TV to See

the office, NBC, stapler in Jello, Pam and Jim
Gus Ruelas/AP

TV to See: The Office

September 25, 2008
by Emily Coakley
On Sept. 25, Dunder Mifflin’s employees are back as this successful remake enters its fifth season on NBC.

Love Was in the Air

Last season ended with relationships in flux. Andy proposed to Angela, upstaging Jim who had planned to propose to Pam, during a good-bye party for Toby. Jim had even paid for fireworks to make the moment perfect. Pam, who was accepted to a three-month graphic design program in New York City, was disappointed that Jim hadn’t proposed.

Michael, who quickly fell for Toby’s replacement, Holly, got a shock when he saw his ex-girlfriend/train wreck Jan, who was pregnant. He’s not the father, but he took up an offer to be her Lamaze coach.

After the party, Phyllis walked in on Dwight and Angela, who had broken up previously after Dwight put Angela’s cat, Sprinkles, “out of its misery.”

And Ryan, the temp who replaced Jan at corporate and launched the Web site Dunder Mifflin Infinity, was arrested for fraud.

Catching Up at the Online Water Cooler

NBC has an extensive Web site devoted to “The Office.” Watch selected episodes, deleted scenes and cast interviews. There are even Webisodes, such as the story of Kevin trying to get a loan to pay off some debts.

The site also includes blogs: Creed Thoughts, Schrute-Space and Sex and the Electric City, “written” by Creed, Dwight and Meredith, respectively.

Dunder Mifflin Infinity may have been a problem for Ryan, but it has taken on new life in the real world. DMI, as it is known, is a site where people join virtual Dunder Mifflin branches and compete to win “Schrute bucks” and other prizes.

Fans have their own sites, too. JelloStapler is devoted to “The Office” and chronicling fans’ reproductions of a prank Jim once played on Dwight—encasing his stapler in Jell-O. This site includes step-by-step instructions, too.

E! Online previewed the new season in an interview with Paul Lieberstein and Amy Ryan, who play Toby and Holly. When asked about whether Holly is interested in Michael, Ryan spoke of there being, “a lid for every pot, or in this case, every crackpot.”

Another Import

As “The Office” begins its fifth season, people may forget that it was a remake of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s wildly successful British comedy of the same name.

Some, like Jon Cranny of, didn’t initially like the American version.

“I used to hate this show, it didn’t do its British counterpart justice, but it has created a life of its own and Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott bust my gut with laughter every episode,” he wrote earlier this month.

The British version was also about a paper company, set in a drab town (sorry, Scranton). The manager, David Brent (Gervais), wasn’t as likeable as Michael, which is really saying something. Gervais was also a genius at uncomfortable, cringe-inducing scenes. It lasted two seasons, with a special that took place three years after the show ended. The show is available on DVD.

Season four of the American version was recently released on DVD.

Stephen Merchant, one of the original “Office” creators and its director, will direct an episode this season. He also co-wrote a third season episode, the site reports.

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