Rating: Not Rated
Original Bonus Features
“In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the BBC premiere of the original Ricky Gervais comedy sensation, ‘The Office,’ BBC releases ‘The Office Collection Special Edition’ featuring the complete, original UK series plus an assortment of new bonus features. The inspiration for the long-running NBC comedy, ‘The Office’ garnered tremendous critical acclaim when it originally premiered on BBC AMERICA, including being declared the best comedy on television by The New York Times and pretty much the funniest show ever by Newsweek. Only twelve episodes and a 2-part Christmas Special were ever made, but its influence on television comedy is unparalleled. New bonus features include the original pilot, six specially recorded episode introductions by co-creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and two BBC specials, Comedy Connections: The Office, and Heroes of Comedy: Ricky Gervais.”
“The Office: Special Edition” is not rated.
As I watched the first episode, I have to admit that I was a bit bored. The pacing of the show seemed a bit slower. And despite the fact that I work with several British co-workers on a daily basis, I had a little bit of trouble understanding the dialogue through the British accents. I know, I know. Kind of sad. But I missed some of the jokes because I flat out couldn’t make out what was being said.
I delved further into the series and an interesting thing happened. I started seeing familiar elements from the American version of the show. Gareth really started showing the bizarre, creepy characteristics of Dwight. I started seeing how the relationship between Pam and Jim was based on Tim and Dawn. I saw familiar jokes like the stapler in the Jell-O, the boss telling the secretary that she’s been fired as a joke, and other familiar plot points. I started seeing how the writers from the American show mined the UK one for the best elements, then took them and ran with them. In the end I found a greater appreciation for the UK creators originality and a greater appreciation for the American series execution of those ideas. I also appreciate now how the US version has created more comedic stereotypes with each of the characters rather than realistic people with quirks like in the UK version.
While I wouldn’t say that American fans of “The Office” will definitely enjoy this version, I certainly think they’re prime candidates to enjoy it. It’s kind of fun to see the original as well as the different take on the familiar characters. But at the end of the day, I have to say that I prefer the American version over the British version. Unleash your flames in the comments section below.
This set contains the entire UK series along with all of the original DVD bonus features. That alone makes this the definitive version to pick up. But they didn’t stop there. For this 10th anniversary set, they created new introductions for each episode with Merchant and Gervais. They also recorded retrospective interviews featuring Matthew Perry, Ben Stiller, and Hugh Jackman.