The Office Season 3

The Office Season 3

Amongst the sitcom pitfalls that NBC’s brilliant show The Office is deftly avoiding, two of them are usually deadly: it’s a remake of a highly acclaimed British show; and it bases much of its drama on a "will they or won’t they?” relationship between co-workers Jim (the brilliantly deadpan John Krazinski) and Pam (girl next door fantasy Jenna Fischer). By this third season, the shadow cast by Ricky Gervais’s creation has long dissipated and the show sidesteps the Pam/Jim axis by removing Jim from the workplace, then returning him with new hottie co-worker Karen (Rashida Jones). Of course, breakout comedy superstar Steve Carell (as "worst boss ever” Michael Scott) remains at the heart of the show but it’s the "backliners” that steal this DVD set. It’s the likes of Kevin, Oscar, Stanley, Angela, Phyllis, Creed and Kelly that get the most play in over three hours of great deleted scenes (between six and 15 minutes per episode!); they’re also celebrated in many of the extras, including "Kevin Cooks Stuff at the Office.” Revelations stemming from deleted scenes include the fact that Creed lives in Toronto (and collects Canadian welfare) and once faked his own death. That characters once deemed "seat fillers” now feature prominently in many storylines (like the beach adventure Michael turns into a competition for his job, even though he hasn’t received a promotion) is the core strength of this, one of the only remaining lights in the once-proud sitcom tradition. By advancing office politics (like the addition of the anger prone Ed Helms) and evolving dynamics (the rise of one-time temp Ryan, played by writer BJ Novak), The Office keeps moving forward without eschewing its fundamental premise. That the Jim/Pam romance takes a back seat for much of this whole season - when it seemed like the show’s primary storyline, at times, during season two - merely demonstrates the depth of the resources (in terms of office staff) that this show has to draw from. Who knew Scranton, Pennsylvania could be the hippest place on Earth? Plus: commentaries, Joss Whedon interview, "Make Your Own Promo” contest winners, more. (Universal)