My friends are the best. Earlier this week, two of them rushed to my facebook wall to make sure that I knew about the recent Dave Matthews Band reference on “The Office.” Even though I don’t have a television, “The Office” is the one show that I watch semi-regularly on hulu.com. But, as it happens, I had missed last week’s episode, so I had to catch myself up on the aforementioned scene via a YouTube video. How on Earth did we survive before all of this technology?
Anyway, as you can see in the video, Andy was roller-skating without a buffalo herd. In fact, he was alone at the rink and the disc jockey asked if he had any requests, to which he replied, “Dave Matthews Band. No hits. Deep tracks only.” Suddenly the sounds of “Ants Marching” filled the room, and Andy exclaimed, “I said no hits!” But despite his initial resistance, he couldn’t help but fall into the groove.
This isn’t the first time that “The Office” has mentioned DMB. I remember a few years ago when Michael was preparing a mix tape for a romantic date, Ryan advised him to include “Crash” as a sure way to impress a woman. There was also a subtle reference in 2008 where Michael confessed to watching YouTube videos of Cookie Monster singing “Chocolate Rain,” a melody that Leroi Roore has integrated into several versions of the penetrating “Dreaming Tree.” I also thought that Dave would make an excellent replacement for Steve Carell, but I guess that doesn't count as a veritable reference.
In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed this most current joke because it so accurately displays how silly we, as audiences, can be at times. It’s utterly fascinating that we whole-heartedly love this band, but we turn our noses up at songs that are considered “hits,” as if somehow they are too mainstream for “real” fans. But most of the time, just as Andy did in the segment, we lose ourselves in the music anyway, even if the tune that’s being played isn’t a “deep track.”
Some people even go so far as to say that listening to certain numbers is a “guilty pleasure.” What is there to feel guilty about? We all know that DMB’s success does not rely heavily on radio play, but if a specific track does make it’s way over the airwaves to the ears of the masses, then, I say, more power to the band! We can be loyal followers without being possessive, exclusive, or judgmental toward those who may not have as many years or shows under their belts. There is enough music for everyone, and there is no limit on how many hearts can be uplifted by a single note. The spirit of the Dave Matthews Band is one of generosity and sharing, and that aura extends to our responsibility to be welcoming and gracious to others who also want to soak in the love light.
So go ahead. Let your hair down and jam out to “Crash,” or “Ants Marching,” or (gasp!) “Funny the Way It Is.” We all do it the same way, anyway.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self