UK & US Pilot Compare and Contrast

13 Dec

In case any watchers of the U.S. version of The Office didn’t already know, the very first episode from the very first season, refereed to as “Pilot” has a slew of similarities with the pilot episode of the British version. Steve Carell did not even allow himself to watch the UK version of The Office for fear that he would accidentally copy Ricky Gervais‘ performance of his parallel character David BrentFrom the very beginning, Jim and Dwight were destined to be nemesis’. The classic stapler in the jello prank first happens in the UK version when Jim’s parallel character, Tim Canterbury pranks Dwight’s parallel character, Gareth Keenan using the same tactic. One difference however, is that Jim also puts Michael’s “World’s Best Boss” mug in jello at the end of the episode as well, although nothing similar to this happens in the UK version.

UK "Jim & Pam"Besides these similarities, much of the dialogue between the two episodes is almost an exact, word-for-word repeat of the original UK version. Viewers will notice this specifically with one of Jim’s talking heads where he expresses how bored working at Dunder Mifflin is. There is also the set up of the similar “will they won’t they” tension between UK Jim and Pam. Personally, I just could never get into the UK version of the show. I think this is mainly due to the fact that by the time I tried I was already very attached the US characters and also I have a little difficulty understand their British accents.

David Brent also has a female superior named Jennifer Taylor-Clarke, who is supposed to be mirrored by Jan Levinson-Gould, Michael Scott‘s direct superior. In both episodes, the corporate, Female bosses break the news that there will be downsizing of the branches. Both David Brent and Michael Scott act rash as they assume the worst for themselves and their employees. Both Michael and David are also showing a new temp around the office, Ryan in the US version and Ricky in the UK version. In addition to this laundry list of similarities, the bosses play pranks on Pam and her British counterpart Dawn Tinsley when they pretend to fire her for stealing post it notes. Literally, they even used the same item in the US version, in case it wasn’t already clear how alike these two episodes are. Overall, although the pilot episode of the US version was basically a tracing of the UK episode, the US version has blossomed into an entirely new show of its own which has surpassed its British parent in both popularity and running time.

 

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