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Byline: Chuck Barney
"The Office": After NBC so badly fumbled the trans-Atlantic hand-off of the sitcom "Coupling," there was naturally a lot of skepticism when the network announced plans to produce an American version of this critically lauded British hit. Why tinker, after all, with a pitch-perfect mockumentary about a dreary paper-product company and the hapless drones who toil there under a self-absorbed, clueless boss (wonderfully played by Ricky Gervais)? Well, surprise, surprise _ the NBC version not only doesn't stink, but it's a highly commendable effort. Of course, devotees of the BBC version will have their quibbles, but the new show manages to capture much of the original's offbeat rhythms and subtle humor while putting its own …