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Stadium and Main: Off-Topic Tuesday: <i>The Office</i>, Season 2

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Off-Topic Tuesday: The Office, Season 2

The Fab FourLike many fans of the original BBC (British) version of The Office, I was a bit wary when NBC announced that it was developing an American version. It was very odd to see the pilot episode, nearly word for word, being acted out by Americans. The first season had some highlights, but was too short (only 6 episodes) and thus didn’t have much plot development. It did a good job of introducing the main characters, though.

Season 2 was a vast improvement, and seemed to get better as it went on. Running a full 22 episodes, there was time to introduce many other great minor characters, like Oscar and Phyllis. Episodes like “Christmas Party” (“Yankee swap!”), “Drug Testing” (“It has to be official, and it has to be urine.”) and “Conflict Resolution” (“Make the poster into a t-shirt.”) were some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the season finale (“Casino Night”), where Creed and Toby nearly stole the show (literally, in Creed’s case). [Note – Creed and Toby are my favorite characters] The big cliffhanger with Jim kissing Pam, and her (apparently) kissing him back. This is where things get interesting. The British version was only 13 episodes long, total, so they never entered this territory with their work flirts (Tim and Dawn). Will the American writers be able to keep the love story fresh? Will it all be resolved in the Season 3 opener? Will any explanation(s) be logical? I’m a bit worried that they might mess this up royally, but I should be more confident judging by the quality of Season 2. [Side Note: Did you know that Roy’s last name is “Anderson,” so if Pam marries him, she will be “Pam Anderson?” Heee! (cite here)]

I guess the only minor complaint I have with Season 2 of The Office would be the unexplained change of Kelly from a quiet nerd to a wannabe Valley girl. It was a complete character overhaul. But the writers get a pass on this one, because (1) they probably weren’t planning for a long term run when the show started, since American TV-watchers are generally stupid and they were probably thinking the show would get cancelled, and (2) it allowed for some funny interaction between Kelly and Ryan.

I think the show still has a lot of potential. As mentioned earlier, a lot will depend on how they handle the Jim/Pam thing. Part of me hopes that they end the show after the 3rd or 4th season, so it doesn’t get stale and/or ridiculous. But since they’ve shown the ability to produce many classic episodes that can “stand alone,” I wouldn’t mind seeing them go for 5 or 6 seasons.

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