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November 19th, 2006


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08:09 pm - The Office? More Like Office Depot of the Damned!
So, I'm sure you've all been anxious to hear my thoughts about the American remake of The Office.

I LOVE IT.

The first episode gave me a huge amount of cognitive dissonance because of how similar it was to the British pilot, with entire scenes being verbatim. It was the same but different! And it took me till about six or seven episodes into the second season to get used to it. The characters and tone were so different, and I couldn't stop comparing. It wasn't bad, though, and I still laughed a lot. But after a while, I was all "British version what?" because the show had become its own show with its own world and characters and continuity.

The American Office is still a fake documentary, but it's a different style. All the characters are much more aware of the cameras and comment on them more often. And unlike the British version, which seemed to only intercut random interview segments, the American version cuts in "to the camera" moments that are obviously specific responses to the action or a question. You can tell what the interviewer must have asked. In that way, the camera becomes a little more of a character than in the British version (and in one very amusing scene involving a Baby Ruth, it really does become a character). And, unlike the British version, the supporting characters talk to the camera too! Hell, they even interview a Chili's guy.

Overall, the tone is a little lighter and less depressing and bleak, although the fact that the characters aren't really happy at their jobs and wish for something more does come out a lot in the interviews. I think the show is a little more fun, which makes it easier to love, although it does have its share of uncomfortable moments. There's also more of a sense of plot and continuity, which you of course get over a longer-running show. Many more chances to explore the various character relationships.

As many people told me before, the major thing that sets the American version apart is the focus on supporting characters. In the British version, the supporting characters were always there in the background, sometimes in scenes, but you never really got a sense of them as people. Here, they really come alive. And they even have an Indian woman (who also happens to be one of the writers). And the fact that she's Indian isn't really salient to her character, and, in fact, she's about as unstereotypical an Indian character as you can get. She's like a bubbly teenybopper...who's Indian. And because of her, we get a Diwali episode, to which my reaction was mostly: it's my culture! ON THE TEEVEE! Totally accurate, no less! All the office folk are entertaining in their own way. Even Angela.

But what of the major characters? Well, it took me a looooooong time to warm up to Michael Scott because his demeanor was so very different from David Brent's. In the early episodes, at least, Steve Carell plays Michael as almost manic, hitting everyone over the head with his jokes. But we get to see his softer, more human side way more than we ever saw David's; it's a little harder to tell how much of what he believes is what he believes or what he thinks he's supposed to believe. I do miss the subtle awkwardness of Ricky Gervais, but Steve Carell delivers in different ways.

I think my impression of Dwight was colored by athenacqd's thoughts, although I can definitely see where she gets it. Dwight does seem a lot more unreal than Gareth. He's much nuttier and more outrageous. The thing about him is he has absolutely zero self-awareness and one hundred percent self-confidence, whereas Gareth was entertaining precisely because he was an authoritarian figure who was nonetheless socially inept. Like, I can see Gareth crying himself to sleep, whereas Dwight would...eat the pillow or something. He's still very fun, however.

Jim is a lot livelier than Tim. Well, everyone is a lot livelier on this show, basically. We're Americans! We're lively! I can definitely see why all the ladies love Jim, as he is pretty adorable. And he does seem to make a lot of faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaces.

Pam. PAM. Pam has so much more personality than Dawn, which isn't very hard, I know. But she's got much more spunk and calls Michael on his shit, which is something Dawn would never do. And she, too, is pretty adorable.

I love Pam.

No, I mean it. In that unlikely way one loves a fictional character. Sometime during the second season, I realized I totally loved Pam and wanted to marry her. Her smile makes my insides shine. This is actually rare for me, believe it or not. I mean, sure, television crushes galore, but I don't really feel like I actually love a fictional character. The only other instance I can think of is Claire from Generation X.

But I would have to fight off Jim, who has really good taste in love interests. I'm not generally a 'shipper; I don't get overly invested in the romantic relationships. I basically root for whatever the show clearly wants me to root for unless I think it's totally ridiculous and stupid (see: Lee/Dee, Lex/Lana, etc.). But the Jim/Pam thing is pretty wonderfully done. It taps into my inner hopeless romantic. Er, and my outer hopeless romantic. I want Jim and Pam to get together because they make each other really, really happy. And it's weird because usually you want the conflicted relationships on TV because they make for better drama, and yet, they managed to turn this into a conflicted relationship without sacrificing the happiness. (Cindy! I understand the teapot icon now! And the umbrella icon! And various other icons I have seen!)

