The Office (UK) Image
Metascore
98

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 77 Ratings

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  • Starring: Stirling Gallacher, Ralph Ineson, Martin Freeman
  • Summary: "Trust, encouragement, reward, loyalty... satisfaction. That's what I'm..you know. Trust people and they'll be true to you. Treat them greatly, and they will show themselves to be great." - David Brent. The Office tells a story of a few people working in a British office working hard to not lose their jobs. This hilarious comedy won a Golden Globe award for best comedy series. It was created by Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant. David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is a manager of low intelligence and has no sense of humor, but is convinced that he is the best, the most entertaining and the most well liked boss of all time.Today the show has been sold in more than 60 countries and it even had a remake in America. The Office is the first non-American show nominated in the category of best television musical or comedy for a Golden Globe Award; and Ricky Gervais was the first non-American actor nominated for the lead role in a television comedy for the same award. The Office won both awards and left Sex and the City & Matt LeBlanc empty handed. When the series aired the first season, they did not even know how popular it would get in some future episodes. The fact that its release on the DVD format proved to be the BBC's best selling comedy release shows its mass popularity and appeal.The writers at the start did not imagine that a second season would be created and after bowing to pressure to create one they would not do it again for a third. The show ended on a high note after two Christmas specials which tied up knots and rounded off wonderfully the first two seasons.Opening Theme Song: "Handbags and Gladrags" performed by Fin.WARNING: some episodes contain quotes with strong language. Expand
  • Genre(s): Comedy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Christopher Sieving
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    In 10 years of reviewing film and television for various publications, no comedy has given me as much pleasure as The Office.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    "The Office" is everything television comedy can and ought to be but almost never is. ... The result is subtle, searing and laugh-bitterly-out-loud funny, like a series of the darkest Dilbert strips strung together and given human dimension and narrative shape. [30 Jan 2003]
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    Gervais' show is so unusual, and his performance as David Brent is so painfully specific -- and sometimes just so flat-out painful -- it's hard to imagine how anyone else can make it work. [23 Jan 2003]
  4. Reviewed by: Joy Press
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    Wincingly funny ... It's the details that make the show so funny, not to mention the awesome veracity of the acting.
  5. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    The funniest thing you're likely to see all year.
  6. Reviewed by: Virginia Heffernan
    Jul 25, 2013
    100
    As viewers, because of the incalculable talents of the actor Gervais, who also helped create the show, we must choose to humor David or to loathe him—and that choice is exciting, somehow, and challenging.
  7. 90
    It's a wonderful, subversive concept, and by failing to romanticize the players, "Office" remains true to its ghastly, funny self. [23 Jan 2003]

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. May 3, 2013
    10
    If you have any interest in great British comedy, then you will love this English comedic treasure. Although the american series is also funny, it doesn't come close to matching the realistic brilliance of the original show. Expand
  2. Oct 7, 2010
    10
    Arguably the funniest series ever made, The Office (UK) was a watershed television comedy, spawning a huge number of spinoffs around the globe. Using realism to leverage Ricky Gervais's gift for uncomfortable humor, the Office ratchets up the awkwardness, the so-called uncomfortable humor, to (hilariously) painful heights. The absence of the usual trappings of sit-coms, (e.g. studio laugh tracks, colorful sets, overly good looking actors/actresses, and well timed zingers) in favor of handheld shaky cams, a drab office set, and sidelong glances of mundane office drudgery benefits the show quite a bit, and it mainly serves to augment Gervais's genius comedic performance as the imbecilic, approval-seeking, white-collar middle manager, David Brent. Gervais humanizes David Brent just enough so we still care about him at the end of each episode, which is quite a feat, considering that with each episode, David manages to get himself into what would qualify, for most people I suspect, as a peak moment of utter mortification in front of peers. And yet we care because David exists in a world that is so similar to our own, inhabited by people and things so similar to us, and because we can spot the almost imperceptible yet definitely there moment when David's Cheshire grin crosses those razor thin lines from mirthfulness to desperation, finally settling on concealed humiliation. Also noteworthy, Martin Freeman turns in a fine performance as Tim, an underachiever fighting to stay afloat the a sea of mediocrity surrounding him. We learn about these characters and get to know them more intimately than we would on a standard sitcom. In keeping with the documentary conceit, the characters are given a chance to share their thoughts, one-on-one with the camera man. Of course, as is the case with all reality show soliloquy , the less said the better, at least for the one being interviewed. Overall, there is really no excuse not to invest the three hours or so it takes to watch Series 1, especially for fans of mockumentaries like Spinal Tap, Best in Show, and of course the American Version of The Office. P.S. Tip for fellow Americans: Watch it with the captions on for the first viewing if you are having trouble breaking through the accents. Collapse
  3. Feb 27, 2014
    10
    @TheChaser1985 - cont'd from Bilderberg: I mean without a laughter tracker the USA seems to be a bit lost, so I’ll break it down for you. Sarcasm is when you say something but don’t mean it, like if I were to say to you ‘I respect your honest, objective and logical opinions’ I’d be lying, but I’d be saying it for amusement (my own in this case). See how that works? Right, so you really don’t get British humour then, actually you don’t get anything unless it’s obviously packaged in America, has a laughter tracker, or is basic and straightforward pie-in-the-face stuff. So you’ve completely levelled any credibility you ever had, which was close to zero anyways. Great, next point.

