As much as fans love "The Office," this venerable comedy series doesn't have the market cornered on hilarious documentary-inspired stories. Beyond "The Office" and "Parks and Rec," two shows that always use this format, there are a whole host of other TV shows that have dipped a toe in the waters of mockumentary-style comedy. Here are some of the most memorable.
After doing a loving parody of "Schoolhouse Rock" in the episode "Stanny Slickers 2: The Legend of Ollie's Gold," the tone shifts to a more documentary-style presentation. The latter half of the episode revolves around Stan's quest to find Oliver North's buried gold hidden beneath his house. His neighbors Terry and Greg, tired of being news anchors, document Stan's descent into the ground in the hopes of creating an award-winning documentary.
This NBC comedy has ventured into documentary territory on several occasions, including a parody of Ken Burns in "Pillows and Blankets" and Abed's attempts to film Pierce being manipulative in "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking." Arguably the most entertaining foray in the documentary style the show has made is the third season episode "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux," where Abed documents the dean's attempt to film a new commercial for the college.
The episode "Access" follows a documentary crew as they shadow C.J. during the course of a day. C.J., normally cool under pressure, finds it hard to hide new of terrorist activity from the film crew. Justifiably, Alison Janney won an Emmy for her work in this episode and in this season.
In the fourth season episode "Ugly," the doctors try to help a teen who has a facial deformity. The teen had already been the focus of a documentary, and so the cameras entered the hospital to follow the teen as the doctors tried to help. However, the film crew actually causes the doctors to offer medical aid that was below par. Many of the doctors were afraid to make guesses about the teen's medical condition, for fear of being caught on camera in a moment where they weren't perfect. The icing on the cake, however, is the documentary crew's editing trick: House is furious when he sees that their final cut has been stitched together to make him seem sympathetic.
Sadly, this sci-fi show has been canceled, despite the promise of episodes like "Instinct." In this episode, an ambitious weathergirl and her cameraman stalk the Sanctuary team, hoping that footage of a strange creature will result in a promotion. But the civilians didn't count on the abnormal being so dangerous, and things quickly take a turn for the deadly.