So I love the show, just like everyone said I would, and now I can join the weekly squeefests! Tell me what you love! Point me to hilarious Office-related vids on YouTube! Show off your Office icons (now with added sense-making!)!

Why do I have to wait for a new episode? I HATE THIS PART.
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: The Pixies - Debaser

(86 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
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Welcome to the world of Office'shipping, dude. Jim/Pam OTP, and all that jazz.

And I was so thinking of you when I saw the Diwali episode. I was all "Sunil is going to squee".
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From:amberlynne
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
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God, I finally got to watch last week's ep and it was both hysterical and heartbreaking. I love how many emotions that little comedy can run me through in one episode. *sigh*

This post has a few vid recs. Mostly JAM, because I'm a 'shipper, dammit.

My icons for the show are here, here, here and here. Fair warning? I really really like Jim's face. *g*
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC)
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I took this one! Because that scene totally struck me, and the way that one little gesture just took away all the bad of the day was something I could totally relate to.

Where's that vid with the two offices at war with each other? With lots of cursing or something?
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)

Re: You have won a Tiny Dundie.

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so much of the comedy is tied up in watching reactions and understanding the characters and why their reactions are so hilarious that it's hard to come in in the middle.
Oh, totally!

Do I get the Spicy Curry award?
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From:pidgehuss
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
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Yaaaay, you're on board! Office is Love, for a thousand little reasons.

I'll have to link to some of the neat sites tomorrow. Jenna Fischer used to write a weekly blog for one of the entertainment sites that was awesome, but I think the guy who plays Ryan has taken it over. Most of the actors have Myspace pages that they update while on set, because their computers work and they're bored while shooting scenes they're not in, but required to be in the background of.

YAY, OFFICE!
[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
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Most of the actors have Myspace pages that they update while on set, because their computers work and they're bored while shooting scenes they're not in, but required to be in the background of.

And THAT is why it is preferable, nay required, to love The Office (US), because they can do things like that; and freely embrace their geekitude.
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From:idreamofpeace
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
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I KNEW you'd like it! I love that show so much. The past week's supersized episode made me so happy. And I love the cast of the show as they've been so receptive to the fans. I totally have a girl-crush on Jenna Fischer and her husband is just as hilarious. I kind of want to marry them as a couple. Um, yeah, I'm weird.

Have you caught up on all of season 3? Because my favorite quote is "Don't be ridiculous! Birds can't give you diseases!" I don't know why I find this so funny, but I've found myself repeating it at totally inappropriate occasions.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
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Oh yeah, I'm all caught up!

Because my favorite quote is "Don't be ridiculous! Birds can't give you diseases!"
Except when it's the avian flu!
[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)

Here ya go, might need this

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[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)

Re: Here ya go, might need this

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Hee. I think this one will do me for now, actually.
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From:shamoogity
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC)
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I'm not surprised you love Pam. She's lovable. And Jenna Fischer is just as, if not more lovable, which makes Pam even more lovable in turn. I recommend the movie Lollilove. She wrote, directed, and starred in it.

I didn't really like the Diwali episode that much, just because, like you, I had been pleased at how non-stereotypical Kelly was, and then her family was like every Indian stereotype wrapped into one. I did crack up at the bit where Kelly described the Hindu gods as "all hav[ing] different powers, kind of like the care bears." I can't even remember if that was in the episode or the deleted scenes now, but it cracked me up.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
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I had been pleased at how non-stereotypical Kelly was, and then her family was like every Indian stereotype wrapped into one.
The thing is that they're all like that, though! It's one of the reasons I loved Bend It Like Beckham. I can buy Kelly being the way she is, all Americanized, whereas her parents are more traditional Indians.

