The Office, US (2005-2013)

Ⓒ Reveille Productions/NBC
Ⓒ Reveille Productions/NBC

Creators: Greg Daniels, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant Cast: Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, B.J Novak, Mindy Kaling

The Office is a mockumentary following an office branch of a paper company, Dunder Mifflin, based in the north-eastern USA. The blundering office manager Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) is joined by a number of employees of varying ability (most are pretty useless), and hilarious situations ensue.

As a fan of the original British version of The Office, I had put off watching the American version for a while, partly because I was worried it might ruin the original, and partly because I feared it might actually be better- a superior American remake is not something I usually like to admit to. However, I should have started watching this sooner. While the British version is more cringe, this version had far more laugh-out-loud moments; each series actually seemed to go in different directions. so it would be unfair to compare them too much. In this version, I found the characters more likeable and (mainly due to the longer and more numerous seasons) viewers get far more involved in their storylines. Whenever I watch an episode, I feel like I’m seeing old friends again. Michael Scott appears on the surface to be a total moron, but he’s actually very capable and always has good intentions, as well as integrity. Similarly, there is more to Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) than meets the eye: a frustrating co-worker is actually a moral and intelligent friend to many. The same goes for the rest of the office characters: each has their own depth of personality that is allowed to unfold and reveal itself over the 9 seasons. The writing is clever in that it keeps the show light-hearted while giving viewers a glimpse of tender, relatable and realistically human moments between characters without being overly serious.

Unlike many TV series, there is no particular “worse” season; the writing is consistent, and the comedic moments keep coming. The episodes are short with self-contained storylines, which makes The Office perfect for a quick work break as well as an easy-to-watch option for a TV marathon.

5 stars

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