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A mockumentary about life in a mid-sized suboffice paper merchants in a bleak British industrial town, where manager David Brent thinks he's the coolest, funniest, and most popular boss ever. He isn't. That doesn't stop him from embarrassing himself in front of the cameras on a regular basis, whether from his political sermonizing, his stand-up 'comedy', or his incredibly unique dancing. Meanwhile, long-suffering Tim longs after Dawn the engaged receptionist and keeps himself sane by playing childish practical jokes on his insufferable, army-obsessed deskmate Gareth. Will the Slough office be closed? Will the BBC give David a game show? Will Tim and Dawn end up with each other? And more importantly, will Gareth realize what a hopeless prat he is? Written by
There are limits to my comedy. There are things that I'll never laugh at. The handicapped. Because there's nothing funny about them. Or any deformity. It's like when you see someone look at a little handicapped and go 'ooh, look at him, he's not able-bodied. I am, I'm prejudiced.' Yeah, well, at least the little handicapped fella is able-minded. Unless he's not, it's difficult to tell with the wheelchair ones.
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I hold everything I watch to a very high standard and in general I can't watch the vast majority of what is put on TV - 24, Lost, Gray's Anatomy, Heroes, essentially anything you can think of that people seem to go crazy for... and the reason is simple: they aren't driven by the writing.
And to those who are already upset and ready to describe the genius of the plot of X TV show or one I named above, consider that none of those shows are driven by the characters, by pureness of emotion created, by novelty of the plot, it can all be reduced to a few things: 1) Love triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, etc. 2) Action (doesn't take a PhD to blow something, put a child in harm's way, etc.) 3) THE BIGGEST ONE - leaving you hanging (which makes the viewer, in between episodes, feel like they just can't stand to not be watching this show, but really, you could tell one of the worst stories ever and stop just short of an important climax and people will naturally be interested - but why not ask for more)
And in general, what I like to think of as the plot skeleton (the core conflict or plot outline) in these shows is tried and cliché in all of these shows. There's nothing new.
The US version of the Office is just plain unbelievable. The characters are not real people. It's very funny SOMETIMES and I do watch it (which makes it like 1 of maybe 5 shows in the last several years), but Michael Scott could never exist in real life, and he's the only decent actor in the show. Jim and Pam don't have the incredible subtle, Victorian, romance that Tim and Dawn had. Martin Freeman is also 10x more the legitimate actor, and Dawn was significantly better than Pam - Jenna Fischer just doesn't have much of an emotional range. Dwight is just always high strung - Garreth had depth and incredible subtlety and a range of moods. Stanley's humor was meant for 9 year olds. Keith was infinitely better at deadpan and numb-skull humor. Angela, Meredith, Oscar, Creed - all 1 dimensional. Ryan's not awful.
AND THEN THERE WAS THE OFFICE (BBC)...
Incredible realism. Incredible and subtle use of the documentary genre. A barrage of original, subtle, diverse jokes. No laugh track (which many people notice, but it's more than that - it's that the show doesn't hit high hat cymbals to cue you to laugh too, it creates genuinely funny and awkward moments). The actors are outstanding too - such an incredible repertoire each of them has of emotional capacity (even, and in fact ESPECIALLY, Garreth, whose US counterpart Dwight can't come close to the pathos and sadness Garreth can evince - or really even realism, Dwight is just always high-strung and not a real human character).
I've seen lots of movies. More than anyone I know. I'm a pretty smart guy (at least on paper). Movies are my favorite thing in the world. If I put this series as a whole into my list of top movies of all time, and ignored the differences of the media, it would make the top 5.
My life is better because I've seen The Office (BBC). Just don't watch season 1 and 2 and forget about the Christmas special, like I did for a year. But I do think if you give yourself at least a week after watching 1 and 2 before watching the special, you can better "simulate" the time lapse that is meant to exist before the fictional creation of the documentary.
Do yourself a favor.
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