I did crack up at the bit where Kelly described the Hindu gods as "all hav[ing] different powers, kind of like the care bears." I can't even remember if that was in the episode or the deleted scenes now, but it cracked me up.
Oh haaa! That wasn't in the episode! That's awesome.
From:hobviously
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
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Check out Jenna's blog at myspace.com/pambeesly, and you can friend it at pambeesley_rss. She is totally adorable and you will fall in love with her, too (though her husband might have something to say about that).

MYSTERY FOOTAGE:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNQeJKrBl0I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyrlHT0jkOE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR7Vt-IYJbU
http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/contest/ (hours of fun!)
From:hobviously
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
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Also, Kelly's parents in Diwali were played by Mindy Kaling's real parents! Isn't that cute?
[User Picture]
From:sophia_helix
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
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Um. This show has completely and utterly destroyed me since like, June. I swear, I barely have the brain room for anything else, including school and breathing. I was supposed to be writing a term paper this weekend, and did I do anything else but endlessly read discussion about this week's episode? No.

Oh, and PAM. Jesus Christ. I don't remember the last time a fictional character just took me over this way. Maybe Aeryn Sun. I've written like, 75,000 words of fiction from her POV since September (not all in one story) and she just won't STOP. Oh, Pam.

Places to Go:

- scranton_times is moireach's Office newsletter. She rounds up good fic, icon posts, news, vids, etc. about every other day, and I find it indispensible.
- Same person also has an awesome <http://del.icio.us/kyrafic">del.icio.us</a> full of all the good fanfic, ever. I can also name you specific stand-out stories if you want them.
- Do not miss Jenna Fischer's MySpace, occasionally updated from her desk during filming, often involving her posting pictures of herself and always so generally and specifically adorable I can hardly stand it.
- Um. There's office_fanworks and theoffice_icons and some other comms out there. Most of them get linked at scranton_times when anything interesting happens.
- If you are in desperate need, as I apparently am, there is a TWOP Office forum, although it's as full of ranting and irrational character-hate as you might expect. But on the plus side, someone there always wanted to talk about The Office!

I may be the tiniest bit over-excited! But welcome to my fandom! :)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
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Ooh, thanks for the newsletter! It looks useful. And I've heard about Jenna's MySpace and its total adorableness.

It's cute that you're so excited!
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From:vonniek
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
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Yay, The Office! I knew you'd like it. And I love that you love Pam. Much of The Office fandom is flailing about Jim (which, I admit, I spend a good deal of time doing myself), but Pam has really come to her own in season 2, and she's just been breaking my heart this season. Oh, her face in that parking lot scene in the latest episode! I wanted to die, it was so sad.

For icons, go here: theoffice_icons. It's a community with the icons up for sharing, so all you need to do is to comment and credit the maker when you use it.

For vids, fic, news, etc., join scranton_times.

For the starter: SexyBack, a hilarious Michael & Dwight-centric vid.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC)
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And I love that you love Pam. Much of The Office fandom is flailing about Jim (which, I admit, I spend a good deal of time doing myself), but Pam has really come to her own in season 2, and she's just been breaking my heart this season. Oh, her face in that parking lot scene in the latest episode! I wanted to die, it was so sad.
That scene when she's talking to the camera and she just randomly puts her face in her hand and starts crying! Oh my God! I wanted to hug her so much.

I'm looking for this vid people were talking about with the two offices at war, and there was apparently lots of cursing and stuff.
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From:latropita
Date:November 20th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
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I'm still in the middle of season one, but I totally feel you on the Pam love.

And he does seem to make a lot of faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaces.
I think my favorite Jim face is the one he makes when Michael says something completely outrageous and offensive, the "Can you fucking believe this?" smirk. Oh, Jim.

She's like a bubbly teenybopper...who's Indian.
I loved her catching Jim up on her life, and "if Ryan gets transferred, and I have to stay, I will KILL MYSELF."

