The Office (US v UK)

The Office is a funny show. Started in the UK, it has since been redone for a US audience. I have been watching both on Netflix through the web. There is a fascinating difference.

In the UK BBC version, the main character David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is a total dick. There is nothing likable about him. He is rude and obnoxious. He will spread rumors because he doesn’t like someone. I hate David Brent. He makes me not want to watch the show. However, he is funny to watch because of how annoying he is. Sort of.

On the US version the same character is named Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is a very different character.  He is horrible and inappropriate most of the time, however, he has a soul.  His feelings can be hurt and he shows it.  The rest of the characters respond to this.  They often show him tenderness, the way you might a child.  Rather than a total asshole, Michael Scott is a pathetic loser who doesn’t really know any better.  In fact, he has some upside.  He can be a great salesman and sometimes say the right thing; like when he went to Pam’s art show.

The US version to me is much more nuanced.  I appreciate all of the characters more because of their depth and the way the direction brings out those interesting expressions and moments.  I laugh WAY more in the US version too.  I find it funnier, even though there are nearly identical scenes.  The attack on Tim by Pam’s boyfriend was hilarious.  In the UK version is was not funny at all.

I am not saying that the United States is better than England.  I am just saying that their is a major difference in these two shows and that I greatly prefer the US one.  I think it’s brilliant.  I can’t wait until I can get season 4 on DVD Netflix.

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