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The Office - Is the US or UK Version Better?

the-office-us-uk-version-better

Which "The Office" Is Best? Here's What I Think...

I've watched the entire series for the American and British versions of The Office. They're both hilarious but the US version is better.

David Brent might say "Yeah, he's American and watched the US version first so who cares what he thinks." He'd be right. But one of the many things David doesn't know is that I'm a big fan of British comedies and really enjoyed the UK version (still can't get "Free Love Freeway" out of my head).

The shows are similar but each has its own style. The US version has better development of the supporting characters. The US and UK plot lines share some common elements but go their own way after the first episode.

Both versions use a lot of subtle references and "under the breath" type dialog. Being American it was easier for me to catch more of the humor in the NBC version.

Watch both versions and decide for yourself.

About The Office

What is this show?

In 2001, the BBC sent a film crew to document daily life at the Slough, UK branch of the Warnham Hogg Paper Company. The show aired for two seasons and a follow up Christmas special in 2003.

In 2005, the American network NBC sent a crew to film a documentary of daily life at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company's branch in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That version ran for nine seasons before ending in May, 2013.

The show is really a mockumentary. Both companies are completely fake, dysfunctional and funny examples of how not to run a business.

Since the original BBC version ended France, Germany, Brazil, the US and even Canada have all produced their own versions of The Office.

Clips From "The Office" - US Version

Clips From "The Office" - UK Version

Your Turn!

Which is better...the US or UK version of The Office?

David or Michael?

David and Michael are both completely delusional about their managerial and entertainment abilities. Both are masters at distracting their employees from getting work done and creating socially awkward situations.

David seems to get more bitter when he feels slighted than Michael does. Michael has shown an ability to somehow make sales when needed.

Leadership

Leadership

Leadership

Character Match Ups

The Office characters don't share the same names between the BBC and NBC versions. This can be distracting when you start watching the other version until you figure out who each character's equivalent is on the first version you watched.

Here's a cheat sheet for the major characters...

US vs. UK Characters

Dunder Mifflin (US)Wernham Hogg (UK)

Michael Scott

David Brent

Dwight Schrute

Gareth Keenan

Jim Halpert

Tim Canterbury

Pam Beesly

Dawn Tinsley

Karen Filippelli

Rachel

Jan Levinson

Jennifer Taylor-Clarke

Roy

Lee

Kevin

Keith

Todd Packer

Chris Finch

Ryan

Ricky

Dwight or Gareth?

Gareth and Dwight are both fascinated by combat. Gareth is a Lieutenant in the British Territorial Army. Dwight has a purple belt in Karate and is a former volunteer sheriff's deputy.

Jim or Tim?

Encasing Gareth/Dwight's stapler in Jell-o. Gluing Gareth's phone handset to the base. Adding weights to Dwight's handset each day then removing them suddenly so that he hits himself in the head when answering the phone. Prank calls. Fake CIA missions for Dwight. Hiding everything from Gareth's desk. Getting Dwight to believe Jim was turning into a vampire. Hiding a dildo in David's office. Hiding Andy's cell phone in the ceiling.

These are just a few of the pranks Tim and Jim have played on their office mates. But who is the better prankster?

Jim Halpert / Tim Canterbury Tribute Video

Gareth or Dwight?

Both are self important and try to claim authority over their office mates. Gareth likes to take personal calls on speaker phone and chant "Oggy, oggy, oggy!" whenever his friends call. Dwight likes to share his knowledge of every subject known to man and plot his rise to power.

Romance At The Office

A cool compilation of The Office romances from the American and British versions.

Desire

Desire

Desire

Own the British Version of The Office

Own the American Version of The Office

More Info About The Office

Your favorite version.

David Brent Sings "Free Love Freeway" - A David Brent original.

They are supposed to be taking a corporate training course but David thinks what the class really needs is entertainment.

Credits

The Office images and motivational posters: NBC.com and BBC.com.

How big a fan of The Office are you? Can a new version of a show be better than the original? What is your favorite moment from The Office? Leave a comment below...

