The Office Season 2 Review: Marginally better, but equally unfunny

The Office Season 2 Review: Marginally better, but equally unfunny

When The Office Season 2 opens with an episode featuring a sequence about an employee's appraisal, you also wonder if the directors of this series could have been a part of it. For all the boredom and insipidness they have inflicted upon the spectators, their work deserves a review by the producers of the show, more than anyone else. The Indian version of The Office returns in three months with a less-annoying adaptation, probably because you know what to expect out of its characters. Yet, this doesn't make it any more memorable or humourous than its predecessor. Having watched 27 episodes of the series, this reviewer can vouch for the fact that the makers can't create a remotely likeable or identifiable character. Their energies are invested in finding an Indian replacement to the original characters of the series (without any effort to lend them some personality). The backdrop of a corporate firm, functioning like an old-time government office with its employees focusing on everything except work, continues to be unfathomable. But for a rare Riya (who's the boss of the branch manager Jagdeep Chadda), you barely see anyone in the company discussing 'work'. The characters have unique quirks that aren't explored enough. You don't know their backstories, the reason behind their eccentricities. Hence, the relatability remains superficial. The absence of a better backdrop to bind them together hurts the series. There's an interfering assistant TP Mishra who tries too hard to win the trust of his boss, an accounts team head Anjali who bats for religious superstitions at work (and a colleague whom she is secretly in love with). A sales-employee Amit just can't come to terms with the fact the receptionist Pammi, whom he has hots for, is about to get married to someone else. A man in his 50s, Salim, is known to snore more than work. Sarla knits wool more regularly than checking work-emails. Strangely, many characters are united by a single trait – none of them has their heart in the profession and even minimal respect for their boss. And it's not a surprise that the most annoying aspect of the series is the character of the corporate boss, Jagdeep Chadda (played by an out-of-form Mukul Chadda who gets a bulky screen space). It is a painful experience to merely watch him because you don't quite understand his tone. Is he just an unfunny boss trying to act cool? Are the makers trying to weave a satire? Is this a boss who doesn't know how annoying or insensitive he can be? In a sequence where a subordinate is waiting to know if he's been tested positive for skin-cancer, the boss is unhappy because he can't celebrate his birthday at the office. Imagine an unwell boss asking an intern to buy rabdi from a mithai-store that's 90 minutes away from the office? Think of a male-boss creepily trying to sneak into a women-only meeting? Some of the series' heartfelt threads involve the underplayed romance between the salesperson Amit and receptionist Pammi. Both of them never appear ready to take the next step in the relationship and yet, are well-aware of the vibes they share. This 'hide and seek' romance between the characters ensures some cute, innocent moments, because the makers focus on the unsaid words, their hidden mysteries for a change. There are other office romances too, between the 'seniors' TP Mishra and Anjali, 'bosses' Jagdeep Chadda and Riya, an intern and a senior, however nothing memorable to write home about. One wished the show creators tapped Gauhar Khan's acting exploits more (who appears to be the only sane performer). The actor-lineup of Preeti Kochar, Sayandeep Sengupta, Samridhi Dewan, Priyanka Sethia, Abhinav Sharma could have been a handful if only their characters had some meat – all they get are one-liner traits. Mallika Dua's high-profile entry into the series only translates into another cringeworthy character that gets on your nerves. Rohan Sippy and Bumpy, as a director duo, need to analyse what they are trying to achieve through the series. The series, just like the first season, is neither funny, realistic nor functions as a workplace satire. The Office in its Indian avatar can truly be more imaginative and colourful than this. Rating: 1.5/5 (Watch The Office Season 2 on Hotstar here)


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