TV Show The Office, What You Need to Know


WHAT’S THE STORY?

In this mockumentary series covering the 9-to-5 antics at a Pennsylvania-based paper company branch, there isn’t a lot of actual work getting done, but THE OFFICE is filled with colorful characters. They include wannabe manager Dwight (Rainn Wilson), who runs the family beet farm when he’s not functioning as the office hall monitor; cat-loving accountant Angela (Angela Kinsey), Dwight’s former office flame; and everyman Jim (John Krasinski), an underachieving sales rep who’s in love with his co-worker Pam (Jenna Fischer).

IS IT ANY GOOD?

And though some viewers might find it difficult to adapt to this series’painfully intentional awkwardness, for older audiences, it’s well worth the investment. Inefficiency runs amok in The Office, a deft remake of Ricky Gervais‘ classic BBC mockumentary that’s proven to be a stand-alone hit from its British predecessor, using only the framework of the previous series and adding storylines that are more reflective of American office culture. As bumbling branch manager Michael Scott, Steve Carell set the bar high (and won a Golden Globe Award) by creating a character who was both offensive — and oddly endearing — for seven successful seasons. But while it’s a different sort of workplace for sure in the wake of his absence, it’s still one that keeps us punching in for more.

TALK ABOUT IT…

  • Families can talk about the award-winning British comedy upon which The Office is based. How do the two compare, and which do you prefer? What types of changes were made to the plot and characters in altering the series for an American audience?
  • Can clever writing really poke fun at serious subjects like racism or sexism? Has the line of what’s considered acceptable vs. offensive changed, and is that line different for cable and network shows? Should it be?
  • Do you think the series paints an accurate picture of office behavior? Has corporate culture been exaggerated for the sake of comedy?
  • How do the characters on The Office demonstrate self-control and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

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