British The Office vs American The Office

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Over the last few days I’ve been watching season 1 of the British version of The Office.  I’ve come to the conclusion that to say, “the American The Office is based on the British The Office” is a gross understatement.  For the first season, at least, it’s almost a 1:1 copy of the British version.  Examples:

  • Both Dave and Michael Scott have a raunchy friend who teases him, but he thinks he’s in on the joke
  • Tim and Jim look almost exactly the same and react to the camera in almost the same way
  • the British Pam character is dating a guy from the warehouse who’s less than romantic
  • Both Dave and Michael Scott have a female boss who is much more competent than them
  • In both shows a temp is hired in the first few episodes and knows way more than the boss
  • In both shows Tim/Jim put Garrett/Dwight’s stapler in jello
  • in both shows the “kevin” character wants to be in a band
  • Both Garrettt/Dwight know karate and other such things

There are probably a few more similarities.  I almost feel like I’m watching the first season of the American version again.  There are a few differences, though, that make the American version more enjoyable to me.  Jim and Pam have more chemistry and play more pranks.  Of course, the American show has more episodes than the British one so there is more time for mischief-based shows.  I like Dwight’s quirkiness more than Garrett’s.  So far there isn’t an HR person that the boss in the British version hates and the animosity towards Toby made the show for me many times when the Jim/Pam love triangle was taking forever.  Oh yeah, the British opening theme is SO British.

Overall, I like the American version a lot better.  The British version seems to have a lot more leeway when it comes to sexual jokes.  I am torn over whether I like Carrell or Gervais better as the boss.  The American version got its feet somewhere between the middle of season two and season three.  However, they seem to have lost their way ever since Jim and Pam got together.  The episodes that are wholly Dwight and Michael Scott are too strange to be funny most of the time.  As my wife says, “This show needs to end.”  And if they artificially break up Jim and Pam a la Ross/Rachel I will stop watching it – guaranteed!