Anthony Walker-Cook is excited for the new LEGO Ideas set inspired by The Office – here’s what he and other fans are hoping for from the finished set.
Oh my god, okay, it’s happening, everybody stay calm. Following the first 2021 review of LEGO Ideas, it has been announced that a set based on the US TV mockumentary The Office will be heading to the shelves.
Like any Ideas set, there’s so much potential, but as the LEGO Group reminds us, the submitted work by designer Jaijai Lewis is not the finished product. Let me, then, briefly consider some of the challenges in seeing a personal favourite TV show turned into bricks.
Lewis has gamely presented what is, frankly, an uninspiring environment; as per the title, The Officeis set in, well, an office. So how are the LEGO Group to present what should otherwise be a (whisper it) boring office? They’ll best do it by fully committing to the office aesthetic – yes, I’m basically saying I want fifty shades of bley.
Added to this is the challenge of detailing the set. LEGO designers are famous for the amount of details they can pack into a set, but the source material is quite fixed. There’s a Homer Simpson cuddly toy on one of the cabinets, but the point of the show (within its mockumentary frame) was to depict an everyday American office, hence there may be less potential for added extras. Given that the US sitcom ran for nine seasons, and I don’t doubt there will be some nifty details included.
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Whether or not the whole office will be presented is unknown. The key parts of the setting, I’d suggest, are the reception desk, Michael’s office, the conference room and Dwight and Jim’s desks. But that’s not to say the rest of the space would be superfluous and to cut the rest of the office would miss the point (the show’s cast were encouraged to do administrative tasks in the background to create the atmosphere of a working office, which naturally isn’t overly glamorous).
I don’t know if the condensed style of other television-inspired sets like 21302 The Big Bang Theory (from 2015), 21319 Central Perk (from 2019) or 21328 Seinfeld (2021) will apply to The Office set. It’ll be a shame if those more mundane spaces are not included, but, of course, there is also the consideration of the size of the set.
We’ll need some minifigures to people this office, and therein lies another question. The submitted project has 17 minifigures and it’s hard to suggest which of those shouldn’t make the cut. Yes, Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly are essential, but they’re nothing without Kevin Malone (or is it Ashton Kutcher?), Stanley Hudson (‘did I stutter?’) or Phyllis Lapin-Vance (married to Bob Vance, Vance refrigeration).
It’s almost impossible to suggest who should be cut from the minifigure line up (although Toby Flenderson needn’t be included), but it seems unlikely that the whole roster will be presented.
So that leaves us at a bit of an impasse – as the set is revised, the LEGO Group will need to deal with a few challenges that have perhaps so far not been seen with the other sitcom-based sets. It won’t be a simple case of declaring ‘this is a good set’ (for reference, declaring bankruptcy is equally more complicated than first thought).
Nonetheless, I’m excited for what this set will bring. It has the opportunity to be wonderfully, gloriously mundane, just like the show. As far as LEGO is concerned, it feels as if the company has an open goal. Fans will be ready to flock towards the set to celebrate its simple eccentricity.
I’ll willingly admit that the finale of The Office always makes me tear up and I’m so excited for this fan-favourite to finally be accepted. Obviously, the final product is to be confirmed, but with what we’ve seen so far, there’s plenty of potential.
Michael Scott once philosophised, ‘Would I rather be fear or loved? Easy: both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.’ Likewise, as a massive fan of The Office, I’m apprehensive and excited to see the final product – this show (and, now, set) means a lot to be, and I await to see how Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office is presented in LEGO brick form.