Blog Article

An Unpopular Point of View

June 27, 2011

I am going to type a sentence that I have never heard or read before: I prefer the American version of ‘The Office’ to the British original.

That’s not to say that the British version isn’t good, it’s great and it originated the things I like so much about both versions.  But I believe that the American version took a great idea and ran with it.  Having just finished watching the British version (plus specials) and having seen every episode of the American version, here are the things I like best.

– The Boss- Ricky Gervais as David Brent was brilliant.  But he is so unlikable that you only really liked the guy for the last ten minutes of the second special.  Granted, I think this was the point.  The show served as a documentary in which the main character spirals down due to his own self sabotage.  Which works better in the shorter format of two six episodes seasons.  But Steve Carell took some aspects of Gervais’ character (the obsession with being funny, the need to be liked) and made it last longer.

– Pam and Jim vs. Dawn and Tim- First off: I love Martin Freeman and Lucy Davis in the British version.  But the American version really made you feel the love.  It became less about a guy in love with a girl who is engaged to a guy who is bad for her and more about a guy who has been in love with a girl since the day he met her.  And how these two nice folks fell in love.

– Dwight- The Dwight factor cannot be underplayed. Rainn Wilson made Dwight Schrute into an iconic TV character.  Gareth Keenan (on the British version) gave us the overly serious guy who gets constantly (and  often unknowingly) picked on by his co-worker.  But he was a creep as well.  A thin, perverted creep. Dwight Schrute, on the other hand, isn’t perverted, he’s just 100% confident of his own superiority.  Add in his bizarre overly Germanic upbringing and his beet farm and you have a character that outstrips the original in every way.

Some other things the American version did better: more fleshed out co-workers, better theme song, a better stable of writers and tons more perfectly executed feel good moments (which can be awfully cheesy if done wrong but in the American version often make me smile and look for somebody to hug).

Really, the only thing the British version had that was better was the fat guy. The British fat guy was funnier than the American fat guy. Maybe it’s just me.