The Office (U.S. season 1)
|The Office (season 1)|
Season 1 DVD cover
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Original release||March 24, 2005– April 26, 2005|
The first season of the American television comedy The Office premiered in the United States on NBC on March 24, 2005, concluded on April 26, 2005, and consists of six episodes. The Office is an American adaptation of the British TV series of the same name, and is presented in a mockumentary format, portraying the daily lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictitious Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
This season introduced the main characters, and established the general plot, which revolves around Michael Scott (Steve Carell), regional manager of the Scranton branch office, trying to convince the filmmakers of the documentary that he presides over a happy, well-running office. Meanwhile, sales rep Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) finds methods to undermine his cube-mate, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson); receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) tries to deal with Michael's insensitivities and flubs; and temporary employee Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) is acting mostly as an observer of the insanity around him.
Season one of The Office aired on Tuesdays in the United States at 9:30 p.m. The season debuted to high numbers, and garnered moderately positive reviews from critics aside from a poorly received pilot episode. While some enjoyed the pilot, others opined that it was a mere copy of the original British version. Universal Studios Home Entertainment released season one in a single DVD on August 16, 2005. The DVD contained all six episodes, as well as commentaries from creators, writers, actors, and directors on most of the episodes, as well as deleted scenes from all of the episodes.
The first season of the show was produced by Reveille Productions and Deedle-Dee Productions, both in association with NBC Universal Television Studios. The show is based upon the British series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who are executive producers on the show, and it is produced by Greg Daniels, also an executive producer, along with consulting producers Larry Wilmore and Lester Lewis. The show's writers include Daniels, Gervais, Merchant, and Michael Schur, while Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein, and B. J. Novak double as writers as well as actors in the show, and between them, wrote three episodes on the season. For this season, Schur was a co-producer, Kaling was a staff writer, Lieberstein was a consulting producer, and Novak was an executive story editor. The first episode, "Pilot", was written by Daniels, but the majority of the episode was adapted from "Episode One" of the British series, with many scenes being transferred almost verbatim.
Season one featured episodes directed by five different directors. The Office features both a "team of directors" as well as several directors who are freelanced. Ken Kwapis, directed the first two episodes "Pilot" and "Diversity Day", and would go on to direct another eleven episodes in total. Ken Whittingham, who directed "Health Care" would go on to direct another eight episodes in total. Daniels both produced and directed the episode "Basketball". The Office was almost entirely filmed in an actual office building in Los Angeles, California for its first season. Aside from Los Angeles, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the show is set, was also used for shots for the opening theme.
Many characters portrayed by The Office cast are based on the British version of the show. While these characters normally have the same attitude and perceptions as their British counterparts, the roles have been redesigned to better fit the American show. The show is known for its generally large cast size, many of whom are known particularly for their improvisational work. Steve Carell stars as Michael Scott, Regional Manager of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch. Loosely based on David Brent, Gervais' character in the British version, Scott is a dim-witted and lonely man, who attempts to win friends as the office comedian, usually making himself look bad in the process. Rainn Wilson portrays Dwight Schrute, who, based upon Gareth Keenan, is the Assistant to the Regional Manager, although the character frequently intentionally omits the "to the" in his title. John Krasinski portrays Jim Halpert, a sales representative and prankster, who is based upon Tim Canterbury, and is in love with Pam Beesly, the receptionist. Pam, who is based on Dawn Tinsley, is shy, but is often a cohort with Jim in his pranks on Dwight. B. J. Novak portrays Ryan Howard, who is a temporary worker.
The show includes many minor characters playing roles of office workers, working in various positions around the office. Angela Martin, Oscar Martinez, and Kevin Malone are the office's accountants, and are portrayed by Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez, and Brian Baumgartner, respectively. Schrute, Halpert, Phyllis Lapin (portrayed by Phyllis Smith), and Stanley Hudson (portrayed by Leslie David Baker), compose the sales division of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Kate Flannery portrays Meredith Palmer, the promiscuous Supplier Relations Representative, writer-actress Mindy Kaling portrays Kelly Kapoor, the pop culture-obsessed Customer Service Representative, writer-actor Paul Lieberstein portrays Toby Flenderson, the sad-eyed Human Resources Representative, and Creed Bratton plays a fictionalized version of himself as the office's Quality Assurance Officer. Other characters include Roy Anderson, Pam's fiance played by David Denman, Warehouse Supervisor Darryl Philbin, played by Craig Robinson, and Jan Levinson, Michael's main love interest, who is portrayed by Melora Hardin.
Broadcast and reception
The first episode of The Office scored well in ratings, gaining over eleven million viewers, as well as ranking third in its timeslot on the night of its airing. But the episode aired on a Thursday evening, and between the change from the first episode and the second episode, The Office moved to its regular time slot on Tuesday evenings. The Office tumbled in the ratings, averaging under 6.0 million viewers, just over half that of the previous episode. The first season finale "Hot Girl" received one of the lowest rating in the show's history, earning just a 2.2 rating with a 10 share. After the lackluster reception of the episode, many critics erroneously predicted that "Hot Girl" would also serve as the de facto series finale. The Office averaged 5.4 million viewers for its entire season, ranking it #102 for the 2004–2005 U.S. television season.
