Jan. 4th, 2006

nelbel: (Default)
So what becomes of you, my love
When they have finally stripped you of
The handbags and the glad rags that your Grandad had to sweat so you could buy?


Now that I have watched the complete British series of The Office and every available episode of the American version, I am fully entitled to weigh in on both of them. A hefty annoyance of mine for the past year have been fans of the British series squawking "The American one is TERRIBLE compared to the British one! I hate it, I refuse to watch it"...and most of the time, these people have not even watched one episode of the NBC series! In any part of life, I cannot cannot CANNOT STAND people who dismiss something without trying it first. You are NOT allowed to have an opinion on something until you experience it! How could you otherwise?! You are uninformed, sir, and your credibility on the subject drops to zilch and I just lose a lot of respect for you in general so you really need to shut the fuck up.

Anyway, I have been a big fan of the American series since it premiered last winter, and I'd been wanting to watch all of the British series so I could see what all the squawking was about (and if I would like it just as much). Before I go on, some of you may be thinking, "Well she was a fan of the the American one first, so her opinion is already biased because to *truly* understand that the British one is better, she would have had to watch that series first." To you I say...shut up. Here is my breakdown:

Both series as a whole: The British series ran for 12 30-minute episodes and a 90 minute special, and the American series has 16 21-minute episodes, so there is roughly the same amount of footage available for both series. Enough to give you the same amount of time with the characters and structure of the show, anyway, so I feel very familiar with both despite the fact that the American version has not had its big finale like the British one has (and I hope it doesn't for a long time!) That being said, I love both series as a whole equally. They are both EXTREMELY funny and have the perfect emotional tug to them. Major kudos goes to writing that can make me honestly laugh and cry at the same time (one of the only other shows that does this to me is Futurama, which I hold in the highest regard). Winner: Tie

Tim vs. Jim: Wow. Before seeing the British series, I'd had no idea John Krasinski looks a damn, damn lot like Martin Freeman. They both do a great job at bringing this character to life: Jim and Tim and both cute, mischievous, endearing guys. They're both so goshdarn loveable that you can't help but have a massive crush on them everytime they're onscreen. And they're both easy on the eyes, so to speak, perhaps John ever so slightly more than Martin. BUT! Now that I've watched the British series, I see how John TOTALLY co-opted Martin's "lift head, open eyes, purse mouth, and blink" move. As enjoyable as I find that bit in either series, it was copied from the original, so I have to dole out my points thusly. Winner: Tim

Dawn vs. Pam: Both women are cute, shy, and have a sense a fun that is brought out by the presence of Tim or Jim. Again, I do not dislike either woman, and both actresses are very appropriate for their roles. But I feel like Dawn holds back on the "fun" a little bit more than Pam does. In latter episodes, we see Pam seek out her own enjoyment even when Jim is not around being her cohort (such as in the episode where Pam tries to uncover whether or not Dwight and Angela are romantically involved). It's as if Dawn NEEDS Tim to initiate every adventure. I know this is kind of necessary for this character (her fiance does not bring out this fun side, which is why she is attracted to Tim/Jim), but I prefer to think that this is a woman who has this fun naturally inside her, and even being in the same environment as Tim/Jim should allow her to get up and away from her desk and spread her little butterfly wings. In my opinion, I just enjoy Pam more as a character for this reason. Winner: Pam

Gareth vs. Dwight: Both definitely radiate a nerdiness and a creepiness that add much, much hilarity to each show, but in different ways. Physically, yes, you would not want to touch either with a 10-foot pole. Both Mackenzie and Rainn are comically gifted at delivering inappropriately blunt lines. Gareth's main creepiness comes from his whacked-out views on sexuality and his advances on women. He also has the army obsession working for him. Dwight's creepiness comes from that crazy serial killer know-it-all stare he gets on his face. You could see that Gareth liked being in control of others in the BBC series, but Dwight craaaaaaves it. He is completely obsessed with being better and more powerful than anyone. I was never afraid that Gareth would try to take over the world in the BBC series, and that's something that I love (and fear) about Dwight. Winner: Dwight

Keith vs. Kevin: This is a minor character in both series, but one that delivers at least one laugh per episode. I don't know how to really judge this one. I like Kevin because we get to see him more often, but I like Keith because he delivers all of his lines while looking dead straight ahead of him, and that's just funny. Both give the same comically slow, honest-to-a-fault delivery. Winner: Tie

Finchy vs. Packer: Ugh, pigs both of ‘em. But we get to see Finchy more often, so I guess Finchy wins since I get to see him strut is repulsive stuff more than Packer. I don’t know if this is fair criteria to judge by, but regardless: Winner: Finchy

David vs. Michael: Last but certainly not least, the big guns, the Bosses from Hell. What can I say? Ricky Gervais = Comic Genius. Steve Carell = Comic Genius. You love to hate them both. I know Ricky invented the character, but Steve Carell does not give the same performance. I can't even put my finger on it, they are equal but different as the boss who fancies himself a world-class entertainer. I think the key is that David is smilier and Michael is louder, but maybe that's just in my head. It seems to boil down to David actively seeking out the worship of others, whereas Michael seems to think he already has it. Sort of. I don’t know, it’s just DIFFERENT but EQUAL. And both have demonstrated that they can turn on a dime and rip our hearts out. The final episode in the BBC version where David begs for his job back? Wow. The scene in the Performance Review episode in the NBC version where Michael chooses to remain confidential about his night with Jan? Wow. To make us think we despise you all season long and then make us pity you in the same breathe equals TALENT, people. All I can say is I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see an episode where David Brent visits Dunder Mifflin and meets Michael Scott. Would they be best friends? Would they view each other as competition? And how would they judge the other's brand of comedy? Please make it happen, NBC!!! Winner: Tie

And if you haven't watched the British series yet but plan to and don't want me to ruin the end for you, do not click here. )

So that's that. Good tv is good tv, any way you slice it. I understand the British fans are just defensive that NBC is going to ruin the original show they fell in love with, but believe me, they are not. If anything, you should tune in just because the episodes ARE different! It's like an extension of the old series! That's how I see it, anyway. The only episode that was *really* copied from the original is the first one, and then a few bits here and there are duplicated, but other than that the plots and jokes each week are fresh and funny. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about either series!

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August 2007

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