Apparently, I’ve been hiding under a rock for the past five years, because I completely missed this uproarious series on NBC, which finished airing its fifth season in the spring. Admittedly, I was aware of the show. I heard a few mentions about it, but no one extolling its virtues at length. I knew that it was a rip-off of a British comedy by the same name, which is what I think prevented me from even giving it thirty minutes of my time. I learned my lesson after watching an episode of Coupling, which was a dismal failure in the States. (I have since watched a few episodes of the British version of Coupling, which is actually quite funny. What happened with the American version, I can’t explain, but it was worse than abysmal).
So five seasons in, I finally decided to watch a random episode on NBC thanks to streaming video. It was funny, so I watched a few more, and I was hooked. I decided to start from the beginning, because that’s really the best way to watch a television series, to see how the characters and plots evolve. Some shows require it, like Lost or 24, while others have little continuity between episode storylines. I would recommend watching The Office in order, starting with season one. The episodes do build on one another and you learn the quirks and habits of the individual characters that explain a lot about what I saw in the few episodes I tried in the middle of season five.
While all of the episodes are extremely funny, there were two that had me in tears—Season 2, episode 12 titled “The Injury” and Season 5, episodes 14/15 called “Stress Relief.” In “The Injury,” Michael Scott, the boss of the office, cooks his foot on a George Foreman grill. In “Stress Relief,” the office learns CPR where one of the employees, Dwight, cuts the face off the dummy and wears it as a mask (Hannibal Lecter style). I’m sure these two descriptions give you an idea about the type of humor they’re writing here. Sometimes it’s a bit twisted or even a bit outrageous, and that might not be for everyone. But I think a lot of people will really identify with the core premise of the show, which is the dynamics of individuals working in an office—the friendships, romantic relationships, pranks, disagreements, and impolitic comments or actions that we all encounter in our work settings. Aren’t there days when you think, “I feel like I’m living in a television show?”
Definitely give this series a try if you haven’t yet. WRL owns seasons one and two on DVD.
Check the WRL catalog for The Office.