The series premiere, "Pilot", received largely mixed reviews from critics. After the first episodes, critics thought The Office would be another failed remake of a British comedy, much like how the American version of Coupling was in relation to the original British series. The Deseret Morning News believed The Office was a failed remake, and said "Maybe, after The Office dies a quick death on NBC, the network will decide that trying to Americanize British TV comedies isn't such a great idea." The New York Daily News said the show was "neither daring nor funny", adding that "NBC's version is so diluted there's little left but muddy water". The Los Angeles Times complained that Steve Carell, who portrays Scott and also appeared in the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, was "too cartoon" and said: "Lost in translation is the sadness behind the characters."
Despite these criticisms, the remainder of the season earned mostly positive reviews among critics. The season scored 62 out of 100 on Metacritic (a website that assigns a weighted average score for media), which translates to "generally favorable reviews." Time magazine wrote that "It's ironic that NBC's most original sitcom in years is a remake, but who cares? The Office is a daring, unflinching take on very American workplace tensions." Boston.com felt that the first season of The Office was good, and the differences between the characters of the American and the original series added to the popularity of the series. Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette felt that The Office succeeded in its first season, and that although NBC had failed in the past with television shows such as Coupling, it had found achievement with The Office. Entertainment Weekly awarded the season a "B+" and wrote that The Office "is clever and insular, capturing all the drudgery, awkwardness, and rivalry of cubicle living" and that the last five episodes help to illustrate that the series has "crossed the pond handily."
In addition, "Diversity Day," the season's second episode, has been regarded as one of the best episodes of the entire show. TV Guide named it the nineteenth greatest episode of any television show in 2009. Rolling Stone magazine named the scene wherein Michael shows the office his diversity video the third greatest moment from The Office.
In its first year, The Office was nominated for several awards, including three Writers Guild of America Award nods. These included nominations for Best Comedy Series and Best New Series. In addition, for his work on this episode, B. J. Novak was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay – Episodic Comedy.
In the following table, "U.S. viewers (million)" refers to the number of Americans who viewed the episode on the night of broadcast. Episodes are listed by the order in which they aired, and may not necessarily correspond to their production codes.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production
|1||1||"Pilot"||Ken Kwapis||Teleplay by: Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant and Greg Daniels||March 24, 2005||1001||11.2|
|A documentary crew arrives at the Scranton, Pennsylvania offices of Dunder Mifflin to observe the employees and learn about modern management. Manager Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) tries to paint a happy picture in the face of potential downsizing from corporate. The office also gets new employee Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) as a temporary worker, while Jim Halpert's (John Krasinski) pranks antagonize Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), much to the enjoyment of receptionist Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer).|
|2||2||"Diversity Day"||Ken Kwapis||B. J. Novak||March 29, 2005||1002||6.0|
|Manager Michael Scott's controversial imitation of a Chris Rock routine forces the staff to undergo a racial diversity seminar. A consultant (Larry Wilmore) arrives to teach the staff about tolerance and diversity, but Michael insists on imparting his own knowledge—aggravating both the consultant and the entire office staff—and creates his own diversity seminar. He eventually assigns each staff member an index card with a different race on it, causing tempers to slowly simmer until they finally snap. Meanwhile, Jim struggles to keep hold of a lucrative contract extension, but Dwight makes the sale for himself. Nevertheless, when Jim's love interest, Pam Beesly, falls asleep on his shoulder at the end of the meeting, he concludes that it was "not a bad day."|
|3||3||"Health Care"||Ken Whittingham||Paul Lieberstein||April 5, 2005||1006||5.8|
|In an effort to save money to prevent downsizing, Michael puts Dwight in charge of choosing the company's new health care plan. Dwight's chosen plan slashes benefits, much to the chagrin of the other employees. In an attempt to appease them, Michael promises the entire office a surprise, and then spends the rest of the day scrambling to come through with his promise. The employees wait for Michael's surprise, which he awkwardly never delivers. Meanwhile, Jim and Pam amuse themselves with Dwight's medical forms.|
|4||4||"The Alliance"||Bryan Gordon||Michael Schur||April 12, 2005||1004||5.4|
|As downsizing rumors swirl, paranoia takes over the members of the office. Dwight forms a Survivor-esque alliance with Jim against the other employees—later adding Pam also. Meanwhile, Michael arranges a morale-boosting birthday party for Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery)—although her birthday is more than a month away. Michael agonizes over writing the perfect greeting in her birthday card, and in the end, his joke (and subsequent rejected ones) falls flat, ruining the party.|
|5||5||"Basketball"||Greg Daniels||Greg Daniels||April 19, 2005||1005||5.0|
