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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   British vs. American the Offices
Tuesday, July 29 2008
I've tapped out all the American episodes of The Office, so today I used the Roku to watch the British version from the beginning, watching the entire six episode first season before I went to bed. Every scene was familiar, so I must have seen it all at some point since it came out in 2001, though I can't think when that might have been. I don't think I Tivo'd it, and I doubt Gretchen Netflix'd it. (Wait - I just checked the Netflix records and found that Gretchen rented The Office, Series 1, back in December of 2004.) The British version is noticeably grimmer and racier than the American version, though I can't say it's better. The American boss Michæl Scott is a different person than the British boss David Brent. Scott is goofier, warmer, and mildly sympathetic. Brent is colder, thoroughly unsympathetic, and, unlike Scott, seems to have lots of smoldering middle age resentments about not having pursued the dreams of his youth. Both are bumbling, self-centered, egotistical, socially clueless, and utterly un-self-aware.
The biggest difference between the look of British and American actors in homologous roles is not their teeth (though Ricky Gervais, who plays David Brent, has pronounced vampire fangs), it's their hair. British haircuts always look improvised to me (and I say this as someone who has never been to a barber). What's more, there seems to be less interest in hair cleanliness among British actors (or the people who are paid to attend to their hair). For example, though Jim Halpert's hair is usually a mess, it's always shiny and clean, reflecting a recent good old American shampoo. His homologue in the British version is Tim Canterbury, whose hair looks as if it hasn't had a shampoo in a week.

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