The creators of The Office explain how they made the show

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/15/the-creators-of-the-office-exp.html

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#2

Did they take a whole bunch of still pictures but then show them really fast so that it looks like they are moving?

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#3

I’ve never seen one episode, ever.

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#4

Recently finished watching the entire series, much of which I hadn’t seen before. Great show, and I’ll even take the unpopular position that it got better after Michael Scott left.

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#5

Same here. I was spoiled by watching the UK version first, which I loved. I tried to watch the US version but couldn’t get through a single episode. It just didn’t seem as good.

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#6

Are we talking about the US or UK version?

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#7

The creators of The Office explain how they made the show.

“We used a camera, and like, some actors.”

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#8

Interesting.

I’ve had people tell me the UK version is better, but I found it tiring. Maybe it’s a cultural divide, and as a Yank I just relate better to an American take on the show.

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#9

I believe it is just as good. The impulse to compare it to the UK version is a real barrier for some folks, though.

Only the first two US episodes are adapted from the UK, the rest is original; once it gets going, the US series becomes its own thing entirely. After the first season, I doubt you’ll find comparing it to the UK version makes any sense at all.

The US version takes on a very different, much less cynical tone than the UK version, which is what I believe keeps it from being just the UK version with American accents. The cynicism of the UK version is no fault of that show, it’s its strength, but the US version has entirely different strengths.

Of course, if you just want the same exact thing as the UK show, or if you think you’re too jaded for its brand of sincerity, then avoid the US show (I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the UK version has any episodes that move people to tears, but the US version definitely has episodes like that).

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#10

The Brits seem to like a lot more biting satire and sarcasm while the yanks tend to want a touch more humanity and vulnerability in their characters.

Generalization for sure but just an observation from watching lots of British comedy.

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#11

Michael Scott was changed from a thoroughly unlikable person to a sympathetic character early in the series

When did this happen? Some time after ‘Scott’s Tots’? I don’t think any TV character has made me cringe and get up and leave the room more than Michael Scott.

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#12

You may be right. I remember I loved Fawlty Towers years ago, but tried to watch it recently and realized I could not bear what an asshole Basil Fawlty is. Maybe my tastes have just changed over the years. I think my annoyance with the UK version of The Office may have been something like “I deal with pricks like this all day at work, why am I sitting and watching more of them on TV?”

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#13

Could never get through a single episode. I worked in an office for 35 years. As a show runner for that personal comedy special, I have no interest in spending my off time back at work.

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#14

Good to know!

It’s kind of interesting that the UK and US audiences got such vastly different shows with the same premise. The UK show is a sort of unique masterpiece that ended exactly when it needed to, but Ricky Gervais’ character is anything but sympathetic.

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#15

If you think about any of the great American sitcoms, no matter how sarcastic the characters were in the show, they always (eventually) displayed some degree of vulnerability that allows the audience to empathize with them. I’m thinking specifically of Hawkeye on MASH, or Sam on Cheers, or even Archie Bunker and Ralph Kramden. Still highly sarcastic (lots of insults, jokes at other’s expense, etc) but there was always a humanistic quality to the protagonists. They may be jerks but they’re not cruel.

British comedy however seems to have a premise of at least one unredeemable character whose sole purpose is to express sarcastic wit or poke fun at other characters who are all utter fops. Any compassion the audience feels for this character is more about sympathizing that he is being forced to tolerate the fools he’s surrounded by.

It’s an interesting comparison and something I note even when talking to some of my UK friends in real life. British humor just seems to have a bit more of a bite and dryness to it all the way around.

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#16

But you’re not supposed to like Basil Fawlty. He is an arsehole. He was based on a real hotelier at whose establishment the Pythons once stayed, and who spent a fair bit of the time sneering at Terry Gilliam for being American.

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#17

Sure, but it’s not really about liking Basil Fawlty, it’s about getting enjoyment from watching him being an arsehole.

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#18

Surely from watching him getting his comeuppance for being an arsehole? It’s not the arseholery per se, it’s the consequences his arseholery brings down on his head.

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#19

I’ve only seen fleeting bits of the original series and i do agree that the US versions of the characters are ones i prefer, even though i would usually be inclined to prefer British humor. Michael Scott is more likeable overall, Dwight as well… i find his UK counterpart to me more of a creepy scumbag over the US version who is strange yet still compelling and sometimes likeable.

The US series did lose me the last few seasons, i never got around to finishing it but overall i still think its a great series. Maybe i’ll finish it someday.

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#20

I had the same experience. For me the UK version was a bit like Curb your Enthusiasm, I could see the many smart elements but both of those shows just made me feel terrible and hopeless in a ways that I already do plenty enolugh to myself without going out of my way to feel even worse.

For better or worse, I had fun watching the US version. :man_shrugging:

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