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The Office (UK): Christmas Special (2003)
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The first half of their post-series Christmas special was among the most challenging hours of television ever produced. The second half half, however, offered the small moment of joy that the show had been fighting for the entire show.
But The Office finale isn't a downer; it offers the characters some hope and a chance at redemption--even David.
"The Office Special" is a grand finale to one of television's best, smartest and funniest series ever.
It integrates the boredom, self-delusion, dashed hopes and struggle for power into something bigger, and potentially better, and functions not only as a continuation of the story but a convincing conclusion.
Plus, the laughs are still there, and are as painful as ever as they focus on Brent's disastrous attempts to find post-reality TV fame.
Gervais and Merchant's series disguise themselves as comedies of cruelty, but after a while, they reveal themselves to be comedies of dignity, series that are about people who continue to be crushed by the world but finally rise above their circumstances.
Tonight's two-hour special episode of "The Office" on BBC America is as wickedly, painfully funny as the first two seasons and, in tiny, fleeting doses, as delicately tender.
Above all, Ted Whitehead's script strikes a subtle balance between authenticity and accessibility.
The Christmas Special was one of the most depressing comedies I have ever watched. David Brent (Gervais) gets his happy ending but only after being put through the wringer for over an hour.
Though the series itself trades heavily in dark humor, the specials offer a bit of a happy ending for most of the characters.
The Office Christmas special then captures the real secret of the season: it can be melancholy or it can be miraculous.
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