It’s been a good long while since the American version of “The Office” graced our television sets – almost four years, in fact. But the popular show still lives on in the form of countless gifs and memes – especially at a time when Jim’s eye rolls and Michael Scott screaming, “No, God no!” make for perfect reactions to the assortment of unpleasant things happening in the world right now. Maybe because it was one of the defining comedies of the early social media and streaming media age (along with former Thursday night NBC cohorts “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock”), “The Office” remains part of the cultural conversation. The original British version also saw a recent resurgence in the form of a feature length film following Ricky Gervais’ proto-Michael Scott David Brent. Still, some people are unaware of the show’s existence. At least that’s what Kent State University student Caroline from Cleveland, Ohio gambled on when she pretended to be one of the show’s breakout characters, Dwight Schrute, while talking to a boy on Tinder.
In case you’re not aware, Dwight Schrute was the character on “The Office” who stretched the limits of the show’s pseudo-realism the furthest. Part nerd archetype, part outsider, and wholly proud of his beet farming heritage, Dwight was both an outlier and the clearest pathway to an Office spin-off. In the show’s final season, there was even an attempt to make such a thing happen, with the show airing a backdoor pilot (where the setup for a new show airs as an episode of the show it’s spinning off from). The show, which never came to be, was called “The Farm.” It have followed Dwight’s exploits after inheriting his family’s business and provided Caroline with plenty of fodder for her Tinder ruse, which focused largely on Dwight’s horticultural interests.
So how did this particular con get started? After a binge-watch of “The Office,” of course. In the immediate aftermath of consuming all 9 seasons of the show, Caroline found herself with a Tinder match. With the foibles of Dwight K. Schrute still swirling around her head, she decided to use some of his best lines to woo her potential suitor (or perhaps to vet him for pop-culture knowledge). See some examples of the conversation below.
As you can see, the trick totally worked. The boy clearly believes that Caroline was a beet farmer. He seemed to respond to her Schrute quotes with genuine enthusiasm and interest. He even responded to “You know what they say: those who can’t farm, farm celery” with the utmost sincerity. “I don’t farm but I love nature. My family built a cabin 50 years ago no electricity. It’s beautiful we own about 75 acres.” Given how many stories about Tinder involve boys acting disgustingly or getting frustrated when conversations don’t serve their particular interests, this dude seems alright. If familiarity with “The Office” isn’t a make or break factor for Caroline, he may even be a worthy suitor.
Naturally, Caroline Tweeted these conversations out to the world (“yesterday i convinced a boy that i am a beet farmer by using quotes from the office”), garnering over 4000 retweets, thousands of “likes,” and over 1,000 responses. Aside from some people thinking that it was mean to fool someone who seemed relatively polite – especially for Tinder – responses were mostly positive, as you’ll see below:
Caroline told Buzzfeed that once she approached 5,000 retweets, she contacted the boy to let him know that she didn’t actually farm beets. “He thought it was hilarious and that it was cool that it was getting so many retweets,” she said.
Because Tinder rose to popularity just after “The Office” ended, it’s nice to see the two things finally come together in such a nice way. After all, had they co-existed. If “The Farm” had actually been picked up by NBC, a Tinder-themed Office episode would have been inevitable, as the dating app was a single plot device de rigeur throughout 2014 and 2015. Now, who would have been the focus of such an episode? Probably Creed. Yeah, let’s just say Creed.