December 20, 2011

25 Days: The Office Christmas Special
by docsmartypants

The Office Christmas Special (2003) Ricky Gervais, Lucy Davis, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook

I’m going to do my best to do this episode justice in the write up, but I was shanghaied by the local public transportation system for two hours this evening, so let it be known that my cup doesn’t exactly runneth over with holiday spirit at the moment.

This two-part Christmas special is the final episode of the popular UK mockumentary series The Office. Set a few years after the end of season two, it is meant to be one of those reality show where-are-they-now follow-ups.

The first half checks in with where people are now, particularly obnoxious former boss David (Gervais), office everyman Tim (Freeman), and former secretary Dawn (Davis). We find David drifting a bit, still trying to milk his 10 minutes of fame while also looking for a girlfriend. Tim is still suffering at the same job, now sharing his work area with the world’s most annoying pregnant woman, who has no idea what the word “boundaries” means. And Dawn is living illegally in Florida with her awful fiance who has talked her into giving up her dreams of being an artist. As plans for the office Christmas party progress, we find out that Dawn will be flying home to attend, and the question is, will Tim—twice humiliated in the pursuit of Dawn’s affections—make one last-ditch effort to win her over? (Do it, Tim! Do it for all of us romantic cowards!)

The second half of the episode gives us several awkward online dating attempts for David, the actual Christmas party, and the resolution of the Tim/Dawn storyline.

One of the things I love/hate about the Brits is that they are not afraid to torture you before they give you a happy ending. Watching this Christmas special is like the visual equivalent of being force-marched across Europe, naked, in a blizzard before you’re allowed to open your Christmas presents. BUT when you do get to open your presents, one of them is that adorable puppy you’ve had your eye on forever, and it’s handed to you by the celebrity crush of your choice.

As Larry commented while we were watching: “They’re so good at being awkward—it’s painful.” And he means that in the nicest way possible.

Unlike the Vicar of Dibley Christmas episode I watched this year, this special actually does feel Christmassy. There’s the party, and Christmas music, and Secret Santa gifts, and a bit of a warm, fuzzy ending—as all good Christmas shows should have. One thing I really like about the ending is that it is incredibly sweet and satisfying, but in a nice, small way that doesn’t feel unbelievable. And that’s about all I will say about this since I think only two people who read my blog have actually seen The Office (UK), which is a bit of a shame really because Martin Freeman is the master of the reaction shot, and this show gave him ample opportunity to perfect his craft. Dear Martin, nothing makes me laugh harder than your face. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 21: The Year Without a Santa Claus.

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