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TV Show Review: The Office (US)

Ever since the first stapler in the Jell-o prank, The Office has cemented – or rather, gelatinously-submerged – itself as one of the most witty and clever shows on television. A self-proclaimed "mockumentary," the show is presented as a fake documentary of a small town office in Scranton, Pennsylvania. As with many other new NBC sitcoms, The Office does not use a laugh track, letting the viewer rather than the producer decide what is funny.

Set at the Scranton branch of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company, The Office is led by regional manager Michael Scott who is played by former correspondent of The Daily Show – Steve Carell. Carell's experience as a fake news reporter prepared him marvelously for the role of the dangerously incompetent boss of Scranton's office.

Michael sees himself as something of a jack of all trades. He is incredibly confident in his abilities, but he maintains a success level comparable to that of the Bad News Bears. His interpersonal skills are embarrassing at best and he frequently finds himself unintentionally insulting his co-workers. Among his most glaringly strange moments are burning his foot by stepping on a George Foreman Grill, running over a co-worker with his car, and driving his car into a lake.

Pam, the cute, smart, but timid receptionist, is one of the voices of reason in The Office. She hates her job and is a chronic procrastinator. Pam is an excellent artist and is currently taking art classes. She spent years with her obnoxious fiance without ever setting a wedding date, even earning the Dundie Award for longest engagement, before eventually breaking things off and finally expressing her feelings for Jim.

A sales representative turned assistant regional manager, Jim makes the most of his job by finding the best ways to do as little work as possible. Together with Pam, he is part of a duo that has mastered the art of pulling pranks on Dwight. Jim was the mastermind behind the stapler in the Jell-o prank and has also been behind the placement of Dwight's possessions in the vending machine, getting Dwight to seal himself inside a box, and convincing Dwight that he is receiving communications from the future.

Dwight is a clueless, brown-nosing, power-hungry drama queen. The former assistant to the regional manager, he was eventually demoted to sales representative. Dwight has spent the last few seasons secretly dating Angela, a cat-obsessed buzz-kill. Among his many not so proud moments, he has been responsible for infecting a co-worker with rabies, and killing Angela's cat by putting it in the freezer.

Fans of The Daily Show will find that The Office is not only home to Steve Carell, but also to Ed Helms; it has also had appearances by fellow Daily Show correspondents Rob Riggle, Larry Wilmore, and Nancy Walls. This is not surprising as both shows cater to the kind of straight faced dry humor that they each produce. The Office has quickly become one of the funniest shows on television, winning three Emmys, and garnering national syndication on TBS.