|Michael and the office staff take on the workers in the warehouse in a basketball game. Through racist and sexist ideals, Michael chooses many of the lesser skilled office workers over their more athletic peers. Michael claims a "flagrant personal intentional foul," stops the game, and declares his team as the winners. The warehouse finds the call unfair and Michael caves under pressure, and concedes the victory to the warehouse staff. Michael eventually tells the office that they don't have to come in on Saturday either, but it does little to calm them: "Like coming in an extra day is going to prevent us from being downsized."|
|6||6||"Hot Girl"||Amy Heckerling||Mindy Kaling||April 26, 2005||1003||4.8|
|When an attractive purse saleswoman named Katy (Amy Adams) comes to the office, Michael and Dwight openly vie for her attention. Meanwhile, the corporate office allocates $1,000 for a prize for the top office salesman, but Michael spends the money on an espresso machine in order to try to impress Katy. However, in the end she actually ends up leaving with Jim, devastating both Michael and Dwight.|
|The Office: The Complete First Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|Region 1||Region 2|
|August 16, 2005||April 10, 2006|
- Bashir, Martin (October 10, 2007). "Veteran TV Writer Moves in Front of the Camera". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Adalian, Josef (July 5, 2005). "WB Finds King of 'Kings'". Daily Variety (Penske Business Media). Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- Paumgarten, Nick (October 3, 2005). "Fender Bender". The New Yorker (Condé Nast). Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- "In Conversation: Greg Daniels, Executive Producer/Showrunner of The Office (U.S.)". HeyWriterBoy. June 20, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Marchese, John (October 21, 2005). "Scranton Embraces the ‘Office’ Infamy". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Jones, Del (September 27, 2007). "Taking 'Office' Lessons from the World's Greatest (Inept) Boss". USA Today ( Gannett Company, Inc). Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Stanley, Alessandra (April 8, 2007). "Jolly Good Show Or Was It?; On TV, Attitude Is More Important Than the Way the Vowels Sound". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 7, 2008
- Rooney, Brian (September 7, 2007). "The Man Behind 'The Office's' Favorite Suck-Up, Dwight Schrute". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved March 7, 2008
- Carter, Bill (March 20, 2005). "'The Office' Transfers to a New Cubicle". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Stanley, Alessandra (March 24, 2005). "An American-Style 'Office' With a Boss From Heck". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 7, 2008.
- Pesca, Mike (May 12, 2008). "alking With 'Office' Star B.J. Novak". National Public Radio. Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- "The Office Cast and Details". TV Guide. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Wilkes, Neil (March 26, 2005). "American 'Office' an Early Ratings Hit". Digital Spy )Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Westbury, Anna (May 17, 2012). "Infographic: The Lifespan of The Office". Paste Magazine. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- "Nielsen Ratings Report: March 28–April 3, 2005". Daily Variety (Penske Business Media). April 6, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- "Stunning Tumble for NBC's 'The Office'". Media Life Magazine. March 30, 2005. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- "Lower the Lights for NBC's 'The Office'". Media Life Magazine. April 27, 2005. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- "Final audience and ratings figures for 2004–05". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
- "Office Remake Has its US TV debut". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Maynard, John (March 20, 2005). "Office Humor and a Joyless 'Stick'". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Pierce, Scott (March 24, 2005). "NBC is off target with The Office". The Deseret Morning News (Deseret News Publishing Company). Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Gibson, Owen (March 23, 2005). "US Version of Office Gets Cool Reception". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved February 23, 2008.
- "The Office: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Gilbert, Matthew (March 24, 2005) It's Not as Warped as the Original, But 'The Office' is Painfully Funny". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Owen, Rob (March 23, 2005). "TV Reviews: American 'Office' Works For and Gets the Laughs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications). Retrieved March 9, 2008.
- Flynn, Gillian (March 15, 2005). "The Office" Entertainment Weekly (Time, Inc). Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- "TV Guide’s 100 Best Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. 2009.
- Thomas, Lindsey (October 17, 2007) The 25 Greatest Moments from The Office Rolling Stone (Wenner Media LLC). Retrieved June 16, 2008. Archived from the original on October 20, 2007.
- "2006 Writers Guild Awards Television and Radio Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America. December 14, 2005. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- "Shows A–Z – Office, The on NBC". The Futon Critic. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "Nielsen Ratings Report: April 4–10, 2005". Daily Variety (Penske Business Media). April 13, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- "Nielsen Ratings Report: April 11–17, 2005". Daily Variety (Penske Business Media). April 20, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- "Nielsen Ratings Report: April 18–24, 2005". Daily Variety (Penske Business Media). May 2, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2013. (subscription required)
- The Office: The Complete First Season (back cover). Ken Kwapis, et al. NBC.
- Lacey, Gord (June 1, 2005). "Head to "The Office This Summer". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
- Episode guides at NBC.com
- List of The Office episodes at the Internet Movie Database
- List of The Office season 1 episodes at TV.com