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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.
As a fan of the original "Office" I was, of course, skeptical about the
American remake. We have many shining beacons to shows that have bombed
badly when transferred across the ocean. However, pinch me I must be
dreaming, this version of the show is actually very good. I should also
point out that I'm British and, as blasphemous as it might be to my
fellow countrymen, I believe that the US version to be every bit as
good as the original with excellent casting and smart writing
The first season was a little spotty, especially when translating the British show verbatim. However, once the writers came up with original story lines and situations the, American, office really took off. The second season was an incredible achievement and is just carrying on where it left off in the third season.
Steve Carell is well suited to the role of Micheal Scott, lending his character a certain pathetic quality that even Gervais's David Brent did not have at times. The supporting cast is equally as good, especially Rainn Wilson as the assistant (to the) general manager, Dwight Shrute. Wilson deserved, at least, an Emmy nomination for his troubles.
If you dismiss the show out of hand then you will definitely be missing out on one of the best shows on TV right now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I found out that they were making an American version of The
Office, one of the most heart-stoppingly good situation comedies, I
thought, "Why?" I thought that it would be simply awful, like many
Americanised shows. I found a link for the Myspace pilot. I started it,
and it actually wasn't too bad. It really wasn't. I really enjoyed it.
It was really good. One of the funniest bits was where Mr. Brown got
the little card that said "black" (I won't go further than that, and
the show didn't go too far into that anyways, but it was really funny
just seeing that). To be honest, it was one of the most excellent
Americanisations of a British shows. There were some great moments,
like the east Indian woman coming back into the room and the boss going
"Hallo! Welcom to my stor! Vuld yu like sum gooki-gooki? Tri my
However, I felt much of the time that the characters were rather lifeless. You couldn't really feel for them. They weren't as deep or real as the original BBC characters, to whom you could relate even if you'd never been in an office. The boss just wasn't good enough for what the original set the bar as (the David Brent character going down in history as "most annoying boss"), although he tries, really hard. One never really gets into Jim, who was originally Tim (good one, NBC). Pam (aka Dawn) isn't quite as well-played as Dawn's character. And the hideous syncophant (Gareth) has been replaced by a simply-annoying Dwight.
But what really makes the show a lifeless slug is the running time, which is barely twenty minutes. The whole thing seems far too rushed, and there just isn't enough material to satisfy the typical BBC-Office-watcher. The jokes aren't quite as good as the original, and there are so few of them. The pilot never really goes into anything, although the real show may prove different. However, a good feature in The Office is that NBC didn't spring for a laugh track, which would've ruined the show.
All in all, The Office is a feeble shadow of its British counterpart, but it still manages to please.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Admittedly I absolutely adore the UK version (got both seasons on DVD)
so was intrigued to find out what the US were capable of and, as of
yet, only got to see the first three episodes of the US version.
First the good points, the US version avoided the laughter track (which would have been the kiss of death) and still retained the dodgy camera-work (some people who hated this style seem to misunderstand that the comedy is supposed to reflect a fly-on-the-wall documentary and slick camera work is not a priority). At least, to some extent or other, the show retains some integrity to the original.
However, I think one of the differences of the two shows (comparing is inevitable sorry)is how human these characters are. They are clearly flawed characters trying to get through life which gives an understanding as to why they are who they are. See, in the UK version of The Office, despite the ego and the manipulation you can almost feel the amount of pain David Brent goes through in his effort to impress people and feel comfortable being himself in his own skin. We can see Gareth Keenan's social inability and how his botched attempts at frustrated flirting end up as sexual harassment, Dawn Tinsley's stoic long-suffering, unsatisfying love-life and unfulfilled ambitions and Tim Canterbury's lack of confidence and fear of change to push forward to try and better himself are all poignantly on show in very subtle ways.
The US version seemed to reduce itself to a set of stock characters. For example, Michael looks too conventional and his part is played too one-dimensionally for his role to work so he appears just stupid and nerdish rather than looking beyond the eager to please ego to find a man constantly seeking validation underneath the delusions of grandeur. Jim seemed far too cool and confident and in control of his surroundings to really endure the pangs of anxiety when office chaos occurs and Dwight just seems like a nasty piece of work as with Gareth you could tell he was overcompensating for his own insecurities. Yes, different shows perhaps but some things needed to stay the same for the humour to work.
I also think the Pam/Jim romance was overdeveloped too soon. There didn't appear to be internal struggles going on between them so when they were to realise each other's feelings for each other the pay-off would be considerably smaller (in the first episode alone Pam was humorously embarrassed by Jim's ability to guess her favourite yoghurt flavour - corny at best, lol).
The fact that the US actors seem like they are acting badly rather than normal everyday people acting up in front of the camera doesn't go in it's favour either.
The UK version thrived on the fact that you were going to feel very uncomfortable watching the show, that was the genius behind it. The long protracted silences, the embarrassing events, the over-inflated egos getting their bubble's pricked time and time again all completely lost in the US version. The pace was also deliberately quickened too (probably to keep time with adverts) so hitting the pain barrier was kept to a minimum and therefore the effect was lost. It gives me the impression that the US producers were scared that if it got too uncomfortable to watch that the audience couldn't handle it and therefore would be turned off...a shame really.
