A Time Machine Built From TV's "The Office"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 12:07 PM

(NBC)

Too many things on the Internet get called amazing. I wish I could retract every time I called something amazing, so that I could call this amazing and have it mean something. Joe Sabia has created "The Office Time Machine." Enter any year (all the way back through BC) and you'll get an Office clip that includes a reference to that year. 

Try it. It's staggering.

Here's what I got for 1400AD. 

 

Also cool is that The Office Time Machine is actually built to Make A Larger Point.

Sabia says he wants to show how our thinking around copyright is flawed. After all - while there's a decent chance that the time machine will die by a thousand takedown requests (it relies on embedded YouTube clips), it also highlights how a work like The Office is chockablock with references to earlier cultural works. Sabia says it better than I can, so I'll let him talk: 

The Office is relatable (and hilarious) because it borrows so much from culture, and people get the references. Culture is society’s collected knowledge, art, and customs. It’s what surrounds us and unites us, and it allows us to collectively laugh at a joke in The Office about Ben Franklin or M. Night Shyamalan. Culture, simply put, is the seasoning in a meal.

...

This Time Machine is intended to show how much we rely on culture. So let artists bang it out without fear of being sued. (...that’s what she said)

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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