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VINE VOICEon October 12, 2005
I love this show and I think NBC actually made one good decison this year by renewing it. Steve Carrell is genious as Michael Scott the manager with a little too much enthusiasm. The supporting cast is great and I'm glad that the bonus features are good because a 6 episode season of a half hour show is hardly worth twenty-two dollars but it's worth it. I didn't think the pilot was great but I tuned in again and I'm glad I did. I hope that if you don't watch this show that you decide to try it out because it is brillant. A lot of people say it isn't as good as the British version but it comes close. Check out Diversity Day it's the best in the set.

The Episodes

1. Pilot

2. Diversity Day

3. Healthcare

4. The Alliance

5. Basketball

6. Hot Girl

The bonus features include deleted scenes and audio commetaries. Even though it may seem pricey you'll probably get as much enjoyment out of it as you would any other show.
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2005
I am and always have been a huge fan of British comedy. The wry sense of humor and the intelligent wit has always held far greater appeal to me than the cheap/obvious laughs that many American sitcoms tend to go for. Sadly, many copies (or attempted copies) of British comedies have been overadapted for the American audience (Coupling is a perfect example) and the result is a weak translation that loses all or most of what made the series so funny/original in the UK.

Fortunately, this version of the original UK show is absolutely hilarious, perhaps because the producers are tied closely and stay faithful to the original version. There was no dumbing down of the comedy - the irony, the facial expressions, the unbelievable audacity of the characters - for the sake of easier/louder laughs. The fact that there is no studio audience here makes it even funnier - the viewers are left to laugh on their own, without canned tracks or cues from a studio audience.

While there are certainly things that would cause you to think "There's no way a manager would say/do/get away with anywhere near that bad of behavior" I can say that in 6+ years in leadership development that I've seen all this and more.. and we all know that one person who just has absolutely no clue how little others think of him/her.

This is truly brilliant comedy, but subtle and atypical when compared to other sitcoms on TV (with the exception of Seinfeld reruns and Scrubs). You won't be disappointed!
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Like most other fans of the great BBC series THE OFFICE, I was absolutely horrified when they announced that they were doing an American version of the show. Ricky Gervais's show was so perfect, so unique that it didn't seem possible for it to be successfully translated into an American context. Also, the show was unimaginable without Ricky Gervais, who was both the creator and lead performer of the original. And to be honest, when the American show straightforwardly imitates the original, especially in the first episode, it compares rather badly. The jokes were tailored perfectly to Gervais and his cohorts, and they just didn't translate all that well to the new set of actors. However, once you get past the first episode, and the American crew produces original material, it actually becomes a very, very funny show. In fact, if you have seen the BBC version, I would recommend just skipping the first episode of the American version and going on from there. My other complaint with the imitation is that they straightforwardly stole the British theme song, though they did pep it up a lot.

If you haven't seen the American version but have seen the BBC original, the first question is almost certainly going to be: how can they possibly do the show without Ricky Gervais in the lead? Does Steve Carell manage to make us forget Ricky? Well, not quite. There is absolutely no question that Ricky Gervais's David Brent is better than Steve Carell's Michael Scott. It isn't just that Gervais has a degree of ease with the role that Carell barely lacks: David Brent is a more complex character. While it is certainly true that Brent was a complete ass, he was also a lovable ass; we cared about him, and despite all of his blithe self-ignorance he is someone for whom we are on some level rooting. But Michael Scott, while incredibly funny, is essentially a lost cause. He is too complete an idiot to have any hope of redemption, and he is also fairly unlikable. Irredeemably unlikable. We laugh at Michael Scott, but we laugh with David Brent. That is the bad news. The good news is that while Carell's character is not as likable as Gervais's, he is possibly about 90% as funny, which means that the American show is quite unexpectedly a very funny show.

Once the show gets into original material, it is actually quite good. The second episode deals with diversity training (i.e., racial sensitivity training), with Michael Scott attempting to take over the training by injecting such stupid sensitivity questions as, "Name another race to which you are attracted to sexually." The irony is that the only reason the training was instituted because of racially charged jokes Michael had told, but he remains blissfully ignorant of the fact that he was the one being targeted. Another great episode is the one where Michael and the white-collar workers play the warehouse workers in a game of basketball. Michael ignores the overweight white guy (who later turns out to be a dead shot) and the Hispanic guy (who is also a dead shot) in favor of the office African-American, who turns out to be a simply horrendous player.

I have to add that those who are giving this one star are clearly fans of the original who have never bothered to watch the American version. As I pointed out above, while it isn't quite as good as the original, it is nonetheless quite good on its own merits.
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on November 7, 2005
Yes, everyone here is comparing this to the British version of The Office (a great show). I was horrified to hear the US was going to copy it. I was curious and watched the first episode and wasn't crazy about it. I almost gave up but kept watching. The show really grows on you. DO NOT compare this to the British version! They look the same on the surface, but the shows are totally differnet. Its so refreshing to see an original show like this on TV. I've actually laughed so hard I cried. The best part is that the 2nd season is even better. Don't forget, Seinfeld and Friends were BOTH nothing shows their first season. Give it a chance...and try not to compare it to the British version.
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VINE VOICEon August 31, 2005
Ricky Gervais' "The Office" is one of my favorite television series. Nothing beats the deadpan British humor offered in the original series; extremely funny and brilliant writing. When NBC picked up the show, I grimaced, thinking back to horrible mistakes such as Coupling. But, thanks to a quick DVD release, Entertainment Weekly's glowing review, and Steve Carrell's hilarious turn in "The 40 Year Old Virgin", I gave it a shot, and found myself laughing hysterically.

