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 that the programme acquired 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 Slough... paper merchant, The Office is filmed in the style of a reality television programme. The writing is subtle and deft, the acting wonderful and the characters beautifully drawn: the cadaverous team leader Gareth, a paradigm of Andy McNab's readership; the monstrous sales rep, Chris Finch; and the decent but long-suffering everyman Tim, 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 cowriter Ricky Gervais. Brent will become a name as emblematic for a particular kind of British grotesque as Alan Partridge or Basil Fawlty, but he is a deeper character than either. Partridge and Fawlty are exaggerations of reality, and therefore safely comic figures. Brent is as appalling as only reality can be. --Andrew Mueller On the DVD: Series 1 is tastefully packaged as a two-disc set appropriately adorned with John Betjeman's poem "Slough". The special features occupy the second disc and consist of a laid-back 39-minute documentary entitled "How I Made The Office by Ricky Gervais", with cowriter Stephen Merchant and the cast contributing. Here we discover that Gervais spends his time on set "mucking around and annoying people", and that actress Lucy Davis (Dawn) is the daughter of Jasper Carrott; as well as seeing parts of the original short film and the original BBC pilot episode; plus we get to enjoy many examples of the cast corpsing throughout endless retakes. There are also a handful of deleted scenes, none of which were deleted because they weren't funny. Series 2 is a single-disc release, but the extra features are enjoyable nonetheless. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant feature in a gleefully shambolic video diary--highlights of which include Gervais flicking elastic bands at his cowriter and taping their editor to his swivel chair. The ubiquitous Gervais also mockingly introduces some outtakes (mostly of him corpsing throughout dozens of takes) and a series of deleted scenes, notably of Gareth arriving in his horrendous cycle shorts. --Mark Walker [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play Series 1 Episode 1 - David Brent learns that his branch of the paper merchants might be closed down But he promises his staff that under his regime there will be no redundancies Episode 2 - Donna arrives on work experience But her first day at work is dominated by a dirty picture of her boss that&39;s been e-mailed around the office Episode 3 - It&39;s Tim&39;s birthday But it&39;s also the annual quiz night Will Brent and Finchy be able to beat the young pretenders Tim & Ricky? Episode 4 - Rowan a management consultant has come to Wernham Hogg to give the staff a special training day Episode 5 - Even though some of the staff may be made redundant Brent decides to take on a new secretary Naturally he chooses the prettiest woman Episode 6 - It&39;s judgment day on whether the office is to be downsized Series 2 Change can be stressful but manager David Brent reckons he can cope He’s got a new boss he’s been recruited to give motivational lectures and has to integrate the serious and dull Swindon lot with his own crazy brigade Elsewhere Tim’s got a new office romance and Red Nose Day gives the whole office a chance to unwind – Finchy’s still a riot Keith still has eczema and Gareth has a talking cookie jar – and is still a tosser
The entire award-winning BBC Television faux documentary. David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is the manager of paper merchant Wernham Hogg's Slough office, but in his own mind he's not so much the boss but 'more of a friend'. Unctious and ineffectual in equal measure, he turns the life of his staff into a neverending round of irritating mini-dramas.