The Office: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Daily Show) stars in The Office, a fresh and funny mockumentary-style glimpse into the daily interactions of the eccentric workers at the Dunder Mifflin paper supply company. Based on the smash-hit British series of the same name and adapted for American Television by Greg Daniels (King of the Hill, The Simpsons), this fast-paced comedy parodies contemporary American water-cooler culture. Earnest but clueless regional manager Michael Scott (Carell) believes himself to be an exceptional boss and mentor, but actually receives more eye-rolls than respect from his oddball staff. Entertainment Weekly calls The Office "smart and trenchant," and all six hilarious season one episodes are available here on DVD for the first time. The awkward silences in The Office will have you laughing out loud!
The British sitcom The Office has the most devoted following this side of Monty Python, so an American remake seemed doomed. Amazingly, the remake actually finds its own enjoyable version of the original's uncanny comedy of embarrassment. Office manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell, The Daily Show, The 40 Year-Old Virgin) believes he's the beloved leader of the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of a paper products company--but his relentless and painfully forced efforts at comedy creep out everyone around him, including paranoid Dwight (Rainn Wilson, who had a memorable recurring role on Six Feet Under), nervous receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer, LolliLove), and aimless salesman Jim (John Krasinski, A New Wave), who's smitten with the already engaged Pam. The pilot episode suffers from closely replicating the British pilot, but after that The Office finds its own footing, turning diversity training, an office birthday party, and a basketball game into excruciating yet hypnotically funny rituals of humiliation. Carell, though clearly talented, can't match Ricky Gervais' unique performance as the aggressively needy British manager (it's hard to imagine that anyone could); as a result, the supporting roles become more prominent, and Wilson, Fischer, and Krasinski quickly create a rapport that matches and may even exceed that of their British counterparts. Be sure to watch the deleted scenes; remarkably, they're as good as the material that made it on the air in this six-episode season. --Bret Fetzer
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"I have been Michael's number two guy for about five years, and we make a great team. We're like one of those classic famous teams. He's like Mozart and I'm like . . . Mozart's friend. No, I'm like Butch Cassidy and Michael is like Mozart. You try and hurt Mozart, you're gonna get a bullet in your head, courtesy of Butch Cassidy."
It really doesn't get better than that.
Steve Carell is funny, although he does pale in comparison to Ricky Gervais. He seems like he is trying a little too hard to play the character, and it takes him a few episodes before he seems comfortable in the role. John Krasinski is not Martin Freeman either, but his "Jim" character is quite charming in his own way. I was a little surprised at his casting at first because I thought he was too much of a "Ken doll" to play the Tim/Jim role, but after a few episodes, he grew on me.
One of the best things about The Office is that it is a comedy that is actually funny (there are very few on American television, so it's a most welcome addition). The writing is sharp, witty, and well done. It does not condescend to it's audience by blasting it with an annoying laugh track.
Although it is difficult not to compare the two shows to each other, if you watch NBC's The Office and judge it on it's own merits, the show is entertaining and worth watching. I'm glad I gave the show another chance. It isn't necessary to choose between the BBC and American versions of the show. It's okay to like them both.
Steve Carrell is brilliant as the clueless boss who believes he always has the answer when he doesn't even understand the question. The entire cast does a good job of making you believe they are real office workers, showing you how they push through the drudgery of another day selling paper products. Rainn Wilson has created a memorable character in Dwight Shrute; arrogant, power hungry, paranoid, dweebish and just slightly detached from reality but so much so you can't believe him as a real person. There's Jim, the funny, charming salesman who delights in moving Dwight's desk into the men's room or freezing his stapler in jello and his flirtations with Pam the receptionist who assists Jim in accelerating Dwight's paranoia by convincing him everyone in the office is forming alliances to get someone else fired.
This is an excellent show. Well written and acted; smart and funny.