PERFORMING ARTS

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s

Dutton. Mar. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9781524744977. $28. TV
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Rolling Stone journalist Greene offers fans hoping for an Office reboot the next best thing—a detailed oral history drawn from interviews with the show’s creators, writers, and cast and crew, as well as critics and NBC network executives. A remake of a short-lived but acclaimed British series, the U.S. version of The Office was met with skepticism when it debuted in 2005—in the wake of glamorous, Manhattan-based sitcoms, a mockumentary about the employees of a struggling paper company in Scranton, PA, seemed unlikely to last. But following a rocky first season, the show quickly found its footing. Greene’s subjects are an effusive bunch, rhapsodizing about showrunner Greg Daniels’s eccentric genius or lead actor Steve Carell’s comedic prowess, warmth, and professionalism. Though the occasionally repetitive narrative would have benefited from a shade more editing and a greater willingness to address the show’s missteps, fans will nevertheless be richly rewarded by insights into watershed moments, such as the meticulous location scouting that went into salesman Jim Halpert’s proposal to receptionist Pam Beesly.
VERDICT Greene’s affectionate tribute will satisfy Office devotees eager for a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved sitcom.

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