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From 'Ted Lasso' to 'Cheers' to 'Monsters at Work': Time to Get Back to the Office!

| July 16, 2021 | By

With the world going back to work, some folks might be anxious about returning to their old routines. Many people have enjoyed their new at-home work style.

Going back to work after this COVID-19 crisis means dealing with office etiquette, and in many cases, bosses. As with everything in life, some are very good, some are very bad, but all are human (or monsters).

A word of warning -- most workplace comedies, film or TV, are aimed at adults. So, depending on the venue it was produced for, there will likely be varying amounts of language, sexual content and other adult situations (less for broadcast-network shows, more for feature film, cable or streaming shows). So, almost all of the below are for high-schoolers and up, at parents' discretion.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

For recent college grad and aspiring journalist Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), going to the office at a high-end fashion magazine means changing her entire wardrobe and the way she looks, but the most difficult part of her job is dealing with her demanding boss.

Editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) makes sure Andy is at her beck and call 24/7. Slowly, Andy gets sucked into the superficial values and cruelty of the fashion world -- until she opens her eyes and reconnects with her moral center.

With all the talk of body positivity and inclusion these days, The Devil Wear Prada is a good reminder of what can happen when people are treated as commodities, not human beings.


9 to 5 (Nine to Five) (1980)

One of the most fundamental movies about the workplace is the 1980 comedy 9 to 5.

Office workers Judy, Violet and Doralee (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton) have a sexist, egotistical, condescending boss in Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman). This man knows no bounds when it comes to sexism and inappropriate comments and actions.

But the women get even in outrageous, cute but non-lethal ways, ultimately changing the entire office atmosphere for all the employees. After all, a happy environment leads to greater productivity.

Although this film focuses on sexism in the workplace towards women, many of the issues about fair and humane treatment apply to all workers -- and should lead to some interesting conversations with teens working their first jobs.


Ted Lasso (premiered 2020 on Apple TV+)

An out-of-the-box comedy hit for Apple -- and a critical smash, garnering 20 Emmy nominations -- Ted Lasso stars Jason Sudeikis as an American college football coach recruited to take the helm of a struggling English Premier League football team -- which is actually a soccer team.

The show's tone is upbeat and heartwarming, and Ted is sunny and optimistic. And although it's about the often-cutthroat word of pro sports, the themes are about perseverance, teamwork, empathy, humility and respect.

Season two of Ted Lasso premieres with weekly episodes on July 23. It's already been renewed for a third season.


Cheers (1982-1993)

In Boston, Massachusetts, there is a bar where everybody knows your name, called Cheers -- the home base for the hit sitcom of the same name.

Cheers' owner is Sam Malone (Ted Danson), an easygoing, nice guy who always has time for his patrons and workers. Yes, he's a good boss, and his bar is the place where people enjoyed going not just for the drinks, but for the camaraderie of the patrons and staff.

And, since Cheers was an NBC show, there's no bad language, but there's plenty of innuendo. But, there's also the warm, very human interplay among the characters, along with the occasional moral lesson.


Monsters at Work (premiered 2021 on Disney+)

In the very rare instance of a workplace show intended for youngsters, the new series on Disney+ brings back Sully and Mike as the new bosses in Monsters at Work.

If you recall, at the end of the 2001 film Monsters Inc., they discovered laughter was more powerful than screams to power their company. The delightful monster duo takes on the challenge of creating this raw material.

Imagine having a job where you make people laugh. Now that’s an office that would be a fun place in which to work.


Image: Apple TV+ (Ted Lasso), Disney+ (Monsters at Work)

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

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