Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Office vs. The Office

I may be a little late coming on board, but I have started watching the American version of The Office. Let me say this right off the bat, it is not as good as the British version. As a matter of fact. It's not even close.

Top 5 Reasons why the British version is better than the American

1. They get to swear and make jokes that would never be allowed to be air on US television. Look at this exchange between Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis) and Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman) as they get a laugh pretending military obsessed Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is gay. You know you would never hear this on NBC at 9:30 on a Thursday night.

Tim: We were wondering if a military man like you, a soldier, er, could you give a man a lethal blow?
Gareth: If I was forced to, I could. If it was absolutely necessary, if he was attacking me.
Tim: What if he was coming, really hard?
Gareth: Yeah, if my life was in danger, yeah.
Dawn: And do you always imagine doing it face to face with a bloke, or could you take a man from behind?
Gareth: Either ways easy.
Dawn: So you could take a man from behind?
Gareth: Yeah.
Dawn: Lovely.

2. Because the British series was a short series (12 episodes over 2 years plus a 2 part Christmas special), there was a beginning, middle and end to the storylines. As opposed to the US series which is clearly creating storylines that can be wrapped up in the alotted half hour traditional sitcom format.

3. In the US version, the second-in-command/chief suck-up Dwight Schrute (Rainnn Wilson) is just a weird, creepy loser (as this picture clearly indicates). In the British version, this person is Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook). He is self absorbed, thinks he is more important than he really is and has obsessions that are easy to make fun of.

4. Though I believe Steve Carrell (who plays Office honcho Michael Scott) is doing a fine job stepping into the shoes of his British counterpart David Brent (played by Ricky Gervais) is just not the same. The character of David Brent is a clueless boss the likes that have never been seen before on film. Here's a great quote from Brent.

Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

The character of Michael Scott, I've had bosses like that. It never really suprises me. Plus, due to the issues mentioned in #1 on my list, he is really limited in his politicial incorrectness.

5. Keith Bishop (played by Ewen Macintosh), the unsung hero of the British version doesn't really have an equivalant in the US version. If you've seen the British version and do not know who I mean, he is the fat guy that seems to have no social skills but dresses up as Ali G. and DJ's all the company parties. In his quite voice, usually while eating, he often gives Tim advice in his quest for a romantic relationship with Dawn.

I suppose for me, the unsung hero in the US version is Kelly (played by Mindy Kaling). She isn't in the show very much. Has a really high pitched irritating voice, talks endlessly and is trying so hard to have a relationship with work colleague Ryan (played by BJ Novak).

Overall there is still no comparison from the British series to the US. However, considering what other crap is on US tv, it still isn't too bad. The reason I bring this up is that some of the cast members from the British show are making cameo appearances on the US version this season. That should be interesting.

On an unrelated note, Syd Barrett, ex member of Pink Floyd died this week. Hands up everyone who thought he was already dead? I know I thought he died in the mid-70s.



Blogger Cogs said...

I couldn't agree with you any more. David Brent is the perfect character. I love that scene where he roll played with the customer service trainer, where the trainer played an angry cusotmer and Brent was the hotel manager.

Trainer - I have a complaint

Brent - What room are you staying in

Trainer - 462

Brent - That room doesn't exist in our hotel

2:05 PM  

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