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The Office
Cover of The Office
The Office
The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors  ...
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors  ...
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  • AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    The untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors

     
    When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, long after the show first aired, it’s more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem—what to watch, or read, next.
     
    Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from "The Dundies" to "Threat Level Midnight" and "Goodbye, Michael," including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.
     
    Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Introduction: An American Workplace

    Throughout the nine-season run of The Office, the Dunder Mifflin ware- house set was the filming location for everything from a brutal all-staff roast of regional manager Michael Scott to the casino party where paper salesman Jim Halpert finally gathered up the courage to tell his longtime crush, receptionist Pam Beesly, that he was hopelessly in love with her. But near the end of the seventh season, in the spring of 2011, it was used for a far more somber occasion: the real-life goodbye party for Steve Carell.

    The cast had spent the entire day fighting off real tears while Carell filmed his final few scenes as Michael Scott, and now they were finally able to let them out as he gave a private farewell address standing next to an enormous white cake shaped like his already-iconic World's Best Boss mug, a framed Dunder Mifflin hockey jersey, and four rectangular pizzas from his favorite Italian spot, Barone's. Someone had even had the fore- sight to place a box of tissues on a red table just a couple feet away from Carell's microphone, knowing tears were likely to come.

    Nearly everyone who worked on the show—including John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, and Rainn Wilson (still wearing the mustard-yellow shirt favored by his quasi-Amish beet farmer charac- ter, Dwight Schrute)—was crammed in front of a makeshift stage, and Carell addressed each department individually as he tried to keep the mood light after a rough day of shooting. "To construction," he said. "Thank you for making it strong, durable, and able to withstand a strong pounding." And then, with just minimal guidance from Carell, everyone gleefully yelled out Michael Scott's (slightly problematic by today's stan- dards) catchphrase in unison: "That's what she said!"

    He went around the entire room ("To set dressing and art, thank you for your constant tweaking and making something small look so big. . . . That's what she said! To production, thank you for keeping so many balls in the air That's what she said!") before he put down his prepared re-
    marks, removed his reading glasses, and took a truly goofy moment and made it gut-wrenchingly sincere, just like many of the greatest episodes of The Office.

    "I didn't prepare really anything else to say," he said. "This is over- whelming, obviously. It's been a fantastic seven years for me. I was talking to [my wife] Nancy about it a few days ago as this was all hitting me and she said something that I thought really nailed it. And that was, 'Well, your professional identity is wrapped up in this show,' which I knew. And then she said so simply, 'And they're your friends.' That's really it. You're my friends."

    On that last word, friends, Carell choked up so badly he could barely get it out and he had to run offstage toward his wife as cries of "We love you, Steve" filled the cavernous space. "I remember somebody wanted to do an 'O Captain! My Captain!' speech," says Kate Flannery, who played boozy supplier-relations representative Meredith Palmer. "John Krasinski talked us out of it. I think it would have been too uncomfortable because Steve was just too emotional. We did put together a scrapbook for him with some old pictures. Steve actually gave us all Rolex watches that he had engraved. I wear it to this day because it reminds me that everything that happened did actually happen. I know it sounds crazy because things are so fleeting in the TV business, but we were family. We really were."

    When that family had first come together to shoot the Office pilot seven years earlier, Carell was the most famous face in the...

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2020

    Rolling Stone journalist Greene offers fans hoping for an Office reboot the next best thing--a detailed oral history drawn from interviews with the show's creators, writers, and cast and crew, as well as critics and NBC network executives. A remake of a short-lived but acclaimed British series, the U.S. version of The Office was met with skepticism when it debuted in 2005--in the wake of glamorous, Manhattan-based sitcoms, a mockumentary about the employees of a struggling paper company in Scranton, PA, seemed unlikely to last. But following a rocky first season, the show quickly found its footing. Greene's subjects are an effusive bunch, rhapsodizing about showrunner Greg Daniels's eccentric genius or lead actor Steve Carell's comedic prowess, warmth, and professionalism. Though the occasionally repetitive narrative would have benefited from a shade more editing and a greater willingness to address the show's missteps, fans will nevertheless be richly rewarded by insights into watershed moments, such as the meticulous location scouting that went into salesman Jim Halpert's proposal to receptionist Pam Beesly. VERDICT Greene's affectionate tribute will satisfy Office devotees eager for a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved sitcom.--Mahnaz Dar, Library Journal & School Library Journal

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2020
    An oral history of the long-running, mega-popular American sitcom. In this behind-the-scenes trove for the countless fans of The Office, Rolling Stone senior writer Greene pulls together comments, context, and insights in a round-table style that tracks the sitcom's origins and success. Inspired by its British TV namesake, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the American version of The Office, created by Greg Daniels, initially "faced a lot of resistance" as it struggled to find a place as a "single-camera, laugh-track-free show about a struggling small town paper company." The narrative, ably curated by Greene, features the creators, actors, writers, and reviewers that spanned the show's nine-season run on NBC from 2005 to 2013. With cogent chapters about key episodes, lead characters such as the boss, Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), and assistant to the regional manager, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), craft talk, and nuts-and-bolts details, Greene smartly lets the contributors elaborate how a workplace mockumentary became a cultural phenomenon. Lively anecdotes reveal the closeness of cast and crew, and we see the writers' room as a highly collaborative, intense training ground that fostered talents such as Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak. Director J.J. Abrams characterizes the show as having "a kind of timelessness to it," a point driven home in reflections on what The Office did that differed from prime-time shows of its era: establishing a strong point of view, resisting glamorous actors, and building a set away from the traditional studio. Greene doesn't just rave, however; the book includes respectful candor about episode ideas that didn't pan out and late additions to the cast who didn't fit. When Carrell left after Season 7, The Office rallied for another two seasons, to mixed response. Amid rich trivia for pop-culture buffs, relationships--both fictional and real--stand out. Everyone involved notes Carrell's genuine personality and professionalism; the text also serves as a tribute to his role in defining the series. A fond, funny, informative trip down Memory Lane for series buffs and newcomers alike.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 10, 2020
    First-time author Greene delivers a fascinating oral history of The Office, the NBC sitcom that started in 2005 with low ratings and became a cultural phenomenon during its nine-season run. Greene, a pop culture writer for Rolling Stone, illuminates the show thanks to nearly 100 interviews with cast members, writers, directors, producers, and crew along with various TV executives and critics. Starting with its birth as an American remake of the British series created by comedian Ricky Gervais, Greene shows how the series developed its take on the day-to-day life of everyday office workers—“normal people, but they’re really quirky.” Greene includes chapters on fan-favorite episodes (“The Dundees,” “Beach Games,” “Threat Level Midnight,” etc.) and makes clear that at the show’s center is actor Steve Carell, whose portrayal of office boss Michael Scott is the show’s pulse. Greene argues that Carell’s “magic superpower” to take Gervais’s rougher and meaner character and instead show his “vulnerability” and “empathy” was responsible for the show’s success. With its wealth of anecdotes, this entertaining history will delight the series’s many fans.

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Andy Greene
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