The Office: The Dundies
After 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.