A rising trend in tv and film these days is the extended universe. We’ve got the MCU, DCEU, the View Askewniverse, Wizarding world, and more. It’s a smart play for studios because they get to create larger intertwining stories that span multiple movies and creates a more immersive fan experience. Also, as Mel Brooks said as his character Yogurt in Spaceballs, “Moichendising, Moichendising, where the real money from the movie is made!”
I’d be impressed if you knew what shows were included in the Schurniverse, especially since they aren’t technically tied together. Michael Schur, remember the name. He wrote, produced, and sometimes directed the following: The Office, Parks & Rec, The Good Place, Brooklyn 99.
Talk about a resume… That is just the top, he has also worked on SNL, Master of None, The O.C., and even Black Mirror.
We are going to focus on the first four since those are some of the best, if not the best, comedy series of the last 20 years. What makes an ensemble show great? For me, it starts with the characters. Great characters make great shows. Who cares if you have amazing plots and perfect jokes if the audience doesn’t care about who’s speaking? He also played Mose on the Office just for fun!
First, we must talk about Michael Scott. Steve Carrell literally created the perfect character. There are moments where you love him, others when you sympathize with him and even more times where you can’t believe his stupidity. Most importantly, you laugh at and with him. Don’t take my word for it, The Ringer just crowned him TV’s best character in a 64-team bracket style tournament. (I miss March Madness ☹) Let’s explore his greatest moments:
Quick Honorable mention to the other two big bosses from the Schuniverse, Captain Raymond Holt and Ron Swanson.
The only reason The Office or any of these other shows worked so well was due to the incredibly diverse casts that played off each other. Take one away and it’s a different show. What’s Parks & Rec without Chris Traeger. How about The Good Place without Janet? Brooklyn Nine-Nine without Hitchcock and Scully? No thanks.
Since there are plenty of other blogs out there breaking these shows down, let’s do something a bit different. I’ll call this the hypothetical game.
Here’s a warm-up: What Character would you want to be stuck with on a desert island?
- Dwight Schrute – A logical choice for most. Dwight is always prepared for the worst. While some may run tired of his schtick, I’ll take survival over companionship
- Jake Peralta – His favorite movie is Die Hard, he’s always down for a riff sesh, and he can’t stand the sight of blood. No worries about cannibalism (Dwight for sure would eat me)
- Ron Swanson – Strictly based on his need for meat, he’d make sure we’d get off that island in Ron Swanson a hurry.
Who would be in your starting 5?
- PG: Ellenor Shellstrop – while short in nature, she can run the show. She’s got leadership chops and a mean streak when needed to get the rest of the squad in line
- SG: Ryan Howard – Selfish as hell but seems like he’s got a stroke from outside. Willing to take that final shot (even if he bricks it like he did with DM Infinity)
- SF: Jim Halpert – He’s long and will take on the opposing teams biggest offensive threat
- PF: Sgt. Terry Jeffords – I mean have you seen him do his pec dance? The man has more muscles in his fingers than most do in their whole body
- Center: Gabe Lewis – He’s a shot blocking specialist. Not much meat on the bones but get that ball down low and he’s sending it back
Bench: Adrian Pimento, Charles Boyle: Pimento is the wild card and Boyle is the glue guy
You get a table comped at Hakkasan in Vegas, who are you bringing?
- Gina Linetti – Girl just knows her way around a social function, would throw down with any randos trying to mooch.
- Tom Haverford and Jean Ralphio – Entertainment 720 knows how to open doors, would get us hooked up with the DJ
- Chris Traeger – Just an incredibly good looking human. He also doesn’t drink so he’s DD and taking us to Taco bell late night
- April Ludgate – Another incredibly good looking human. Would cut a deal with the security team to let us get our Taco Bell back into the club
You get arrested, who are you calling to bail you out?
