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The Office: The Complete First Series

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A
Video/Audio/Extras: B/B/B

Directed by: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Written by: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Produced by: Asa Atalla
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Mackenzie Crook, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis, Stirling Gallacher, Robin Hooper, Ewan MacIntosh
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

In the romantic comedy Love Actually, Hugh Grant gives a list of all the great things to come out of Britian. That list includes The Beatles, Harry Potter, Sean Connery and David Beckham's left and right feet. However, a surprising omission from the list is the wonderfully funny series, The Office. This hilarious comedy has put a new spin on the workspace and has even been the inspiration for one of America's funniest shows. in fact, after watching The Office, you will like your job even more, because you know that there are employees worse off than you.

The Werner-Hogg paper branch in the city of Slough is home to what is quite possibly most annoying and offensive boss in the world. His name is David Brent (Ricky Gervais) and all he wants is to become everyone's best friend, but his plans always seem to backfire in his face. The only employee who truly respects him is the assistant to the regional manager, Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), an ex-soldier who is constantly being played pranks on by Tim (Martin Freeman). Tim is also in love with the receptionist named Dawn (Lucy Davis), who unfortunately has a boyfriend (Joel Beckett). Throughout the first season, many brilliant stories are the subjects for the seven episodes. The best episode is when a picture is sent around of David on a naked woman's body and he is upset, because he believes that it degrades women. That is one example of a very funny thirty minutes of a great three-hour experience.

Some of the funniest shows of all-time of all-time come from England. Fawlty Towers and Keeping Up Appearances are two of the best ones and The Office is also extremely worthy. The key to this show's brilliance is how its writers are able to push the envolope. Since this is European television, they are allowed to do things not allowed on American or Canadian television shows. Viewers used to the less saucier American version of The Office will be very surprised by things in the original that would probably warrant an "R" rating from the MPAA. Another great part of this show are the wonderful performance from the actors, especially the main cast. Ricky Gervais proves to be a boss that despite his huge and obvious flaws you have to love. Mackenzie Crook is just a strange character and that is what makes him perfect for the character of Gareth. Martin Freeman and Lucy Davis are also a wonderful team and you will wonder how it is that Tim and Dawn aren't together. If you want to have a very enjoyable three hours, the first season of The Office easily fits the bill.

In terms of extras, Warner Brothers and BBC America haven't really loaded the two-disc set with special features, but what we get is still great. The first extra is an half-hour documentary about how creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant thought of the idea and how it came to be. They also talk with Mackenzie Crook, Martin Freeman and Lucy Davis on how they got their parts and their reaction to Gervais's outer-worldness. It's a very funny look at the series and it even provides some nice things that fans haven't noticed before. A lot of deleted scenes pop up next. Unlike other deleted scenes that appear on DVDs, these all should have been kept in, because they are all fabulous. Of course, they were deleted because of running time problems. The second disc opens up with previews for BBC America, Coupling and A Mighty Wind.

Even though, I would have liked some audio commentaries and original promos, this is still a worthy set of a fantastic series. This is worth buying especially if you like British comedy all the American remake that currently runs on NBC.

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