I'm one of the people who simply cannot enjoy watching "The Office." I understand why it's good and why people find it funny, and why the "cringe-inducing" quality is considered a sophisticated element of comedy, but it makes me feel bad. Even thinking about watching the show makes me feel bad.
By the way, the word "cringe" literally means (according to the unlinkable OED): "To contract the muscles of the body, usually involuntarily; to shrink into a bent or crooked position; to cower." Basically, you curl up into the fetal position. Figuratively, it means: "To experience an involuntary inward shiver of embarrassment, awkwardness, disgust, etc.; to wince or shrink inwardly; (hence) to feel extremely embarrassed or uncomfortable." The first historical example of the figurative meaning is:
1868 Harper's Mag. May 793/1 ‘I should like a smoke,’ was her only comment. I may have cringed at the idea of putting my pipe between those broken teeth, but I of course made haste to do what was hospitable.The most recent is:
1993 Time 25 Jan. 18 Privately, Clinton advisers cringed at the wreckage left behind by all the U-turns.Somehow I'm thinking about cigars...