The (American) Office

   17 July 2007, terribly early in the morning

Shima and I finished watching the first two seasons of the American version of the Office last night. I was skeptical at first about how good the show could be — the original is beyond excellent — but was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually a very entertaining show. The premise is exactly the same as the original version: the show is set in an office with a horrible, but well meaning, boss; there is a smart dorky witty sensitive guy in love with the receptionist, who happens to be engaged; it’s filmed the same way, as a sort of faux-documentary. That said, the supporting cast for the American show play a much larger role in the story, and there are a lot more side-stories than in the British version of the show. The plot of the American Office moves in the same general direction as the British Office, but is distinct enough to not feel like a rehash of things you have seen before.

After the first few episodes, one really feels that the American characters (Michael Scott, Jim, Pam, and Dwight) are in fact fairly distinct from their British counterparts (David Brent, Tim, Dawn, and Garret). The characters are essentially the same archetype, but they aren’t played the same way. There are moments when the dialog coming out of Carrel’s mouth matches something Gervais would say, but for the most part Carrel’s “boss” and Gervais’ “boss” are different. Dwight manages in someways to be even more ridiculous than Garret; they are both funny in their own ways. The people doing the American show were smart to not try and duplicate the British show verbatim. In addition to the original main cast of characters, the other characters on the show are great — in particular Angela, the uptight Christian accountant. I think she’s my favourite character on the show. (I’m also a big fan of the temp, and his bizarre relationship with Michael.)

The show was very funny, and just like the British version of the show it could be quite poignant and touching at times. The actors all do a really amazing job. Season 2 of the American Office ends with quite the cliff hanger, so I am dying for Season 3 to show up on DVD. The show is well worth watching. I’m not sure if I like the American Office more than the British version, but I like it quite a lot.

[My opinions on The Office: Series 2, and The Office Christmas Special. You need to watch the British version of this show if you haven’t; it’s amazing.]




  2. Yeah that was pretty awesome. I don’t know if I liked it more than the She said No scene from the British Office. That’s a good example of how the British show is more subtle.

  3. I watch The Office religiously. If fact, it’s the only show I find myself watching again and again!I’m glad that you guys are joining the club.

    I’ve downloaded a few episodes of The (British) Office, and I didn’t really enjoy it. Perhaps it has to do with some cultural gaps— since I couldn’t related the jokes. Also, the set is very very gloomy (perhaps to reflect grey British weather!).

    Anyways, the second season of The (American) Office is amazingly good. I wish to get my hands on a Dwight Schrute bobblehead!!!

  4. You might find this article interesting: Foreign Office

  5. Thanks Steve, that was really interesting. I had no idea there were French and German versions of the show as well. I actually liked the fact Tim and Dawn were as plain looking as they were. Pam and Jim look like they belong on TV.

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