The Office Once Held An Uncomfortable Record. It Was Broken By HBO's Succession

Jeremy Strong and John Krasinski
(Image credit: HBO/NBC)

Though NBC's The Office ended over eight years ago, many still talk about it and enjoying watching it today. The series received much praise and awards throughout its run, and almost any show would love to have its accolades. Interestingly, the show also holds a record that's honestly a bit uncomfortable. And as it turns out, it was recently broken by HBO’s acclaimed drama Succession.

The Steve Carrell-led comedy is notable for a few reasons, and one of those is that Season 2's “Booze Cruise” involved 27 whole seconds of complete silence. During this sequence, John Krasinski's Jim and Jenna Fischer's Pam reflected on the former's relationship with Roy while on the deck of a ship. Funny enough, series director Ken Kwapis actually explained in in Welcome to Dunder Mifflin, an oral history of the series penned by Brian Baumgartner and Ben Silverman, that the 27-second silence was actually not planned:

John and Jenna both knew there were no rules about pace. They're not doing a scene, we're observing them. We're observing two people having a moment. So it was not objectionable to let the moment linger. I don't remember, when we shot it, feeling like, 'Oh my God, this is it. We've broken the record for longest moment of not talking.'

Mashable, which researched the record, couldn't say for sure whether The Office truly held the longest stretch of silence for a TV show, but the moment is still impressive nonetheless. So the fact that Succession nearly doubled the awkward silence time is that much more amazing. The Emmy-winning drama's big moment happened during the third episode of Season 4, “Lion in the Meadow.” The show presented a record-breaking 48 seconds of silence, which occurred between Jeremy Strong's Kendall and Brian Cox's Logan Roy. The scene shows the two characters meeting up in an attempt to mend familial and professional fences. The length of time combined with their reason for meeting are enough to make anyone cringe.

One really has to give props to the actors involved in both shows for their respective work. In a typical scenario, silence can be awkward for just about anyone, and we've all had those weird moments. On that note, I can’t imagine how it would have been to perform such a situation with a crew surrounding you. Needless to say, it takes some talented stars to pull off such a feat.

Because this is an unofficial record, it makes me wonder if there are scenes throughout TV history that have beaten the 48 seconds. Surely, there has to be at least one scene out there that is an uncomfortable one minute long. I'm starting to think I may need to do a deep dive of my own one of these days.

It’ll be interesting to see if another show can step in and beat Succession's newly minted benchmark. And if one does manage to do it, I cringe at the thought of what such a scene details. You can stream episodes of the series on HBO Max, and you can also check out classic episodes of The Office on Peacock.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.