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I am – Hercules!!

Yes, this is the best sitcom NBC is airing at the moment, and something that could easily evolve into the next “NewsRadio”! The Steve Carrell character is a monster (“monster” in the bad way) and I hope it’s revealed soon that he is the owner’s son or son-in-law or nephew. Otherwise it makes little sense that someone as horrifyingly and chillingly incompetent could ever rise to middle-management.

Carrell achieved god-like status in Herc’s eyes for his work in the feature “Anchorman,” but what’s to love about this show is the supporting cast. I am in love with the insecure receptionist, played by Jenna Fischer, who is a cross between Maura Tierney and Mary Lynn Rajskub. And I am completely invested in the John Krasinski character’s pursuit of her. And Rainn Wilson may be the new Fred Willard.

But what matters Herc’s opinion? The Hollywood Reporter says:

… captures the universally dispiriting experience of office life … Carrell is nothing short of superb in crafting his own version of a boss who is utterly unaware of how he is perceived by others. Given the limited reach of "The Office" on BBC America, Carrell will set the American standard for administrative pomposity and pretension. … He is surrounded by a versatile cast chosen, in part, for their skill at improvisation. Jenna Fischer is delightful as the sweet but frustrated receptionist, Pam. John Krasinski smartly portrays Jim, the bored practical joker of the office. Rainn Wilson is hilarious as Dwight, the tightly wound office geek and toady and the character most altered from the BBC show. … It is ironic that this series, though an adaptation, is one of the most unique and creative new comedies on NBC in years.

Variety says:

… The well-traveled Carell is a very talented guy, from "The Daily Show" to "Anchorman," but understatement and restraint are hardly his forte. As a consequence, he plays Michael bigger, and therefore harder to endure, than Gervais did -- a fine line that's significant in such a delicately balanced comedy. … On the plus side, the remainder of the cast refreshingly looks like real people, and some moments in the second and third episodes are extremely funny. … doesn't ascend to the heights of a water-cooler show. …

Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B” and says:

… painfully genuine … the new sitcom is clever and insular, capturing all the drudgery, awkwardness, and rivalry of cubicle living. … NBC could have ruined the delicate dynamic of The Office by over-Americanizing it. Some exec, at some point, must have floated the idea of morphing Pam into an Andersonian chesty blond babe. Instead, played by the sweet-faced Fischer with an air of humor and neglect, Pam's the kind of woman who doesn't bother to finish brushing her hair because, really, who notices? Fischer and Krasinski have a gentle chemistry that should be fun to watch as Jim and Pam's attraction develops. Meanwhile, Rainn Wilson, in the easy-to-overdo role of sycophant Dwight, reins in his nerd vibe just short of Urkel territory. …

USA Today gives it two and a half stars and says:

… in defense of the Americanized version, most people haven't seen the original, and, as copies go, this Office at least is not the clear-the-hall disaster that was NBC's remake of the lesser Brit hit Coupling. … at its best in a later episode, as one of Michael's racist jokes leads the company to hold a diversity day. The outing is filled with moments that make you cringe in discomfort and recognition, as when Michael blithely asks a Mexican employee, "Is there a term besides Mexican that you prefer? Something less offensive?" …

9:30 p.m. Thursday. NBC.

Looking for bumper stickers, plush toys and girls’ underwear covered with cute cartoon double-amputees? Visit The Herc Store!

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