Wednesday, March 23, 2005


It's Going to be Crap

I refer to the upcoming NBC remake of the classic Britcom 'The Office'.

What made this show such a hit in the UK was the subtle, understated humour. You have to watch it closely to understand the humour. And frankly, the co-writer and star, Ricky Gervais, is a very, very good actor.

American TV shows are different though. For a start, instead of a commercial break at midpoint through a 25 minute show, there seem to be interruptions about every five minutes. Because the blaring repetitive ads are so obnoxious, people channel surf.

Successful American comedy shows are, therefore, built round the gag-payoff structure. They have to guarantee a big laugh every other sentence, and maybe 4-5 laughs before we go to commercials again. Seinfeld is a great example - you can be channel surfing, land on Seinfield, and enjoy a couple of good laughs before it's interrupted, at which point you surf away again.

Also, American TV does not have 'ordinary' looking people on it. If there are any, they are in minor supporting roles.

So what makes 'The Office' great - ordinary looking people you can relate to, and great writing and acting delivering subtle humour you need to watch the whole episode to truly appreciate - just can't be done on US TV.

Who wants to bet 'The Office' USA doesn't make it past 4 episodes?

The omens are not good.
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