I’ve been waiting until the season premier of The Office to write about the shirts we recently produced for the show. This post was supposed to be about how t-shirts can start conversations – about how the guys in the art department and I talk about the show every Friday morning: “Why was Dwight holding a knife??” – stuff like that. But after last night’s premier of The Office, something else happened and I have to change direction.
The Office is not just “ha-ha” funny – it is filled with such strange, inappropriate, and unethical behavior that it becomes almost uncomfortable to watch – and you can’t help but laugh. As you learn the flaws of the characters you eventually feel like an insider. NBC capitalizes on this and promotes the show by making items that appear in the episodes available for the public – the Dwight Schrute bobblehead, the personalized mugs, the Dunder Mifflin fun run t-shirts.
Last night they took it a step farther. On the season premier, the staff made a YouTube video (sounds familiar) and “Ryan” wore a shirt advertising his website: www.wuphf.com. Of course I had to look it up, and it exists. The site asks for all kinds of sensitive personal information but does not actually allow you to enter – although I wonder how many people tried. The hoax becomes clear, especially since it’s backed by Ryan who has already done time for fraud.
What point are they trying to make? Who knows – does it really matter? The bottom line is that they got me and a lot of other people to participate. They used a printed t-shirt to make me curious enough to take action. And yes, I’m the shirt guy, and I was giddy. I sat back in my comfy chair, sipped my traditional Thursday cognac and smiled. Thank you NBC, thank you The Office.