    The only reason the show doesn’t have any reviews is mainly due to the fact that metacritic kicked off majorly in the mid-2000s, i.e. after UK’s Office had finished, I’ll point out the fact that even some series of Seinfeld (particularly earlier ones) don’t have many reviews on Metacritic and that is an American classic (no sarcasm there, just to keep you informed). So that proves nothing other than the fact that Metacritic doesn’t review retrospectively and have been too lazy to pull reviews of shows from the past. For your information UK’s The Office must be close to the move universally most critically acclaimed comedy either ever, or at least since the last great, universally accepted comedy in Fawlty Towers.

    The fact you speak as though you can decide what is and is not honest is absurdly naïve, deluded and arrogant (typical qualities of your creed) and is also completely contradicted by the fact you want to give the show a zero out of 10 score (an immature guise for anyone and by anyone’s gauge for immaturity, certainly when trying to be critical and fair) but you give it a 5 to protect it, thus not being honest with yourself or the greater public. You are just so confused and trying so desperately to write objectively but have no idea how.

    Thanks for playing, but you and I are on different levels (I’m on the considerably higher one just to clarify, since I have to water everything down for you to understand it) which is poetic in that so are the shows we are discussing here, and once more, to clarify, that means that the USA version doesn’t even deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as the UK version due to the fact the UK version spawned it, is superiorly acted, executed and better received critically and socially, and also because of the obvious fact that the USA version went to dust right about the time it started trying to write its own material.

    Brownie points to you for trying, but ultimately you failed.

    Thanks in advance for taking this aboard and becoming a better person because of it
    Expand
  4. May 2, 2013
    10
    A British comedy Gem, there are few shows that can match the brilliance that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have made with 'The Office'. If you haven't seen it yet, buy it now or watch it on Netflix, you want regret it. Expand
  5. Feb 27, 2014
    10
    @TheChaser1985 - No such thing as too dry, that’s subjective, you mean too dry for yourself. That says more about your intellectual capacity than anything about whether this show is or is not objectively ‘too dry’ which is an oxymoronic statement in this context and when issued without qualifiers such as ‘too dry for me’ and thus is redundant and thus ultimately ignored.

    Whether you did or did not laugh aloud to this is also subjective, and whilst critical deconstructions require and allow for some subjectivity, saying things like ‘this is too dry’ and ‘I didn’t laugh aloud’ proves nothing as to the show’s value or quality, it merely means it didn’t gel with your specific, subjective tastes, especially when you provide no logical, objective and insightful deconstruction as to why.

    The actors are horrible for their character? Care to elaborate? As without an elaboration it is a closed statement and means absolutely nothing other than the fact it ties in with the theme that you don’t understand what is going on here.

    The fact you say ‘yes I understand British comedy’ is defensive, typical of most Americans, as though simply by saying that you are impervious to any rebuttal as to the obvious notion that you do not understand British comedy, and certainly did not understand this show. You don’t, but I’ll prove that later on. This is not cinema and thus your absurd statement of ‘America is the king of cinema and it’s not even a close race’ is entirely null and void, other than the fact that it isn’t a close race, but America is losing said race. America is a cynical production-house of such ‘classics’ as Two and a Half Men, that’s your highest ranking comedy in terms of viewers – those are undeniable statistics and paint a very specific and undeniable picture of a class of people who enjoy immersion in mediocrity, laughter trackers and unrealistic plot-points. So that ends that part of your ‘deconstruction’.

