The Office

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Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office
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Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office

The Office is a British and American television comedy series. The original series, created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, first aired in Britain on BBC Two on July 9, 2001. After the British show's critical success an American version was launched, premiering on NBC on March 24, 2005.

Widely acclaimed as the most successful BBC comedy in the last decade, two six-episode series of the British version of The Office have been made, along with a pair of 45-minute Christmas specials.

Contents

The Office (British)

The British show is set in Slough, England, in a small branch of the fictitious paper company Wernham Hogg. The office is managed by David Brent (Gervais) along with his assistant Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook), a lieutenant in the Territorial Army. Much of the comedic success of the series stems from David, who tries to be his employees' best friend even as he is an office tyrant.

David's character flaws are used to comic effect, including numerous verbal gaffes, unconscious racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. The British show has no laugh track, and is designed to resemble a fly-on-the-wall documentary (mostly because when it began, the show's budget was skimpy).

Other office denizens include the unassuming Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman), whose flirtation with bored receptionist Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis) is a major arc in the series because she is engaged to warehouse worker Lee (Joel Beckett).

Series 1

In the show's first series, David oversees a turbulent spell at his office. Either his branch or another at Swindon must downsize — jobs will be eliminated and the staff needs a boss who can fight for them.

David also has a personal dilemma when he discovers that Donna (his best friend's daughter, temporarily staying at David's house), is dating the office temp, Ricky.

Series 2

The Swindon branch is downsized and the workers who were not laid off there are transferred to the Slough branch. David assures the new workers that he is an excellent boss and that good times lie ahead. David battles with his new boss and apparent nemesis, the charismatic and popular Neil Godwin (former manager of the Swindon branch).

The second series of The Office was originally broadcast in the UK between September 30 and November 4, 2002.

Specials

While Gervais and Merchant said there will be no further series, they did write two additional 45-minute episodes, which first aired in the United Kingdom on BBC One on Boxing Day and December 27, 2003.

In these specials, a BBC documentary crew returns to the office to see what has happened in the two years since they last filmed. David now sells cleaning products and makes lowbrow "celebrity" appearances at nightclubs; Dawn and Lee are living in Tampa, Florida with Lee's sister; Gareth has taken David's role at Wernham Hogg; and Tim is still in the same job. The impending Christmas party gives Tim hope when he discovers that Dawn will be returning for the event.

Awards

In January 2004, The Office won the Golden Globe award for "Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy", beating nominees Arrested Development, Monk, Sex And The City and Will & Grace. It was the first time a British TV series had won this award. Ricky Gervais was also awarded the Golden Globe for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy" for his role in The Office.

The series won the Best TV Comedy award, and Gervais the Best TV Comedy Actor award, at the British Comedy Awards 2002.

The Office (American)

After the original British series won two Golden Globes, an American version of The Office was created by NBC Universal. Though it retains the same title, the American version of the show is set in Scranton, Pennsylvania. NBC has described it as a faster-paced version of the original; Gervais said before the premiere that it would probably have actors with better teeth. Creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have production credits on the new show, but they are not otherwise involved.

All the characters have been renamed and re-cast with American actors.

Episode list

Season 1

  1. Pilot
  2. Diversity Day
  3. Health Care
  4. The Alliance
  5. Basketball
  6. Hot Girl

British cast

Main cast

Minor cast (incomplete)

American cast

See also

External links

nl:The Office

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