Another day another entry in my favourite TV shows of 2008. I'm sort of continuing on a similar run as yesterday with another comedy show (but it's not the last comedy show on the list). So today it is The Office's turn and its not the UK Office. Now I love the UK Office but in some ways I would say that the US Office is a bit better. I'm not going to say it's the better show because coming from the UK that would be social suicide but I will say that I'm glad that the US Office decided to distance itself from the UK version because by far the worst episode of the entire show would be the pilot episode of The Office which is in actual fact a carbon copy of the first episode of the UK Office, except shit. I tried watching this episode a few years ago and I seriously couldn't force my way through it. However I obviously quite enjoy the show now or otherwise it wouldn't be anywhere this list.
First of all the show managed to forge an identity for itself and really came into its own in the second season (which still remains its best). The show maintains a lot of what made the UK version so great (such as the fact that it was set in an office as well as the little romance subplot). It also does some of its own stuff. For starters almost all of the other people in the office are far more fleshed out, more so than the UK Office, however this may have something to do with the fact that the US Office has reached 76 episodes which is about 60 more than the UK version ever got. So really you can't blame them for including more substantial supporting characters than just the main four characters.
The four main characters in the US Office are Michael who is the US version of David Brent (Ricky Gervais). Michael is of course played by Steve Carell who if you haven't heard of I have to wonder where the fuck you have been for the past five years? Steve Carell portrays a different character to David Brent. They still display the same ineptitude in that they clearly shouldn't be doing their jobs, however I definitely feel more for Michael than I ever did for David (especially during the recent Holly arc on the US Office). Next up is Dwight who is the US version of Garreth (Mackenzie Crook). Dwight is portrayed by Rainn Wilson and the character is actually insane, fucking hilarious but insane. So much of the early seasons humour came from this character. There's stuff like the fact that he owns a beet farm with his cousin Mose (who if anything is even more insane). The show has set up Dwight to be the ultimate comic foil in that he takes himself so seriously and whilst they have taken him away from Jim who made him so funny in the first few seasons we can still have fun watching him with Andy and Angela (to of the biggest supporting characters, both of whom are also very funny). Then we have the heart of the show, Jim and Pam, based of Tim (Martin Freeman) and Dawn (Lucy Davis) of the UK series, Jim and Pam are what give this version of the Office so much heart. Whilst their story seems to have taken a slightly boring turn after their proposal (still one of my favourite moments I've watched this year), I can say, that since I watched all of John Krasinski's and Jenna Fischer's performance in one year, it is one of the most realistic portrayals of romance on television at the moment (almost as good as Desmond and Penny on Lost).
As I've said, the US Office has managed to forge so much of it's own identity. Whilst the concept and core characters are the same, the show has managed to expand. For starters it actually leaves the office, not always that successful but still many great episodes take place outside of the office (such as an entire set inside a Chillis). Then as mentioned there are the recurring characters. As mentioned there are Angela who is the staunch catholic woman with a penchant for babies dressed up as adults, Andy the barber shop singing idiot, Toby the HR representative who only Michael seems to hate, Kevin the guy that spawned quite possibly my favourite recurring joke a TV show ever (except for slap-bet of course) and then there's Creed. Words cannot express how much this character rocks. Almost every single thing that he says is comic gold. Here are a few choice examples:
Creed: I'm not offended by homosexuality. In the 60s I made love to many, many women, often outdoors, in the mud and the rain... and it's possible a man slipped in. [shrugs] There'd be no way of knowing.
Creed: Every week, I'm supposed to take four hours and do a quality spot-check at the paper mill. And of course the one year I blow it off, this happens.
Ryan: Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog. Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer and put an address at the top. I've read some of it. Even for the Internet, it's... pretty shocking.
Kelly: I swallowed a tapeworm last night. It's going to grow up to three feet inside of me and then it eats all my food so that I don't get fat. And then after three months I take some medicine and then I pass it. Creed sold it to me. It's from Mexico.
[cuts to Creed in an interview]
Creed: That wasn't a tapeworm.
Finally I just want to go on about the practical jokes that the series uses. Below is a little compilation video. Although if you haven't seen the show just go watch it. (BTW Nickels + Phone = Funniest Prank Ever).
So yes The Office is funny, luckily it is also more than funny with Jim and Pam who help make it that bit better than 30 Rock or Arrested Development because it feels like there are real characters in this show. Also final note Jack Black is guest starring next year!!! Hells yes.
P.S. Just watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Damn. Review tomorrow.