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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comedy classic
It's hard to imagine how this series was successfully pitched to the BBC.
There is no canned laughter. It is a faux documentary set in the admin section of a paper manufacturer. The boss is really nasty and none of the staff lead interesting lives. When the show was being made none of the actors or writers were even mildly famous.
The Office is hilarious though,...
Published on 3 Feb 2010 by haunted

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Office
A brilliant concept, wonderfully executed, Painfully funny at times - yet manages to combine both pathos and bathos with the humour. It's a pity Gervais didn't quit whilst ahead - nothing he's done since comes anywhere close
Published on 30 Dec 2011 by Jack of Speed


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comedy classic, 3 Feb 2010
By 
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
It's hard to imagine how this series was successfully pitched to the BBC.
There is no canned laughter. It is a faux documentary set in the admin section of a paper manufacturer. The boss is really nasty and none of the staff lead interesting lives. When the show was being made none of the actors or writers were even mildly famous.
The Office is hilarious though, possibly because of rather than despite these points.

David Brent is one of the great sitcom characters. He is unpleasant to deal with, completely self-absorbed and seemingly oblivious to how much he is disliked and ridiculed. Initially it is impossible to have any sympathy for him. However by the end of the Christmas Specials, when his ego has taken enough of a battering, I was glad to see a bit of hope appearing in his life.

While Brent is definitely the main character the supporting roles are integral to the series. The "will they, won't they" romance between Tim and Dawn is well done. Even these characters have an edge as we wonder why she stays with her fiancé and why Tim will neither take a promotion nor go back to college. Brent's scary sidekick Gareth is also an excellent character. Most of us have had to work with a Gareth at some point.

The scripts are brilliantly written by Gervais and Merchant. Among the best scenes are:
- Brent breaking into song on the training day
- Brent in the bird costume on Comic Relief Day
- The dance (of course)

This box set has good extras such as interviews with the writers and cast, early versions of the series and Gervais obviously getting a great kick from recording "Free Love on the Freeway" with Noel Gallagher

This box set is all fourteen episodes of one of the funniest British sitcoms ever
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, once I gave it a chance, 17 Dec 2010
By 
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
When "The Office" first aired I was only in my teens and it passed me by. In the years that followed when I stumbled upon repeats I never gave them a proper chance, partly because I felt I had missed the bus, and also to a large extent because its ability to prick my cringe-reflex was too much to handle. However, when "Extras" came along, and I had the chance to experience the genius of Merchant and Gervais, I began to feel obliged to give "The Office" another try. I only recently got round to doing just that, opting to take a chance on the boxset and having watched both seasons and Christmas specials over the course of two days I'm definitely a belated convert.

The similarities between "Extras" and "The Office" aren't difficult to spot, and there really isn't any reason I can see why a fan of one wouldn't enjoy the other just as much. I'm only left wondering why I missed out on it for so long. The cast is perfectly assembled, and it's probably fair to say, 10 years on and with the series having been remade and revamped dozens of times in a multitude of countries, that this is one of the best written and most original TV show in TV history (not trying to be hyperbolic I think it's justified). All the central characters are brilliantly conceived and perfectly played. I'm not surprised that it's not some people's cup of tea, seeing as it isn't exactly a standard-issue sitcom (with the easily disliked central character, absence of laugh track and the degree to which it embraces its dull setting), nevertheless having remedied my ignorance of it I couldn't recommend it more. The DVDs have quite a few special features, with the usual behind the scenes, commentaries and outtakes, all of which are well worth watching. All in all a great series and boxset, definitely a 5 star product, and at less than 10 you can't go wrong.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your office, my office, 18 Jan 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
It's a dark "Dilbert," a realistic "Office Space." Hit Brit-comedy "The Office" takes mockumentaries to the small screen, featuring the hilariously unfunny David Brent, and his unhappy employees. This three-pack includes both seasons, plus the satisfying holiday special, which also serves as the grand finale.

The first season opens with David Brent (Ricky Gervais) learning that either his branch or another branch of paper corporation Wenham-Hogg will shortly be downsized. So this wannabe-comedian sets out to prove that his branch is better, stumbling as he tries. Trailing in his wake is bored everyman Tim (Martin Freeman), dead-looking yes-man Gareth (MacKenzie Crook), and pretty, quietly cynical receptionist Dawn (Lucy Davis).

