01.27.05

Doomed Idea Comes To Small Screen

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 11:52 pm by

Much as I’d love to credit American broadcast TV for trying anything that isn’t a variation on kissing some zillionaire’s ass / eating maggots / pretending that Jim Belushi is funny, the US version of “The Office” should be approached with great trepidation. I’d echo Andrew Hearst’s sentiments except to say it is absolutely stunning to see the lengths the adaptors have gone to mimmick the ambience of Wernham Hogg, only to end up approximating the recent series of workplace-bullying Burger King commercials — a ham(burger)fisted appropriation of “The Office”, in themselves.

8 Responses to “Doomed Idea Comes To Small Screen”

  1. kt says:

    the look on gareth’s face when he’s in the sidecar of that motorcycle is one of my favorite moments in television history. good times, good times…

  2. a co-worker’s roommate downloaded the pilot episode and said it tanked. it also did very poorly in focus groups. this was entirely expected i thought, based on my experience with groups of people who hated the british version, saying they didn’t *get* the jokes and so on.

    but then gervais said himself that it did very poorly with focus groups in the U.K. too, so i’m witholding judgement until it gets its release here.

  3. CSTB says:

    Blackmail,
    I’d suggest you check out the download (link in the original article) — the problem isn’t that the jokes are hard to get. The U.S. “Office” is such a bizarre xerox (save for the names/locales being changed) of the orignal, the emphasis on mimmickery is just too overwhelming. Perhaps the show will make more sense if you _haven’t_ seen the original…in which case, Mike Judge’s “Office Space” is by far the superior commentary on American cubicle culture.

  4. howard in nyc says:

    this is so wrong on so many levels. didn’t they learn from the usa version of coupling? one of the myriad ways they will mess this up i bet is making the women too (typically for american tv) hot looking.

  5. CSTB says:

    once again, please check out the download before reaching any conclusions. Whatever the mistakes made (and there are many), making the women too hot looking was not one of them.

    my own thought is that they should’ve done something far less faithful to the original and not tried transplanting so many situations from one version to the next. “Sanford & Son” was a fairly bold reinterpretation of “Steptoe & Son” yet didn’t suffer from the comparison. Likewise for “All In The Family”

  6. Matthew says:

    In fairness to this cast and crew, they are writing entirely new scripts for every episode aside from the pilot, so they may end up making the right decision and make the show their own while keep the general aesthetic of the original. I agree that the pilot is weak, but I see potential in this – Steve Carell is a talented guy, and Rainn Wilson’s version of the Gareth role is obviously distinct and may be promising. This might not be a total waste of time.

  7. CSTB says:

    Matthew,
    good to know there are new scripts in the offing, because if the US version continued to regurgitate moments from the BBC Office, they’d run out of material in 10 weeks.

  8. CSTB says:

    this is probably as good a time as any to give Matthew P. the “i told you so” award. It would be a huge understatement to say that the US Office has improved greatly since its premiere

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