Office music: it’s hip to be stale

The New York Times discusses The Office’s use of pop hits from yesteryear:

… even casual radio listeners will probably know “My Humps,” which was an inescapable hit for the Black Eyed Peas in 2005. When that song was heard as Michael’s cellphone ringtone in an episode late last year, it instantly communicated two things about him: He was trying to emulate the younger generation, and he was lagging about a year behind their tastes.

Link: ‘Office’ Songs in the Unhip Keys of Life and Karaoke

Tipster: Emily


  1. this point is also reiterated in the very first show with Michael doing “Waaassuuuuupppp”, 7 years late (the joke coming from the BBC version), and more evident last fall when he did the Lazy Scranton video, nearly a full year after Lazy Sunday from SNL was a web hit.

  2. Also how he did the Chris Rock stand up bit, and the Cosby Jello impression, and the Six Million Dollar Man impression. He seems to get stuck on something, thinking its cool or funny but doesn’t know when to give it up. Poor guy, ya gotta love him.


  3. There’s also the “forward it likes it hot, forward it like its hot” that he tried to pass off as new slang during Sexual Harrassment

  4. I love this article because it does illuminate something that is there, but you never really pay attention until someone teels you about it, and it makes you appreciate that aspect even more.

    I like the music selections that they make in this show more than others because it makes songs that you’ve known for years and gives them a different context that either ruins it for you or makes you like it even more. I can’t help but think of Dwight sulking in his car when REM’s “Everybody Hurts” is played.

    And even though THE O.C. has made like five sountrack albums, you would never see a guy try to woo a gal with “

  5. I’m glad to see the article but I found the reporter’s notion of young music listeners to be funny and wrong, as if they only listen to whatever is very recent and that something being a year old is hilariously out of date.

  6. (Sorry, I wasn’t done posting the first time)

    “The Rainbow Connection” with a banjo. I think an entire generation will now associate that song with Ed Helms instead of Kermit the Frog.

    I know it would be really expensive, but I’d like to see either Michael or Dwight musically crap all over a Beatles or a Stones song. And I love both of them. Just want to see if it survives them like U2’s “With or Without You”

  7. I love this article because I really like paying attention to how they use music. But I don’t think the joke about “my humps” is so much about the fact that the song was a year old, but about how the song was so blandly in-your-face popular that of course someone like Michael would know and like the song. I think the use of “mambo #5” was more about how old it was, how momentary it’s popularity was, and how Michael didn’t let it go when the rest of the world did. It’s jokes like Michael’s ringtone that make me loove this show.
    But I disagree with the article when it dislikened the office from shows that used indie bands, because what about the episodes with clap your hands say yeah, the new pornographers, or travis?
    (Sharing headphones with Jim and listening to “sing”? How could she NOT make out with him?)

  8. It’s always bothered me, they said that music always comes from the stereo or someone singing. Where does “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John come from at the end of The Dundies? I’m sure documentaries can put music over their shows, but it kind of breaks a pattern.

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