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The Office (Season One) - television series DVD review
The Office (Season One) Not Rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, B.J. Novak
  Studio: Universal Studios
DVD release: 16 August 2005   Runtime: 135 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (Spanish), Deleted scenes, Commentary

As a fan of the UK version of The Office, I was dubious about the US version. Sitcoms don't often translate too well over the pond. The US managed to screw up Coupling when they tried it here, an edgy and delightful show in the UK. Trading Spaces worked just fine as did What Not to Wear, but they're not comedies. Humor (or humour, if you prefer) is what gets lost in translation, but the US version holds up quite well, and I'm not sure that they could have pulled it off without the brilliant cast they selected.

The first episode is taken almost verbatim from the UK version and it works fine, but it's a bit rough 'round the edges. The characters are finding their way, getting comfortable in their skin, as it were. There are, in the US version, counterparts to most characters in the UK version, but they don't make the mistake of trying to be the same character. Jim (John Krasinski), for instance, pulls the same calculator in the Jell-O pranks that the UK's Tim pulls, but he just seems less schlubby, if you know what I mean. More charismatic and charming. The jokes don't go as blue as they did in the UK version, either; we're such prudes here. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is similar to his UK counterpart David Brent (Ricky Gervais), but Carell makes Michael Scott his own. He's not ignorant in quite the same way.

No matter; while both shows started from the same seed, this one seems to be growing into a very different branch, and you'll see the departure begin in this first season of six episodes. What?!! Only six episodes?!! It was a late season starter, first airing in late March of 2005. Fear not! The second season has 22 episodes and is also available now.

There are commentaries on two episodes; "The Alliance" and "Basketball". Well worth catching. Much like hanging out with the cast and crew after a filming (like I'd know what that's like). You can tell these people enjoy working together, and the result is an excellent program.
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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