As always, The Office manages to weave slapstick humor brilliantly with moments of raw emotion and pathos. Particularly, again, with a wonderful performance by Steve Carell. With most of the action centering on the major storylines, we didn't get much work out of the supporting cast, so it was at least good to see them having some costume fun in the cold open. Don't forget the rest of the cast, writers, we love them all!
Part of me worried about the ethics of opening with what amounts to be a commercial for Slingbox (and also for my fabulous Las Vegas comedy show at the Tropicana: tickets still available for the weekend!) Then I realized that by doing so, I actually provided a pretty good segue into the theme of tonight's episode. So let's get to it...
Any DVD set that has The Office on it is going to be good. That's just a fact. So obviously, The Office: Season 4 DVD set already has a lot going for it. So what I was mainly interested in when I received it was how they dealt with their shortcomings: namely the fact that due to the writer's strike, this set only has 14 episodes.
While The Office fared much better than other shows with its truncated season, I still expect a DVD set without a full season's worth of episodes to have enough bonus features to help make up for it. While the features on this set are pretty standard (deletes scenes, blooper reels, commentaries, etc.) for the most part, the quality makes you forget that the set is light about ten episodes.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Mindy Kaling and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin) as they discussed the webisodes, Office Games, friendly competition and the status of a few MIA Dunder Mifflin employees.
On Saturday, July 19, The Office's number one on-screen enthusiast, spunky Kelly Kapoor -- played by actress/writer/co-executive producer Mindy Kaling -- will host a series of games to promote the release of two new The Office products. NBC and Pressman Toy have created The Office DVD Board Game and The Office Trivia Game.
Remember the twist at the end of the season finale for The Office, where Ryan got the job that Michael, Jim, and Karen interviewed for? Judging from e-mails and other comments, many fans were confused and didn't think that Ryan really got the job, that it was some sort of trick out by the show that would be explained when the new season starts. But it looks like Ryan did indeed get the gig (which is probably good, since it would be weird being in the same office as the girlfriend you just said "we're done" to).
The focus is on The Office as many of the members of the cast are also the writers of the show. Executive producer Greg Daniels (The Simpsons) goes through his reasons for choosing to move people from the writers room in front of the camera. And it's not just because he's lazy. There is a method to his madness. Given the mockumentary style of the show, he feels that unpolished actors that may seem awkward at times add to the realism of the show.
They also touch on the character of Toby. Played by Paul Lieberstein, Toby was originally intended as a bit part. But when NBC President Kevin Reilly saw the character he responded, "He's funny. More of him." And Paul's acting career was born. The story for Mindy Kaling's character, Kelly, is much the same. Both of them say that they prefer writing to acting. Joel talked with Kelly about this back in March as well. It's a good behind the scenes piece, and worth a look.
Ryan Budke is at it again, bothering employees over at Dunder-Mifflin. This time he's in the breakroom of the company, interviewing cast member and writer/producer Mindy Kaling. In the exclusive Netscape video below, he talks to her about tonight's episode:
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