The Office (BBC) 3 Seasons 2001

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Season 1
(253) IMDb 8.1/10

1. Episode One: Downsize TV-MA CC

Head office is threatening to close the Slough branch and lay-off staff. David assures everyone that their jobs are safe. A practical joke to raise morale annoys everyone. Gareth and Tim are locked in battle over who should have the stapler.

Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman
31 minutes
Original air date:
July 9, 2001

Episode One: Downsize

Season 1

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Customer Reviews

Well, it is about few peoples life in a small paper company office.
This is the first British show that has ever been nominated for 2 Golden Globes and wins them both first time (Best TV Comedy, Best Comedy Actor).
He was laughing and laughing and looking at me, like -- you get it, YOU work in an office!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Garrett on October 10, 2003
Format: DVD
If it wasn't for "The Office",most people would still think that BBC America only had home and garden shows,EastEnders and Graham Norton on all day.If you've seen the first season's episodes,you already know how great this show is.If not,do yourself a favor and catch up,then buy the DVD and watch it again. Ricky Gervais is so brilliant as the creepily funny David Brent,you WILL actually feel more than a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed for him when he 1)tries too hard to be funny or 2)when he's so clearly unaware of the hole that he's digging that it becomes surreal. And that's the beauty of this show:Take a total idiot meanie of a boss and combine it with the mundane day to day goings-on of working in Corporate(office politics seem to be identical on both sides on the Atlantic) and you immediately recognize the similarities to real life.While David Brent is the linchpin of the show,the characters of Tim,Dawn and Gareth are also essential.A classic play on the office crush subplot(Salesman Tim pines for the lovely but unobtainable receptionist Dawn)grows at a mild but always interesting pace that it reaches a brilliant fever pitch by the second season. And you'd feel bad for Brent's suck-up subordinate Gareth if the practical jokes played on him by Tim weren't so damn funny. Another plus for this series:no laugh track/studio audience to spell out to you what jokes are funny,no gimmicks or situations for the characters to work out(ala "Friends")and no political correctness. It really is reminscent of "Fawlty Towers"or "Curb your Enthusiam"so if you're a fan of either of those,you shouldn't find any problem with "The Office". Again,I say:get the DVD,watch the reruns on BBCAmerica and savor the genius before the Hollywood fat cats make good on their promise and ruin it i.e.making an American version.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Christian Hunter on May 25, 2004
Format: DVD
From time to time I go swimming for media outside the mainstream. In the UK, this is as popular there as Curb Your Enthusiasm (which shares similar dark appeal) and approaching Friends. I had to take a look, despite the fact that I never really liked British humor.
The first episode was more confusing than anything else. Done in a documentary style, it chronicled the goings on within, of all interesting venues, a paper company, and followed the relationships between its completely pathetic inhabitants. The office constituency is led by (co-writer of the show) Ricky Gervais who plays David Brent...a cocktail of extreme insecurity, arrogance, and level of social ineptitude that pushes (but doesn't cross) the envelope of possibility.
I'll embarrasingly admit that the unorthodox style took a while to get used to, from no laugh track, to a complete absence of jokes or punch lines. This show plays on a variation of the axiom about "truth being stranger than fiction". Well, after an episode or two, I became totally immersed in the environment, an environment that seemed more like reality than fiction. That threw my switch, I now find this show insanely funny, but the realistic element has a gravity of its own. You start to really care about the characters. Pretty unusual for a comedy series.
So, for those of you who haven't seen it, but are curious, I recommend without reservation. For the rest, get this DVD, it's among the few in my collection that I play frequently.
Hope this helped.
Christian Hunter
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Iain Black on October 1, 2003
Format: DVD
I'm a Brit who has enjoyed the office over the past couple of years here in Britain. Needless to say, it is brilliant. David Brent is the boss of this small paper publishing company who are currently being filmed for a documentary to be put on tv (this is just an excuse to allow us to see the world of this office). Needless to say, David thinks he is great and always plays the good guy moralist for the cameras, the rest of his staff think him an idiot though, you soon see why! Great comedy involving embarrassment, peoples relationships and Davids own logical traps as he explain his personal theories of life to the camera crew! There is no laughter track, or jokes per se, but the whole situation renders the program as funny and tragic.
Anyway, i just wanted to say that series 2 is even better (David has to put up with the boss of the other branch and his staff. The new boss called Neil is genuinely nice, funny and fair. The staff are all very normal and hard-working. Cue David trying to get them to loosen up! 'You will never ever get a boss like me again' he pleads). So buy this when it gets release in the UK which is mid-October, check for more info.
If you like this then you must buy 'Im Alan Partridge' and 'Phoenix Nights'. Both are loved over here (Alan Partridge is a video diary of a failed TV celebrity forced to do 4-7am Radio shows! He quickly loses the plot. Phoenix Nights is about a pub run by a power crazy madcap businessman, see for more!) We recently went through a comedy golden age in the UK when these thress comedies aired in the same weeks!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By snalen on December 24, 2003
Format: DVD
This is set in a grimly recognizable version of hell: a paper supply company's office in the unfortunate town of Slough (previously best know for John Betjamin's invitation to "friendly bombs" to fall on it.) Into this environment comes a T.V. crew set on making a fly-on-the-wall documentary about office life. That documentary is what we see. This media attention is a dream come true for the manager David Brent, who is convinced his entry into office life has been a tragic loss to the world of show business, and comedy in particular. He's wrong: he isn't funny. His jokes fall into an oblivion of silence and embarrassment. And yet he is also right as this idle, incompetent, selfish, petty, stupid and self-deluded character, as played by Ricky Gervais, is one of the most painfully, appallingly hilarious creatures ever dreamt up and put on a T.V. screen.
If Brent is a monster, he remains perhaps quite likeable compared to his best mate, the appallingly obnoxious "Finchy" and his second in command Gareth, the "team leader". Gareth, brilliantly acted by Mackenzie Crook, is a character, like Brent, largely defined by his Walter Mittyish fantasy of who he would like to be. In Brent's case the fantasy is the Comic Genius, in Gareth's it is The Soldier. He is the perfect representation of the hopeless loser whose sad macho fantasies of being Jean Claude van Damme get played out hilariously scaled down in the appallingly petty landscape of his life.
This really ought not to be funny. It's less like watching most comedy than it is like watching a horrible road accident in slow motion. It is desperately funny, the way some passages in Samuel Beckett are desperately funny.
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