Review: The Office 3.1

The Office US

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30pm/7.30pm Central, NBC

In the UK:
Season 2 is on ITV2, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Season three after it.

Characters re-cast: 0

Major characters gotten rid of:
0, I think

Major new characters:
None as far as I can see

Format change percentage:
No idea. 10%, I’d guess.

Episodes seen previously:

I have a disclaimer to make. Three actually. I’m not talking about the $1 million NBC pays me every year to write favourable reviews about its shows on this blog: that’s something best kept secret.

No, my disclaimers are these:

  1. I’ve only seen one episode of the US version of The Office
  2. I didn’t like it
  3. I didn’t like the UK original very much

The third sounds like heresy, I know, but I don’t like cringe comedy that much. I’ll hand in my nationality papers on the way out.

But here’s the third season of the US version of The Office and I feel like reviewing it anyway. And you know what, I kind of liked it – more than the UK version anyway.

So first up, regular viewers will want to know if there are any big changes.

I have no idea. Didn’t you read the bit about my only having seen one episode?

I’d guess not much, though. There’s been a minor promotion and a couple have (sort of) split up, but that’s about it.

New viewers, particularly viewers of the UK show: it’s not as naturalistic as the original – the actors are very much acting and playing characters, even while the direction manages to achieve that same reality TV style as the original. But it’s funnier: where there would be long, cringing pauses in the Gervais office, there are only short, cringing pauses and something amusing at the end of it.

It still seems to be based around Gervais’ trademark anti-anti-anti-anti-PC comedy, in which people who aren’t very PC try to be PC but fail but realise they fail… But it seems to be able to make it funny without simply making it offensive, which Gervais frequently did with the original.

I’m not going to bother with any other episodes, and I wouldn’t actually recommend it. But it’s not bad. If you liked the UK The Office, give this one a try: it’s not the same, but it’s similar enough to give you your fix in the absence of any new episodes.