If there's one thing Office co-developer Greg Daniels learned from his pal and former co-worker Mike Judge (Beavis & Butthead, Office Space, King of the Hill), it is the value of great casting.
It's something that isn't emphasized enough in movies and television today. Only Judd Apatow (Freaks & Geeks, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) equals Daniels and Judge in this talent. The Office is brilliantly written, of course, but it's the great cast that sends it over the fence. Actually, it's the supporting players, not star Steve Carrell, who give the show that extra boost. While Carrell is sometimes a little bit too over the top, his co-workers at the fictitious Dunder-Mifflin paper company seamlessly ride that razor's edge between believable and outrageous. Carrell is surely standing on the shoulders of giants, as they say. A great example is Dwight (Rainn Wilson). Daniels and his mates have cleverly moved Dwight beyond the role of Dunder-Mifflin's Frank Burns. In the episode "Traveling Salesmen," for example, the sales team heads out in pairs. Dwight is teamed with likeable everyman Jim (John Krasinski), but instead of making a blunder with his strong personality, Dwight closes the deal brilliantly. It's just one way the series stays sharp, and doesn't allow itself to fall into predictable patterns. (P.F. Wilson) Grade: A
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