I've officially given up on NBC's The Office, and for this I am sad. No one wanted this show to shine more than I. I was a fan of the UK version and was antsy in my pantsies from the moment I heard of the Americanized production. I followed each new actor as they were cast and eagerly awaited its premiere. I watched the first few season with a smile on my face and waited for it to finally click. Hope it would eventually find its way. It never did.
Now I don't wish to come across as a snob who will never give an UK import a chance. Many of my favorite (favoUrite) shows from overseas have come to America in a western version and I've managed to be a fan. Although it's unfortunate that some of the best UK shows never seem to make it past the first season, much less the pilot. A perfect example being The IT Crowd. Huge success overseas and imported to America with Joel McCale (The Soup, Community) as a lead was so misunderstood it never even aired. If you haven't watched The IT Crowd (UK), it's on Netflix instant play... make it so. I'll wait.
So obviously I was uber happy when the US version of The Office had instant legs and managed to collect a healthy audience. Me being one of the many eyes who watched it each week.
But each week it got harder to watch. It was as if they were running out of ideas and felt introducing new characters each week might add some much needed flavor. Sadly saturating everything that was good about the original.
Now to its defense, British sitcoms are generally 6 episodes per season. Therefore it's easy to stay focused on the plot and takes the onus off the writers to come up with crappy little side plots. You get 6 great episodes out of 6 in the UK rather than 12 great episodes out of 23 in the US. And if they are feeling sassy, the UK will sometimes throw in a 90 minute Christmas special. There really is a Santa after all.
So all that in mind, that's not the entire reason why The Office has failed me. The biggest reason is the lack of using everything that made the original work. The characters. Here is what I mean.
The US version gave a futile attempt at one of my favorite characters, Finch. Chris Finch (Ralph Ineson) was the man-love recipient of David Brent. He was rude, arrogant and familiar. He came in to the office, stirred it up and left it is a wake of mental filth. The US version used him few times as Todd Packer (David Koechner) is memorable episodes as... ummmm. When I don't even remember what they did with him, but they left out a major source of humor and insight to the mind of Michael Scott. Maybe something that would help us care for Scott a little more. Gimme Finch, gimme gimme.
I can grip about how Brent's boss Jennifer Taylor-Clark's (Stirling Gallacher) creditability was wiped away by Scott's boss Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) due to the writers' fear of losing another joke source, or just how the US version is so fearful of having any legitimate straight man. If it has a mouth, it needs to be spewing funny. Waste not, want not. Blah blah blah.
Anyone who watched a single episode of the original version might not figure out right away it was a scripted production. They might not figure it out all at. The US version is missing a laugh track and the occasional appearance of Alf.
Yes, I'm being harsh but it took 5 years for these feelings to incubate and finally surface. This was the season when I said I can watch no more. I don't watch much television, so if I'm watching something it better be totally-wicked awesome. Like, The Office (UK)