Now in its sixth season, the American version of UK sitcom The Office has become something of a cult classic. Not seen it yet? Hannah Lewis has the lowdown
Originally dismissed as a poor imitation, the US adaptation of Ricky Gervais’s sitcom The Office has gone on to gain big critical – and audience – support. Missed the first five seasons? Need an incentive to start with the sixth? That’s easy: hilarious characters. Introducing the key players…
1 Michael Scott Manager of fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. An incompetent attention seeker. Classic quote: ‘Would I rather be feared or loved? Um… Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.’
2 Dwight K Schrute Assistant (to the) regional manager, and a ‘fascist nerd’. Classic quote: ‘I will need a new number two. My ideal choice? Jack Bauer. But he is unavailable, fictional and overqualified.’
3 Jim Halpert Loveable sales rep. Classic quote: ‘When I tell people I work at Dunder Mifflin, they think we sell mufflers. Or muffins. Or mittens. And frankly, all of those sound better than paper, so I let it slide.’
4 Pam Beesly Sales rep (and former receptionist), engaged to Jim. Classic quote: ‘I have this old vacuum cleaner that’s broken. If Dwight doesn’t work out, maybe that could be manager.’
5 Andy Bernard Big-headed sales rep, recently transferred from Stamford branch. Classic quote: ‘I’m always thinking one step ahead, like… a carpenter, who makes stairs…’
6 Toby Flenderson Long-suffering human resources rep. Classic quote: When asked whether there are any HR issues in the office: ‘I don’t want to lie. But I really don’t want to tell the truth.’
7 Creed Bratton In charge of quality assurance (or ‘quaa… quaar… qwer… quabbity ashuitz’, as he calls it). Classic quote: ‘I’ve been involved in a number of cults, both as a leader and a follower. You have more fun as a follower. But you make more money as a leader.’
8 Ryan Howard Office temp (former vice president). Classic quote: ‘Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog. Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed’s brain, I opened a Word document on his computer and put an address at the top. I’ve read some of it. Even for the internet, it’s pretty shocking.’
9 Kelly Kapoor Neurotic customer service rep. Classic quote: “I don’t talk trash; I talk smack. They’re totally different. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like “your mama’s so fat she could eat the internet”, but smack talk is happening right now, like “you’re ugly and I know it for a fact cause I got the evidence right there”.’
10 Darryl Phillbin Burly warehouse foreman. Classic quote: ‘I taught Michael a few phrases to help with his “interracial” conversations. You know, like “fleece it out,” “going Mach Five,” “dinkin’flicka.” You know, things [we] say.’
Bored with their mundane jobs, Jim and Pam spend much of their time at work playing practical jokes on the endlessly gullible Dwight. Here are the top five so far…
• Jim puts all of Dwight’s belongings in a vending machine. When Dwight goes to buy them back, he finds his wallet. In J-1.
• Pam sends Dwight messages supposedly from the CIA inviting him on a secret mission. Dwight, being Dwight, is only surprised that the CIA hasn’t sought him out sooner.
• Jim steals some of Dwight’s headed paper and sends him faxes from ‘Future Dwight’.
• In the manner of the Pavlovian dog, Jim trains Dwight to expect a mint every time he hears a computer start-up noise.
• Pam convinces Dwight he has an illness that means his teeth are in danger of becoming liquid and dripping down his throat – otherwise known as spontaneous dental hydroplosion.
And this season: Pam and Jim learn Morse code and swap messages via taps and blinking. They convince Dwight he is imagining it.