2023 will mark a decade since The Office ended its nine-year run, and as the sitcom about finding beauty in the mundanity of life in corporate America remains somehow as relevant as ever, its modern legacy is the subject of frequent debate. Mindy Kaling, a writer on the show who also portrayed its iconically air-headed customer service rep, Kelly Kapoor, is the latest to weigh in, and she didn’t hold back.
In a Tuesday interview with Variety, Kaling called The Office “so inappropriate now,” and apparently, she isn’t the only one who feels this way. “The writers who I’m still in touch with now, we always talk about how so much of that show we probably couldn’t make now,” Kaling said. “Tastes have changed, and honestly what offends people has changed so much now. I think that actually is one of the reasons the show is popular, because people feel like there’s something kind of fearless about it or taboo that it talks about on the show.”
Kaling’s words have sparked a lot of back-and-forth on the internet, since office workers now spend our days on Twitter instead of pranking our co-workers. Some have pointed out that if The Office were as offensive as Kaling suggests, it wouldn’t currently be the main attraction of NBC’s streamer, Peacock, or constantly re-running on NBC. I imagine the majority of dating profiles I swipe through would also try and avoid referencing the show as their entire personality, too. But of course, to Kaling’s point, the crux of much of the show’s humor is workplace sexual harassment, body-shaming, and everyday racism—even if none of it was exactly glorified.
Kaling isn’t the first Office alum to question the show’s place in modern popular culture. In 2018, Steve Carrell, who led the show for nearly a decade as the famously incompetent branch manager Michael Scott, said pointblank that the show probably wouldn’t work today, because “the climate’s different.”
In any case, Kaling also speculated that her character would have “quit Dunder Mifflin to become an influencer, and then probably be canceled, almost immediately.” She continued, “Actually, most of the characters on that show would be canceled by now.”
That particular bit got me thinking: Who else on this show might be canceled? The correct answer is all of them—except Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones), who was perfect and deserved better. But pretty much everyone else sucked, if for no other reason than their total and complete inability to mind their own business and let their co-workers work.
Without further ado, I present a list of The Office characters who might be canceled by today’s standards: