Americans who are familiar with “The Office” may be unaware that it is a direct copy of a British sitcom on BBC.
The hit starring Steve Carell is a direct spinoff of a 14-episode British series from the mind of comic geniuses Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
But which is better, the British or American version?
Although the American version is certainly funny, the British version takes its cringe-worthy, uncomfortable and dry wit to a new level.
The British version is available on Netflix with a special edition box set due out later this year.
The British version has better characters that are better developed. The tendency of the American show is to descend into the fantastical while the British version stays away from clichés such as Jim and Pam’s wedding.
The situations on the British version seem more real. They seem like they would actually take place in an average office.
What makes “The Office” in all its forms revolutionary and interesting is that it takes the style of a documentary, many have called it a “mockumentary.”
The show contains no laugh track in the background and centers on themes of self-importance and social clumsiness.
The humor is very dry but seems new and fresh. Often the viewer laughs and cringes at the same time.
Although the British show only ran two series of six episodes each plus two Christmas specials, it has been spun off five times. It has been optioned and remade in Chile, Germany, France, Quebec, and in the U.S. In the French version, “Le Bureau” the boss’ name is Gilles Triquet.
The British version — the original — is the best, the funniest, the sitcom that changed what viewers perceive a sitcom to be and sound like.
The British version of “The Office” is so dry, so understated and so cool that you’ll be glad you saw where it all started.