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The Office: "Like Indie Television."

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn February 2, 2009 at 9:40AM

The Office: "Like Indie Television."

Jon Krasinski at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Photo by Eric Kohn.
"The Office is like indie television," John Krasinski told me when we met a few weeks ago at the Sundance Film Festival. It's a dubious statement at best, given the considerable resources and star-power behind the highly rated primetime comedy, but Krasinski (himself an indie filmmaker now, having made his directorial debut with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men) was referring to a particular kind of creative wiring, an endearing force that pushes the show beyond any conventional boundaries for the sake of humor and ingenuity. That comic sprightliness was undeniable in the spectacular opening minutes of last night's one-hour Office special. It takes a certain brash inspiration to display so much chaos on the screen at once, resulting in a literal bombardment of things gone wrong. Kudos to director Jeff Blitz, an indie filmmaker with his own pedigree rooted in the popular documentary Spellbound and Rocket Science. Just watch the skill with which this sequence accelerates into madness:

My friend Ryan Hagen, a veteran of disaster preparedness research, informs me that most people would actually react rather calmly to this type of calamity. But most people don’t have to deal with Dwight.