The British 'Office' (2001-2003)
Playing the incompetent boss David Brent, Gervais served as the inspiration for the American Office's Michael Scott. Through Brent, Gervais channels the ultimate clueless supervisor, while still making him just empathic enough for his blunders to twist the knife. Imagine the "Scott's Tots" episode (Episode 12, Season Six) of the American Office: You want to put your face in your hands when Michael admits that he can't actually pay for 15 kids to go to college, a promise made out of a signature mix of hubris and self-delusion. Now imagine sustaining that for three seasons.