In addition to being one of the most comforting shows to put on while you drift off to sleep, The Office is recognized as being one of the more quotable comedies of the 2000s. The show’s lovable cast of characters provided nine (or at least seven) seasons of memorable moments and one-liners. But now that we’ve got a little distance from the show, it’s time to take a cold, analytic look at The Office and determine who really did the heavy lifting in terms of dialogue.
This week, Caitlyn Ralph over at The Pudding, a statistics-focused weekly journal, analyzed the dialogue from the show’s entire run and figured out which characters talked the most over the course of the series, which talked the most per episode they appeared in, and what the general sentiment of each character’s dialogue was. It’s no surprise the Steve Carell’s character, Michael Scott, is reigning champ in terms of lines spoken, with nearly twice as much dialogue as the second-most-talkative character, Dwight, but it is notable that Carell was absent from the show’s final two seasons and still reigns supreme.
When looking at specific characters’ share of dialogue throughout the series, you can track the movements of the various officemates from the foreground to the background or vice versa. After Michael leaves in season 7, Andy’s dialogue bumps up a full 10 percent as he becomes the new boss and the whole nation succumbs to Ed Helms fever. Meanwhile, memorable side characters Phyllis, Kelly, Meredith, and Stanley all stay comparatively quiet throughout the series, only throwing in lines when the core cast’s antics spill over into the rest of the office.
In terms of sentiment, the dialogue is overwhelmingly negative. This may be surprising to fans who remember the show being a laugh-a-minute, until you remember that it took place in the office of a paper company, which sucks. Andy’s unflappable attitude and passion for singing a cappella in his first few seasons cements him as the most positive character, though he’s still slightly negative on average. And it should be no shock to anyone that Angela is way down in the basement as the office sourpuss.
In addition to this analysis, Ralph has included every “that’s what she said” line ever uttered (which you can endure, separately, here) and used a predictive text algorithm to write tweets from the mind of Dwight. You can see all that and more over at The Pudding.