RIP Steve Jobs: How He Helped Build GMMR - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

RIP Steve Jobs: How He Helped Build GMMR

October 5, 2011 by  

As millions around the world mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, countless tributes will be written about his efforts to give life to the personal computer at Apple, to reinvent the world of animation through Pixar, and to transform the music industry forever with iTunes.

What you may not know about Steve Jobs, along with his brilliant colleagues at Apple, is that he paved the way for sites like GIVE ME MY REMOTE to succeed. It all began with the introduction of the first Video iPod, released in October 2005, and a pair of flirtatious kids working at a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

When THE OFFICE launched on NBC in March of 2005, it was anything but a ratings juggernaut. It’s inaugural season of six episodes ranked poorly in Nielsen households, ranking #102 among network TV shows for the year. Critics were kinder to Steve Carell and the cast of virtual unknowns, but the show faced an uphill battle to make it through its second season in the fall.

As the team from Dunder Mifflin returned to NBC’s schedule in September 2005, Steve Carell had become a legitimate movie star, bolstered by the success of THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. Ratings improved as a result of Carell’s newfound fame, but it was another Steve who pushed the program into another stratosphere.

I had never seen THE OFFICE before I purchased a fifth generation iPod just before Christmas in 2005. Like any 28 year old wanting to play with a new toy as if I were still a child, I searched iTunes endlessly for videos to play on my enormous 2″ screen. Somehow, between a slew of movie trailers and clips, I noticed an icon for THE OFFICE alongside an episode called “The Dundies.” 22 minutes later, I had a new favorite show, and a minor headache from squinting 🙂

A funny thing happened once I started watching THE OFFICE on my normal TV. I kept downloading the show from iTunes, happily paying $1.99 each week for the privilege. Instead of telling all my friends how great the show was, I would just hand them my iPod and tell them to press play. I kept that routine up for weeks, playing and replaying each episode like a junkie on the streets of Baltimore in THE WIRE, until I could quote the most random lines from Dwight or Creed.

I was not alone. The Chicago Tribune reported that the revenue generated by iTunes sales helped the show get picked up for a third season, and audience support grew steadily going forward.

The iPod did not just change music or the ways in which people can multi-task with earbuds dangling from their heads. It helped a brilliant show catch fire at the perfect time, leading people like me to seek out others who loved the show in a profound way. Ironically, we wanted to have a water cooler conversation about scenes that happened near the water cooler at Dunder Mifflin, and many of us found it online.

Kath Skerry created GIVE ME MY REMOTE as a place to discuss her favorite show. I was a fan of this site long before I ever had the privilege of writing for it. Kath’s recaps and insights were the gold standard for so many fans of THE OFFICE who weren’t done digesting each week’s episode until we clicked here to read her thoughts. Four years later, John Krasinski personally stopped by GMMR to chat with readers, and has rarely missed a chance to namedrop this site (and Kath personally) as a thank you for the platform it has provided for fans of the show.

Season 2 of THE OFFICE is my favorite season of any television show, ever. It introduced all of us to a cast and crew who will continue to make us laugh, swoon, and cry. It led some of us to make new friends (both real and virtual) each Thursday night, and it was the foundation of what has become my virtual home.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your limitless creativity, your laser-like focus on user-friendly simplicity, and for giving fans of television such an amazing innovation.

P.S. Thank you for this.

Filed under The Office, TV News


4 Responses to “RIP Steve Jobs: How He Helped Build GMMR”

  1. SB on October 5th, 2011 10:02 pm

    Erik, I thought this was a really nice post and kind of perfect for GMMR and a tribute to its roots as well as to a great visionary. I’m really sad about Steve Jobs, which seems a little weird since I’m def not an Apple fanboy (although I admit to owning more than a couple). I’m sad for Steve Jobs and his family on like a personal level, because cancer is a horrible way to go, and becauisto se something about it is just such a stark reminder that no matter who you are, how smart or successful or famous or whatever, it ends the same for all of us. But I don’t know, I guess there’s some comfort in that too, in the shared human experience, and it’s undeniable how very much Steve Jobs did to bring us all together. And I think the best part of this really lovely tribute is that it touches on how much someone can really affect our lives in unexpected and unintentionally great ways. So, ya know … if they have internet in heaven and you’re reading this, thanks, Steve Jobs. You were good to us.

  2. Weeza on October 6th, 2011 10:01 am

    Erik: Your history with Steve Jobs, iPods and The Office mirrors that of my own. While my husband worships at the alter of a 52″ TV, I continue my television intimacy with my iPod classic. Steve Jobs has his fingerprints on every device that enables my addiction to The Office: iPod, iPad, Apple TV, iMAC, iPhone. I hope there’s a special place for Steve in iHeaven.

  3. Sarah on October 6th, 2011 11:02 am

    Well said and written (as always), Erik! I was a little verklempt reading your post–not only because my heart does go out to the Steve Jobs family –literal and business-wise, (and not because SB was the first commenter! Ah, it’s really like the old days! 🙂 ) … but because I also started hanging around here at GMMR in Office-Season Two time (along with Gilmore Girls and Arrested Development, and etc, etc). To say that Apple has shaped my life is probably unrealistic. To say that GMMR has shaped my life is probably understatement. 🙂


  4. Justin on October 14th, 2011 4:41 pm

    This is great! Very inspirational ad thoughtful!