An oral history of the long-running, mega-popular American sitcom.
In this behind-the-scenes trove for the countless fans of The Office, Rolling Stone senior writer Greene pulls together comments, context, and insights in a round-table style that tracks the sitcom’s origins and success. Inspired by its British TV namesake, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the American version of The Office, created by Greg Daniels, initially “faced a lot of resistance” as it struggled to find a place as a “single-camera, laugh-track-free show about a struggling small town paper company.” The narrative, ably curated by Greene, features the creators, actors, writers, and reviewers that spanned the show's nine-season run on NBC from 2005 to 2013. With cogent chapters about key episodes, lead characters such as the boss, Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), and assistant to the regional manager, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), craft talk, and nuts-and-bolts details, Greene smartly lets the contributors elaborate how a workplace mockumentary became a cultural phenomenon. Lively anecdotes reveal the closeness of cast and crew, and we see the writers’ room as a highly collaborative, intense training ground that fostered talents such as Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak. Director J.J. Abrams characterizes the show as having “a kind of timelessness to it,” a point driven home in reflections on what The Office did that differed from prime-time shows of its era: establishing a strong point of view, resisting glamorous actors, and building a set away from the traditional studio. Greene doesn’t just rave, however; the book includes respectful candor about episode ideas that didn’t pan out and late additions to the cast who didn’t fit. When Carrell left after Season 7, The Office rallied for another two seasons, to mixed response. Amid rich trivia for pop-culture buffs, relationships—both fictional and real—stand out. Everyone involved notes Carrell's genuine personality and professionalism; the text also serves as a tribute to his role in defining the series.
A fond, funny, informative trip down Memory Lane for series buffs and newcomers alike.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)