All in all, at least the US are attempting to make a show that isn't frightened to deal with everyday average people in an everyday environment but it has a long way to go yet. I still can't decide whether we English overall are too sadistic as a nation or whether the Americans have accepted mawkish sentimentality as the norm but one thing for sure, this show in both versions displays how a situation can be interpreted in two entirely different ways by two totally different countries.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
the problem for me was some little things.having worked in various
offices I can tell you Americans don't act so mousy or reserved and
nervous as shown on the American version.
it may seem right how English people are but not Americans. also, sometimes a boss sets the tone for an office. and seeing how he is such a clown, it baffles me how people would be so reserved in his office.
there were some bright spots, but the British version was so good that its hard for me to get over it and accept this version even though I am American and want to like it. I will give it a shot though.I need to find a good series to watch and seeing as I thought the original office ended way too soon, cripes after only 2 seasons??come on!
This show really is outstanding, in fact its the only show i think i
can rate as a 10.
From watching the original uk series back in 2001 on bbc TV, i never thought an American remake would stand any ground whatsoever. When the first series aired in the uk it did'nt really make its mark, and unfortunately never caught on. I was disappointed when it disappeared from our screens, and then quickly forgot about it. I thought it had 1 series and crashed and burned. Then one day i was checking out the reviews for evan almighty on IMDb and noticed that steve carel had still been making this show. I had to get hold of it and see it, And to my joy there was 5 series waiting for me. I never get into TV like i have done with this, i ended up watching 10 episodes in a day, i think i did all 5 series in just under 2 weeks. This show is funny, its acted brilliantly, its over the top, totally crazy but totally entertaining. If your ever down just bung on a couple episodes from good old dunder miflin in scranton and you cant go wrong.
Gervais said that 2 series of the office in the uk was enough. And that he did'nt want to take it further. I know he helps on the US version, and i sure he is surprised to see 6 series already of what i can only describe as the best American sitcom of all time!!
I haven't seen the British show upon which this is based, so I'm daring
to judge this show by its own merits.
Boy, do I like it. This is the best mockumentary comedy since The Larry Sanders Show. Steve Carell is fantastic, and everything is wonderfully underplayed. I just worry that the show is too intelligent for American audiences, and won't last long as a result.
I'm hoping the network will foster this one like Fox has with Arrested Development, pushing it where it can, not expecting big audiences right off the bat, and allowing it to grow. I doubt if the show will grow beyond a cult hit, but hopefully that will be enough to keep it on the air for at least a few years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm just thunderstruck. All the buzz around this show, it making Time Magazine's Best of 2005 list, huge ratings. Well, tonight as favor to a friend, I gave it a look. Usually I don't take the time to review something I don't like (which is basically all of today's TV), but I was so stunned at how atrocious this was, I had to say something. I checked out "Booze Cruise" I believe it was called, where all the employees boarded a ship. Not only is the directorial style distracting, but this may be the unfunniest "sitcom" I've laid eyes on in my life. It was as bad as an actual office during the day; uninvolving conversations, characters and a storyline I didn't care about, and just shockingly boring. They say humor is relative, and maybe I just don't "get it", because this is a hit. But I'd bet a buck that if you stuck 20 people in a room and turned this on, stone-cold silence would be your result. Just mind-numbingly dull.
I'm from Scotland and loved the British "Office". But I adore the American version! Steve Carell leads a great cast and I'm not surprised it has lasted so long. I'm working my way through Series 3 and have series 4 and 5 to look forward to. It's amazing how much the writers can get into 20 minutes. I like it when there is a double episode. I too am so glad there is no laughter track (which has stopped me watching quite a few comedy shows). I have noticed in this third series that the camera can be very annoying when it whizzes from character to character - far too quickly. Completely unnecessary. Steve's "Michael" conveys so much about the character - he's full of himself but so vulnerable and anxious for friends. Rainn Wilson's "Dwight" is just brilliant. And I love the company name - "Dunder Mifflin"!
I am a huge fan of the British version of the Office. I remember
looking forward to the American version when it first came out and
being disappointed immediately to the point that I refused to watch it
after the first episode. Almost 6 years later I gave it another go as
people were telling me that it was actually quite good. I took the
advice that I should start from season 2. This time around I enjoyed it
more and gradually warmed to the characters that were basically copies
of the British version. I can't believe that I would ever say this, but
this show is as good as the British version. The bonus is that there is
a lot more of it. It was certainly a knee-jerk reaction to give up on
it so quickly, but it seems that a lot of people did. The Jim/Pam
relationship is a clone of Tim and Dawn, but some of the pranks that
they play on Dwight(Gareth in British version) are quite brilliant.
There are certainly differences between the two versions, but generally
the American version stays fairly true to the original.
If you loved the original, definitely give this a go.
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