Welcome to Wernham Hogg, a suburban paper company where "life is stationery." Critics and fans alike have lauded this hilarious, biting look at everyday office life, told in the mockumentary style of cult comedy classics s... more »uch as This is Spinal Tap and The Larry Sanders Show. The show revolves around David Brent, (an instant classic character widely compared to Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers) the oblivious general manager who instigates petty office rivalries. The wince-worthy Brent still considers himself "a friend first and a boss second...probably an entertainer third."« less
Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA Reviewed on 8/5/2013...
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Pathetic, mundane, dark, and undeniably hilarious.
Christian Hunter | Austin, TX and Santa Barbara, CA, | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From time to time I go swimming for media outside the mainstream. In the UK, this is as popular there as Curb Your Enthusiasm (which shares similar dark appeal) and approaching Friends. I had to take a look, despite the fact that I never really liked British humor.The first episode was more confusing than anything else. Done in a documentary style, it chronicled the goings on within, of all interesting venues, a paper company, and followed the relationships between its completely pathetic inhabitants. The office constituency is led by (co-writer of the show) Ricky Gervais who plays David Brent...a cocktail of extreme insecurity, arrogance, and level of social ineptitude that pushes (but doesn't cross) the envelope of possibility.I'll embarrasingly admit that the unorthodox style took a while to get used to, from no laugh track, to a complete absence of jokes or punch lines. This show plays on a variation of the axiom about "truth being stranger than fiction". Well, after an episode or two, I became totally immersed in the environment, an environment that seemed more like reality than fiction. That threw my switch, I now find this show insanely funny, but the realistic element has a gravity of its own. You start to really care about the characters. Pretty unusual for a comedy series.So, for those of you who haven't seen it, but are curious, I recommend without reservation. For the rest, get this DVD, it's among the few in my collection that I play frequently.Hope this helped.Christian Hunter"
Better than George Michael's latest release
Iain Black | 01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Office is the funniest thing ever put on DVD and if you don't believe me then you don't know about life and you are dumb. I am a soldier and I know about life and I'm not lying. I know that if you were to crash land on a desert island with nothing but this DVD, you could survive for a long time. You could use the discs as weapons against squirrels and monkeys. You could use them as plates for berries, or as shoes. Although you'd need a bit of tape to make them shoes. And some leather straps and stitching material. The cardboard packaging of the DVDs, which at first glance looks like crap, actually unfolds into a tent-like enclosure that would protect you from the elements of a desert island. And from monkeys. I believe BBC America did this because they care about you. I'm not lying."
The funniestTV import to the States since Monty Python
Kyle Garrett | Chicago,ILL | 10/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If it wasn't for "The Office",most people would still think that BBC America only had home and garden shows,EastEnders and Graham Norton on all day.If you've seen the first season's episodes,you already know how great this show is.If not,do yourself a favor and catch up,then buy the DVD and watch it again. Ricky Gervais is so brilliant as the creepily funny David Brent,you WILL actually feel more than a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed for him when he 1)tries too hard to be funny or 2)when he's so clearly unaware of the hole that he's digging that it becomes surreal. And that's the beauty of this show:Take a total idiot meanie of a boss and combine it with the mundane day to day goings-on of working in Corporate(office politics seem to be identical on both sides on the Atlantic) and you immediately recognize the similarities to real life.While David Brent is the linchpin of the show,the characters of Tim,Dawn and Gareth are also essential.A classic play on the office crush subplot(Salesman Tim pines for the lovely but unobtainable receptionist Dawn)grows at a mild but always interesting pace that it reaches a brilliant fever pitch by the second season. And you'd feel bad for Brent's suck-up subordinate Gareth if the practical jokes played on him by Tim weren't so damn funny. Another plus for this series:no laugh track/studio audience to spell out to you what jokes are funny,no gimmicks or situations for the characters to work out(ala "Friends")and no political correctness. It really is reminscent of "Fawlty Towers"or "Curb your Enthusiam"so if you're a fan of either of those,you shouldn't find any problem with "The Office". Again,I say:get the DVD,watch the reruns on BBCAmerica and savor the genius before the Hollywood fat cats make good on their promise and ruin it i.e.making an American version."
Great subtle and dark humour!
