Critical Review 1: The Office

The Office is a comedy sitcom that makes a mockery of the office style job life that people live in the real world. The long lasting series shows many scenarios that are supposed to portray the basic and uneventful lifestyle men and women in a paper selling business undergo. There are many employees in the office: they include the main character, Michael Scott who is the office boss, Pam and Jim who show the love interest between each other and serve as the more “normal” employees, and Dwight who causes many issues in the office by being involved in others business. The show consists of many more characters that play important roles throughout the office while showing the audience work place relationships and different lifestyles, while all making jokes about a bland career as a paper salesmen and women.

This episode shows how the office employees act with each other in a more out of work environment. The employees all partake in an award ceremony where they gather at a restaurant and are granted sarcastic awards from Michael for things they have done while working. Pam who is engaged to another employee has notoriously received the “longest engagement” award, which makes her reluctant to attend the award ceremony along with all the other employees who go simply to show their support for the company. Jim who goes out of his way to show Pam he cares about her, goes to Michael and asks him not to grant her the same award she has been receiving for years. Michael seems to ignore the request later in the show as Pam is shown receiving another award for “whitest shoes.” The ceremony refereed to as the “Dundies” continues throughout the show with many employees receiving unwanted awards and while other outside members of the restaurant mock Michael for his hosting techniques. The employees show their support for their boss by motivating him to continue on with the awards however.


There are not many aspects of this show that appear to be overwhelming with aesthetic pleasures, but it is mostly due to the feel the director is trying to give his audience. The office is does not have the pleasures of an upscale business building due to the fact it is solely a paper company which fits the role for many for the characters. The cinematography did not seem like a strong point of interest for the director largely to portray the simple lifestyle the employees live on an every day basis, but the writing and sarcastic humor fit in perfectly with the bland environment of the workplace. This show is not meant to be visually appealing but mainly to capture the comedy sitcom style they are looking for. The Office uses a single camera documentary style while also staying away from background laughing from the audience many sitcoms include. The workplace environment is the main example of the basic strategies this show uses in order to establish their comedy.

In addition, as being told only though dialogue of the characters, it includes documentary aspects, which take a character out of their interactions and shows them only talking to the camera as an individual. This part of the show gives you the inside ideas on what the character is thinking for themselves when they are away from their fellow employees and also gives inside views on jokes or pranks being done as some employees might not know about. This is used when Michael is individually talking to the camera about the awards he was granting to some members of his office before the awards were actually given. The conflicts of this story are told by simple harmless acts such as Pam’s husband-to-be leaving the awards early before all the employees receive their accolades. Pam returns to the awards individually, this time sitting next to Jim while awaiting her award to be called. She intoxicates herself with alcohol while expecting to receive the same award as she has for years, only to finally be awarded a different one, which throws her into a world of excitement as she accepts as if it was an academy award.

This episode focuses on values such as loyalty, friendship and accomplishments as well. The office employees represent many people who go to work in order to just clock in and clock out while not establishing any real relationships along the way. Although many of the employees do not express fond feelings for one another, they all seem to show a certain amount of friendship towards each other by attending the “Dundies” as a group. Although many of them seem distant while in their workplace environment, they still socialize with one another in the restaurant even thought the show portrays a more individual attitude from its characters. There is also a sense of loyalty shown throughout this episode. When customers at the restaurant begin to harass Michael about his poor hosting job of the ceremony, his employees make him feel better by showing their support and influencing him to continue on with the show. Pam also expresses her loyalty by returning to the “Dundies” after her boyfriend leaves prematurely. Although many members of the office are reluctant to even attend the awards, they all stay to the end no matter how painful it is to them.

Additionally, this episode shows hints of accomplishment as well, even though the awards are made to add to the sarcastic comedy it is centered around. Although some employees receive awards that are jokes, some also receive awards for their work efforts as well. These awards are still used to add to the comedy aspects, but they also show how the company strives above the other branches. The award ceremony has become a tradition for the company and after having another positive year with it, Michael makes sure his employees know there will be another “Dundies” to come.

The Office is a simple comedy that expresses exactly what the show is trying to encapture through their bland comedy and the unappealing lifestyles of their characters. It contains great screen writing while having the feel of a comedy sitcom, but not including many normal aspects such as a studio audience or laugh track. The documentary portion of the show also adds certain additional aspects that are not usually used as well, but allow their audience to gain a greater connection with the characters. This show, although may not be appealing to everyone’s humor, captures the clichés of the nine to five workers and provides an easy to follow fun comedy.


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