It's just so happy! There are six or seven clips on YouTube that I watch regularly when I need study breaks, including the "Hi, my name is Dwight Schrute, and I would like to buy a purse from you" bit from season one because Jim's falsetto cracks me the hell up.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:21 am (UTC)
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"Hi, my name is Dwight Schrute, and I would like to buy a purse from you"
Amy Adams is SO PRETTY. It's funny how she really did look like Pam 6.0.
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From:mycenae
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC)
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Good on you for sticking with it! I watched the first couple of episodes when they aired, got made at them for trying to be the UK version and stormed off in a huff. By which I mean I vowed never to watch it again and probably whined on the internet. But then I kept hearing things... good things... so I tuned back in towards the end of the 2nd season and... love. Welcome!
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From:alliterator
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:56 am (UTC)
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The Office is so awesome. And I, too, am in love with Pam, although Karen's catching up. Damn, how is it possible that they can make such a good shipping pair - Jim/Pam - and then introduce someone that is just as great and you really want to root for - Karen - but that will ruin your ship?

My icon is one of my favorites scenes for the office - the wordless Pam umbrella wave is just hysterical.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)
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Damn, how is it possible that they can make such a good shipping pair - Jim/Pam - and then introduce someone that is just as great and you really want to root for - Karen - but that will ruin your ship?
I KNOW!! I like her too! She's so cute! Her Jim impression is priceless.

My icon is one of my favorites scenes for the office - the wordless Pam umbrella wave is just hysterical.
God, yes. Loved it.
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[User Picture]
From:electricmonk
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:08 am (UTC)
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Wait, as in Lee and Dee on Battlestar Galactica? Seriously? Weeeird.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)
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Yeah. Seriously. Jacob deemed it The Love That All of a Sudden.
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From:imwalde
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
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Yay, Office! Listen to the cast commentaries on the DVDs if you get the chance -- they all crack each other up and there's lots of behind the scenes camraderie stuff, which I just eat up.

"I am not offended by homosexuality. In the 60s, I made love to many, many women, often outdoors in the mud and the rain. It's possible a man slipped in. Would be no way of knowing."

Best. Quote. Ever. Makes me laugh every time.
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From:zimshan
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)
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HaHA! You finished! And see, I told ya. The show only got exponentially better with time. I do not understand how they do it.

You really nailed the differences between the two versions. That's at least what I saw when I went from the UK one to the US one. Although admittedly, I couldn't really stand David Brent, so I was overjoyed to see Steve Carell handle the character completely different. He was still cringeworthy for the longest time, until they started to really play how much of a little kid he is, and from there, you could finally be sympathetic to the character. Now I'm just OH MICHAEL.

Dwight does seem a lot more unreal than Gareth. He's much nuttier and more outrageous. The thing about him is he has absolutely zero self-awareness and one hundred percent self-confidence,

I'd agree if I hadn't known people in HS that were just like him. Hehe.

And PAM! Aww, you fell in love with a fictional character. How cute. :p But Jenna Fischer has done a fabulous job with her. And I just adore what they've done with the character this year. She's really coming into her own and finding that self-confidance that she never really had before. (I'll warn you though. If you go snooping around fandom, there's alot of Pam haters about. It's kind of one of the reasons I've shyed away from the fandom itself. It's alittle bit ridiculous.)

And it's weird because usually you want the conflicted relationships on TV because they make for better drama, and yet, they managed to turn this into a conflicted relationship without sacrificing the happiness.

I KNOW! RIGHT? It's so very strange. But a lot of this show you think would never work, does, so...I guess the show is just THAT GOOD.

Ha! But you picked a great time to catch up, 'cause now you have to wait an extra week, all because of Thanksgiving. Isn't that fun? XD
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:42 am (UTC)
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He was still cringeworthy for the longest time, until they started to really play how much of a little kid he is, and from there, you could finally be sympathetic to the character.
Yeah, he's a lot more sympathetic than David.

And PAM! Aww, you fell in love with a fictional character. How cute. :p
Shut up! Everyone else is in love with JIM.

And I just adore what they've done with the character this year. She's really coming into her own and finding that self-confidance that she never really had before.
I can't even tell anything about Pam as a character, really. I just adore her all the time and find the Jim dance fascinating. Tell me all about how great of a character she is, please. (Oh, I loved her for making the bird coffin and delivering the eulogy and singing the song and awww. I love that she and Jim sometimes do nice things for Michael. No one else in the office does that.)

