The Office is one of those sitcoms which was not really popular when it first premiered but steadily gathered a following in later years. In the present time, The Office is one of the most successful sitcoms ever made, with the American remake being the most-watched show on Netflix.
The original UK version spawned off many, many other versions including the previously mentioned US version, a French version, a German version and a Hindi version. But which version is the best?
1. Quick Review
The main appeal of the show is in its plot. The basic premise of the show is not region-specific. This is what makes the show so very adaptable. It is the jokes that are reworked in each version to suit the audiences. And that is where the US version surpasses all the other versions.
2. Series Info
The Office (US)Air Date: March 24, 2005 Status: Finished Studio: Deedle-Dee Productions, 3 Arts Entertainments, Reveille Productions, Shine America, NBC UNiversal Television Studios, Universal Televisions No. of Seasons: 9 No. of Episodes: 201
I. The Office: US vs India
The Office India has more similarities to The Office US than the original one. In fact, ‘similarities’ is not really the right way to describe it as the Indian version is a complete remake of the first season of the American version.
Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, Scranton is Wilkins-Chawla Paper Company, Faridabad. The characters’ names are changed but that is where all the differences end.
It is a shot-to-shot copy, minus the endearing factor. The jokes, that are reworked to suit the Indian context, are pretty dull. (The iconic “That’s what she said” has become “Baby yeh bhi boli”.)
The biggest disappointment, not surprisingly, is the Indian rendition of Michael Scott. The Indian Michael, Mukul Chaddha, gets the over-the-top part but not the nuanced part of the character which makes the audience sympathise with Michael.
However, there is a character that slightly redeems the show. It seems like Dwight Schrute cannot fail, whichever country he is in. The Indian Dwight is T.P Mishra, the servile man and a follower of a particularly religion-obsessed political party. He dishes out his agenda at every possible opportunity and on weekends, he joins a squad that aims to make parks and public spaces free of couples.
Overall, The Office India does not hold a candle to The Office US or even The Office UK.
II. The Office: US vs UK
The original Office was created by the British comedian duo Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The story about an office headed by a somewhat incapable boss was first made as a British show for the British audience.
The UK version is laced with the typical dry British humour. But there are certain elements in the British series that stopped it from becoming as successful as its American counterpart.
For one, the characters are very, very realistic in the UK version. They are brutally honest which is why their cringe-inducing behaviour seemed to be a little more jarring. The US show, on the other hand, has a perfect combination of realistic events and sweet, convenient TV show events.
While the Indian show has been penalised for copying the first season of the American sitcom, The Office US itself copied its first season from the British one. It was only in the second season after the American version made a few changes in its story, did it start gaining fame.
Foremost of these, is the change in the character of Michael Scott. The writers stopped trying to make him more like David Brent (the boss in the UK version) and gave him a niche of his own.
The show got rid of the British humour and stylised it to be more American- the kind which is more relatable to the world.
With this, the events of the series became less grating to the audience.
The American show also has better characters. From the mysterious Creed Bratton to Michael’s archenemy Toby Flenderson from HR, every character was unique and added something to the show.
The bigger budget meant that the series had enough time to rewrite some of the characters and their flaws. This meant that there was more character development in the American series then the British one.
For instance, when he was first introduced, Andy Bernard was not a character that fans were too fond of. He was the Dwight to Jim when Jim briefly worked in the Stamford branch of Dunder-Mifflin.
But his personality along with his anger issues were not fitting in with the generally happy sitcom. He undergoes anger management classes and as a result, the character gets a makeover.
He becomes one of the funnier characters in the series after season three (until season 9).
Of course, Jim and Pam’s relationship deserves a mention. While the British version has Tim and Dawn’s nervous flirtations, Jim and Pam, lovingly called ‘PB and J’, is one of the best relationships on television. It showed the ups and downs of a relationship in a very realistic manner.
However, the American Office is not without its faults. The decline starts when Steve Carrell, the actor who plays Michael Scott, leaves the show at the end of season seven.
Although the cast all contribute to the greatness of the show, Michael’s character has a special place in everyone’s hearts. The show is just not the same without him. Add to that, a few badly written character arcs and the last few seasons are not nearly as amazing as the first ones.
4. Final Thoughts
The Office is a show that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of what region they belong to. The Office US is superior to the other versions but none of the other two versions is bad.
However, chances are that if you are a fan of the US or the UK version, the Indian one might seem a little pale compared to them. If you are new to the Office shows, then the best sequence to watch it will be the Indian one, followed by the UK one and then the US version.