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Netflix Subscribers Watched An Unbelievable Amount Of The Office In 2020

Over the course of nine seasons, NBC's The Office developed into so much more than the easiest money Ricky Gervais ever made. It gave voice to the entire life cycle of "that's what she said," from its pupal stage as a zinger, to its awkward adolescence as something nobody wanted any more of, to the moment Michael uttered it in the finale, putting the phrase to bed and guaranteeing that nobody would ever say it again.

Through the show's addictive relatability in the early seasons and its Looney Tunes hijinks in later years, The Office made its mark on the pages of sitcom history. Still, comedy isn't famous for aging well, and it's been close to a decade since the show's finale. It would only make sense to learn that it's lost some of its luster with audiences.

But apparently, nah — at least, that seems to be the takeaway from this year's recently released Nielson ratings, which now track total minutes of television watched, categorized by series and provider. According to their estimates, The Office dominated not just Netflix, but the streaming landscape in general, over the course of 2020. As a warmup, try to get accustomed to the fact that the second most-viewed show, also on Netflix, was Grey's Anatomy with 39.41 billion minutes viewed last year. Dunder-Mifflin left them in the dust.

Time theft is not a joke, Jim

According to The Hollywood Reporter, folks watched The Office in 2020 like it was their job, consuming a combined total of 57.13 billion minutes of the show across a 12-month period. By way of comparison, we learn in the episode "Goodbye, Michael" that Michael Scott purportedly worked at Dunder-Mifflin for 9,986,000 minutes — they actually sat down and did the math. In other words, in 2020 alone, audiences spent roughly 5,721 times the number of minutes watching The Office than fictional 14-year employee Michael Scott spent working there.

There's an old truism that it takes ten thousand hours to truly master something, which means that The Office fans collectively mastered the art of watching The Office 9,521 times in 2020.

According to the landmark's official Facebook page, it took seven million man-hours of labor to construct the Empire State Building. In 2020, Netflix viewers could have built eight thousand exact replicas, enough to provide an Empire State Building for roughly half of all incorporated cities in the U.S.

If you took the total time that viewers spent watching The Office in 2020 and laid it out linearly, it would go on for over a thousand years.

Anyway, if you tried to start a podcast during quarantine and failed, that might be why.