August Dissertation Update + The Office


In the last two weeks my dissertation has really taken shape, with the result that I’m around 3,500 words over the limit with still the conclusion and another small section to write.  That said, I don’t think I’ll find it too difficult to edit out the majority of the surplus; there’s a lot of garbage in there!  I’ve about a month until it’s due in, so feel I am more or less on track and will be very pleased to see the back of it. 

I’ve really stepped up the pace recently: last week, particularly, I was more productive throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday than I had been for the previous few weeks combined. All was going well; my focus was singular and (relatively) razor sharp (ish). And that was the point that I stumbled across the American version of ‘The Office’.

To cut a long story short, I’m now in the middle of series 4 (and bearing in mind that both series 2 and 3 are over twenty episodes long, I’ve chalked up some serious watching time in the last few days). I literally can’t get enough of it.  I remember catching a couple of episodes of the first series in late 2005 when it was aired on the BBC, having been a long time fan of the British version. My thoughts at the time were positive but can’t say I was captivated by it. Having just watched series 1-4, however, I have to admit that for me, the US version far exceeds the British one and stands quite possibly at the top of my list of favourite comedies of all time.

I can’t believe that I’ve missed seeing such a fantastic show for so long. 


  1. A controversial last comment Law Actually! To give you a bit of background, the 1st and 2nd office effectively ruined my A-level results. My mates and I became so obsessed with that show that we struggled to answer questions in anything other than the language of office. I geuinely became an addition! Even now I have to curb myself otherwise I end up slipping back into Brentisms, it's a disease.

    However, as for the US version being better, I really have to disagree! To be fair, I've only given the series a once over (compared to around 100 viewings of the UK version) but I found there were simply too many regurgitated gags from the UK version delivered in a below-par way. Happy to be convinced otherwise though!

  2. I guess it just comes down to taste! :p

    I think the US version is inherently more watchable, and although it contains many 'uncomfortable' moments, it's nothing like the British version for the cringe factor. I've always felt you need to be a in a certain mood to cope with David Brent's shenanigans. Michael Scott is also less insecure and intense and just more straight-up funny than Brent, which makes the show much more appealing - at least to me.

    Perhaps the characters in the UK version are just too annoying to be massively funny to me. I much prefer Dwight to Gareth for instance and the other characters are fleshed out much more even from series 1. The other characters obviously play a much bigger role in the US version and, for what it's worth, I think the dynamic between Jim and Pam in the US version is more effective than with Tim and Dawn in the British.

    While there are a few regurgitated gags in the first series, I think from the very beginning of series 2 (if not the end of series 1) it was very clear that it was branching out, away from the confines of the British approach. The US version isn't as realistic as a documentary as the UK version was... there are times when a camera crew simply wouldn't be there or would have stopped filming.

    For me, there are a lot more laugh out loud moments in it than with the British, and the plots are more cleverly crafted.

    This is all just my opinion though, and I remain a big fan of the British one all the same.

  3. Not an office fan (don't like the guy who plays David Brent, though I have bumped into him in the street a few times, said hello). Or most US comedies.

    But I feel your pain on the addictive power of DVD boxsets/streaming. Especially with US series that are so much longer than UK ones. At least Black books had the decency to only have ever made 18 episodes. I've lost the last week or so in a haze of 'The Wire'.

  4. Very true, I've heard that the second series develops its own direction. I also couldn't agree more on the cringeworthy aspects of the British office, there really are some unwatchable moments!

  5. Glad someone else can sympathise with my addiction, Mel. :-) I really don't know what it with the US office... addiction really isn't too strong a word!

    If you didn't like the UK version, I would still say to giving the US one a go... once you get past the pilot episode and especially into series 2-3 it's just pure gold and grows markedly different from Brent's antics as it unfolds.

  6. Hey Michael,

    Sorry I haven't commented for a while; I do still read your posts and tweets (and no, I'm not stalking you :D )

    Well done on the dissertation progress. I hope you get a good grade for it!

    P.s. Is it me, or are your post date header isn't showing on your blog. I'm not sure if it's intentional, because I've only just noticed it...

  7. Hi Andro,

    No worries :-) I haven't been putting out many posts to comment on recently. I think the whole blawgosphere is enjoying a bit of downtime which can't be a bad thing.

    Re. the post date header, it's not been there since the new design. There's a 'post date footer' of sorts in the grey bar below each post which I've just realised reads "posted at" and not "posted on" so will have to look at fixing that sometime.

    On my old design the post date header featured prominently but when doing the re-design I figured that the actual date isn't that crucial to readers - it's the content. So, I removed it and left the footer as a compromise.


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