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15 years ago, 'The Office' made its debut. It took us a while to warm to it.

15 years ago, 'The Office' made its debut. It took us a while to warm to it.

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THE OFFICE

From left: B.J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer in "The Office" Photo by NBC Universal 

Editors note: On March 24, 2005, the first episode of the NBC television show "The Office" aired. The show would eventually star five St. Louis natives. Here was TV critic Gail Pennington's first take on the show.

"The Office," an Americanized version of the British cult hit, makes its debut on NBC (8:30 p.m. on Channel 5). 

Give this one a chance. The mock-documentary style of the show and its downbeat tone, including lots of uncomfortable moments and no laugh track, could make it an acquired taste for anyone used to American-style joke-punchline comedy.

Another hurdle: As the obnoxious boss, Steve Carell is so big and loud in his obnoxiousness that he tends to drown out the other, more subtle (and funnier) characters.

But after disliking the show initially, I've now seen the first three episodes, and I've come around. Despite its flaws, "The Office" is a smart, subversive change from most TV comedy.

With so many trite and predictable -- and generally unfunny -- sitcoms around, one that's different deserves a chance. Or two or three.

Looking back: St. Louisans recall their time on "The Office."

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Gail Pennington is the television critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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