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The Office finds space on NBC

After NBC’s remake of Coupling tanked in the fall of 2003, the network is once again trying their hand at remaking another BBC favorite, The Office. It’s not easy to Americanize dry, witty British humor, as Coupling proved.

The Office is funny and unique enough to succeed, straying from the typical sitcom format, as the show is shot mockumentary-style.

The Office is billed as, “The show that will forever change the way you look at a typical 9-to-5,” and for the most part it does. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is the boss most people have nightmares about: He’s rude, immature and completely inconsiderate of anyone other than himself. The supporting characters are a mixed bag of clever stereotypes that work to further the show’s absurdity.

The Office goes the distance for laughs and doesn’t stray too far from the vision of the original. The show keeps the laughs coming and, while not as consistently funny as the original series, is more creative and original than anything NBC has in its lineup, with the possible exception of Scrubs.

The Office succeeds primarily because of Carell, who proves once again that he may just be one of the funniest men on television. He perfectly captures the negligence of the character and incorporates physical comedy that only he can pull off. If Carell’s character isn’t offending others by using negative cultural stereotypes or infuriating them with his work ethic, he’s harassing female employees with off-the-cuff remarks about their, uh, company assets.

For those looking for more Office-style humor, look not further than the first two seasons of the original BBC classic that are readily available on DVD. And with more episodes in production, the American version is this season’s most promising new comedy.

Grade: B-
Comedy, NBC, Tuesdays 9:30 p.m.