The second season, while more unsteady than the first, takes some new and darker steps. Now David's rival Neil (Patrick Baladi) is his boss, and David has a slew of new employees who are less than thrilled about his racist jokes, chicken suits, and the lack of any actual work going on. Dawn becomes jealous when Tim gets a girlfriend, and Gareth searches for any way to bed Tim's girlfreind. And after a catastrophic managerial meeting, David learns that the next downsizing just might be him...

After the dismal ending of the second season, the feature-length "Office Special" provides a satisfying wrap up. Three years later, everyone from Wenham-Hogg -- including those who no longer work there -- is being called back for a special reunion. Tim is given one last chance to win Dawn's affections, and David finally learns the truth about himself. (Anyone disappointed by the end of the second season had better check out the new endings)

Don't expect a typical sitcom in "The Office." No laughtracks. No punch lines. No gag humor... well, not much. And no episode has a clear-cut ending. Instead, we have the format seen in "This is Spinal Tap" and the Christopher Guest mockumentaries -- hidden cameras watching the madness. And what those cameras see is enough to make the world's cubicle-dwellers cry. Okay, most offices don't have giant inflatable genitalia, or a comedy-for-charity day, but the core of it is frighteningly close to home.

The series gets off to a slightly bumpy start -- at first, the jokes are a bit too thinly-spread. But soon "The Office" gets its footing and the humor steadies itself ("Tim's put my stapler inside a jelly again. That's the third time he's done it!" Gareth complains, displaying the stapler in a Jell-O mold). And a lot of the humor is a subversive, subtle kind -- it creeps into your mind, and by episode two you'll be laughing your head off at David's bad jokes, his spastic chimp dance, and his prejudices hidden behind a veil of political correctness.

Ricky Gervais is brilliant -- David is every bit as annoying and obnoxious as the immortal Basil Fawlty, but hides it under a genial mask and stupid jokes. Mackenzie Crook is wonderful as the obsequious boot-licker with a bit of a sex fixation; his Dirty Bertie toy is one of the most tasteless, horribly funny scenes on TV. Tim, like Dilbert, is a lovable loser who can't get himself out of his soul-sucking job. And Dawn is mired in a relationship with an obnoxious cheapskate, yet it takes her the whole series to finally do something about it.

Clearly destined for cult status, this is "The Office" as it was meant to be, with a darkly funny storyline culminating in a satisfying finale. Funny, strange and immensely entertaining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely perfect, 24 Feb 2011
By 
H. Seymour "Helen" (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
The Office is a comedy, drama, love story and quiet tragedy. It is a study of human frailty, with character studies that are so spot on, so utterly real, that it is almost impossible to believe these characters don't exist. It is at once extremely complex in terms of the depth of characterisitaion and stunningly simple in terms of its plot - not least the heartbreaking simplicity of the romance between Tim and Dawn.

In fact I would say 'comedy' is merely an add on, and to call this a sitcom is missing the richness and depth of the drama it presents. These characters are unique, and yet at the same time we can all recognise them from our own lives. They are all trapped not by circumstance but by their own weaknesses, which is something we can all identify with. Tim is stuck in a job he is free to resign from, Dawn is stuck with a fiance she seems to despise and yet she is free to leave. The only reason they don't is because they are afraid - and that is the great sadness of their love for one another. It would be so easy for them to be together, and yet we can all understand why they're not. The scene at the end of series two is one of the most poignant and subtle scenes ever on television in my opinion.

And then of course there is David Brent, one of the great comedy giants. A petty, small-minded, self-obsessed, insecure, hostile, prejudiced, dismissive boss that somehow, through the genius of the writing, we end up wanting to succeed, just for once.

It's very hard to give a proper review of this without talking about the ending, but I really don't want to, just in case there is someone out there who doesn't know how it ends. I had the real treat of watching it without having a clue, and it is an absolute delight, one of the best endings ever. And, as much as it pained me that there was no third series, it was absolutely the right decision. We have seen how the American version has twisted so far away from the original concept (as much as I do, incidentally, love the American version but for different reasons) that it is barely recognisable.

The Office certainly isn't for everyone. In fact the majority of my friends and family find it unbearably annoying and cringeworthy. But the best and most daring things divide opinion. I must have seen every episode at least ten times and I still find new depths every time I do. Whether you love it or loathe it, it is definitely deserving of its classic status, and it will be remembered long after most of today's sitcoms have disappeared from memory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute genius, 17 Dec 2011
By 
J. Kennedy (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
SPOILER WARNING!! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE ENTIRE SERIES, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW.