    What you have failed to properly acknowledge is the fact that America, as it does with most quality British or European film and television, is xenophobic in nature and thus, if it is not created and packaged by and within America, resistant to accepting it. I refer to Let The Right One In, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Death At A Funeral, in cinema, and Being Human, The Office and Skins, in television, to name just a few that have been repackaged within the last 3 or 4 years, and diluted to appeal to the conservative, middling nature of your country and its preferences. I refer to the fact that in Let The Right One In it was renamed Let Me In so the audience wouldn’t be confused pre-viewing as to what may go on, despite the title being based on the Swedish novel, and thus would maybe consider going to it, and also the fact they skipped over the part that the vampire in that film is actually a boy, due to your backward and homophobic tendencies which are still dangerously immersed in conservative religion. I refer also to the fact that Maxy, one of the most adored characters on UK’s Skins and who is homosexual, was repackaged to a lesbian cheerleader on your version of Skins so as not to put anyone offside, once again with the fear of homosexuality, anything too out-of-the-box (for your culture) and a need to tweak great ideas to water them down for the ignorant, closed-minded masses.

    See how these are facts? See how I’ve used items that are tangible and objective to rebut your biased, subjective opinions? That’s rhetorical by the way.

    John Kraskinski is one of the most boring, one-dimensional actors going around. Refer to his film listings on Rotten Tomatoes to see how he has gone in ‘comedy’ when he isn’t using paraphrased scripts from Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant. Pathetically. Steve Carrell is indeed funny in the far inferior USA version of The Office, this argument is not about the fact USA’s version isn’t good, it is, but if it is good then UK’s version is a genre-changing miracle (which I say to develop the distance between the two but also tend to agree with).

    You acknowledge, somewhat backhandedly, that the USA version is in decline. It has been in decline since they started trying to write their own scripts. The first couple of seasons are funny, and that’s because the material is either a direct recreation, or a paraphrase, of the existing UK version. The further they’ve strayed from the existing source material the further they’ve gone off course and into the same kind of farcical, middling mediocrity that Two And A Half Men is world-famous for.

    NOW – I’m up to the part of your ‘argument’ that really brings you undone, which I referred to above regarding how you clearly don’t understand dry, subtle or British humour. When Ricky Gervais hosted that award, and called Steve Carrell ‘ungrateful’ as you say, and said ‘thanks for taking all my ideas and becoming famous off of it’ (paraphrased) you do realise he was being sarcastic right?

    Continued under profile TheIlluminati.
    Expand
  6. May 26, 2013
    9
    Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant The Office is quite rightly considered amongst the greatest British sitcoms of all time.

    Shot
    in a documentary style the six episodes in this first series introduce us to some of the best comedy characters of the last twenty years, none more so than David Brent himself. Brilliantly played by Gervais his fruitless attempts to be ‘a friend first, boss second’ provides awkward comedy at its best. Episode four in particular, that sees the staff take part in team building activities, must rank amongst the funniest half hours of comedy ever shown on TV.

    A special mention must also go to the ongoing ‘relationship’ between Tim and Dawn. Avoiding the usual ‘Ross and Rachel’ clichés in favour of a more realistic, and therefore more interesting, example of the difficulty of romance it is impossible not to route for them to get together.
    Expand
  7. Apr 8, 2011
    5
    Dry comedy. Too dry. The creators had a great idea but they didn't put enough effort into it. I have NEVER actually laughed out loud at this show. I have only smirked. 90% of the actors are horrible for their character. And yes, I understand British comedy. The British insist that Americans do not get the humor, when in fact it's the British who are too used to amateur material. Like it or not, America is the birth place and king of cinema and it's not even a close race. Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and the rest of The Office (US) took this great idea and created one of the best shows on TV. Yes, the US show is in decline, but even at it's worst, it's leagues ahead of the original British version. Ricky Gervais (who NEVER gives credit to his co-creator Stephen Merchant) is the truly "ungrateful" **** (As he called Steve Carrell, who made him millions.) The only reason that this show doesn't have any poor reviews is because no one cares to watch it. I'm sure that the small percentage that at least tried to watch it, only got through the first episode. I've seen it all. The Office UK is "rubbish" as the Brits would put it. I would rate this a 0 to hurt the rating, but I'm an honest person, unlike many here and will give this show an honest rating... which is that it's good for a smirk. It's not horrible but it isn't good either, at all. Brownies points for the good idea. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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