“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked.”
Comedy is subjective; quality is quantifiable. Every year, “The Office” continues to set the benchmark for a consistently innovative, intelligent and hilarious alternative to the all-but-defunct primetime sitcom. Four new discs of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute ridiculousness, Pam Beasley and Jim Halpert cutesiness and “that’s what she said” jokes are available with the tremendously rewatchable fourth season on DVD.
Although the season was marred by a Hollywood writers’ strike and held to only 14 episodes, the laughs and unanticipated storylines merit the price of a set with less content than seasons past. The season led off with four one-hour episodes, several of which spun out of control by their conclusions, but they proved the showrunners remain versatile and full of humor. It’s a true achievement in television to force an audience to shake their heads and mutter what an idiot the protagonist is – while sympathizing and returning on a weekly basis to spend a little more time with him.
The set’s total running time approaches seven hours, although the already lackluster amount of bonus features often border on disappointing. The deleted scenes miss more than they hit and the commentaries are guilty of hosting too many chatty, off-subject participants – none of whom are Steve Carell. Which isn’t to say that owners won’t be tempted to play certain bits again and again, such as Carell’s outrageous PSA on rabies. Remember, it truly is the silent killer, taking 4,000 lives every 1,000 years.