Sometimes original is best: the original Milo bar, the first movie before its sequels, the first album from a cool band… When I heard that the US was making a version of Kath and Kim, I knew it couldn’t match the original. The depth of characters, the humor, the innuendo would all prove difficult to replicate. I shared these feelings when I saw that a US version of the UK series, The Office, was being recorded.
For anyone unfamiliar with the TV series, The Office, it’s a funny mockumentary about the daily happenings in a small office of a British paper company that is on the brink of being downsized. The regional manager, David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is an awkward character, whose managerial skills are irreverent and cringe worthy. He believes he is a popular boss who is like a friend to his staff. They think otherwise.
“They’re malleable, and you know that’s what I like really, you know. I don’t like people who come here: ‘Ooh, we did it this way, we did it that way’. I just wanna go do it this way. If you like. If you don’t… Team playing-I call it team individuality, it’s a new, it’s like a management style. Again guilty, unorthodox, sue me.” ~ David Brent
Original image source: unknown.
So, I let watching the US series slide for many years. That is, until this week. Our friend lent us series one and two on DVD.
Series one was only six episodes. To me, it seemed like they were trying too hard to capture Gervais’ magic. The egocentricity, awkwardness and underlying loneliness seemed a bit too forced, too obvious. BUT, season two was where this show really came into its own. The characters showed more depth and the storyline broke away from the UK series. This is when I started to enjoy it. Really enjoy it. Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) ongoing quest to impress his staff and fuel his ego started to take off to its own heights. The constant intervention by corporate to try to rectify Michael’s inappropriate practice and avoid lawsuits makes for some funny moments. The office relationships develop with a nice romantic sub-plot that never quite eventuated in the original series.
I am a fan. Now I have some catching up to do. I think they’re up to season nine.
It’s worth sitting through the first series to get to the good stuff.
I can’t say that one is better than the other. They are different and that makes good viewing.
Here are a couple of golden moments: