“The Office” had a rocky start to say the least. With all of the hype surrounding the Americanization of the British cult classic, the new writers made the mistake of attempting to recreate the magic that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant created in the original. The beginning of “The Office” wasn’t regarded as a huge failure, but it certainly wasn’t viewed as even a minor success either.
“It's one of the worst-testing pilots ever, alongside “Seinfeld,” Rain Wilson (who plays Dwight) said.
“The Office” debuted in 2005, with most of the critics bashing the show as if it was merely another flop in a long line of failed NBC sitcoms. A few examples of this can illustrate the first impression of “The Office”:
“Maybe, after “The Office” dies a quick death on NBC, the network will decide that trying to Americanize British TV comedies isn't such a great idea.”
“Frankly, it's sometimes so painful to watch you can just imagine remotes clicking all across the country.”
“What might be funny for six episodes at a time (and a total of only 12) would be nothing short of torture over a 22-episode season, let alone multiple seasons.”
While “The Office” didn’t have the warmest reception from the critics, there were a few that that gave the first episode favorable reviews.
“Despite botching the American remake of “Coupling” NBC makes a pretty good effort in its version of “The Office” in duplicating the original's ethos while injecting it with an American sensibility.”
Although there were the select few that thought highly of the pilot, “The Office” was undoubtedly on the chopping block those first few episodes. Not many would’ve ever foreseen “The Office” evolving into an NBC lineup regular lasting nine seasons and carrying a sizeable and devoted audience throughout most of the series’ run.