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The Office: An American Workplace Season 1 Review

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★★★★★

Critics sharpened their knives when those dreadful Americans dared to tackle the national institution that is The Office, but Steve Carell and co. disappointed them all with a show that’s as low-key as its predecessor and very nearly as good. Contrary to expectations, there is no trace of the bright and glossy style that so often marks a US sitcom, and the almost unwatchably cringeworthy situations are untainted by any snappy one-liners or canned laughter. Even the grey-tinged cinematography hints that Slough has an American counterpart. But what brings this to life is the cast. Carell’s manager, Michael, has all the cluelessness of Anchorman’s Brick Tamland with none of his charm, and his able co-stars conform to the same archetypes as their British counterparts, but develop in their own way as the series moves on (only the first episode mirrors the UK show; the rest just play on the same themes). This first season clearly originated in the shadow of its sibling, but stick with it and you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

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