The Office: The Complete Second Series

The Office: The Complete Second Series
In its second season, Brit TV comedy The Office takes the cubicle politics and bullshit established in its first six-episode run and expands on it for its second and final series. Now that his paper company office in the industrial town of Slough has merged with a satellite office nearby, Manager David Brent (Ricky Gervais) faces new challenges. Sure, all his new employees provide a new audience for his stale, recycled jokes, but they're also not as familiar with his brand of "comedy." Not to mention that Brent has a new boss — younger, better-looking and more popular. The weight of his delusions — that's he's a nice guy, well thought of, attractive and competent — don't get in the way of irritating and annoying anyone within his neutral walls. If anything, The Office is even stronger this season. With fresh blood in the form of the merged offices, the romantic travails of Tim (Martin Freeman) get more complicated, while Gareth (Pirates of the Caribbean's Mackenzie Crook) gets more pathetic. The writing and directing team of Gervais and co-creator Stephan Merchant are at their silly, ridiculous best when putting Gervais's Brent in situations with the most embarrassment potential — giving a "motivational" business seminar or competing in a spontaneous office dance-off. The guileless Gervais is the heart of The Office because he's utterly unaware of his own ridiculousness. This show isn't about his ego — unlike another office-oriented, bad boss comedy, The Newsroom — but about his complete lack of self-awareness (achieved through Gervais's own lack of self-consciousness). And by limiting their output to a total of 12 episodes over two years — about half an American sitcom's single season — and ending it on a high note, The Office never feels like it's wearing down a spot in the beige carpeting. Plus: deleted scenes, outtakes, more. (BBC/Warner)