The Office And King Of The Hill Reboots Are The Best Thing For Their Creator

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Greg Daniels is responsible for some of my favorite shows of all time, co-creating King of the Hill and Parks and Recreations as well as developing the US version of The Office. With two of those shows getting rebooted I find myself excited to see Daniels return to what he does best, exploring the lives of ordinary people. This differs from his two most recent shows, which incorporate higher stakes and sci-fi elements that don’t play into his strengths. 

Sidetracked By Sci-Fi

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The last two shows Daniels created were Space Force and Upload, both of which saw him deviating from his usual subject matter. Space Force spoofed the new military branch, making it into a version of the workplace comedies The Office made him synonymous with, but giving it life or death stakes. Upload is a science fiction dramedy about uploading human consciousness into a virtual afterlife. 

Both of these shows are enjoyable, and Upload has moments of brilliance, but they lack the impact of his earlier shows. The observational comedy of Daniels doesn’t work in Space Force where lives and world politics are on the line, and Upload’s interesting premise often feels at odds with its comedic elements. The situations are, by design, unrelatable and detached from ordinary life, making them the complete opposite of Daniel’s best work. 

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Co-created by Greg Daniels and Mike Judge, King of the Hill is a simple show about a Texas family and their quirky neighbors. It’s a down-to-earth comedy that gets its comedy from the particulars of Texas culture and Seinfeldesque banal conversations whipped into comedic shape by brilliant writers. While episodes occasionally featured extraordinary circumstances, most episodes centered around the old-fashioned Hank Hill butting up against the then-modern world of low-flush toilets and MTV.

The Sitcom That Changed Everything

the office spin-off the office reboot

The Office is similar, using the template set by the UK version to follow the lives of unremarkable office workers. Like King of the Hill, much of the comedy comes from the quirks and eccentricities of these regular people being put on display. It also mines the interpersonal connections and distractions that make those jobs bearable for comedy, from Jim and Pam’s romance to Stantley’s love for Pretzel Day. 

Daniels Finds Humor In The Mundane

Greg Daniels is the master of highlighting what’s funny about regular people in mundane situations. His best characters tend to be heightened versions of characters we all know, like Dwight in The Office and Dale in King of the Hill. These relatable, flawed, and, most of all, ordinary characters are what makes Daniel’s early shows so beloved. 

Return To Texas Next Year

Two of Greg Daniel’s best shows returning is the perfect excuse for his return to more grounded subject matter. King of the Hill is set to return early next year on Hulu, catching up to the Hill family after a time jump and serving as a direct sequel to the original show. The Office’s return is less direct and will follow a new cast working at a local newspaper, premiering on Peacock at an unknown date.

While the constant stream of remakes and reboots can be frustrating, I’m excited for both revivals. A big part of that excitement stems from Daniel’s returning to the mundane sitcoms he’s the master of. My biggest hope is that it reignites his passion for finding humor in the everyday.