The Office: U.S. vs. U.K.

The Office: U.S. vs. U.K.

Wall Street Journal

Jacob Marscola, Staff Writer

Different casts, different theme music, and different countries, but there’s one thing they both share: The fiery feud deciding which is superior.

The Office is a TV show concept that was originally displayed in the U.K., and was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Four years after the U.K. show began, the U.S. received its own version of The Office, which was created by Greg Daniels. The struggle for television power had begun. The majority consensus of the The Office fanbase is that the U.S. version is a funnier and more complete show than the U.K. version. The general idea that the original is better than the remake does not normally apply for most fans of this television series because they believe the characters were superior in personality. 

The “boss” role of the shows are filled by David Brent (U.K.) and Michael Scott (U.S.). The opinion for those who say the U.S. version is better is that Brent was a petty and overall mean guy who had little to no redeeming qualities throughout the whole show. They say that Scott, on the other hand, was indeed a child and made the audience uncomfortable, but they also say that he was a likable character and was loved in a way that Ricky Gervais’ David Brent could never be loved.

The other characters and roles they fill seem to do the same. In the British version of the show, Gareth is said to be borderline socially awkward, and Tim’s taunting feels cruel before it brings any comedic value. His counterpart, Dwight, from the U.S. version, is a bombastic jerk that’s so out of reality to the point where he comes out on the other side as sort of likable. Jim’s pranks also completely exceed the antics displayed by Tim in the U.K. version. Lee, who is Dawn’s fiancé in the British version, was very cruel and manipulative. There were even some hints at him being abusive. Roy, who is the fiancé of Pam in the American show, was just an occasionally violent idiot. 

The development of these characters plays a huge role in the opinion that the U.S. is better than the U.K. with this series. The American version had some characters who seemed to be small, but eventually had some major development of their own. Be it positive or negative, U.S. fans believe all of the characters from this version of The Office eventually went somewhere. Their view is that the U.K. version had characters who might as well have been warm bodies in front of the camera. Some say that even the plot of the two shows seem to differ, in that the U.S. version has a plot that goes somewhere and extends farther than what they started with from the beginning of the show. 

The feud still grows even years after the shows are both ended. The opposing views may be unbalanced, but there are still those who stick to the age-old rule that the original version is and always will be better than the new version. If you’d like to weigh out the pros and cons yourself, you can watch both versions of the series on Netflix. But hurry up, because the U.S. version seems to be leaving the streaming service by January of 2021.