As I’d mentioned previously, J and I have been spending more of our time basking in the flourescent glow of the Xbox 360 – thanks mostly to a recent partnership between Microsoft and Netflix that allows XboxLive Gold members to stream available videos through their television sets.
Along with the myriad of films available through this service, there are several television series also available. Making the mistake of mentioning that I’d like to give NBCs ‘the Office’ a second chance, I am now finding that entire evenings are disappearing as J and I huddle together on the couch watching Steve Carell play the part of Michael Scott, manager extraordinaire.
I’d been a big fan of the original British ‘Office’ series for a couple of years when I first heard that the American networks were pushing to release a new incarnation of the show. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that the dried humor of the original series would have trouble translating successfully on American television.
And, after seeing the pilot episode of the American version, I knew I was right.
The first episode of the American show attempted to mirror, word for word, the first episode from the original. After developing a real personal take on each of the characters from the British series, it appeared that NBC was about to butcher everything that I’d come to love about the show.
Now, years later, I’ve given it a second chance and I’m quite glad that I did.
Michael Scott will never be David Brent, just like Steve Carell will never be Ricky Gervais. However, excluding the original pilot episodes, both of the shows appear to have grown entirely independent of each other. Sure, the truly awkward posturing that made the British version such a strong hit didn’t translate all that well on our side of the pond, but that’s not to suggest that the atmosphere of the American series isn’t entertaining. The ongoing relationship between Jim and Pam definitely doesn’t have the same punch to it that the relationship between Tim and Dawn might’ve had, but it’s interesting to see what it could have become.
All that to simply say that if there are any other stubborn elitists out there that might’ve missed the boat with this series like I did, I’d definitely suggest you give it a shot. It’s got all the usual handicaps that come with any American broadcast show, but to come up with something as genuinely funny as this under those constraints is a marvel – and NBC has pulled it off.