If you go snooping around fandom, there's alot of Pam haters about.
I just heard about this! And I'm BAFFLED. But not surprised. Because fandom hates women. Especially when they do not fuck their woobies. Or when they do fuck their woobies. But PAM. How can you not love Pam?

But you picked a great time to catch up, 'cause now you have to wait an extra week, all because of Thanksgiving. Isn't that fun? XD
NO. Though this gives me more time to catch up with Supernatural.
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From:aprilbegins
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:43 am (UTC)
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All the office folk are entertaining in their own way. Even Angela.

Hell yes, Angela is entertaining. I mean, come on, she used Purell to avoid catching homosexuality. And Meredith eating the gel was even better.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 07:48 am (UTC)
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And Meredith eating the gel was even better.
That was so random!

And your icon is great.
From:metabeta
Date:November 20th, 2006 09:29 am (UTC)
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I have to admit that I'm an Office shipper. It's that rare but special one that involves Toby and me. Mmm, Toby.
From:naty_
Date:November 20th, 2006 10:04 am (UTC)
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Yay The Office! Yeah, that's all I've got. Any maybe this?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 10:18 am (UTC)
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You're my hero!! Seriously, I've been looking for that ALL NIGHT. Now that I see it, I wish it had better sound and were better edited, but it's still FUNNY.

Now find me that Jim/Pam vid re-edited with explicit dialogue from one of Jenna's movies. (I now realize I conflated the two videos together. This is the one with the cursing!)
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From:magnolia888
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
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Hahahahahaa. It took you long enough, but I'm glad you finally jumped on the bandwagon. I knew you would like it! :)

And Pam is awesome. Not as awesome as JIM mind you, but they are both great. I avoid the Twop board b/c I can't stand all the side-taking. There is a lot of anti-Pam sentiment and it's really dumb.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
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Man, fuck TWoP. I can't wrap my head around "anti-Pam." She's PAM. LOVE HER.

IT'S A DIGITAL THERMOMETER.
[User Picture]
From:peri_peteia
Date:November 20th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
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All I have to say about this is that The Office is made of HAPPINESS. AND FLUFFY KITTENS.
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From:upanashad
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Like, I can see Gareth crying himself to sleep, whereas Dwight would...eat the pillow or something.

That was very funny.

As many people told me before, the major thing that sets the American version apart is the focus on supporting characters.

Yeah, the British version sort of keeps you at arm's length and wows you with its brilliance and subtlety, while the US version draws you close to its characters and makes you fall in love.

And yeah, Jim and Pam are awesome. I like that feeling of how they seem to be the only two people in their world who "get" each other. It's good writing when you can really see why people on a tv show would be drawn to each other, rather than just having to accept on faith that they have some mysterious physical attraction.

I'm so glad you're caught up! I almost started talking about Kevin putting his salad in the paper shredder the other night, because it made me laugh so hard, and then I was like ah, no, he hasn't seen it yet!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
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That was very funny.
Thanks.

Yeah, the British version sort of keeps you at arm's length and wows you with its brilliance and subtlety, while the US version draws you close to its characters and makes you fall in love.
Good observation.

And yeah, Jim and Pam are awesome. I like that feeling of how they seem to be the only two people in their world who "get" each other. It's good writing when you can really see why people on a tv show would be drawn to each other, rather than just having to accept on faith that they have some mysterious physical attraction.
Oh, totally. Like I said, you can tell they make each other so very happy. Except, now, KAREN. She's sort of like Pam, but not, and I can actually see Jim and Karen getting each other pretty well, except for the fact that Jim won't be over Pam, so it won't work out. Which is sad for Karen, honestly.

I almost started talking about Kevin putting his salad in the paper shredder the other night, because it made me laugh so hard
SO. HILARIOUS. And he just put the dressing in the tray! And Meredith was all, "Where'd you get that salad?" Oh, Kevin. And his freaky little smile.
[User Picture]
From:sterope
Date:November 20th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
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Yay! The Office is totally my favorite TV comedy.
[User Picture]
From:iheartbridges
Date:November 21st, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
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and in one very amusing scene involving a Baby Ruth, it really does become a character
Great episode.

Hell, they even interview a Chili's guy.
Greater episode.

It is a great show. I heart it.

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