Last week, I recieved a late Christmas present
from my brother's girlfriend, Lori -- the entire run of the UK version of
"The Office." I've been interested in seeing it for a good while, and now
I am happy to say that I've viewed the whole of their first season -- or
'series,' as the British call them.
Series one of The Office comprised a total
of six episodes, which those unfamiliar with UK television series will likely
mark as a rather small number. And it is, when you consider that the entire
run of the Office, a wildly popular series which ran two seasons and a two-part
Christmas special, is still shorter than your average first season of any
given syndicated US sitcom -- even one starring Scott Baio.
Anyway, the US Office is a contrast to the
UK version, subtle at first -- particularly in the very beginning, wherein
they was re-using entire plotlines from the UK one -- but then growing very,
very sharp, to the point that by the start of the second season of each,
the tones of the two shows could not be more starkly different had every
member of the US cast been fitted with goatees.
You never see the sun in the UK Office. I suppose
that actually goes for much of England in general, but it's a noticeable
difference. There are windows in the UK Office, but nobody ever opens the
shutters. It's a very gray show -- a conscious design choice, but it does
get to you, after a while. It's rather oppressive, and there's an
undercurrent of seething anger in almost every instance of character interaction.
I mean, okay, the US version isn't exactly
Uncle Happy's Funtime Jamboree, but compared to the UK version, that's what
it FEELS like. And I'm not saying this as a criticism to either show, they're
both darned good -- it's just amazing that they ended up so different. The
UK version is all bugs struggling in molasses, the US version are bugs flying
around awkwardly despite having molasses stuck to their wings.
But, then, that's just the first season, and
I understand that the UK characters soften up a bit towards the end. We'll
see! Oh, and by the way, I realize now that I spelled "Tail Spin" as "Tale
Spin" in yesterday's post. What can I say? It aint like I didn't know I was