DVD Review: 'The Office, Season Three'
Deleted scenes shine in extras-packed set
Occasionally, though, a television show has to cut good scenes just to fit into its prescribed timeslot. Which is why watching the outtakes from the third season of "The Office" is such a treat.
Devoted fans have been able to see a lot of the material on the show's web site, but having them all collected in one place makes the DVD collection worth the price of admission almost on its own. It consists mostly of extended versions of scenes and additional talking-head footage that, but for the strictures of commercial television, are sometimes just as good as the finished product.
And because of the show's documentary-style method of filming, it generates a lot of extra material -- six, seven, eight minutes of extra footage per episode, three-plus hours in total. There are a few clunkers in there, but a majority of the time you'd have a hard time distinguishing between what made the cut and what didn't.
The show, of course, remained as strong as ever in its third season, deftly negotiating a split-cast setup for its first several episodes before bringing Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and a few new colleagues -- notably Rashida Jones and Ed Helms -- back to Dunder Mifflin Scranton, bringing new shades to most of the regulars and somehow keeping king boob Michael Scott (Steve Carell) likable, usually in spite of himself.
Season three also gave great moments to "The Office's" supporting characters, be it Pretzel Day for Stanley (Leslie David Baker, who also lends his insight to a couple of the xx commentary tracks) or the Lady Macbeth-like maneuverings of Dwight's (commentary workhorse Rainn Wilson) secret girlfriend Angela (Angela Kinsey).
The DVD is Kevin's (the reliably great Brian Baumgartner) chance to show off, with an extra called "Kevin Cooks Stuff in the Office." It's among the funniest of all the wealth of extras, and I just may have to try quesadillas a la Kevin sometime.
That everyone gets an opportunity to shine is a big part of what makes "The Office" great. You know you've got something special when even the parts that don't make the show are funnier than most of what actually makes it on the air in other shows.
EXTRAS: Commentary on xx episodes, deleted scenes, "Kevin Cooks Stuff in the Office," "Lazy Scranton" video, "Dwight Schrute" music video, Joss Whedon interview, Toby wraparounds, excerpts from 58th annual Emmy Awards and NBC 2006 Primetime Preview, blooper reel, "Make Your Own Promo" videos