The Office on both sides of the Atlantic

In the New Yorker, Tad Friend meditates on the differences between the British and American versions of The Office: The Paper Chase: Office life in two worlds: “The challenge that faced the American “Office” was to honor the spirit of the original while tweaking the workplace dynamics so that audiences would want to watch more than twelve episodes. The British scabrousness and barely suppressed violence is gone, and the Scranton office—brighter and noisier, with more posters, parties, and pep—is Slough on Zoloft.”
The difference in tone between the two was very obvious in “The Convict,” the first US episode penned by Ricky Gervais and Steven Marchant. The tone of the episode was more cringeworthy than usual for Scranton. While Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais are the focal points of their respective shows, Mchael Scott is not David Brent and the jokes that work with one don’t necessarily work with the other. Friend explores the distinction in the New Yorker with both depth and elegance.

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