AVClub: Most ensemble sitcoms need time to build out their casts, even if most of the actors have been there since the beginning. On the U.S. version of The Office (which, next to 30 Rock, still seems to be the biggest influence on The Muppets), secondary roles like Kelly, Phyllis, and Oscar could be spotted in the background of the first season, but Greg Daniels and his writers wisely waited until subsequent years to use them in any kind of significant way. That kind of patience makes the narrative payoff all the sweeter, plus it allows the audience to forge more substantial emotional connections to the fiction, one character at a time. First, you might notice something funny that Stanley or Meredith or whoever does. As they occupy more screen-time, you discover that their comedic quirk is a larger part of who they are as a person. Then you realize their personality goes much deeper than them just being funny. Before you know it, you’ve watched a one-note background part become a fully formed human being. The Office had its problems, sure, but it also excelled at this kind of slow burn when it came to its supporting players, at least in the beginning.