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TV Series Review

Starting life as a BBC sitcom in 2001, The Office zoomed in on the British working-class mindset and helped launch comedian Ricky Gervais' career. The short-lived series (with a total of just 14 episodes) was so popular and critically touted that the concept was quickly adapted for the U.S. And here, just a quick jump across the pond, the show has run, oh, just short of forever (or, at least, since 2005).

With mocumentary panache, The Office captures the daily business of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company office in sunny Scranton, Pa. For some unknown reason, a camera crew has taken up 24/7 residence in this cubicled workplace, tracking every glance, twitch, flirtation and highly inappropriate comment they see or hear.

They, and audiences, watched as show linchpin and self-proclaimed "World's Best Boss" Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) left at the end of the seventh season, replaced in the office's hierarchy by goofy Andy Bernard (Ed Helms). They and we began wondering what would be the result of enigmatic Robert California (James Spader) swooping in to become the company's new CEO. And they/we quickly saw firsthand how true the old cliché is: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The rest of The Office is staffed with well-worn characters: There's the sometimes violent and always power-hungry sycophant Dwight, who grew up on a beet farm and is now seemingly the company's permanent second fiddle. There's the office lovebirds—likable slacker Jim and once-bashful-receptionist-turned-outspoken-wife Pam. And lets not forget Angela, who obsesses over posters of babies dressed like adults. Or Meredith, the office drunk who once downed another employee's alcohol-based hand sanitizer. There's also a "token" gay guy and a Christian.

So for all of the show's cockeyed caricatures and awkward comic "improvs," things aren't always harmlessly silly. Crude language, offensive religious stereotypes, booze guzzling and sexual (and homosexual) topics regularly pull up a chair in the Dunder Mifflin workplace.

In short, no matter who the boss is these days, The Office would be a terrible place to work. And it's hard to imagine that someone would want to spend time there without getting paid for it.

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Office: 9222011
Office: 4292010
Office: 12102009



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Ed Helms as Andy Bernard; James Spader as Robert California; Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute; John Krasinski as Jim Halpert; Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly; B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard; Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson; Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone; Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin; Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance; Kate Flannery as Meredith Palmer






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