5:00 pm EDT, March 24, 2020

‘The Office: An Oral History’ book review: A surprisingly honest, deep compilation of memories

It’s been 15 years since The Office premiered, but fans still want more.

That’s why Rolling Stones writer Andy Greene compiled dozens of interviews and facts into The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History.

The book is a compilation of interview snippets from the show’s executives, creators, writers, actors, and people who were involved in The Office in any way, shape or form.

Included among the many notable contributors are series creator Greg Daniels; writers Mindy Kaling, Michael Schur, and B.J. Novak; stars Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms; U.K. version creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant; and guest stars Will Ferrell and James Spader. Greene really got everyone’s input when putting this book together!

The format can feel disjointed at times, since it’s composed of snippets from completely separate interviews, but for the most part, Greene weaves a cohesive and interesting narrative. The Office: An Oral History is organized in chapters detailing everything from specific processes like casting and set design, individual people like Steve Carell and Mindy Kaling, and specific episodes, called “Key Episodes.”

Related: 10 Jim Halpert GIFs I totally get now that I’ve binged The Office

These chapters help facilitate a type of conversation between the interviews as the contributors weigh in on the same aspects of The Office with great specificity, even contradicting the viewpoints of others as they provide their unique perspective. The chapters also help to identify content that some readers may want to skip or jump to immediately.

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The wide array of Greene’s interviewees all but assure that absolutely every level of The Office fan will be delighted (or horrified) by countless new pieces of information. As a fan, it’s comforting to think that the people creating your entertainment are as obsessed with it as you are, and every interview in The Office: An Oral History wreaks of that obsession.

If you’ve been desperate to keep diving into the Jim and Pam relationship, this is your time. They go deep, meticulously detailing the thought and time put into every single look and word exchanged between the show’s romantic leads. The show’s creators, writers and actors have thought about this couple more than any fan ever has, which is simultaneously encouraging and baffling.

The characters of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute enjoyed the same level of scrutiny, each going through transformations that seem obvious in hindsight, but flowed seamlessly with the progression of The Office.

Each beloved character (both on and off screen) gets a moment to shine in The Office: An Untold History, with the word “genius” being thrown around in reference to almost everyone, at one point or another. It’s clear that everyone involved has a reverence for every part of the production, cherishing each piece of paper as dearly as the entire ream.

One of the coolest things about Andy Greene’s book is that the production is far enough in the past that nobody hesitates to spill all of the tea on the show’s hardships and mistakes. While some refuse to “name names,” others do so readily. The book doesn’t shy away from interesting, and sometimes even unsettling gossip about the skepticism the show was initially met with, Steve Carell’s departure, missteps, and reboot rumors.

Perhaps the best review I can give for The Office: An Oral History, is that as a huge fan of the show, this book made me laugh out loud and cry on many occasions while managing to surprise me at every turn. I both learned and felt a lot, which is pretty much the best you can hope for in a book.

Get your own copy of Andy Greene’s The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local book seller. Also, don’t forget to add the book to your Goodreads shelf!

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