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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
Set in the bleak, awfully-named industrial town of Slough and the fictional office of the Wernam-Hogg paper merchants, a BBC film crew documents the expressionless workers, ringing phones, copiers churning out clone after clone after clone, pointless meetings and pointless bureaucracy that exist within typical, uninspiring companies.
Sadly, the majority of people in Britain work in dull, dead-end office jobs with lives that go nowhere and even the most meager of ambitions going unrealized. Maybe if they had a boss like David Brent their day would be livened up. Not because he's the 'boss/entertainer' he thinks he is, but for the morbid curiosity of watching a desperate, delusional and detestable man slowly crash and burn.
The majority of laughs in The Office come from awkward and embarrassing situations. Brent constantly forces his bullheaded and bawdy humor on unwitting staff. At first they appear scared of his ruthlessly imposing presence but towards the end they all ignore him completely. But he never realizes this and resorts to even more tasteless ways of getting attention. He loves the camera and rather than acting 'normal' for the purposes of the mockumentary he exaggerates his beastly character to the point of being sickening. He gets what he deserves in the end and by this point the audience has lost all sympathy for him.
His brutalized and beleaguered staff struggle to get on with their work as Brent's tyranny escalates. Among them we have Tim, an increasingly unhappy man who wishes to escape the monotony and drudgery 'ordinary life' brings him. He's long had the confidence crushed out of him but still has more humanity than anyone else.
Gareth is Tim's worst enemy. A dorky, 95 pound weakling who boasts of being in the (territorial) Army and is keen to assume more and more power from Brent's failing management. Like Brent, he has no clue about social interaction and behaves strangely among potential friends.
Dawn is the receptionist. She is engaged to a controlling, unloving boyfriend who insists she spend her life doing dull work despite the fact that she has higher and happier dreams. She has feelings for Tim, and they are more than mutual. But fear of change and happiness stops her from falling for him.
As soon as once branch of Wernam-Hogg incorporates the other it becomes clear how useless Brent is. The new staff are amazed at how such a horrid man has been employed at all, never mind become a boss. Complaints and unfinished work rise and the upper management are forced to take action. Sadly, Brent just won't learn.
In the end, his staff have the slightest chance at happiness and escape. Brent however doesn't learn from his mistakes and will probably go on to have an endlessly miserable life.
If you work in an office, get out! Among the blackest of humor there is a message; office life is fit for no human being. And Ricky Gervais' dark comedy is filled with thousands of examples of why this is so. It's absolutely classic stuff that is far ahead of dozens of canned laughter sitcoms.
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