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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > The Office – Season Four (Universal DVD)

The Office – Season Four (Universal DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A     Episodes: B+



If I told you four seasons ago that a series centering on the daily lives of the employees at a paper company in Scranton Pennsylvania would be one of the funniest series to ever hit television, you would have thought I was crazy.  The Office, in fact, is one of the best series on television today with its odd brand of humor and absurd events that are so simple, but at their core are brilliantly complex.


The Fourth Season of The Office was shortened by the 2007-2008 Writers Strike, but still managed to hold it together to produce 14 hilariously funny episodes.  This season gives fans the same brand of oddly awkward humor from our favorite paper company employees as we anxiously dive into the psyche of one of the most dysfunctional office environments around.  The Office - Season Four treats fans to such surreal moments as ‘The Fun Run’ where Michael forces his employees to do a ‘charity’ 5K run in their work attire (due to thinking the office is cursed) as he gobbles down pasta to ‘carb load’ for the run, a day of chaos when Michael becomes obsessed with a chair model in ‘The Chair Model,’ and when Michael gets upset that he has not been invited to the corporate wilderness retreat in ‘Survivor Man’ he decides he will venture out into the woods to prove himself with nothing on his back but his suit…good thing Dwight is close behind.


But in, most likely, one of the most awkward episodes of The Office ever, ‘Dinner Party’ exposes the unhappiness that is the home life of Michael Scott and his psychotic ex-boss and current girlfriend Jan.  Fellow Dunder Mifflin employees Pam and Jim are tricked into coming to a dinner party at Michael’s condo (along with Dwight who just shows up), where the couple is submitted to what can only be described as hilariously awkward torture where Michael and Jan fight like rabid dogs.


This reviewer can not sing the praises of The Office enough; it is one of the best comedy series ever created.  It is not often that writers can so intelligently combine comedy with genius scripts, without becoming too slapstick or over the top.  With so many bland ‘family comedies’ and ‘crime dramas’ on television today The Office is a breath of fresh White-Out; if the show were anymore outrageous I would think I was high.


The technical features on this Fourth Season, 4-Disc set are right in line with the previous DVD releases.  The picture is once again presented in a 1.78 X 1 Anamorphic Widescreen that maintains the series natural color palette as it is illuminated from the florescent office lights above and has a great crispness that many series lack.  The audio is also consistent with previous releases, once again presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround that is clean, crisp with a very natural use of the soundstage for this mockumentary series.


The extras that are available on The Office season sets are some of the best special features anyone could get on television on DVD.  The extras this season remain rewatchable, insightful, and constantly hilarious.  The special Features include:


Deleted Scenes


-          Most series ‘deleted scenes’ neither add nor detract from any of the episodes and mainly are a wash of lackluster nothings.  The Office’s Deleted Scenes, however, act as an amazing extension of already hilariously memorable episodes.  Essentially each deleted scene is the stuff that the creators did not have time to show us and these viewable Deleted Scenes act as a ‘While you were out…’ sticky note.  The creators even sight the deleted scenes as fair game for future references.  With over 2 hours of deleted scenes they are not something to miss.


Rabies: The More You Know


-          A mini but hilarious public service announcement (22 seconds) that addresses Rabies…of course it’s funny.


Episode Commentaries


-          A total of four episodes contain full length audio commentaries; ‘Money,’ ‘Local Ad,’ ‘Dinner Party,’ and ‘Did I Stutter?’  The commentaries as always are full of life and people.  In the many television series this reviewer has watched and owned, none have had the sheer amount of commentators as are found on The Office’s Audio Commentary tracks.  Where the discussions on the audio tracks are rarely serious, they manage to be very fun and entertaining.  It is good to know the whole cast, actors and writers alike, love what they do.


Blooper Reel


-          Running about 23 minutes long the Blooper Reel is hilariously absurd as should be expected.  Full of mess ups, do overs, and laughing fits; the viewer will be so enthralled by the comedic chaos it feels as if they are there laughing right along with the cast and crew.


The Office Convention


-          This featurette takes the viewer to good old Scranton, PA where the annual Office convention is held each year.  The featurette, though the filming leaves something to be desired, lets fans get some insight from the writers of the series as they discuss the creative process and some of their favorite episodes.  There is only limited footage from the dreary (bad weather) gathering, it is still fun to watch.


Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Ad


-          This is the ‘director’s cut’ of Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin promo that premiered in the episode ‘Local Ad.’  It is the same goodness observed in the episode, only kicked up a notch.


Summer Vacation Promo


-          This is the promo NBC aired before the start of Season 4, giving a look into what everyone has been doing with their time off…hilarious.


Also included in this Season 4 set (while supplies last) is a full ‘mini book’ script of the episode ‘Dinner Party.’  This mini script is a nice little memento for long fans to take home; especially since it hosts some of the series most awkwardly hilarious moments.


The Office - Season Four is an amazing piece of television.  The series in its short lifetime has already achieved ‘future classic’ status that future generations will look back on and find just as hilarious.  Whereas the series still has a ton more to offer (supposedly signed for at least 3 more seasons), this past season just shows fans why the series is so brilliant.  By infusing comedy, an extremely talented cast, and scripts that are unrivaled with their odd brand of genius The Office has become solid gold.  Even with the season cut in half, the writers still made some of the best episodes of television ever.  Length doesn’t always matter…THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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