Prepare to waste your lunch hour/evening/week! Internet hero Joe Sabia has spent the last year and a half watching all of The Office (U.S. version) and collecting all 1,300 (ish) cultural references he could find in the show. He then proceeded to cut together videos, one for each year, in this amazing Time Machine site. You pop in a year at the top, hit GO, and, boom!, The Office references aplenty.
Some favorite years of mine:
For those who spot errors and want to correct them, consult this Google Docs spreadsheet, or this video of references Sabia couldn't figure out (check the comments for some that are already solved).
Sabia did all this work to make a point about copyright reform. He wrote, in part:
The Office is relatable (and hilarious) because it borrows so much from culture, and people get the references. Culture is society’s collected knowledge, art, and customs. It’s what surrounds us and unites us, and it allows us to collectively laugh at a joke in The Office about Ben Franklin or M. Night Shyamalan. Culture, simply put, is the seasoning in a meal. ...
... This Time Machine is intended to show how much we rely on culture. So let artists bang it out without fear of being sued. (...that’s what she said)