I know there’s a certain reactionary type who will always favor the original or early version of things because it makes them feel more avant garde. Which is kind of a weird combination. A band’s first album is always their best album, especially if they hit it big a few years later. You’ve been following Miike since he was did some slideshow in a basement while you were teaching Engrish in Japan. Audition sucks, and if it must be reviewed, at least the title could be listed in Japanese charachters. Blah, blah, blah. Open a comic book shop. That’s not to say that there isn’t a legitimate argument for preferring the UK “Office,” all three episodes of it. But there is a better argument for preferring the US version. Apart from Gervais, the US cast is clearly better. Jenna Fishcer and John Krasinski are becoming stars, and deservedly so. The gradual, bumpy unfolding of their romance is about as good romantic comedy can be. One of the fantasies of love is that you are the only two who really get it. You have finally found someone who understands that you are superior to everyone else. You are the king and queen, surrounded by rooks and pawns. This, among other things, is what Jim and Pam’s romance captures so perfectly, especially in contrast to say, Michael and Jan’s relationship.
As Michael, Steve Carell’s performance has opened the door for him to be a gigantifuck star, putting out like five, crappy films per year. And he too deserves it. The comedy in Michael is nuanced, even when it is obvious. He is a weak man who has fallen into a small position of power that he overestimates. He is always striving to be liked, and
thus goes unliked. And his conformity to his misconceptions of what might make people like and respect him has left him oblivious to social convention. Then, finally there are these strands of a real person who values loyalty and cares for those around him. More sucinctly, Michael is a boob who you can laugh at and simultaniously feel sorry for.
Having said all of that, the best character on the show is Dwight, the all purpose, authoritarian supplicant. Part of the brilliance of “Dwight’s Speech” is that, although it was lifted from Mussolini, it is an assemblage of all purpose, authoritarian platitudes with no real ideological force. So, naturally it is a home run with a corporate audience. In any authoritarian system Dwight would thrive as a second or third tier official. Yet, he too is sympathetic. His rare moments of success and joy are delightful because he is such a simpleton heel. The product of a beet farming family, whose world view is so informed by action/adventure films that he can be tricked into believing that he is revieving faxes from “future Dwight.” I think another reason we can feel for him is that his absurd moralism is at leasted rooted in vague principle, rather than selfishness. He might be an authoritarian, border-line lunatic, but he’s no Pat Robertson. And all of this wraps back around because those Faxes are coming from Jim and similar pranks are collaborated with Pam, the king and queen with a combined income of $65,000, toying with their subjects. Without even touching upon the half dozen other great characters and performances that create even more interactions, the elegance of the program should be obvious.