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The Office US - S05 E12


Michael and Dwight go undercover to do a bit of industrial espionage on a paper company competitor. Meanwhile, the rest of the office holds a debate to settle the question: is Hilary Swank hot?

Episode Title: The Duel
Airs: 2009-01-15 at 21:00
  • James Poniewozik

    It's ironic that NBC's most original sitcom in years is a remake, but who cares? The Office is a daring, unflinching take on very American workplace tensions.

    Time Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    Luckily for NBC, which bought the rights to the British comedy, only a relatively small number of viewers in the United States have seen the BBC version. Those happy few should try to erase every trace from their brains -- Eternal Sunshine of the Digital Cable Mind -- because the NBC series, though it pales in comparison, is still funnier than any other new network sitcom.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    The good news is that it doesn't stink. The even better news is that it's clever and sophisticated and immediately outclasses most of the comedies currently on network television -- not that the bar is set to breathtaking heights. [24 Mar 2005, p.D01]

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Gillian Flynn

    The good news for fans — and neophytes — is that the new sitcom is clever and insular, capturing all the drudgery, awkwardness, and rivalry of cubicle living. ... Ultimately, though, The Office lacks the aching subtlety of the BBC version.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    The Office, although derivative, is also bracingly fresh and funny. Not that it's likely to be a breakaway hit, or even a modest one, when paired on Tuesdays with the under-appreciated, ratings-impaired "Scrubs." [20 Mar 2005, p.3]

    Dallas Morning News Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    Not an unqualified success, but it is eminently watchable. What's more, it does the near-impossible: It doesn't make the viewer forget the original, but it actually inspires affection, instead of cries of "sacrilege!" from this rabid "Office" fan.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Devotees are probably poised to dismiss the adaptation out of hand, but I found enough funny business here to overcome my sales resistance.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Paige Wiser

    The new version isn't as painfully, profoundly funny as the original. But that's as it should be. American audiences don't necessarily want to cringe when they sit down for a sitcom. This is why "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a cult hit, and not a hit hit. [23 Mar 2005, p.59]

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    What NBC has managed to do with The Office is make something true to the original while expanding on the vision and completely avoiding the dour stupidity of the current American sitcom. That, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is nearly miraculous.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Adam Buckman

    While Carell is sometimes guilty of overselling his character's eccentricities, his exuberance is offset by a laidback cast - including John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson (of "Six Feet Under") - whose deadpan reactions to their boss make for some of this show's best moments. [24 Mar 2005, p.130]

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    To be sure, The Office is an acquired taste and sometimes a challenge to watch. Still, it's at least a worthy follow-up to the original, and it attempts to plot its own course in future episodes. [23 Mar 2005, p.E-1]

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    After disliking the show initially, I've now seen the first three episodes, and I've come around. Despite its flaws, The Office is a smart, subversive change from most TV comedy. With so many trite and predictable -- and generally unfunny -- sitcoms around, one that's different deserves a chance. Or two or three. [24 Mar 2005, p.F8]

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The Office is less breezy and more warped than almost any sitcom on the American networks. For viewers accustomed to shiny, happy escapism, NBC's The Office speaks a new comic language of glum realism. Like the original, which was co-created by Stephen Merchant and the show's star, Ricky Gervais, it is a queasy portrait of corporate depression, characters who rarely smile, and bleak irony. It is funny, but slowly and painfully so.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    There's a great TV show out there called The Office...This just isn't it...Instead, what NBC is offering tonight is a passable imitation of a miles-better British original -- a brilliant faux-documentary starring Ricky Gervais that has attracted a small but devoted fan base from its BBC America run.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mike McDaniel

    NBC's Office is as smart - and the office workers appear as well-cast - as the BBC's "Office", and there is no laugh track - huge pluses. Still, viewers who have not been exposed previously to "The Office" will like this more than those who have. [24 Mar 2005, p.01]

    Houston Chronicle Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It ain't bad. Unnecessary, maybe. Why watch the road-show version when you can rent the DVD of the original? But not bad. [20 Mar 2005, p.1E]

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Tom Shales

    Largely faithful in tone to the BBC series, which concentrates on the maddening banality of workplace-as-microcosm, NBC's Office still fails to score a direct hit, settling instead for an amusing approximation.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Storm

