TV Series Review: The Office (2005-2013)

Disclosure: Spoilers ahead.

This review was long due, having watched this series way back in 2019. A colleague of mine introduced me to this show and honestly, working in an office got me quite sceptical about watching the same. I owe her considerably, though! This is indeed a laugh riot. You would find your funny bones tickled while nodding your head to various portrayals of typical stereotypes that are, in essence, true. Be it any industry, the dynamics and office politics run on similar bloodlines. Cut to the premise, the show is about the daily shenanigans of a group of office employees working at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of a fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin.

Eccentricity, immaturity, and insensitivity with dollops of humour are the running themes of this show. I did get a brief introduction to Steve Carell’s humour in Bruce Almighty. However, this show has taken his acting chops to a heightened level altogether. The portrayal of Michael Scott, regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, has transformed him into a household name. He annoys you to the point of getting on your last nerves, yet manages to plaster a smile on your face. For me, he was the life of the show and I watched the series till his exit. I loved his performance as a goofy, foot-in-the-mouth yet good-hearted individual. He is someone who grows on you, as he has a multitude of hidden layers encompassing his impulsive and compulsive demeanour. The running joke, ‘That’s What She Said‘, was timely but grossly inappropriate and unprofessional, which made it all the more hilarious. His stolen glances at the camera while being controversial or emotional were simply brilliant and perfectly captured.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed the performances of each character in the show. They made a great team, however, a few personal favourite characters supplemented and complemented Michael’s persona. Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), the office receptionist who later transfigures into a sales associate, had a great character arc from an engaged, shy, second-guessing woman to an assertive, married one. I loved her transformation from having a lack of voice and indulgence in self-care when with the wrong man to working on her personality and dreams with the right one. Her friendship with Jim and the will-they-won’t-they end up together was a familiar page borrowed from a romance book yet engaging.

Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), a salesperson who in later seasons becomes the co-manager along with Michael, and Pam’s husband, is a fun-loving, sensitive individual who can be a suck-up to the bosses at times. His childish, harmless antics on Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), a colleague, brings out chuckles throughout the show. Dwight, the office snitch, envies Jim for being a favourite of Michael’s and believes he alone deserves to be in the promotion line. Michael constantly seeks validation from Jim, which causes Dwight’s blood to boil. He does everything in his power, including putting people in compromised positions to get what he wants. Although a nuisance and hard to get rid of or avoid, he has a touch of innocence to his character as we are given a glimpse of his childhood upbringing. One begins to understand where he comes from and why he acts in a given manner. Nonetheless, he adds a different dimension to the show with his outlandish behaviour.

Although for a brief cameo as Mike’s love interest, Jan Levinson’s (Melora Hardin) character stood out to me. On the brink of a divorce, her duality in nature added a sense of rawness to complex human behaviour. Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) has been a great addition to the cast having played Mike’s true love. I especially loved how they complemented each other in personality as well as thoughts. Michael’s marriage proposal to her was a sweet, thoughtful gesture yet so Michael. And lastly, Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) portrayed the role of the office crook, a heartless opportunist who rode on the efforts and success of others. He displayed the characteristics of a classic employee engaged in dirty politics. A character most would avoid in real life.

With a well-thought-of cast ensemble and a vividly written script, the humour grooves around just at the right intervals. This show is relatable to most people which made it an instant hit with the crowds. The concept of using a single-camera set-up was innovative and creative as it played a major role in the series. The cast was aware of its whereabouts and constantly acknowledged it as a medium to express unspoken genuine thoughts and feelings. Michael unabashedly used that to his credit grabbing critics’ eyeballs. The show also had in-between, momentary personal confessions of the office employees with the camera as a witness and ally which made it all the more interesting. The success relied on the ability to have people giggle not just at the oftentimes crude jokes and statements but at the effects it had on the people around. I crack up every time I re-watch an episode as this helps lift up my spirits on a dull or difficult day or sometimes when I just want to watch light comedy. I recommend this show to anyone looking to grow a funny bone.


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