The Office - The Complete First Series (BBC Edition)
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Welcome to Wernham Hogg, a suburban paper company where "life is stationery." Critics and fans alike have lauded this hilarious, biting look at everyday office life, told in the mockumentary style of cult comedy classics such as This is Spinal Tap and The Larry Sanders Show. The show revolves around David Brent, (an instant classic character widely compared to Basil Fawlt of Fawlty Towers) the oblivious general manager who instigates petty office rivalries. The wince-worthy Brent still considers himself "a friend first and a boss second...probably an entertainer third."
Work is hell...but one man's misery is another man's hilarious home video hit. Welcome to The Office.
Set in the offices of a fictional British paper merchant, The Office is filmed in the style of a reality television show. The writing is subtle and deft, the acting wonderful, and the characters beautifully drawn: the cadaverous team leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook); the monstrous sales rep, Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson); and the decent but long-suffering everyman Tim (Martin Freeman), whose ambition and imagination have been crushed out of him by the banality of the life he dreams uselessly of escaping. The show is stolen, as it was intended to be, by insufferable office manager David Brent, played by codirector-cowriter Ricky Gervais. Brent will become a name as emblematic for a particular kind of British grotesque as Basil Fawlty, but he is a deeper character. Fawlty is an exaggeration of reality, and therefore a safely comic figure. Brent is as appalling as only reality can be. --Andrew Mueller
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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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 amazon.co.uk 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 amazon.co.uk for more!) We recently went through a comedy golden age in the UK when these thress comedies aired in the same weeks!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love it. Funkier than the American copy - though I do love Steve Carrell in the USA version! You don't have to be British to get it though it's more raw, cruder and has plenty of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Stephen D Herbert
Gervais is hilarious, but anybody who would pay $2.00 per episode for any TV series has got to be insane.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting to view "The Office" in its original form. I had to replay some of the scenes as I'm not familiar with the British dialect of the English language. Read morePublished 13 months ago by R A Rodriguez
So much more better than the awful American version. Don't waste a dime on the American version watch this one. The last show is a little sappy but that's to be expected.Published 13 months ago by DuPreeReview
Perhaps because it's so old now, but I would not bother with this film. The humor gets obnoxious quickly.Published 13 months ago by My favorite gardens