    The supporting cast, especially Jenna Fischer as the pretty but timid receptionist ("I don't think it's many girls' dream to be a receptionist") and Rainn Wilson as an obsessive, humorless drone, helps keep the pencils sharp when boss Scott gets too unfunny in his attempts to create an easygoing office atmosphere. [24 Mar 2005, p.D01]

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Noel Holston

    Carell's Scott may emerge as one of those characters viewers dearly love to hate, but the guess here is that he's too over the top - much more so than Gervais' character was - to be appreciated in doses this large. He'd be more effective as a secondary character - think Danny DeVito's immortally despicable Louie DePalma in "Taxi." [24 Mar 2005, p.B33]

    Newsday Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    The well-traveled Carell is a very talented guy, from "The Daily Show" to "Anchorman," but understatement and restraint are hardly his forte. As a consequence, he plays Michael bigger, and therefore harder to endure, than Gervais did --- a fine line that's significant in such a delicately balanced comedy. [24 Mar 2005]

    Variety Full Review
  • Robert P. Laurence

    The Office has its moments, but it's just too loud and too clumsy...Like the original, the American The Office tries to pull off the most difficult comedy stunt of them all: getting laughs at the expense of a fellow who thinks he's funny but is pathetically, awkwardly, embarrassingly unfunny...The execution is less confident and less successful, more Spike Jones than Mozart. [21 Mar 2005]

    San Diego Union-Tribune Full Review
  • Sarah Rodman

    Somehow executive producer Greg Daniels (``The Simpsons,'' ``King of the Hill'') and his cast must win over new fans while not pissing off the old fans. [23 Mar 2005, p.42]

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    Just when you think The Office is working, it starts to crumble. You reach a point of giving up on it, and then suddenly it pulls you back. The thing defies concrete evaluation because it could go either way. [24 Mar 2005, p.D1]

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    "Six Feet Under's" Rainn Wilson, in fact, is so weirdly compelling as Scott's hierarchy-obsessed assistant that he just might make the whole exercise worthwhile. [24 Mar 2005, p.36]

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • David Zurawik

    Instead of life-affirming laughter, we get an occasional ironic chuckle in NBC's version of The Office. It's a comedy that offers only escape instead of insight into our workaday lives. [24 Mar 2005, p.1E]

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Hal Boedeker

    The best moments belong to Jenna Fischer as the receptionist and John Krasinski as a sales rep. Both are low-key charmers. They deserve a better boss and a better show. [21 Mar 2005]

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Paul Brownfield

    The devices are in place, and there's intelligent writing, but here the approach feels a bit tired, like a better version of those commercials set in offices, where the drabness of corporate life is mocked to sell some shiny new gadget, or to make you feel superior to it all. [23 Mar 2005, p.E1]

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Bianculli

    On its own, NBC's The Office is different, but it is neither daring nor funny; it's hard to imagine people taking enough of a liking to the characters to keep returning. And compared to the BBC version, in which every portrayal of those four key character types is utterly perfect, NBC's version is so diluted there's little left but muddy water. [23 Mar 2005, p.91]

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Aaron Barnhart

    This comedy is set in a paper-supply sales office where people seem to work hardest at finding ways to kill time. I must say that it was an extremely realistic presentation: While watching the program, I kept looking at the clock and longing for it to be over so I could go home. [24 Mar 2005, p.E6]

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    Carell doesn't capture the weird charm, the subtlety and the vulnerability -- and the show doesn't have any of those...Frankly, it's sometimes so painful to watch you can just imagine remotes clicking all across the country. [24 Mar 2005]

    Deseret News Full Review

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  • breaking the fourth wall

  • man with glasses

  • woman with glasses

  • 2000s

  • 2010s

  • pennsylvania

  • remake

  • office temp

  • accountant

  • beet farm

  • prank

  • pretzel

  • romantic tension

  • frat pack

  • fourth wall

  • fake documentary

  • scranton pennsylvania

  • satire

  • office romance

  • workplace

  • mockumentary

  • workplace humor

  • employment

  • sitcom

  • employer employee relationship

  • job

  • office

  • tension

  • based on british tv series

  • cult tv

  • famous line

  • title spoken by character

  • actor shares first name with character

  • alcoholic

  • awkward silence

  • closeted homosexual

  • downsizing