The Office: The Complete First Series
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Office, The: The Complete First Series (DVD)
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.
It feels both inaccurate and inadequate to describe The Office as a comedy. On a superficial level, it disdains all the conventions of television sitcoms: there are no punch lines, no jokes, no laugh tracks, and no cute happy endings. More profoundly, it's not what we're used to thinking of as funny. Most of the fervently devoted fan base watched with a discomfortingly thrilling combination of identification and mortification. The paradox is that its best moments are almost physically unwatchable.
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
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In conclusion, I think this is just a terrible waste of time and money and would not recommend it to anyone. The American version is awesome and RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have any standards at all, leave this one alone and try the american version, much cleaner and much funnier.
Too many "breakfast beans" in this piece of TV crud. It's like eating a sandwich with a big beatle inside of it. There's some good to it, but you have to eat trash to get to it.
The office is PERFECT - casting, writing, the slow burn of story arcs, and most importantly comic timing. In the US OFFICE, timing is equated with long pauses. Gareth in the UK series has probably the best comic timing in the show, and its these nuances that lift it to near divine comedy, and above the heads of the US nay-sayers.
Absolutely, if you need a bit of an edgy comedy like the UK Office but can't quite manage to get your head around the subtly and sublime darkness of Ricky Gervais et al, then go for the easier, more pedestrian version that is the US version. The US version is the OFFICE Lite or the Office for Dummies....or Utah mooks. Its for people who think Will Farrell is funny.
The tragedy of David Brent really is just that, painful, funny, heart wrenchingly sad, and ball bouncingly pathetic. Its harsh and caustic and brutal and maybe not for US palettes, who seem to be much more content for easy laughs and a happy ending. Steve Carrell plays a slightly more awkward Steve Carrell. You are always aware that you are watching Steve Carrell. The American version, not without laughs I grant you, has the actors playing caricatures instead of characters, especially Dwight. He is not in the same universe as his UK counterpart.
US boss Michael Scott is goofy, warm-hearted, and says silly things that aren't always politically correct. Many of his employees are incredibly weird, so their interactions are funny without anybody ever getting hurt.
UK boss David Brent is cutting, back-stabbing, vindictive, jealous, dishonest, obnoxious, and most definitely not politically correct, and he knows very well what he's doing the whole time. His employees, on the other hand, are for the most part normal people with normal emotional responses. (The UK version of Dwight is still weird.) You see them feel sad, angry, annoyed, unsure of how to respond, etc. When David is mean to them, they are hurt.
If you stuck with the US version past season 3 or 4 and you enjoyed the innocent pranks and seeing everybody get happy endings, I have to say there's a good chance you won't like this show. If you want to give it a chance, you should commit to watching more than just the first episode or two. Like many new things, it might take a while for you to acquire a taste for it.
If you watch the entire thing, you'll see some great stuff that in my opinion didn't happen on the US version, such as meaningful character development in the boss. You'll see him in some human moments where the mask is off so to speak.