TV | Good Guy, Better Office

 
 

He may not be Ricky Gervais but Steve Carell has something much more appealing- the nice guy factor, writes Kimberley Foy.

Most people with a sense of humor can count themselves as being among the fans of BBC’s The Office.
Original, and wholly unique, nothing of its calibre had been seen for quite some time on the airwaves. The Office converted the constant humiliation of David Brent, which should have been pathetically sad, into something of a spectacle, to be laughed at whole-heartedly. And we did.

Half a decade later and the Yanks have three series of their own under their belt. The burning and inevitable question is, does it compare?

Admittedly, some of viewers, even those dedicated to the show, found Ricky Gervais hard to watch.
The Office went beyond just being cringe worthy and ventured more often than not into a place of uneasiness. At times, the constant, blatant stupidity of Brent was difficult to watch, let alone laugh at.
For many that was the paradox of The Office. Surprisingly its American counterpart achieves the laughs without becoming too extreme and turning off those viewers with a delicate composition.

In addition, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott is a thoroughly likable chap who, despite possessing little in the way of social skills, is easily warmed to. More an innocent child than an obnoxious fool, Scott induces cringe but never discomfort.

Perhaps it’s that very discomfort, never before entwined with comedy as in the world of David Brent, which made The Office so compelling. After all, whether we like to admit it or not, we all get sick pleasure from the misfortune or ridicule of others.

The difference between the two is purely the extent of this humiliation. While David Brent degenerates into someone truly pathetic and The Office finds itself in more profound territory than is expected of it, the world of Michael Scott remains light hearted, hilarious and rarely serious.

Whether or not you recognize the worth of the Americans’ take on The Office will depend then on just how much discomfort you can stand as a viewer. Steve Carell and Co. may not be breaking ground just yet but what they are catering for everyone. And that, for now, will do.

Advertisements