Quick Review: THE OFFICE by Andy Greene (Dutton)

GreeneA-OfficeUSHC“The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s”, an Oral History

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, fifteen years 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.

I was a latecomer to The Office. When the original UK version first aired, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ricky Gervais. This meant I didn’t rush to watch the American version. A few years ago, though, we gave it a try and quickly fell in love with the employees of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, PA. I’ve now watched the whole series multiple times, and each time it keeps me entertained, laughing out loud. When I learned about this book, I quickly got in touch with the publisher and they were kind enough to send me a DRC. I started reading it almost immediately, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

This is the latest in a slew of new books about beloved, completed TV series. In addition to The Office, I have three about Friends, and one about Frasier still to read, and there is an oral history of Modern Family on the way in May. As someone who loves reading about Hollywood, and behind-the-scenes of movies and TV series, I feel quite spoiled at the moment. Of the ones I’ve read, Andy Greene’s The Office is easily one of the best.

How does one review an oral history? An oral history of one of your favourite shows? The book is packed with behind-the-scenes revelations from the cast and (more so) the crew. While reading it, I would frequently interrupt my partner’s day to tell her about this or that nugget that I thought was fascinating, funny and/or endearing. (It’s all part of the service of being with me…)

Split into sections covering each season, key episodes, and production departments (writing, wardrobe, set design, etc.), it is an expansive and exhaustive account of the making of The Office. Greene draws on existing coverage of the show and cast, as well as new interviews. We learn about favourite episodes and moments, from the perspective of directors, writers, and cast members. We learn about how close of the cast became, and how much they all loved their time on the show — unlike in some other instances, you get the sense that they really did love their time on the show (thanks to social media, it’s not difficult to see how much time they still spend together). Guest stars offer their thoughts about their time on the show and with these great characters and people. It was also interesting for me to learn the context surrounding the show’s production and continued existence — it often didn’t have the greatest support from the studio’s higher-ups, but the overwhelming love from the fans, certain key management people, and those making the show kept it alive and going.

There are hundreds of nuggets I could have chosen to share, but really the best thing is to read it for yourself. It is a must-read for fans of the show, and Greene has done a wonderful job of creating an endearing and entertaining history of the show.

I highly recommend this book. It is rather long, however, so maybe I’d give it only a cautious recommendation for people who don’t love the TV series. Fans of the show will find plenty that they will love in the book.


Andy Greene’s The Office is due to be published by Dutton on March 24th, 2020.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher

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