Monday, May 26, 2008

Stateside Vindication

I just found an article from Variety magazine about how the American version of The Office is winning over British fans. I feel this is a small victory because I've argued with a few people about the show. These people say the British version is much funnier - the American version just doesn't compare. I disagree.

First of all, these people seem to be obnoxious Anglophiles who use British words around to show how "cultured" they are. Or they're pretentious psuedo-intellectuals who pride themselves on their appreciation of the fringes of pop culture. How could someone like something as mainstream as an NBC show?

I will admit, Season 1's mere six episodes do mirror the British series, but the writers are smart and created scenarios that only enhanced the excellent ensemble cast. The British series never revealed the comic mishaps of more minor characters, instead focusing mostly on the boss and the Dawn/Tim relationship. It was short-lived, so who knows what would have happened had the show lasted another season or two.

Even though the American show has plateaued in Seasons 3 and 4, I can see why British audiences would find it funny - it is funny. Plus, I've come to really care about the characters. The writers are very clever, and Steve Carrell is good in just about every episode without overpowering the ensemble. I would venture to say it's an even better ensemble than (gasp!) America's beloved Friends.

I think NBC's other Thursday night gem, 30 Rock, is turning out to be the better comedy, with all the farce and parody, and Flight of the Concords may just beat both as the best comedy on television. But The Office is still may favorite, maybe out sentimentality. The season finale was great. It met the gold standard set by Emmy-winning Season 2.

The American show has incorporated the British show's awkward comedic genius while becoming distinctively American. So don't tell me the British version is better. Two different shows, two different countries. I'm fan either way, and I'm glad to see British people are, too.

1 comment:

Heather P said...

cheers on that thought, Gina. here here.