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Close your eyes. Picture a convict. What's he wearing? Nothing special - baseball cap on backward, baggy pants. He says something ordinary like, "Yo, that's shizzle". Okay, now slowly open your eyes again. Who are you picturing? A black man? Wrong. That was a white woman. Surprised? Well, shame on you.
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After reading all of the horrible reviews coming from the UK, I felt the strong desire to comment. I learned that most of the reviewers bashing it have only seen a few (at most) episodes from the first season - many haven't seen it at all, and are simply bashing it because of an overwhelming sense of pride in the original. I'd be surprised if this review isn't skimmed over and marked unhelpful by them. Obviously I'm not speaking to all the British, but the majority that unfairly judge this show with little to no basis in the truth.
This whole fanaticism is juvenile and petty. The casts of the US and UK versions love each show. Ricky Gervais even wrote and executive produced a few episodes of the US version. Open your minds, people! Most of the US fans KNOW that it's based on a British version. It has gotten the credit it deserves for being a brilliant and hilarious show.
But the American version is also brilliant and hilarious. I've read comments ranging from 'bad acting' to 'direct copy', neither of which are true. The first season may have had its borrowed bits, but that was to get it on its feet. The second and third seasons have proved that it is a show entirely on its own, with scenarios and characters having NOTHING to do with the UK version at all. The acting is just as convincing and real as the UK version.
I've even read that Michael Scott is devoid of David Brent's humanity! In actuality, Michael Scott is shown as far more human than David Brent, who was more manipulative (albeit, poorly) and heartless. The US version still has the cruel elements of the UK version, but it balances these awkward, painful moments with tender, human moments, which makes it more enjoyable and watchable.
As for the humor, each show has its own moments of subtlety, detail, absolutely outrageous moments, awkwardness, pain, cuteness, ridiculousness, and vulgarity. The UK version was groundbreaking. But instead of blindly basing your opinions on bias and arrogance, see the US version for what it is - a brilliant, brighter version that, in its first season, simply used the framework of the original (the characters and basic situations) to get started with.
This is the funniest, smartest American television show in recent history besides Arrested Development. Not since Seinfeld has a show made me laugh so hard and smile so much. These three shows get better with each viewing and are great because there's so many levels of humor, from the apparent outrageousness to the minute details that are noticed after repeated viewings and are often funnier than the surface material.
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