March 21, 2005 03:33 PM PST
The Office on BBC
is the funniest set of shows/DVDs of 2004. Funnier than Napoleon Dynamite? Yes. More memorable lines than Dynamite? Yes.
Rent and watch at least the first DVD before you even think of watching the upcoming American version which starts Thursday. From what I've seen of the previews on the web of the US version, it looks horrible. They seem to be characterizing the boss as an obnoxious boor, and that's not true to the original. They appear to be channeling Lumberg from Office Space rather than David Brent from the original. I don't know why they don't just play the UK version here.
The beauty of The Office is that it is funny, but is also quite tragic. David Brent manages to be a horrible boss that you actually have empathy for - it's a fine line that reflects really amazing character development. The last few episodes are more sad than anything, and it's not until the Christmas specials that the characters are redeemed.
I'm really worried that the US version will totally ruin the experience of the UK show if you haven't already seen it, and that would be a shame. So check it out on DVD. I'll let you know how the new one is.