It's hard to believe, but this weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the debut of The Office, the seminal UK comedy created by Ricky Gervais. Not only did the show launch a successful U.S. version (which launched the careers of Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Ed Helms into the stratosphere), but it made Gervais a household name. In short, it's a pretty big deal. Gervais looks back on the show for EW.
"David Brent doesn’t represent evil, or nastiness or even ignorance. He’s just a little out of place. Out of time. His worst crime is that he confused respect with popularity. He wanted both but concentrated on the wrong one. He didn’t really know what people wanted of him. He shouldn’t really have worried about that at all. He just tried a little too hard. He wasn’t a bad man. In fact he was quite a nice man and I have a real affection for him. I like all my characters I play or create, to be honest. I don’t think you should ever feel above the role or sneery towards them. Comedy is above all about empathy in my opinion and I think as an actor, the more you empathise with a character, the more engaging he will be to an audience. It doesn’t mean he has to be perfect or squeaky-clean, but he must have his foibles planted somewhere in humanity. And at some level he has to be vulnerable. David Brent was certainly that. Insecure, eager to please, and needing constant positive feedback."
Great stuff. There is a special 10th anniversary edition Office DVD due out in the United Kingdom in October. Fingers crossed that one reaches the states soon thereafter.