Review: Conference Room, Five Minutes

When it comes to sitcoms, there is nothing like The Office. As many shows of the time did, it has its roots in England where it was cultivated by Ricky Gervais and starred a much younger Martin Freeman. Though Americans had enjoyed the fruits of British roots in shows like Who’s The Boss, and laughs from the likes Monty Python, Benny Hill, and Mr. Bean, there was a question as to whether this should would translate.

What made the American adaptation so indelible, is it didn’t seek to replicate the original. It was its own show with its own characters. Michael Scott is not David Brent, which is good, as Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais’ individual comic sensibilities are what makes both of these shows stand on their own with or without being connected to each other. In Shea Serrano’s Conference Room, Five Minutes, fans get 10 love letters to the American adaptation and the show’s fandom will most assuredly love.

The book features numerous essays with a wide range of topics examining the popular show. The first essay entitled “The Basketball Scouting Report,” gives a pretty detailed description of the Warehouse basketball game episode, almost shot for shot. In “Prison Mike,” we get a thorough examination of Steve Carrell’s genius in “The Convict” episode where Dunder Mifflin receives six new employees with one of them being a convicted criminal. In “The Perfect Heist,” in what is my favorite of the essays, Serrano deftly compares different characters from the show to the different characters in Ocean’s Eleven, and who would you take on a heist. In “Dwight Club,” Serrano chronicles Dwight Schrute’s many personal battles. The next two essays thoroughly examines and celebrates “The Office Olympics” story arc. “There Are No Accidents” exhaustively examines the power structure in the show simply by where they are sitting in the office. In “Pam Has An Art Show,” Serrano obsessively details the many intricacies of “The Business School” episode. “To Me, You Are Perfect” makes the case for the most perfect duo in the show. The last essay, “Is Jim Halpert Hot?” breaks down the character’s appeal.

Overall, the book is an excellent collection of essays that not only celebrates this new modern classic but also showcases Serrano’s skills as an author and artist. The essays by Serrano are definitely love letters to the show and shows a fandom the runs deep. The art by Serrano is what pulls most readers in and for good reason. The art style more than complements each essay. Altogether, these essays and illustrations are more than love letters to the show, they display a devotion to this epic show that so many fans feel an d can relate to.

Essays: Shea Serrano Art: Shea Serrano
Essays: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy