Saturday, August 29, 2009

UK Version Of The Office? Come On.

OK I think we can all agree that "The Office" has pretty much jumped the shark, right? I mean, the show got 10 Emmy nominations, which seems pretty strong, but "30 Rock" got more than double that, and the show crackles with a sense of potential and momentum that "The Office" alas does not. (It's hard to maintain excitement about boredom, I suppose.)

However, the show's still generally above average and I still watch episodes of it on Hulu when they come out.

"The Office" was (oh man, already using past tense) a gentler, warmer version of Mike Judge's minimalist opus "Office Space," sympathetically portraying the ennui of a life without meaningful challenges and comfortable tedium. The show is broadly popular with critics and a mainstream audience. Its ratings have increased every year, and it's the only non-NFL-related show on NBC in the Nielsen Top 20, which suggests it's going to be on air for a while to come, even though everybody knows it'll never be as good as when the Pam-Jim sexual tension was at its peak. (Dare I say "climax"?)

"The Office" is a pioneer of online content for TV shows.

But the one thing that bugs me about "The Office" is people who say they only like the U.K. version. "Oh 'The Office' is good, but the British one is much better." or "Yeah I like 'The Office' -- you mean the original one, right?" (Here Entertainment Weekly says that the British version is the 17th best TV show of the last 25 years, but the US version is only the 61st best --- so erudite!)

People who take television seriously like feeling elitist about it. They like to feel like they've found something rare and precious, and that's an indication of their intelligence. This is one reason hard core Star Trek fans will say they prefer the original series to "Next Generation" -- "Next Gen" was more popular, ergo, they cannot be elitist about it.

People who say they prefer the British "Office" are doing the same thing. They're trying to say "I'm trendy, but in a non-conformist way."

1 comment:

Bryce's Ramblings said...

But the British Office IS better than the American version. The scripting was tighter, and the overarching plotline flowed more smoothly, primarily because they limited the length of the show. The American version has gotten pretty flabby over the years, and I no longer really look forward to the episodes in the same way I look forward to 30 Rock. Sometimes, having a definite end to a show can be the best thing for the show. The British Office Christmas special remains one of my favorite television episodes of any series--it's so clear in my mind.

Oh--and have you ever watched The IT Crowd?


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