[talking about Sally making headline news in the local paper]
I don't know why everyone's making such a fuss - she's not the only one to make the press.
What were you in? Readers' Wives?
Yes. I've got no qualms about it. So what if I wasn't actually his wife? Although I was ashamed to be seen on that rug. Fake bearskin? Looked like someone had murdered Bungle.
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Funnier than most sitcoms but not as sharp as 'The Office' and it was a mistake to align it with that
In every workplace there is a place where the shunned go a place where people go who have only one thing in common but spend several times a day together nonetheless. They are the office smokers; some hang around outside the building but in this office they have a room together. As the smokers come and go on their various breaks we are treated to all manner of inane discussions, banter and office politics.
Although it doesn't help to compare this show to the vastly superior The Office it is hard not to. Not only is it set in the 'real work' much more than most BBC sitcoms but the marketing for it all tried to make sure that we came to this off the back of The Office's fame. Initial disappointment is pretty much guaranteed because this is not as sharp as the observation from The Office and is funnier in a different way. Once I realized that this had been mis-sold and is really just a normal sitcom then I was able to settle into it a lot more. As a sitcom it is better than the norm as it is at least recognisable (as opposed to forced family sitcoms) and the jokes are quite good and pretty much match the sort of banter you wish you could have. In reality most smoking room conversations are just small talk and b*tching but that wouldn't make for much of a series, so the pop culture references and the amusing dialogue keep it moving much better.
The lack of a sharp edge on the material is a problem and I didn't feel that the series managed to build characters and stories as well as it should have done. The cast are all OK but I was never really sold on them as 'real' people rather they were always actors albeit actors delivering some funny lines. In The Office (sorry to keep comparing but the BBC started it!) the people were all recognisable and the laughs were tempered by the horror of seeing our workplaces slightly condensed into this one. Here performances are OK from Ayres, Webb, Marshall and the others but they feel like a sitcom cast and it is only the funnier than normal material that makes them rise above the genre.
Overall this is not The Office and it is important to know that and not be sucked in by the attempts by the show and the BBC to align it with that. Rather this is a sitcom that is set in an office environment it is not as sharp or as well observed as it could have been but it still manages to be funny. Watched as a sitcom it is funnier than the genre and blessedly free of canned laughter but this is just a sitcom and comparisons to The Office will only help it get an audience at the start not keep it.
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