Posted by: Rachel Baker | October 30, 2014

“The Office” and the Spread of Media Transnationally

From Chapter 7 of our book Spreadable Media by Jenkins, Ford, and Green, we learned about what they term “transnational spread of both mass and niche media content” (p. 259). One key aspect of this chapter was the way cultures all across the globe share, borrow, steal, adapt, and build upon one another’s media. For example, I love the television series “The Office.”

What I did not realize or take time to think about previously is that The Office was first produced in the United Kingdom in 2001. It was not until 2005 that the U.S. adopted and adapted the show for a U.S. audience. Germany, France, Chile, Israel, Sweden and others have made their own adaptations of The Office and aired it on their national television stations.

While the country that the show is aired in and the culture surrounding its nuances differ, some themes remain the same. For example, look at this clip from the Chilean “office” show. The boss is a crazy, egotistical man; gender issues are blatantly shown.

Although The Office may sometimes seem very lighthearted, it is a platform to discuss important issues, such as gender equality, ethnicity, sexual orientation – while also having some comedic relief from the stresses of office life as many of us know it.

For Donna, specifically, I’m including this snippet of The Office, where Dwight talks about his love of the online virtual world Second Life:


  1. I totally missed this connection, great point! I love the office too. What is so surprising about this show’s success across different cultures to me is its specific style of comedy. Having originated in Britain, it came with a very dry comedic style, which some people love, but many others miss. I wonder how it was interpreted across cultures with varying cultural interpretations of humor.

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