It’s been 20 years since a peculiar little comedy called Office Space graced our screens. While not initially a box office success, the movie has gone on to become a cult classic over the past two decades. It’s best known for the scene where the guys smash up the broken printer in a field, but the film as a whole is brilliant.
The monotony of working in an office is captured in the most hysterical way and all of the characters are lovable and real. So, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this hilarious little movie, here are The 10 Best Quotes From Office Space.
10 On Hawaiian shirt day
“Oh, and remember, next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.”
Gary Cole is one of the funniest actors working today, and his first of many great roles was Bill Lumbergh in Office Space. He walks around with his coffee mug and plays the character’s dull, monotonous, droning voice so perfectly. Everyone has had a boss like that and they’re the absolute worst – he’s one of the most real and identifiable comedy characters ever created. Plus, every office has lame gimmick days like Hawaiian shirt day.
9 On a typical day
“Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late. I use the side door – that way, Lumbergh can’t see me. After that, I sorta space out for an hour...I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say, in a given week, I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.”
After the two Bobs ask Peter to run through a typical day, he delivers this hilarious, brutally honest monologue. This is, of course, after the turning point where he decides to stop caring altogether.
8 On working life
“So, I was sitting in my cubicle today and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So, that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
Peter says this to his therapist when he’s in therapy, and even his therapist says it’s “messed up.” This poor guy realized that ever since he left school as a bright-eyed, optimistic young man, his life has gotten worse and worse every day, because not only does he hate his job, he’s left with the residual misery from the days before. Sad, but very true.
7 On crack addiction and magazine subscriptions
“Hi, my name is Steve. I come from a rough area. I used to be addicted to crack, but now, I am off it and trying to stay clean. That is why I am selling magazine subscriptions.”
What makes this line even greater is the actor’s delivery. It’s clear that he’s been given this little monologue in a script by the magazine people to say at every door he knocks on and he’s struggling to remember it. He stares up at the ceiling as he tries to remember all the words. We’ve all been put in situations like this, which is what makes the scene so funny.
6 On money laundering
“I can’t believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We’re looking up money laundering in a dictionary.”
Office Space was released five years before Anchorman changed the landscape of comedy. What Anchorman did was take things a step further. Previously, a comedic situation would be set up and the scene would wring laughs out of that and be done with it. However, as soon as Ron Burgundy said, “That escalated quickly,” and he and his news team dissected the battle scene they were just in, the face of comedy changed forever.
It added another layer to the comedy – a self-aware one – but it’s important to note that five years earlier, Office Space was already doing this with a self-aware money laundering scheme.
5 On firing employees
“We find it’s always better to fire people on a Friday. Studies have statistically shown that there’s less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week.”
Bob Porter calls this “standard operating procedure” when Peter finds out his buddies are going to be laid off and replaced with “entry-level graduates” and outsourcing to Singapore. So, these poor guys have to work the whole rest of the week when their bosses know they’re just going to fire them on Friday. And this is all because statistics have shown that employees are less likely to make a scene if they’re fired on a Friday.
4 On being called Michael Bolton
“There was nothing wrong with it…until I was about 12 years old and that no-talent ass-clown became famous and started winning Grammys.”
Characters with the same name as a famous person has been used a bunch of comedy movies and TV shows – from Holt’s husband Kevin Cozner in Brooklyn Nine-Nine to the lawyer Sam L. Jackson in Ted 2 – but it’s rarely been as effective and funny as when there was a guy named Michael Bolton in Office Space. Naturally, this guy’s whole life has been marked by sharing his name with a popular pop singer – and he hates it.
3 On missing work
“Looks like you’ve been missing quite a bit of work lately.” “Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”
Ron Livingston might not have become a huge star after Office Space, but he played the perfect everyman character as Peter Gibbons. Everyone with a job can relate to Peter’s struggles at the beginning of the movie, and that’s why we champion him towards the end when he decides to just stop going into work (and stop caring). He stops pretending to respect his superiors and has the perfect line when they try to address his recent absence from the office.
2 On TPS reports
“I’m going to need those TPS reports...ASAP...So, if you could do that, that’d be great...”
TPS reports are a real thing – it wasn’t just a mundane document that was made up for the movie to represent all the mundane documents you’ve ever had to fill out at work. TPS stands for “Testing Procedure Specification” and the reports need to be filled out for quality assurance. Since the movie became iconic, “TPS report” has become a catch-all term for “meaningless exercises imposed upon employees by inept and uncaring management.” Gary Cole delivers every Bill Lumbergh line perfectly as he drags out all the right words.
1 On existentialism
“We don’t have a lot of time on this Earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!”
This is the single greatest line in Office Space, because it perfectly sums up the whole ethos of the movie. This is a movie about how little time we have to live and how office work is a pointless use of that time. That’s Peter’s journey as a character and it comes to a head when he is finally able to articulate it this perfectly.