Originally published to Sidewalk Magazine, a student run online publication (sidewalkonline.com)
October 20, 2012
Every fall, one of the things I look forward to the most is seeing what Jim would be wearing for Halloween. No, I’m not referencing my brother, my friends or any of my professors, but what Jim of The Office would wear in the show’s yearly Halloween episode.
The writers always perfectly match him in a costume that is so representative of his character, one that is incredibly sarcastic and clever. Examples include: simply writing “book” on his face one year and three black circles on his chest another year; With this, he’s suddenly a 3-hole-puncher. Every year the television series goes all out to drench their company in Halloween décor, from creating a “Haunted Mansion Warehouse” to dressing their characters in costumes worthy of being recalled upon seasons later. These details allow the episodes to segway into even more unique and memorable plot lines. This seasonal strategy appears to be apparent in numerous sitcoms, from the Big Bang Theory to Community and more. By placing television characters in situations that align with the current holiday, fans in all regions of the nation (including myself) are able to feel even more like it is that holiday, no matter where we live… Not to mention it is also a great boost in ratings for the shows.
I don’t know the concept of seasons, especially winter and fall. I was born in Florida and lived there for a good seven or eight years. If you’re familiar with Florida’s weather, you know that the only weather patterns that exist there are a change between hot and humid and humid and raining. That being said, I never truly experienced a “white Christmas” or a leaf-changing autumn. It was a hot July year round. When I moved to Southern California, I certainly experienced a change in weather, but not a change that was anything representative of what most of the nation experienced. Southern California lacks any kind of season at all, really. It is currently October. The high yesterday was 90°F, yet today I was biking in 75°F, encircled by cool winds and bright blue skies…it’s supposed to rain on Sunday. The inconsistency I face here causes me to never really tuck my warm sweaters under the bed or my tank tops in storage. This makes it a little hard around this time to really believe the images of sipping hot apple cider or playing in a pile of fallen maple leaves that are present around the stores. I can’t celebrate autumn with what surrounds me in my environment.
However, I choose to celebrate Halloween in a different way: via television sitcoms. Every year I especially look forward to Jim’s costumes in The Office and other shenanigans that all the different series “brew up” for this holiday. There’s something about characters doing outrageous stunts that make them all the more hilarious when they do so in costume. If you’re an avid fan of a certain series, you come to know the characters and what they’re like, how they would react when presented with different situations that the writers have conjured up for that episode. When you know a character almost as well as their writers and actors do, then you know how ridiculous it is to see them in a costume that is either ironic to their persona or seemingly fitting with it. It’s a yearly treat to see them step out of the comfort zone of their normal characters to dress in wacky costumes that scream, “IT’S HALLOWEEN!” And I love it. I love the fact that they do this all while there are leaves falling from the trees on their lawns. There are carved pumpkins and orange and black streamers littered around the house. Trick-or-treaters are interrupting the scenes, only to be incorporated into them comically. For me, this is how I come to celebrate Halloween, despite the fact that the weather might not necessarily tell me it is so: I enter another world that attempts to truly characterize autumn. For every half hour of a sitcom I watch, I invest myself into the playful seasonal scenarios that Dwight from The Office faces or that Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory simply cannot stand. It is the sitcom writers’ holiday spirits that allow me to know it is really fall.
I have to face the truth. I may not be able to believe that it is ever really cold enough here around this time to drink hot apple cider. I am certainly aware that I will never be able to put my pairs of shorts away. I do know, however, that I can always count on a television sitcom to remind me that Halloween is nearing. Around this time, I can trust that a sitcom will never cease to be extra amusing and seasonally hilarious.