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Something about last night's Office felt very British-y - VIDEOS

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 18th 2008 1:03PM
Michael reacts poorly to his dateIt's been a number of years since I've seen the original version of The Office, but a certain scene from last night's episode of the American version immediately reminded me of Ricky Gervais' classic.

Remember that last night Pam, out of pity for Michael, set him up on a coffee date with her landlord, who she thinks is really nice. So when the landlord -- who Jay called "a stunningly plain woman" in his review of the episode -- showed up, Michael let out a disappointed groan. A huge feeling of déjà vu came over me, and I realized something: this was the same reaction David Brent had to his stunningly plain date on the British version. Now I just had to find out in which episode this happened.

Thankfully the interweb tubes were able to quickly give me the answer: In the second half of the Christmas special, Gareth tries to set Brent up with a date he can bring to Wernham Hogg's Christmas party and show everyone at his former company how well he was doing. This is the second date, and Brent's aggrieved reaction to what he thought was an very unattractive woman was priceless, leading to an extremely uncomfortable date. Here's the video of the date:

Here's the video of Michael's bad date:

Think the writers took a rare cue from their inspiration? Let me know in the comments.

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I know Steve has said in the past He has not watched the original Office versions so He would be able to keep the US version different. I do think it would be good though if He would just to see what every one was talking about with the UK ones.

April 18 2008 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I think it was inspired by the original, but if this is supposed to be new or shocking, I don't see why. The whole merger/Jim's-new-girlfriend-from-the-other-branch storyline was taken from the original, as have been various individual episode storylines. The Carpet, where Michael was ready to punish an employee for a hateful prank until he found out Todd Packer did it, mirrored when David Brent was prepared to fire an employee (by the end, Tim) when pornographic images with his head pasted on were passed around the office, but changed his mind when it turned out to be Chris Finch. Health Care from the first season originally had the "Gareth Keenan Investigates" signs scene rewritten for Pam and Jim to make fun of Dwight, as seen in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Everyone pining over Katie the purse girl in the finale to the first season was like the second episode of the original. Diversity day in the American version was like Training in the first British series. An upcoming American episode has the gang going to a nightclub, which happened in the British series. Tim and Jim both got promoted. Michael speaking at Ryan's business school was like David Brent doing the public speaking event. Etc, etc.

April 18 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to viewdrix's comment
Joel Keller

Viewdrix, I was just making an observation for a fun Friday afternoon post. It wasn't intended to be some sort of revelation or expose. Just having a little fun, is all. Not sure why everyone is taking the post so seriously.

April 18 2008 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the comment, Joel. I didn't realize we weren't supposed to take your posts seriously.

I shudder to think what you would write if you were to re-watch Season One.

P.S. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are still credited as executive producers on the show.

April 20 2008 at 7:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you do know that embedding Hulu videos results in 'international warning message' for all of us outside of the us?

April 18 2008 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Wyant

I think we should commend Greg Daniels & co. for not just transcribing every episode and actually starting with original (albeit inspired by the UK version) episodes at a fairly early point in the series. This is a mistake that Coupling made when NBC adapted it, and it just sank; although the casting and acting were admittedly lame as well, the 1 or 2 "original" eps I did see were actually quite funny at times. I think it's fun to be able to point out explicit similarities between the US and UK Offices instead of constantly rolling my eyes at a blatant laziness on the part of the writers.

April 18 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i guess down the road we can look forward to Michael finding a sweet woman who "gets him" and he'll tell Todd Packer and Ryan to "F--- off!".

would love to see Carell in a scene like that (seriously). he's such a good actor, i'm sure it would be pretty emotional.

April 18 2008 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So funny you bring this up -- when my husband and I saw Michael's reaction to his plain date, we both said "oh for fuck's sake" (David Brent's reaction). Too funny.

April 18 2008 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh you mean they re-make a show for another country and actually take parts from the original?

Say it ain't so! Please! Really?

Does that mean in every version of "Hamlet" there'll be a "Hamlet" character?



I marble at your m4d observation skillz.

Back to Germans saying pleasant things.

April 18 2008 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like more of the episodes to actually take place in the office. It seems like the secondary characters haven't had much to do lately and the comedy of mundane office life has taken a backseat to these romantic plots.


April 18 2008 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lol at poster 1.

The US Office since season 1 has taken peices of inspiration from the British version. It's normally (as last night) the same main idea just a bit different. Examples include The fire in season 2, In drug testing where Dwight starts an investigation same as Garath did. Plus loads of other ones I can't remeber now. Remember also the rough arc for the first 2 seasons was entirly based in the British version. I remake is supposed to take things from the original.

April 18 2008 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sean's comment

Exactly, the US Office re-uses Brit Office elements *ALL* the time. It has since day one. They just weave them into the ongoing episodic format and Americanize them.

Example from thsi very episode: The proposal thing itself is an Americanized version of Tim hemming and hawing about Dawn, and it's a re-working of the *first* version of Jim hemming and hawing about telling Pam.

I wonder how many US Office fans have even *seen* the original.

@Joel Keller: It's in no way a "rare cue from their inspiration." It's business as usual.

April 18 2008 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really love how The Office (US) holds true to The Office (UK) by using same/similar ideas once in a while. It makes you remember where it came from.

April 18 2008 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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