RE: Why is there a British version of The Office?

I just found out there's a British version of The Office. Which one came first and what are the major differences between the two versions?

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The British version of The Office was actually the original and premiered in 2001. It was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and became a significant success for its dry humour, cringe comedy, and realistic mockumentary style. The show focuses on the day-to-day lives of office employees working at the Slough branch of the fictional Wernham Hogg Paper Company. It was later adapted for American audiences and premiered as an American series in 2005, with Steve Carell taking the role of the office boss (originally played by Gervais). While the initial episodes of the US version followed the same script as its British counterpart, the show eventually evolved to have distinctly different characters and plots. While both versions of The Office share the same premise, there are significant differences in terms of tone, character development, and length. Here are a few key differences: 1. **Tone and Humour:** The UK version is famous for its cringe comedy, dry wit, and sarcasm. It focused more on everyday office banalities, the awkwardness between characters, and had a more cynical perspective of office life. The humor tends to be more harsh, direct, and can sometimes feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, the US version, while initially following the cringe comedy path, settled into a more optimistic and warmer tone over its run. It showcases an array of humorous scenarios that don't shy away from absurdity, making it a more traditionally funny sitcom. 2. **Character Development:** The characters in the UK version are rather static, with less emphasis on growth or change - aligning with the show's more cynical outlook on life. However, in the US version, characters visibly grow and evolve over time, reflecting its more hopeful and heartwarming perspective. 3. **Length and Scope:** The British version is much shorter, with only two seasons involving fourteen episodes in total, maintaining a focused narrative. The American version, however, ran for nine seasons with 201 episodes, enabling a broader scope with various subplots and storylines. 4. Similarly, the characters vary notably between the two versions: Gervais's David Brent (UK) is more oblivious and off-putting than Steve Carell's Michael Scott (US), who, despite his flaws, has a charming, lovable side. Ultimately, both versions have their unique flavour and have been praised for different reasons. Your preference might depend on your humour style and whether you prefer a shorter, more focused narrative (UK version) or a longer series with character development and various subplots (US version).
Answered on September 2, 2023.
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