Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Hoff

(Note: this is the really early Tuesday edition -- I'll be back Wednesday)

"The Office" might be one of my all-time favorite television shows. I stumbled across it last year and I immediately became a big fan. Part of what makes it so great is that everyone can relate to having a boss or co-worker who takes themselves a little too seriously, but who usually mean well too.

Now, in case there's any confusion, I'm talking about the BBC's version of "The Office," not that piece of crap that NBC recycled last Thursday with tired American actors that basically borrowed stole 80% of the script from the original series' first episode. The only reason I mention this is because one of my buddies sent me a funny email that pretty much sums up why this bastardized version of the show will fail:
I watched. It was totally awful. It sucked so so bad. It was shameless of them to use so much of the same jokes and lines. Why didn't they just buy the original from BBC and re-air it? I don't think it would be too hard for U.S. viewers to figure out that the Territorial Army is not the same as the regular one or that Slough isn't the coolest place in the world or that redundancies means lay-offs.

Absurd joke theft aside, it still sucked hard. The David Brent equivalent was pathetic. In the real D.B. you can see how insecure he really is when he puffs himself up or seeks approval and admiration from his subordinates - none of that was present in the U.S. version. He was just an unfunny jackass. Ricky Gervais vs. Steve Carell is like Rolls Royce vs. Yugo. Also Tim, Dawn and Garreth were equally pathetic with dull, lifeless renditions.
As I re-read this, it seems like I'm one of those pompous A-holes who takes himself way too seriously and sits around in a cafe wearing a beret while waxing intellectual about such arcane things as BBC programming and why Lamont Sanford should've won an Emmy for his performance in "Sanford & Son: The Musical." Well, I've got some bad news -- I just bought a beret.

OK, not really. I actually thought this email was pretty funny and couldn't think of a clever way to fit it into a post. Well that and I really did think the U.S. version was pretty awful, but I could say that about a lot of TV shows, BBC-inspired or otherwise (yes I'm talking to you Max Kellerman). Anyway, to prove that I only wear berets on Bastille Day (whatever the hell that means), as a peace offering here's one of my favorite all-time photos from one of my favorite all-time '80s shows (and in the spirit of full disclosure, I stole it from one of the writers at Football Outsiders). Enjoy.