This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Friday, March 25, 2005

My Night of TV Last Night

The Money Problems took the lustre off my night of TV, but I still got to watch the end of Badder Santa and the American Office. First, Santa: Pretty Good, I must say. It's strangely touching, even though the main characters are all scum. It's almost like The Ladykillers, only funny. My favorite moment was when Samir from Office Space attacked Santa in the parking lot of a mall and punctuated the fight with an "A__ clown!". I laughed out loud. More movies should give shout-outs to Office Space, and involve Samir.

Speaking of Offices, the American Office was hard for me to judge, since it was basically a scene-by-scene remake of the British pilot with different actors. The things that worked for me:

The Boss: He's not David Brent by any stretch of the imagination, but Steve Carroll is pretty darn funny. He's played as more clueless somehow -- not that Brent had any sort of clue, but he was not just a stereotypically dumb character. Steve Carroll excells at playing the stupid, so my fear is that he will overplay that part of the boss and underplay the...pettiness, for lack of a better word. My wife brought up the fact that Gary Cole, who played Lumberg in Office Space, would have been perfect for the role. Or Gary Cole-man -- that would have been different. Anyway, the boss was funny last night, so I give him a tentative thumbs-up. i think he would have been funnier if I hadn't seen Brent do everything better the first time, however.

The look/feel of the show: Looks like the British version, and not sitcom-y at all. It very important to the show that the audience feels like it's a documentary. I could imagine someone not familiar with the original to mess this point up. So far, so good, though.

Tim, er, Jim: My wife didn't like him, but I thought he could be ok in the end. He seemed to start out doing almost a Martin Freeman impression. I watched him and saw Martin, only not British. It was very distracting. I found him to be likable, though.

Pam: Way hotter than Dawn was. Way less dignity, though.

The black guy who will end up playing the Boss' main foil, like that bald dude did in the British show. He was funny.

My complaints:

The overexplanation of everything because the show's producers don't trust the intelligence of the American Public: This is my main gripe, and it really detracts from the natural feel of the show. The Jim-Pam tragic romance already feels forced (especially the yogurt bit -- that writer should be fired immediately), and it's only been one episode. Some of the dialogue (the one thing I can think of right now is when the Boss is at Pam's desk, and they introduce Pam, and the Boss throws the fax in the trash. In the British version, the line is something like, "I told you I've got a special file for those", and nothing else. Last night, the boss felt compelled to explain that the special file was, "The waste paper basket," as if we couldn't tell he was throwing it out.) seemed unnatural for just regular office talk. I guess it's to be expected.

We didn't see enough short cuts of regular office bit-players milling about, and so we don't really know them at all yet. You have the black guy who calls the Boss out in the meeting, you have the girl who's afraid for her job, and then a bunch of blank faces. We need to get to know these people.

Wyatt, the "Gareth" character, isn't nearly as funny. Mackensie Crook just looked like a total freak, and (consequently?) was my favorite character on the show. This American seems a little too straight-laced. You knew instantly why Tim was making fun of Gareth -- with Wyatt, it almost seems like Jim is needlessly cruel. We'll see how this plays out.

And like I said, I didn't laugh very much since I had seen the jokes before. Will episode two feature a pornographic picture? Wyatt Keenan Investigates? "Porno laughs"? The American equivalent of Finchy? The Boss' best friend's hot daughter? "Softly, softly, catchy, monkey"? The mind boggles.

All in all, I give the pilot 3 out of 5 overpriced popcorns, but I am admittedly just popping popcorn in the dark here.


  • At 2:46 AM, Blogger Lord Bif said…

    I felt very much the same. It was funny, but having seen the original it wasn't as funny as it could have been. I still have hopes for the show being better though.

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    It good to have you commenting, Bif!


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