- Amy Santiago – all you need to do is tell her that you’d talk shit about her to Captain Holt and she would stop at nothing to avoid that happening
- Janet – Can literally make a key appear, could make money appear, whatever you need she’s got it
- Jan Levinson – She’d bribe the guard with some “personal company”
Who’s on your debate team?
- Chidi Anagonye – The smartest philosopher out there. Not going to use him in our closing argument due to his inability to make a decision but would be a wealth of knowledge and a walking dictionary
- Michael (Ted Danson) – Terrifyingly persuasive. Also a demon
- Oscar Martinez – Number whiz. Very level-headed. Probably crushes trivia
Create a band, who you got?
- Keyboard and vocals: Darryl Philbin and Doug Judy – Two great voices sitting behind dueling pianos, sign me up. We just have to keep Doug on lockdown so we don’t lose him
- Drums: Kevin Malone — fedora and sunglasses just happens to be the best Kevin look. (sorry tissuebox shoes and wig)
- Guitar: Andy Dwyer – Humble beginnings with Mouserat have him prepped to blow up
- Groupie/Roadie: Jason Mendoza – He’s got the enthusiasm, does he have the brain capacity?
Who wins in a fight, Meredith or Mean Marge?
Meredith survived being hit by a car so I bet she can take a punch or two, especially with a couple cocktails to numb her up. However, I’m taking Mean Marge here. The entire precinct fears her, there must be some background there that we don’t know about. She fights dirty.
You’re planning a dinner party to impress the future in-laws. Who do you invite?
- Captain Raymond Holt and Kevin Cozner – These two sharply dressed gentlemen would bring a level of sophistication that could raise small talk to medium talk
- David Wallace – Who doesn’t love talking a little business
- Holly Flax – She’s in HR so you know she won’t cross any lines. However, her quirkiness would add a bit of flair to dinner
- Donna Meagle – Would bring a bit of entertainment to the crew. Always has some good gossip
If you were an orphan, who would you want to be your adoptive parents?
- Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope – If wholesome is what you’re looking for, these two got it. Suburban Indiana with a mom who loves her job and a nerdy dad who has a Star Wars collection that rivals Skywalker Ranch… sign me up
- Jim and Pam – They had a rough start at the hospital but two kids in, they are as great as ever. Imagine your bedtime stories all being about a prank war with daddy’s coworker!
You’re opening a new restaurant, who do you hire?
- Front of house manager/Designer/hostess: Tahani Al Jamir – Elegant and just the right amount of snooty superiority complex to keep us high class and in demand
- Wait staff: Kelly Kapoor, Erin Hannon, Clark and Pete– friendly and customer service focused.
- Chef: Kevin Malone – That chili is to die for
- GM: Robert California – Ruthlessly efficient. Will keep the restaurant margins looking good
You’re about to pitch Jeff Bezos on the biggest deal of your life, who do you bring with you?
- Michael Scott – While he may not be the brightest bulb, he’s a darn good salesman. Many years of industry exp will do him well.
- Todd Packer – He’s vulgar sure but the bald guy connection will do well here.
- Tom Haverford – The ole razzle dazzle
- Charles Minor – It can’t hurt to have Idris Elba on your side for the negotiantion. He’s black superman (shoutout Hobb’s & Shaw)
Last one since it’s getting late…
You get to banish your worst enemy to spend eternity with one character, who do you pick?
- Gerry Gergich – He really brings nothing to the table here.
- Andy Bernard – Constant bombardment of bad acapella and stories of his days up at Cornell would get old fast
- Creed Bratton – You probably wouldn’t make it out of there alive
- Scully and Hitchcock – I couldn’t imagine having roommates as gross as these guys, their friendship, however, is as cute as can be.
- Shawn from The Bad Place – He’s just an evil dude
I could go on for a while, and I’m sure I left out a few characters you know and love. That is the genius of the Schurniverse. Just create a ton of great characters and build a show around them. Hope you enjoyed this fun little game.
Until next time…