Top positive review
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It is genius, but is it comedy?
on 11 August 2004
......... The real genius of The Office lies with the characters. Each one is superbly written, excellently cast and perfectly acted. It is filmed in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, the self styled star of which is a tragic character named David Brent (Ricky Gervais). Brent is a wannabe superstar trapped in a middle-manager's body. The Office charts, his desperate struggle for recognition whilst he slowly loses his grip on reality, and his job. Alongside Brent stands Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook), a kind of brown-nosing jobsworth who despite all my better instincts, I can't help feeling sorry for. However, from my perspective the greatest facet of The Office's storyline comes from the other two central characters, namely Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) and Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis). Their unspoken feelings for one another, played out through little more than furtive glances, form one of the most enthralling and well observed on-screen romances of recent times.
The Office tracks the lives of the four main characters, but their stories are played out in an environment of superb supporting actors, who bring an air of authenticity to the program. Most notable of these are Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson) as the loud-mouthed bully, and the unsurnamed accountant Keith (Ewen Macintosh) who manages to provide a lot of comedy despite only having about 10 words to say across both series'.
The DVD includes some pretty good extra material with some deleted scenes, some of which are very funny, and were - according to Ricky Gervais - removed because they were too much like a traditional sitcom. The deleted scene where Gareth squirts lemon juice in a girl's eye could have ranked alongside Only Fools and Horses' funniest moments.
I could happily extol the virtues of the office for hours, but the only way you'll know for sure is by watching it. All I ask is that you give it a chance. I didn't like it when I first saw it, but I was made to watch it again and I haven't looked back. Now I'm just waiting for the two feature length Christmas specials to come out on DVD. If any of you Office fans missed them (shame on you!) they were brilliant and concluded the story perfectly (I nearly shed a tear!).