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Fortunately the BBC series (2001-'03), totaling about eight hours, has been collected on DVD, and this marathon screening offers neophytes a chance to immerse themselves in its black humor and disarming pathos.
The humor's slightly darker than the American version, with more focus on characters' dissatisfaction with their dead-end job at a paper company, and Ricky Gervais steals every scene he's in as David Brent, the bumbling boss.
But if we are to take The Office as a perfect artistic expression of the passions, desires and fears of our age, like a Michelangelo painting but on telly and starring a fat bloke, what makes it what it is?