Office Space 2 : Why it hasn’t happened

Its twenty years to the day since Mike Judge’s brilliantly satirical workplace comedy “Office Space” introduced us to red staplers, excessive flair, TPS reports, jump-to-conclusion maps and fish n’ chips in the cinema (wait, that might have just been what we were eating in the back row at Hoyts there while watching it).

Yep, time flies…

Though not a monstrous success out of the gate – I could crunch on fish n’ chips in a theatre, without any of the other patrons giving a damn, does that tell you anything about the attendance in my session? – “Office Space” went on to become a cult phenomenon that’s VHS guts would sandwich itself in the recorded heads from those repeated viewings… and then some. Its found in most prized movie collections. Heck, even stapler manufacturer Swingline was inundated with so many calls from folks wanting to request a red stapler like Milton’s in the movie that they were forced to actually make one.

It looks like this…

Office Space 1999
Nobody takes the red stapler.

So why hasn’t Twentieth Century Fox iMessaged Judge and actors Ron Livingston, Gary Cole,Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root and ‘The Bobs’ and asked them to all submit themselves over to a sequel?

Two words : The. Office.

According to Judge, who has achieved great success on the small screen with “King of the Hill” and “Beavis & Butthead”, the success of the BBC workplace comedy, and later remake, killed any chance of an “Office Space 2”.

“There’s probably a moment where I thought about doing [a sequel]”, Judge told Entertainment Weekly. “Then the British office came along and that was good, and then the American one, there were all these good office things, I don’t know, it just seemed like maybe just let it go.”

“NBC even asked me to do the American version of The Office”, Judge, tickled, revealed later in an interview. “They sent over the British version with a letter and some reviews. The first said, “The Office succeeds where movies like Office Space failed.” I passed.”

Granted, Judge  – believe it or not – had to be talked into doing the first “Office Space”. The suits were big fans of his animated ‘Milton’ short that use to air on “Saturday Night Live” and thought the character (who Judge voiced) would make for a good movie – or at least, an element of one.

Comedies were big at the time, thanks to the success of “There’s Something About Mary” (1998), so after convincing Judge that it was actually a good idea (he didn’t agree), we were soon blessed with one of the wittiest laugh-riots of the ‘90s.

The studio wanted Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to star in “Office Space”

Judge didn’t enjoy working too much with Fox on the project either – saying later he had to argue for nearly anything he wanted on the movie, be it certain cast (he wanted great actors, the studio wanted the big names at the time – Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) or music choices – so his enthusiasm to work with them on a sequel wouldn’t be too high. In fact, they asked him a couple of years after the release of the original to come back and do a follow-up but he nixed the offer, fearing it would simply be another unenjoyable wrestling match with the studio.

There are occasions when Judge sparks to the idea of a sequel again (or prequel, as he ponders in the above interview) but it would seem he still hasn’t read a TPS report for one good enough to warrant working the weekend on.

For the meantime, we’ll have to be happy revisiting – time and time again – such joyful moments like these!

Happy 20th, “Office Space”!

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