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Oscar Nunez Shares A Brutally Honest Take On The Office's 'Controversial' Scenes

Not everything on "The Office" has aged well. 

One example is the episode "A Benihana Christmas" in which Michael and Andy bring two Asian waitresses back to the office and Michael, being unable to tell the two women apart, marks one of them with a marker to remember which is which. Kat Ahn, who played one of the waitresses, told The Washington Post that her excitement to appear on the show was dashed pretty quickly once she realized that she was the butt of a racist joke. "You're told to shut up and be grateful," she recalled.

While the show presented Jim as the romantic smart aleck whose love for Pam is the show's driving force, some now see Jim as a bully towards Dwight Schrute, and inappropriate towards Pam when she was engaged. In the thread "Does anyone else think Jim's creepy" in the subreddit r/DunderMifflin, a few people seemed to agree. "I think Jim is a bully and a bit of a dog throughout the show" wrote u/oooh_lenny. In r/FanTheories, a user with a now deleted account presented the controversial opinion that Jim is a sociopath.

Meanwhile, according to NME, in 2021, a Comedy Central marathon of "The Office" omitted the episode, "Diversity Day," leading many fans to complain about it being "canceled." In another comment from a deleted account, a user in r/DunderMifflin pointed out "I'm pretty sure anyone who's actually watched the show can understand that the joke is that what Michael was doing was ridiculous. It wasn't funny because he was entertaining." However, according to Snopes, there was no actual reason given as to why the episode was skipped, and many episodes get skipped frequently. 

But Oscar Nunez, who played Oscar on the show, had something to say about the show's controversial episodes.

Oscar Nunez thinks the controversial episodes aren't that bad

In an interview with Nerds and Beyond, Oscar Nunez explained that he saw the show as comfortable, with the controversial elements not being a very big deal. "I think a couple things" Nunez said when asked what made the show special. "I think it's a funny show, and I also think people find it comforting. It's gonna be funny, but they're not gonna get any surprises or anything too controversial. The controversial stuff is pretty harmless." But, considering the aforementioned issues with racism and bullying, is the controversial stuff as harmless as Nunez thinks?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ricky Gervais, creator of the original British version of "The Office" that the American version is based on, and a frequent critic of so-called cancel culture, claimed in a 2021 interview with the BBC that the original show would be canceled today. "I mean now it would be cancelled [sic]. I'm looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, 'Good let them cancel it. I've been paid!'" (He later tweeted that this comment was "clearly a joke," and inaccurately claimed that he never actually said outright that it would be canceled.)

Still, according to Cord Cutters News, in 2020, seven years after it went off the air, "The Office" was Netflix's most watched show until the streaming service lost the rights to the show on January 1, 2021. So clearly, people still enjoy the show, even with the changing cultural norms of the 2020s. While there are certainly episodes that may make us cringe by modern standards, it's not so repellent as a whole that it has lost its popularity.