Long Live Michael Scott
I have watched The Office since it premiered in the Spring of 2005. Having thoroughly enjoyed the British version, I was skeptical (remember Coupling . . . wait, you probably don't). At first, I thought it was good but not as good as the original. But it just kept getting better and better. As good as Steve Carell is, and he's very good, it is the entire cast including the "minor" players that make this show have strong potential to enter the pantheon of great comedies. From Kevin ("I'm in a Steve Miller cover band") to the closeted Oscar to Phyllis (no disrespect to those not mentioned), the show is fantastic. And Dwight may be the funniest character currently on TV.
So what has inspired me to sing the praises of this show in the midst of the repeat season? Well, Mrs. Bartender decided it was time for her to finally join the party and learn what the fun was about. So having finally joined Netflix (long story), her first selection was season one. While only 6 episodes, she watched it in a few hours and fell in love. Luckily, I kept virtually all of season 2 on our DVR so she can get right back into it. I managed to watch some of the first season including deleted scenes, and it was even better the second time around.
And I note that as good as season 1 is, season 2 is much better. Among other things, we develop some understanding of how Michael could have become the boss. As awful as he is most of the time, he has moments that make you respect him as a salesman, see he has a decent side, and then develop some real sadness for him for the loneliness he has experienced since childhood. We never got such a complete picture of David Brent, and it remained unclear how he could ever have have become the head of that office (at least for a while). I mean no disrespect--Ricky Gervais is a genius, and I am thrilled to know he is writing an episode for this coming season--but I have grown to love the new version even more.
Finally, I point out that starting July 13 there will be new webisodes of the office featuring the "minor" players. According to Wikipedia, "[t]he plot will be a "whodunit" mystery, as the accounting staff (Angela, Kevin, and Oscar) discover that $3000 is missing from Dunder Mifflin Scranton and try to figure out who is responsible." I suggest you watch.