Steve Carell plays Michael Scott, boss extrodinaire of "The Office". He is clueless, brainless, sexist, homophobic, racist, all under a disguise of political correctedness that has gone astray. He prides himself the office comedian, but fails to understand that his role as boss should supercede this role; therein lies the genus of the comedy. Carell does an admirable job in the Gervais role, and probably is the only actor that would be daring enough to step in those big shoes, and clomp around the office in them just as funnily. He doesn't attempt to impersonate Gervais, but makes Scott his own.

The other office mates, from Jenna Fischer's charming Pam, the office secretary, to Rainn Wilson's role as Dwight Shrute (a name that deserves to be said aloud), all turn in great performances to accompany Carrell. The interaction between Shrute and office stud Jim (played by John Krasinski) is a gold mine of comedy, the two actors play off each other brilliant, and unlike the precessor, Shrute is occasionally allowed to win, even though he's the office buffoon.

This comedy is quite, yet rich. If you've ever had a boss in your career that is clueless, and you wonder how on earth that person ever got to where they were (who hasn't?), you can relate to the hijinx and comedy of NBC's "The Office". If I were NBC, I'd be making sure this stay on my lineup, and perhaps, even reduce the number of episodes per season, allowing this fine troupe of performers the ability to produce the high quality of shows that these wonderful six are!
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on November 1, 2005
This show is by far one of the funniest comedies on tv. Steve Carell is a comic genious. He single-handedly takes this show to new dimensions of comedy - I have never laughed so hard watching an actor on tv make such a spectacle of himself, in a setting where such behavior is so obviously out of place. And this is precisely what makes this show so hilarious - the awkward moments coupled with the hilarious behavior of Steve Carell's character. Plus, the show takes place in an office, which is a very relatable setting to many of us. Office politics have never been funnier. You must watch this show.
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on September 20, 2005
I have never seen the BBC original, so I'm not burdened by the curse of comparison. As far as I'm concerend, The Office is the freshest, most intelligent and straight out funniest show to play on television for some time (with the possible exception of "Scrubs"). For anyone who has worked in a similar setting, the characters of The Office are instantly recognizable and dead-on accurate. Steve Carrell is terrific and the rest of the cast are just as superb. I disagree with those who criticize the Michael Scott character as too over the top or completely irredemable. Michael Scott is in fact all too real, and as the show develops, so does the character. He may be a clueless boob and deserve to be alone, but in the episode where he hopes to drive the purse saleswoman home, only the most heartless can't fill a little sympathy for him as he watches her get in Jim's car. This is a compilation that I personally intend to buy soon.
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on December 24, 2005
Some of the most boring, and downright ignorant, refrains I hear from my fellow Brits deride the American sense of humour. "they just don't get it", "they have no sense of irony", etc etc, even while we laugh our asses off at the simpsons. Rarely have such opinions been shouted more loudly and indignantly as when the news surfaced that The Office, not only the funniest but also one of the most soulful BBC shows ever, would get a "remake" for American audiences. I myself must admit to finding it impossible to imagine the drama transposed to a different culture, so fully realised and "definitive" were the plot and characters in the original.

In retrospect it seems we were so involved in the vernacular of British office life (perfectly captured), and the development of the individuals that we were perhaps blind to the universal themes and types that are portrayed, and which could easily find resonance and relevance in a different culture. As it is, full marks to the writers and director for having the confidence to take these themes and characters without seeking to ape everything about the BBC version, thus allowing the show to retain both integrity and identity. As others have mentioned, the weakest episode in this first series is undoubtedly the first, where the debt to the BBC version is most obvious and the product most laboured.

Comparison is inevitable, but where the US show loses out slightly (ultimately, despite his best efforts,the Carrell can never match up to Brent of the BBC version) it gains in other areas (this allows his co-actors to retain their share of show; in the second UK series in particular Brent overshadows everything else about the programme, while other aspects stagnate slightly, before a triumph of quality TV in the concluding Christmas specials.)

If there is one piece of advice that the writers of this excellent interpretation ("remake" is to harsh a word) should take from the British series is to keep it short. One of the reasons why The Office will forever keep a place in the hearts of British audiences comparable to Fawlty Towers or This Life is that Gervais exerted his artistic integrity and refused the offers of extending it into an ad-infinitum sitcom of the Friends variety, where novelty can only be retained by constructing scenarios of decreasing plausibility. Gervais was correct in perceiving that the reason why audiences kept coming back was the underlying plot-spine that was the frustrated romance of, in the British case, Tim and Dawn. Once this was resolved the series had reached its conclusion.
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on September 21, 2005
I would give this show 10 stars if I could. It's pee-in-your-pants hilarious. A refreshing break from the politically-correct focus-group analyzed slop that makes up most TV sitcoms. You don't have to have worked in an corporate office to recognize the characters here, although it makes the show even funnier if you have. Everyone I know loves this show, pick it up if you can.
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on May 6, 2006
NBC's "The Office" is a winner on all fronts. Unlike some sitcoms, the zany and original characters are just as important as the plots. You'll probaby recognize someone you know in Jim, the guy who's too smart for the job he's got but afraid too move on, or, if your not as lucky, you might be more familiar with Michael, the homophobic, racist, sexist, egotistical boss who rules over the employees of Dunder-Mifflin and is under the impression that he is everybody's best friend.

Season 1 is even less like a typical sitcom than Season 2. The first episode is a little slow, with no clear focus like most episodes have. Later on, though, this season picks up speed, featuring some of the best episodes of the series. Haven't seen the "Diversity Days" episode? It's worth the price of the DVD just for that one.

Fans romantic comedy will also find a home here, in the budding relationship between salesman Jim and receptionist Pam.

Younger kids won't get this, and even some teens may not catch all the references. Altogether though, The Office is a highly reccomendale show for plenty of people. I started watching at Season 2, and this DVD really helped me appreciate that more.
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