Saturday, December 2, 2006

TV Downsizing The Office

It's nice that the NBC version of the British series The Office has left those "I refuse to believe that an American version of a cult show I love" in the dust. I mean, people complained when Steptoe and Son was being imported, but Sanford and Son left that show in the dust too.

Like my friend Bruce has mentioned (not here, but in conversation), as an American it's nice to understand the references. When the workers talk about rap stars and American TV and cultural celebrities, to me and my American ears it's much more clear than the original show's references to soccer stars and washed up stars from British sitcoms that never made it here.

Anyway, when Jim went to the other branch office and suddenly there were a whole bunch more cast members, I was curious and skeptical. Sure, the new office was more like a "real" office than the heightened reality of the office we've gotten used to, but could that carry a comedy? We didn't have time to find out before the two offices merged into the Scranton branch. I became even more skeptical. Would this really happen, even in the world of the sitcom, where the (mostly) unseen corporate office is smart about their buisiness decisions? And why haven't any of the new people been added to the opening credits?

Last Thursday, when yet another member of the "real" office quit because of Michael's inane and rambling managerial style, I realized that the corporate office (within the show) is smart verging on brilliant.

Instead of firing people and paying severance, they merged them into the Scranton branch to cause the employees to quit on their own accord. Luckily for us, those who survive this initiation will be the least normal, most myopic, best characters. Welcome, Andy!

And may the best characters join the original cast in the opening credits.

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