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I imagine most fans of comedy are aware of ‘The Office’ but its brilliance deserves every piece of recognition it can get. While the original UK version it not without its charm, such is the scope and eventual magnitude of the US production (201 episodes) that it inevitably exceeds its transatlantic counterpart. Adapted by Greg Daniels, who later went on to co-create ‘Parks and Recreation’ with fellow Office writer Michael Schur, the shows slow-start eventually grew to critical acclaim.
For those who are unaware, ‘The Office’ is set in Scanton, Pennsylvania, at the fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin. While quite possibly one of the dullest settings imaginable, the claustrophobic feel relies on creating believable scenarios (usually), the comedy forming naturally from the brilliantly bizarre group of employees.
While office odd-ball Dwight (Rainn Wilson) does create some of the most memorable scenes (his portrayal of the Grinch-like Belsnickel immediately springs to mind) it’s ‘The Office’ manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) who truly anchors the show. Simple, kind and a hopeless romantic, Michael’s efforts to be liked and an ignorance of his own flaws gives fits of laughter alongside some truly cringe-worthy moments (and some heart-warming ones too). As do the exploits of supporting characters like serial-poser Ryan (B.J Novak), minor criminal Creed (Creed Bratton) and HR rep Toby (Paul Lieberstein), a man so inexplicably loathed by Michael that, if given a gun with two bullets and put in a room with Toby, Bin Laden and Hitler, Michael would shoot Toby twice.
The dynamic between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) also offers a frustratingly rewarding experience and gives a level base for the comedy to centre and build. Assisted by the likes of Daryl (Craig Robinson), Andy (Ed Helms) and outstanding guests like Jo (Kathy Bates), D’Angelo (Will Ferrell), Danny (Timothy Olyphant), Robert (James Spader), Nelly (Catherine Tate) and many more, if you’ve either never watched and episode or only seen the odd one, working your way through The Office is highly satisfying experience, even on the second time around.
Or third . . . or fourth . . .