There’s A Scientific Reason You’re Addicted To Watching ‘The Office’
Just in case you need an excuse to watch one more episode!
Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, we no longer have to watch whatever happens to be on TV that night. We can now watch — or rewatch — whatever we’re in the mood for at any given time.
And there’s one show in particular that people just seem to love watching over and over again: “The Office.” Many admit that they watch the episodes multiple times — and they’re not afraid to tell you all about their love of binge-watching this series.
For some, watching this show over and over is a form of stress relief:
one roommate has dropped out and the other hasnt responded in 24 hours about a house we are supposed to decide on by tomorrow, time to bingewatch the office and eat low carb ice cream and pork rinds
— smithypie (@mssmithypie) March 25, 2018
Some fans would choose to watch this over any other show:
me after spending the whole day trying to find something new to bingewatch on Netflix:
….maybe there’s an episode of the office I haven’t rewatched
— hayley (@catchfirenjhs) January 22, 2018
But why is it that people like to watch episodes of “The Office” even after they’ve already seen them — possibly multiple times? Bustle writer Lia Beck decided to investigate the phenomenon to find out exactly why people are so addicted to rewatching this series.
In her research, Beck consulted Pamela Rutledge, the director of the Media Psychology Research Center, who said the show’s ensemble cast gives viewers “multiple psychological access points.” Translation: It’s relatable.
“People can identify with all sorts of situations in the context of office politics and interpersonal relationships,” Rutledge said.
What’s more, “The Office” is funny and laughter has been shown to be an effective stress-reliever.
“Anxiety that might be generated by personal associations is alleviated through humor which changes our body chemistry, reducing stress and improving our sense of well-being,” Rutledge explained.
We know that watching our favorite shows makes us feel good. And there’s science to back it up. Dr. Renee Carr, a clinical psychologist, told NBC News, that when we’re involved in enjoyable activities like binge-watching a TV show, our brains produce feel-good chemical dopamine.
“This chemical gives the body a natural, internal reward of pleasure that reinforces continued engagement in that activity. It is the brain’s signal that communicates to the body, ‘This feels good. You should keep doing this!'” Carr said. “When binge watching your favorite show, your brain is continually producing dopamine, and your body experiences a drug-like high.”
The psychological benefits that come from watching a favorite show don’t diminish over time. In fact, our familiarity with a particular show actually makes it easier to get a mental boost from watching it.
“When we know something well, we don’t need to watch the whole thing — any snippet triggers the effect,” Rutledge said.
And you know how devastated you feel when one you reach the final episode of a favorite series? Those negative emotions are real as well — and it’s called “situational depression.”
“We often go into a state of depression because of the loss we are experiencing,” Dr. John Mayer, a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand, told NBC. “We call this situational depression because it is stimulated by an identifiable, tangible event.”
So there you have it — scientific evidence that yes, you should watch just one more episode!
It’s no wonder people are watching “The Office” and immediately going back to season 1 episode 1. Gotta keep the good times going, right?