The Office webisodes; everything that the Battlestar Galactica webisodes are not.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about watching the Battlestar Galactica webisodes. This is part of an on-going investigation into what webisodes are, and to prepare myself for the upcoming future Farscape webisodes.
The Office is not a comedy I’ve ever watched. I think it might be because it’s too close to the life I lead on my day job. I do prefer the American version to the British version, probably because the Brit one had an edge of meanness to it that I didn’t care for. Even so, I’ve watched The Office once, I think, and not all the way through even.
These webisodes were all about 2 to 2-1/2 minutes long, and all of them were interesting and amusing. I even giggled out loud at a couple of places. The picture was sharp and clear and the story they told moved seamlessly from one webisode to the next. I didn’t need any written descriptions to help me place these into a context.
Just as with the BSG webisodes, I was watching them from an outsiders’ perspective. I didn’t know these characters, or the overall story. I suspect that these characters were only minor ones on the TV series, if they appear at all. Despite this, I had no trouble placing them in The Office universe and figuring out what was going on. The characters were sharply drawn, well acted, and the story came to a satisfying conclusion. All of this was vastly different, and far better than the BSG webisodes.
As for the production values, the slightly shaky camera work in this universe works to create a documentary feel that is appropriate to the story told by these characters. Occasionally, the characters face us and explain their inner thoughts, just as if this was a documentary. The Office is set in a narrow universe of adjoining offices, so there’s no call for expensive sets or effects, but everything looked just exactly the way any generic office in the USA looks. One can see that these scenes were filmed on existing sets, and that not a lot of money went into them, however, they were utterly believable sets, filled with all of the clutter and equipment that is common in all offices. These three actors looked like normal human beings we all work with, and they played these roles smartly. Furthermore, despite the nebbishy characters they played, they had a chemistry that worked, and kept me curious about what they were going to say and do next. These webisodes were a revelation. I experienced real pleasure watching them, and I’m thinking that this fall I might start watching this show.
After seeing the BSG webisodes, I was quite depressed at the prospect of the Farscape webisodes. Those webisodes left me depressed, confused, and wondering just how a series of webisode could possibly tell a satisfying story. These Office webisodes have me feeling much more hopeful. These 10 little webisodes added up to one satisfying Office episode, and something that I would be happy to pay for on a future DVD.