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October 2, 2014

The Office: The Dundies

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Sep 20th 2005 11:08PM

officeAfter it's six-episode run last season, I expressed my doubts over whether the Americanized version of the classic British sitcom The Office would succeed in the new season. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of the original version, and I'm sure my objectivity was clouded by that. This season's first episode showed a marked improvement over the final episode from last season, and I'm hoping this is a sign of good things to come for the show.

 

Fresh off of his box office success of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Steve Carell as Michael is still the main focus of the action, but the writers have given a little more depth and substance to the other characters (as they did in the British version). Tonight's episode told the story of the annual Dunder Mifflin office awards ceremony known as "The Dundies". It was held at a Chili's, but Michael, to his great consternaton, announces to everyone attending that they had to pay for their own food and drinks because corporate wouldn't pay for it.

The events leading up to the party were a little slow, but it did a good job of setting up the awards ceremony, where Michael's M.C. shtick was right out of the Catskills. The employees at first suffered through it, but after Michael was heckled by a bunch of people at the bar, his staff stood up for him and it ended up being a rousing evening for all. At the same time, we've seen the beginnings of the Jim-Pam "romance" (maybe more of a mutual interest) that will certainly be a subplot to keep watching.

Overall, The Office is off to a good start. As I've said before, I'm hoping the writers develop their own stories and not crib off of the British version and try to Americanize it. Time will tell.

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Mutehead

I want to say that The Office (US) is quite funny. And while I don't think it's fair (although it is inevitable) to compare it to the sublime original, I don't like the office vibe--the hostility that most people seem to have towards Michael. If everyone (I'm talking to you specifically, Oscar and Angela) can't stand him, why don't they just quit? I love having them in the show, I just wish that we could be given at least one good reason why those people are still there. And don't tell me it's for the health care plan. This show won't make it to January, unfortunately (people are already whining that it only got 9 million viewers on Tuesday). And even if it does, Arrested Development (only 5 million in its premiere) has a better chance of coming back next fall. I don't expect either one back though because I have little to no faith in tv execs. But they've been kind to AD thus far, so here's to hoping I eat crow next year (for both shows).

September 21 2005 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Willy

VERY funny. Better than last season. Michael is still a jerk, but in last night's episode they fleshed his character out a bit. I almost felt sorry for him when the Chili's patron threw garbage at him. And then I remembered that he'd given that girl the "Spicy Curry" award/bowling trophy, and I sort of, well, didn't feel so bad any more.

September 21 2005 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr. Funbags

It was on the fall schedule as of May 16th, 2005. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/cgi/pr.cgi?id=20050516nbc01

September 21 2005 at 7:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seth

OK, from what I understand, US Office was cancelled after last season - yet here it is back again. Is this completely due to the success of The 40 Year Old Virgin? When, exactly, was the announcement made that they would renew? I loved the original office as well and expected the US version to suck. Well, it certainly does not suck, and more than that, it consistantly does not suck. The season premiere shows the US version coming into its own even more (I understand that Chilis will continue to expand the setting of the show, which is both original and appropriate). Its got a ways to go to be UK-level, but I give them props for doing a solid job of following a very tough act.

September 21 2005 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
funtographer

YAY FOR JIM AND PAM!

September 21 2005 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brian

I though this was a really good episode. NBC's Earl/Office block is a winner.

September 21 2005 at 12:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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