The Office: The Complete First Series
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Office, The: The Complete First Series (DVD)
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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Top Customer Reviews
The only downside to the 2-disc DVD is the lack of episodes (there are only 6) but its still worth buying since The Office is a comedy series of unusually high quality and wit. Every episiode is a gem, and I can't wait for the season 2 DVD.
"The Office" shows us the day-to-day lives of the employees of Wernham Hogg paper company, led by the insufferable boss David Brent (Ricky Gervais, the shows co-writer and co-creator). While David is usually the focus of each episode, the show contains a very deep supporting cast, including Gareth, the military-trained assistant-to-the-manager, Tim, the anti-Gareth, who he's constantly warring with, and his in-office romantic interest Dawn, the everyday-pretty secretary.
If you are familiar with the films of Christopher Guest - Waiting For Guffman, Spinal Tap, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind - then you'll be right at home with "The Office." It's filmed in the simplistic and usually funny "mockumentary" style. For reasons never named in the show, there are cameramen throughout the Wernham Hogg offices filming the daily activities of all the employees, as well as conducting frequent and insightful interviews with the characters.
Enough of that - here's why the show is brilliant: You know everyone in the cast. At one time or another, you have met David Brent. Maybe he was your own boss once. Gareth was that psycho kid in study hall that always read Guns and Ammo and always insisted on showing you some Judo throw he'd recently learned. Tim is the nice guy that the pretty girls always took advantage of.Read more ›
The cast is led by Ricky Gervais (who also co-writes) as regional manager David Brent, an ultimately sleazy boss who spends more time trying to be witty than he does managing his staff. His battles with political correctness are hilarious, as he is very aware that a camera is following him. His right hand man is Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), a former army lieutenant who believes he has more company power than his assistant regional manager (I mean, assistant TO the regional manager) position truly entitles. Gareth spends most of his day pestering Tim (Martin Freeman), an obviously bored sales associate who always has a witty comment to add to any conversation. Dawn (Lucy Davis), a receptionist engaged to marry a warehouse worker, is the object of Tim's affection and the victim of one of Mr. Brent's cruelest practical jokes in the pilot.
Each cast member is some sort of caricature of a person you might see in your own workplace. The situations they come across could happen to anyone (lay-offs, sexual harassment, jokes via company e-mail, romances, et cetera). This show is kind of like "Spinal Tap": it fools you for a second to believe that this office could exist. And there's no whining, no drama for the camera's sake, no huge mansions for seven people to argue in. It's just these people, going about their days, doing their jobs. And it couldn't be more brilliant or side-splittingly funny.Read more ›
Its a television show reminiscent of The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fawlty Towers and Seinfield, but 100 times better.
In a regional office of a paper merchant in Slough, a dreary suburb of London, manager David Brent explains to the viewer that he's loved by his staff because rather than being a tyrannical slave driver, he's a "chilled out entertainer." Sadly every second the documentary crew follows David, it becomes perfectly clear that he is neither "chilled out" or an "entertainer."
The staff includes toady assistant to the manager Gareth, sarcastic sales rep Tim, daydreamer receptionist Dawn, brainy temp Ricky, sleazy salesman Finchy, cleaning lady Joan, the accountants: low-energy Keith, mousy Sheila, and bitter Malcolm, and the warehouse workers cold Lee, goof off Taffy Glynn, and midget forklift driver Monkey Alan. Plus there's wonderful visits from David's boss corporate watchdog Jennifer Taylor Clark and professional trainer Rowan.
Yes, it is a painfully truthful at cubicle working. Yes, the acting and writing are top-notch. Yes, its one of the most original television series ever.
But simply, the reason you'll keep watching is because it's very very funny.
Most recent customer reviews
Both series of this program are phenomonal!! I just have one problem. In Britian, the Office Christmas Specials are on DVD. It was said on Amazon.co. Read morePublished on July 19 2004 by Andrew Woodward
I first caught this show when I was working over in London and have been stuck on it ever since. How trajic that we will only get two seasons of what is undeniably a masterpiece. Read morePublished on July 16 2004
True, The Office is one of the funniest television shows you're likely to see anytime soon. It doesn't have the sitcom formula of other BBC shows like Coupling, but makes you... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by ghibli99
If you crossed "Office Space" with "Spinal Tap," you might end up with something like "The Office. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by E. A Solinas
British humor is not for everyone. This series can be a little boring and tedious at times, but if you are a fan of series such as Thin Blue Line, you will LOVE it.Published on July 4 2004
Oh my....I've been working in an office for almost 5 years now, and I thought that this would be the series for me (regardless of nationality, of course -- I'm American). Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by jmz
Haven't caught on to the greatness that is Rick Gervais and The Office? Only a shame that the 2 best shows aren't available anywhere in the US, and haven't screened yet on BBC... Read morePublished on June 20 2004
The is the funniest TV show/movie/standup routine/anything else that I have ever seen.
It is unreal how funny and subtle some of these jokes are. Read more