I'll keep this short and sweet. The Office is the only TV show I have ever seen which has lived up to that most cliched one-line review: 'it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry' I have laughed out loud - not something I do much these days - and I have literally had tears streaming down my cheeks with sorrow. The Office is a show of sublime subtleties, heartache, cringe-making, peep-through-your-fingers brilliance.

One scene sums up the genius at work here: in the final episode of series 2, Tim is in the middle of an interview talking about how he has to let Dawn go, that sometimes these things just don't work out. He stops mid-flow, apologies, and walks off. The camera follows him. In the most beautiful scene I have ever witnessed in a television show, Tim takes Dawn into an office, the camera peeping at them through the blinds, and he switches his microphone off. We, the viewer, can only guess what it being said. He emerges, looking forlorn. A quick glance at us and he sees the camera on him. He switches his mic back on. "She said no, by the way." Absolutely beautiful, beautiful moment.

The Christmas specials, although slightly less brilliant at first, soon kick in with a heart stoppingly wonderful finale which left so many viewers wondering whether it would all have a happy ending. We weren't disappointed.

Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant et al, I salute you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best, 17 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. B. M. Rogers "b. rogers" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
well what can i say? ITS THE BEST THING EVER. it is soooo funny and its the complete set you are getting, and its well worth the money. would recomend to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British comedy!, 27 Dec 2009
By 
A. Sagi (Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this DVD without seeing a single episode of The Office (this version, or the US one). I heard it was funny, and the pricing was good, so I bought it.

Set with my wife to see the first episode. Both of us were disappointed, and we almost didn't laugh the entire episode.
Next day I saw episode 2, and suddenly I saw the light! I saw another episode, and made my wife watch these two episodes with me. That's it, now she is a fan, and I have to convince her that it's too late to see another episode...

Too bad it lasted for only two seasons + specials.

I think that the main thing that I like about it, is that the characters are real. Some are nice, some are nasty, and some make you feel pity for them. When you feel attached to the characters, it makes it easier to like the show, even in some of the more serious parts of the show (there are some).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally devastating, wickedly funny, most uplifting, 23 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
This show will draw you in slowly but surely, make you care for the people, then with laser precision wrench every emotion possible, from laughing so hard you can hardly breathe, choking vulnerability, cringemaking situations that make you wish the floor would open up and swallow the silence, then some of the most uplifting, punching the air payoffs you could wish to experience,

the writing, acting, and crafting of this modern masterpiece is simply sublime.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It gets better and better, 7 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
The Office just gets better with every viewing.
It is subtle, rich, cleverly understated.
Each time I watch I realise something new about the characters and their situations.
It already has its imitators and will have no doubt many more, but this is the real deal, the original, the ground-breaker.
How supremely well they finished it off with the Christmas Special!
This is one box set well worth owning.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Comedy of Embarrassment, 13 Jun 2007
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
I think genius is not too strong a word to describe the comic talents of Gervais and Merchant's in their conception, writing, acting and casting. I also think that The Office is not only fantastically tears-running-down-your-face-funny but also important in the history of TV Comedy. Somehow, without demonising him, Gervais gives us a monstrous egotist called David Brent who challenges our attitudes to modern social values, ruthlessly exposes workplace politics, and shakes us out of our apathetic comfort zones. The fly-on-the-wall mockumentary format is marvellously effective in emphasising the unbearably cringe making moments - it says "that really happens, it's hilarious, but it's awful". The humour is in how the blinkered and self-deluding Brent is blissfully unaware of what a complete prat he really is; such a desperately lonely loser that we actually feel some sympathy for him (even after his office party dance - one of the funniest TV moments of the decade). The series is also refreshingly non-PC and, like Father Ted, is likely to offend over sensitive souls, but it is so much more relevant and profound than those dreadful middle class British sitcoms like "Keeping Up Appearances" or "zany" candyfloss USA shows. The casting is also perfect - Gareth, Tim and Finchy all memorable creations and the satirical take on modern management style, business guru buzzwords, motivational techniques, team building exercises etc are all mercilessly lampooned. Gervais' delivery is absolutely perfectly timed - the pauses and sidelong glances, facial expressions and pretentious gestures, as funny as the lines. Brent embarrasses us and makes us think. OK Alf Garnett did that in the 60s and 70s and Alan Partridge more recently but a measure of the greatness of the show is that anyone who has worked in an office can relate to the characters and events without too much effort. Finally, it's a show that knew when to quit. Last of the Summer Wine PLEASE TAKE NOTE !
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