Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Office - Review

As a fan of Steve Carrel, I was shocked to discover an 8 series mockumentary go unnoticed beneath my watchful eye. I had seen the Ricky Gervais BBC edition, but had no idea of the existence of this little number. So I sat down with my iPod Touch and watched the first  episode. Then I watched another. Then another one. Soon I was spiraling into that vortex of watching every episode until the current series. After stumbling from my dark bedroom to a house that I had forgotten about for six days, I realised that I had watched more than 64 hours of pure hilarity. This stuff was worse than drugs!
Better than OK Michael...

The nature of most American comedy television these days is manifested through the studios that create them: lazy, irritating and repetitive. Popular shows like How i met your mother and The Big Bang theory mostly rely on fans and a pre-determined age-based market to succeed. Simply put, quality becomes irrelevant in the long term. The latter shows both came onto our screens with good humour and importantly, artistic integrity: but the plots soon became repetitive and writers relied on shocks and predictable story arcs to keep things somewhat interesting. So why do millions of viewers watch these shows? Because of the characters. Even though the writing behind these shows has become cyclical, Barney (HIMYM) still entertains using his irreverent attitude and Leonard (TBBT) still acts like an antisocial goofball.

The Office avoids these pitfalls simply because of the vastness of the cast and constantly-changing roles within the narrative. The ensemble nature of the cast also protects against boring narrative arcs and predictability. Whenever I began to sense a pattern, the show spiced things up by removing characters, changing roles and, to my shock, getting rid of the leading man in season seven. Yes, Steve Carrel's character 'Michael Scott' became engaged and left the office permanently! This is where the show faced it's greatest test: would it be able to survive when the most central character on the program left? A resounding yes.

The Office perfectly executes an authentic yet side splitting, satirical mockumentary with feeling and integrity. The performances are incredibly delivered as well as heartfelt and, as it should be, funny.


- Mr Critter 

The Office airs on NBC, Thursdays 9/8c