The Office Time Machine: A Cross-Cultural Reference Supercut Spectacular

Joe Sabia is a NYC-based director and speaker, who has co-hosted and co-curated Boing Boing TV on Virgin America for three years. But for the past year-and-a-half, Sabia has been living in the fictional past of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton sales office and cross-referencing all of The Office‘s pop-cultural references.

The result: Dozens of superfan supercut videos separated by year, in The Office Time Machine.

“I created this project to advocate for copyright reform and highlight the importance of fair use in protecting creators and their art,” Sabia writes on the home page. “To prove culture is not only everywhere, but that certain references to films, songs, and works of art are critical for our collective understanding of comedy and to the importance of relating to content, I found every cultural, real-life reference from every episode of The Office.”

So he did. Ordering the DVDs from Netflix and making spreadsheets to chart every time the dialogue mentions a person, place or thing that could be traced back to its origin date. Sabia placed 1,300 such references. But he noted he didn’t catch them all, so he’s made a Google Doc available for you to help fact-check and Wiki his project.

The home page for the time machine automatically starts at 1980.

But the references go back further.

For example: 1974.

Now 1984:



And here are the references Sabia needed your help with, as of Monday. Good luck! And enjoy!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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