The Office: Season 1, Episode 1

Downsize (9 Jul. 2001)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Comedy, Drama
8.1
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David Brent is the manager of the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company and he and some of his staff are having a bit of a rough morning after over-imbibing the night before. When... See full summary »

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Title: Downsize (09 Jul 2001)

Downsize (09 Jul 2001) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Stirling Gallacher ...
Joel Beckett ...
Lee
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Sanj (as Paul Sharma)
Yvonne D'Alpra ...
Ben Bradshaw ...
Ben
Angela Clerkin ...
Jamie Deeks ...
Neil Fitzmaurice ...
Alex
Jane Lucas ...
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Storyline

David Brent is the manager of the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company and he and some of his staff are having a bit of a rough morning after over-imbibing the night before. When his boss Jennifer Taylor-Clark drops in she tells him that the company can no longer afford both a Swindon and a Slough branch and that one is to be merged into the other. She also tells him there are going to be redundancies. Word spreads through the office quickly but David assures everyone that their jobs are safe. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

9 July 2001 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pilot episode had a budget of £90,000. See more »

Goofs

As Tim asks Lee what is in his bag, the crew can be seen in the reflection of the picture behind. See more »

Quotes

[Tim as a joke has put Gareth's stapler in a jelly]
Gareth: Tim's put my stapler inside a jelly again. That's the third time he's done it. It wasn't even funny the first time.
David Brent: Why has he done that?
Gareth: I told him once that I don't like jelly. I don't trust the way it moves.
David Brent: Yeah. You showed him a weakness - he pounced. You should know about that... What is in there?
Gareth: It's my stapler.
[Gareth plunges his hand in to fish out the stapler]
David Brent: Well, don't do that... eat it out. There's people starving in the world, ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
"Professionalism is... and that is what I want"
7 January 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Not since Monty Python's Flying Circus has a British comedy series had such an impact on popular culture, not least the fact that it survived the inevitable American re-imagining (a rare case of a remake that is as good as the original). It's forever part of English society - not bad for a low-key project that debuted on BBC 2 with not-so-spectacular ratings, not to mention starring a group of unknown people. Chief amongst them is Ricky Gervais, now one of the hottest names in contemporary comedy.

As established from the opening shot of the first episode, the show is a mockumentary, whose premise has a BBC camera crew filming the everyday lives of people working in an office. The building they have chosen is the Slough branch of paper company Wernham Hogg. Events are followed with great precision, and occasionally accompanied by "talking heads" comments on behalf of the staff. The majority of the remarks come from David Brent (Gervais), the regional manager, who sees himself as a great boss and entertainer, whereas everyone else, minus his assistant Gareth Keenan (MacKenzie Crook), sees him as a rude, sexist idiot (which he is).

This character trait is clearly defined from the get-go, as the series begins with David learning from his boss, Jennifer Taylor-Clark (Stirling Gallacher), whom he "lovingly" refers to as Camilla Parker Bowles, tells him his branch might incorporate its Swindon counterpart, or vice versa, depending on various factors. David refuses to accept the possibility that he and his colleagues could lose their jobs and therefore carelessly promises everyone nothing will happen. Not that some people are that concerned: salesman Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) and his best friend, receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), are too busy pulling pranks on Gareth.

The defining characteristic of The Office is the fact that it doesn't play out like a normal sitcom: there's no laugh track (unheard of at the time for British audiences, while Americans were already partially used to it thanks to M*A*S*H and Sports Night) and no broad humor at all. All jokes present are as dry and cynical as possible, save for a few "mainstream" spats between Tim and Gareth. The cruel "practical joke" David makes at Dawn's expense is the perfect embodiment of the show's philosophy: it wants to depict the harsh reality of life in an office, whether what it has to offer is pleasant or not. In a way, we laugh because we don't want to cry. Then again, with Gervais around, what other choice is there? His characterization of Brent is real and shocking, but also consistently amusing - a TV legend from the first moment he opened his mouth.


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