The Office (2001–2003)
7.9/10
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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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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ricky Gervais ... David Brent
Martin Freeman ... Tim Canterbury
Mackenzie Crook ... Gareth Keenan
Lucy Davis ... Dawn Tinsley
Oliver Chris ... Ricky Howard
Stirling Gallacher ... Jennifer Taylor-Clark
Joel Beckett ... Lee
Robin Hooper ... Malcolm
Phaldut Sharma ... Sanj (as Paul Sharma)
Yvonne D'Alpra Yvonne D'Alpra ... Joan
Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw ... Ben
Angela Clerkin Angela Clerkin ... Jackie
Jamie Deeks Jamie Deeks ... Jamie
Neil Fitzmaurice Neil Fitzmaurice ... Alex
Jane Lucas Jane Lucas ... Sheila
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 July 2001 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

David Brent: What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It's the people, investment in people. My proudest moment here wasn't when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went 'Mr Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?' Didn't happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was ...
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Connections

References Da Ali G Show (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Professionalism is... and that is what I want"
7 January 2009 | by MaxBorg89See 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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