Iain Black | 10/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a Brit who has enjoyed the office over the past couple of years here in Britain. Needless to say, it is brilliant. David Brent is the boss of this small paper publishing company who are currently being filmed for a documentary to be put on tv (this is just an excuse to allow us to see the world of this office). Needless to say, David thinks he is great and always plays the good guy moralist for the cameras, the rest of his staff think him an idiot though, you soon see why! Great comedy involving embarrassment, peoples relationships and Davids own logical traps as he explain his personal theories of life to the camera crew! There is no laughter track, or jokes per se, but the whole situation renders the program as funny and tragic.Anyway, i just wanted to say that series 2 is even better (David has to put up with the boss of the other branch and his staff. The new boss called Neil is genuinely nice, funny and fair. The staff are all very normal and hard-working. Cue David trying to get them to loosen up! 'You will never ever get a boss like me again' he pleads). So buy this when it gets release in the UK which is mid-October, check amazon.co.uk for more info.
If you like this then you must buy 'Im Alan Partridge' and 'Phoenix Nights'. Both are loved over here (Alan Partridge is a video diary of a failed TV celebrity forced to do 4-7am Radio shows! He quickly loses the plot. Phoenix Nights is about a pub run by a power crazy madcap businessman, see amazon.co.uk for more!) We recently went through a comedy golden age in the UK when these thress comedies aired in the same weeks!"
Ricky Gervais unleashes David Brent on "The Office"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every time David Brent (Ricky Gervais) starts fiddling with his tie I get anxious. It is like hearing the sound of an artillery shell coming at you and wanting to yell "Incoming." Yes, I know I am contrasting a visual clue with an aural clue, but my point, vis-a-vis "The Office: The Complete First Series," would be, to wit, on point in the same way taking a round hole and finding a square peg to put into it would make a modicum of sense, in a round about way. We live sheltered lives up here in the Northland, so I had never seen "The Office" nor heard much about it until the BBC series won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series: Musical or Comedy and Gervais won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy. But that was enough to check it out. Since this is a British situation comedy there are only a handful of episodes, six to be exact, so we are spared from the sub-par and totally wasted episodes that so many American sitcoms are bloated with (is there going to be even one more great "Friends" episode before the grand finale?). The result is an instant cult classic in the mode of "Police Squad," another limited run sitcom series that inhabited its own little comedy world. "The Office" is the Slough office of Werham Hogg, manufacturer of paper products, where David Brent is the office manager. The key story arc of the first season is the company's impending decision to close either the Slough or Swindon branches and merge the two, which brings up the dreaded idea of "redundancy." Brent talks about protecting his people but we are aware from the start that this guy is talk, all talk, all the time, and has achieved new levels of self-interest and self-absorption in the process. There are also the interpersonal conflicts in the office, where the number two man in the office, Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is blind to his own incompetence and Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) divides his time between making life difficult for Gareth, trying to connect with Brent's secretary Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), and keeping on the good side of the man himself.The six episodes from the first season consist of: (1) "Downsize" is where Brent is told that his branch might be closed down and absorbed by the other office. Of course that would not be a popular thing to tell his workers, so Brent flies in the face of reason and tells them the exact opposite; (2) "Work Experience" presents Brent with two headaches, the first being a doctored pornographic image of himself sent over the company computers and the second a return visit from Jennifer Taylor Clark wanting to know what changes he has made to improve the office; (3) "The Quiz" starts with Tim's birthday and his various gifts (one of which is large and inflatable), but comes down to Tim and Ricky (Oliver Chris) against Brent and Finch (Ralph Ineson) in the office's annual trivia quiz contest; (4) "Training" is my favorite of the bunch as it is training day. Of course Brent cannot play second fiddle to anybody and it is not long before he is livening up the boring session with some of his original musical compositions; (5) "New Girl" has Brent firing and hiring as the deadline for a decision comes closer while Tim is thinking of moving on; and (6) "Judgement" deals with redundancies judgement day and the choice that Brent has to make. Of course, no selfish deed comes unpunished.My only complaint is that given how Jennifer Taylor Clark (Stirling Gallacher) saw through Brent in episode two, how she can come back in episode four and have a different attitude. I know the short answer is because Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant wrote it that way, but it only underscores that for "The Office" to work nobody above Brent on the corporate food chain can really know his true value. Done in mockumentary style, just another piece of evidence that Brent's ego is too great to ever see the harm of having his every word being recorded by a camera, "The Office" is ultimately about a man who is trying to have it both ways. Every time he tries to stay ahead of the game he falls farther and farther behind, with the one constant being that he basically never ever shuts up. There is just something so compelling about watching such verbal self-immolating, especially when we are only talking about six episodes where only the fifth one is less than completely satisfactory."