Sunday, October 6, 2013
The Office: Original UK Version
I recently finished watching the original UK version of The Office. Yes, I am very late to the party. I had started watching it many times. I've probably seen the first 4 episodes 5 times each. But I never got around to watching more even though we own the complete series on DVD. Something just never clicked with me.
Let me start by saying, I'm a big fan of British television and film. I love all things UK. I felt like I had found where I belong when I went to London.
But, The Office, just rubbed me the wrong way.
The only character I liked and genuinely felt for was Gareth - and I don't think that was supposed to be the case. It wasn't even that I liked him, I just felt that he was the most well-rounded, flushed out person. I understood why he is how he is. Everyone else just seemed positioned as they were to deliver the joke. Though the series is short, there are only 4 main characters. With just four, you would think you'd have a chance to get to know them better.
And those jokes...were they all either gay jokes or sexist jokes? I think they were. I'm not a prude when it comes to jokes by any means. But at least, with the US Office when Michael Scott would make a joke along those lines, the rest of the characters would show disapproval or shock. Pam Beasley never just sat there and took it when Michael would make some sexual comment. She would at least give a frustrated sigh. All the women on the UK Office just acted like, yep, this is how we're supposed to be treated in the work place. Punching bags for the men folk to leer at and make sexual suggestions to.
I understand this is a comedy and not an actual documentary of a work place. But it was just so constant that I couldn't tell what was the joke and what was the regular dialogue anymore. David Brent seems less over the top when everyone around him makes the same awkward humor.
And Tim and Dawn? Sigh. I might just be so used to Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson now that I had a hard time with him as Tim. But I just didn't like him. At all. I didn't want them to get together at all. I didn't like her at all. She seemed...vacant...and not bright. The US version of Dawn, Pam Beasley, seemed quick and likeable. Same with Tim. He just felt so dull, unlikeable, and someone to root against instead of for. His US counterpart, Jim,who also seems to lack direction, actually seemed to realize he was at Dunder Mifflin and should have left a long time ago but got stuck because of a girl and knew he could be better and even got out and went to corporate for a while before being forced back. Tim refused a promotion because he didn't want to get stuck, then was still there 3 years later doing the same job - long after the girl had left. People get stuck at jobs all the time, yes. Been there. But I just felt like he should have moved on.
In the end, the series just left me with a bad vibe.
Some will say that it's more realistic. Not everyone in an office is likable, most people get stuck in dead end jobs....but then don't have a reoccurring character come into the office and not even subtly suggest the receptionist gives him a blow job in front of everyone without repercussions if it's supposed to be realistic. There has to be a middle ground. And I must say the US version nails it much better.