgium, the show follows Devon, Jay, and Wesley, three male escorts who might be good between the sheets, but not so good with spreadsheets. One day they’re falling for a business partner, the next they’re trying to break into the sex toy market. How do they have time for escorting? As wacky as the premise can get, it’s still a hell of a lot more realistic portrayal of sex work than “Pretty Woman.”
Oh, Harry. Sweet bumbling Harry. He’s the star of “Goober,” a series about a different kind of workplace — the Uber car. Harry plays an Uber driver with autism who really, really wants to understand other people, but his interactions with his passengers often leave him more confused. We can’t blame him, though, because humans are inherently hard to understand. In fact, the more we get to know Harry and see how good-natured and kind-hearted he is, the more we start to feel like maybe he’s the wise one. Even if he forgot the word for “hijab” and complimented a Muslim woman on her “jihad.” And even when he tried to return a stuffed dog left in his backseat and came off like a total pedo. We still love you, Harry.
If you prefer your humor dark and your characters dysfunctional, then “Not Safe For Work” is safe for you. Definitely not your typical office comedy, the series is an all too realistic look at the lives of a group of civil servants working together in Northampton. You thought the cast of “The Office” was odd? This group of misfits will put them to shame. Let’s see: there’s Danny, the office manager who is perpetually wasted out of his head, Jenny, the relentlessly bubbly girl that nobody wants to sit next to (wonder why?), and then there’s our anti-heroine, Katherine, who is recently divorced and plagued by past secrets. What do they all have in common? They’re all this close to losing it. If workmates are like a family, this is an incredibly dysfunctional one.