The Office - The Complete Second Series  [DVD]
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David Brent returns to work in the office that took Britain by storm and grabbed middle-managers by their balls. His 'unique' management style in this multi-award winning spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary had office workers squirming on their sofas. We find out who has kept their jobs (just how Brent managed to keep his remains a mystery). The Slough and Swindon branches have now merged, and David has a suave, sophisticated and obviously popular new boss, not his type at all. Neither are the Swindon staff, a serious, professional group. One is black and another disabled, giving Brent a perfect opportunity to display the most appalling, unthinking prejudice. And, with Tim still pursuing receptionist Dawn, a water cooler romance might be on the agenda.
The second series of the award-winning BBC2 mockudrama The Office exceeded even the sky-high standards of the first. Indeed, it ventured beyond caricature and satire, touching on the very edge of darkness. Ricky Gervais was once again excruciatingly superb as David Brent, a subtly shaded modern English comic grotesque in the desperate and self-deluding tradition of Alan Partridge and Basil Fawlty.
In this series, however, Brent's to-camera assertions concerning his man-management qualities and executive capabilities are seriously challenged when the Slough and Swindon branches are merged and his former Swindon equivalent Neil takes over as area manager. To compensate Brent cultivates his pathologically mistaken image of himself as an entertainer/motivator/comedian whose stage happens to be the workplace. This culminates in a comically disastrous motivational session ending with a sing-along of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best", which is greeted, typically, with stunned, appalled silence.
Meanwhile, Tim, who can only maintain his sanity by teasing the priggish, puddingbowl-haired Gareth, continues to wrestle with his yearning for receptionist Dawn, a sympathetic character persisting with a relationship with a yobbish bloke about whom she still maintains unspoken reservations. As ever, it's the awkward, reality TV-style pauses and silences, the furtive, meaningful and unmet glances across the emotional gulf of the open-plan office, that say it all here.
As for Brent, his own breakdown is prefaced by a moment of hideous hilarity--an impromptu office dance, a mixture of "Flashdance and MC Hammer" as Brent describes it, but in reality bad beyond description. Then, when his fate is sealed, he at last reveals himself as a humiliated and broken man in a memorable finale to perhaps the greatest British sitcom, besides Fawlty Towers, ever made. All this and Keith too. --David Stubbs
On the DVD: The Office, Series 2 is a single-disc release unlike the more generous Series 1. Extra features are enjoyable nonetheless. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant feature in a gleefully shambolic video diary--highlights of which include Gervais flicking elastic bands at his cowriter and taping their editor to his swivel chair. The ubiquitous Gervais also mockingly introduces some outtakes (mostly of him corpsing throughout dozens of takes) and a series of deleted scenes, notably of Gareth arriving in his horrendous cycle shorts. --Mark Walker
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I like the way in which this comedy blazed the way for the comedy to shine out without the need for a laughter track. It was innovative at the time and because of the nature of the subject material, working within an office environment, it's easy to identify with the characters and situations. Overall, it's an excellent series and I even found myself wanting to watch the extra features on the disc which include some amusing deleted scenes. I'm glad that Gervais and Merchant decided to quit whilst they were ahead and only write and direct two series' plus the Christmas specials which wrapped things up nicely.
Apart from the wonderfully awful David Brent, my favourite character is the sweet and hopeless Tim. He is everyman, in fact every viewer, as so many of his reactions to Brent's uniquely obnoxious behaviour mirror our own.
In every scene, the acting is faultlessly controlled and the situations are often painfully familiar.
One of the finest quality shows ever. Enjoy and try not to throw an over-full stapler at the screen. This is a comic invention that is just too true to life.
Another highlight is David giving his inspirational speech to young people. As soon as he gets asked to do this you know he'll make an idiot of himself and once again you will be cringing for him and he doesnt fail! He cant do things without trying to be dramatic or funny, he has to add his own make of eccentricity.
And he's dealing with his jealousy to new boss Neil. He's better looking and more popular and poor David struggles to deal with him.
One of the best characters that doesnt get enough screen time in my eyes is Big Keith! He's kind of a supporitng character, but he's so funny, him and his scotch eggs.
I advise people to watch the first series before this one, then you will be able to understand more of what goes on.
If you want a real, true to life, ground-breaking comedy, then The Office is exactly what you should purchase. If you just give the first episode a chance, and get used to the concept of The Office, i can pretty much guarentee you'll love it.
If you dont, then your clearly a My Family fan.
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