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tv: the office (US), extras
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3

DVD seems like a natural fit for long-arced dramas that essentially function as 12- and 22- hour-long super-movies. Those thirty-minute sitcom shows, on the other hand Ė eh, not so much. Sure, Iíll occasionally stop and watch some episode of Seinfeld or Friends if I happen to stumble across them while clicking through stations, but renting an entire season just seems kind of pointless. Sitcoms, for the most part, donít tend to have the must-find-out-what-happens-next factor of their more seriously-minded brethren. They donít build on one another; you can catch an episode here and there, and out-of-order, and not feel like youíre missing out on all that much.

Of course, this may simply be because the vast majority of sitcoms simply arenít that good. The better ones eventually end up in syndication heaven anyway, readily accessible at non-prime-time hours for all eternity. Still, DVD releases offer a great way to catch up on current sitcoms that may have escaped your television-watching radar. Here are a couple that are well worth rentingÖ

o o o

the office (us)
Starring: Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fisher, Rainn Wilson, BJ Novak
Buy: season 1| season 2

In the bland Scranton office of paper corporation Dunder-Mifflin, regional manager Michael Scott oversees a mostly-apathetic crew of salesmen, accountants and customer service staff. Chronically clueless and desperately needy, Michael views his employees as a sort of surrogate family -- never mind that for everyone else, work is the time they tolerate so they can get the bills paid, and Michael is just the guy who signs those critical payday checks. Cracking inadvertently offensive jokes at every turn and devoting all his energy to upping the officeís fun quotient, Michael is a terrible, terrible manager -- which may explain why the Scranton group is in real danger of being closed down by higher-ups. Meanwhile, among the office drones who have to put up with Michaelís antics are salesman Jim, resident prankster, and his partner in crime, receptionist Pam, who manage to make the mind-numbingly dull work day go just a little bit faster by plotting elaborate jokes on Jimís super-paranoid, mildly sociopathic deskmate, Dwight. Watching it all from a distance is smart young temp Ryan, who finds himself unwittingly drawn into the office dynamic when Michael takes an inexplicable shine to the new boy.

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