That's What You Said...

Surreymagic on June 13, 2014:

I loved the David Brent "motivational talk"- totally cringeworthy and painfully funny. Though his dance comes a close second!

lawyer-marketing on July 12, 2013:

Love US version.

BigRedDomino on May 29, 2013:

Huge fan.my husband and I met at work,discovered we both liked the show, and fell in love while watching it. It never leaves the DVD player. We are the real life Jim and Pam.

anonymous on May 09, 2013:

The US versions is painfully unfunny... like most things american.... Will Farell, Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Robin Williams, Chris Rock..... the list is almost endless of talentless shmucks that have no idea what true comedy is. The saddest part is watching them try SO HARD and still be SO UNFUNNY. Its kinda' painful.

....and that sums up the US version of the office perfectly - its tries SO HARD but is SO UNFUNNY that its kinda' painful.

anonymous on April 11, 2013:

British version of office is so cool!!!!!!!!:)

anonymous on January 14, 2013:

@anonymous: Ricky Gervais directed the shows that steal directly from the UK version...that was the whole point!! But after the first few (maybe like 3 episodes), the US version became independent and the characters were able to shine (especially the 'lesser' characters: Angela, Toby, Oscar, Kevin....)

IQplusone on June 21, 2012:

I love the office - best show on tv

anonymous on March 11, 2012:

UK version is CLEARLY better, the US version takes the SAME EXACT scenes from the UK version in their 1st/2nd seasons plus the UK version did it right with 2 seasons and 2 specials. The US version is funny but it has stayed on for 3 or 4 seasons too long.

wheresthekarma on February 25, 2012:

Great lens, I love the office!!!

Jim Sterling from Franklin, Tennessee on January 21, 2012:

"You chested on me when I specifically asked you not to?" The office is so funny.

TheLeftFitz on May 27, 2011:

Awesome lens! I personally prefer the US version; the UK version seems so slow in comparison. *Blessed*

howdoyouspellst on May 08, 2011:

I ADORE The Office. It's amazing!! So funny. Excellent lens!!

Blessed by a Squid Angel!! :) :) :)

andreaberrios lm on December 01, 2010:

My favorite TV show ever!!

bestcomedyfilms from UK on November 28, 2010:

great lens and interesting debate, thanks!

Surreymagic on April 12, 2010:

Really nicely put together lens (I'm inspired to improve mine, now! For sheer cringeing- the UK version when David Brent does his "motivational" speech, and for the feel good factor, when Tim and Dawn finally get together.

justholidays on November 05, 2009:

Very interesting lens here and well put together!

I'll feature it on my Friends lens!

Dom.

hayleylou lm on November 01, 2009:

I absolutely love The Office, only seen the UK version so I can't comment on American one. I have added a link to your lens at my Blossom Comedy lens, 5 stars

InkedEmma on October 24, 2009:

Love this lens! Great polls & content! I am a HUGE fan (of the American version!) :) They are both good, but the US is just a tad better. I'm adding this to my lensroll for my Office lens! Thank you!

anonymous on January 07, 2009:

I like both.. But I think the UK Version is better.. Ah wait the american version is better... OK I CAN'T CHOOSE.. Both are great!!! Funny!!

cappuccino136 on October 01, 2008:

Excellent lens. I'm making my first Monkeybrain lens and I got some good ideas of things I can do from looking at yours. Thanks!

GypsyPirate LM on September 21, 2008:

Great job with the comparison here - I wasn't even really aware that there was a UK "The Office"! Loved the videos!

Alpinefolk on September 18, 2008:

Another great lens. I am a huge fan of the office, and pretty much anything Ricky Gervais has done. 5*

AlisonMeacham on September 16, 2008:

Huge fan of the UK version - but have only seen a few episodes of the US one. I have to vote for David Brent. It is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I loved the way Ricky Gervais ended the series with the Christmas special.

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on August 16, 2008:

I just love The Office. Either version.

rwoman on August 15, 2008:

I'm a fan but I guess not a BIG fan or perhaps I'm just tired...

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