Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Office 2"? Why can't I get excited?

TV Guide's Michael Ausiello, who just knows more about TV than any healthy person should, had some rather disturbing news on his blog yesterday which, be warned, will make lovers of "The Office" (of which I am certainly one) cringe.

It seems that, rather than come up with any original idea to fill the slot soon to be vacated by "Scrubs" (another show I just adore, even if it is just thoroughly silly), NBC is commissioning a spinoff of "The Office." I would hope they might come up with a name better than "Office 2," but you know what they say about assuming.

First, the good news, if there really is any. They won't be stealing any characters from the current "Office" for any new show (so, at least for now, there's no reason to fear a "Pam Loves Jim.") And, as far as I can tell, that's where the good news ends.

Where to start with the bad? It's hard to pick. When I first heard this idea, I had a painful flashback to the pilot episode of the American "Office." For anyone who has blocked this painful memory from your brain, please forgive me.

I can still remember tuning in with great anticipation, being a big fan of the UK original, and finding that what they essentially did was a shot-for-shot remake of the first UK episode, just in Pennsylvania (yes, just like Van Sant's "Psycho," but possibly even worse.) For that reason, I boycotted the entire first season of the U.S. version.

Maybe they could just do that again, assuming people have such short attention spans that they could get away with it. Actually, scratch that, because it sounds too close to what might actually happen.

What can't you re-create from the U.S. "Office" I've grown to love so much? Well, first, I can't imagine you could possibly assemble an ensemble cast to rival what we have now. The beauty in "The Office" each week is in waiting to see which bit player will come up with the bitingly funniest moment each week (my all-time favorite remains Angela's rebuke to Dwight in the season three finale with "I don't care how they consolidated power in the Roman empire.") Priceless.

Secondly, and directly related, there's just no way you could approach anything near the chemistry, so why bother? The last danger sign, or at least the last one I can come up with at this early hour is that, according to Ausiello, they're already searching for a "name" actor (or actress maybe, hello!?!?) to fill the lead role.

Now, I'm not a Steve Carell hater by any stretch, but I have to say he is the least funny member of "The Office" cast, and the show just drags a bit when he hogs the screen for too long. Starting with the head honcho on any new show would seem to be the wrong approach, but I might just have to take all that back if they manage to hire "Office II" boss Michael Bluth.

As for this week's episode, things are much better. Joss Whedon returns as director (after Jason Reitman's turn last week.) In an episode titled "Branch Wars," Karen makes a welcome return and tries to woo Stanley away from Scranton. Michael fights back, dragging her ex, Jim, into his war. Meanwhile, the existence of a “Finer Things Club” further disturbs Dunder Mifflin’s calm.

Sounds all good to me. But this "Office 2" idea? It smells to me kinda like one of Kevin's more unfortunate trips to the men's room, with no cookie-scented candle to make it go down any sweeter. Am I just off-base here? If you see any reason why this show would be a good idea, please feel free to let me know, and if you just wanna pile the hate on this lame NBC move, please do that too. Peace out.

74 comments:

Bob said...

Franchising, huh? It'll be like, "The Office: Yakima." You can have a boss who constantly removes his sunglasses for dramatic effect.
I don't know. Considering how horrible an idea I thought remaking "The Office" was in the first place this might actually end up being okay. (It probably won't but it might.)
The British series is probably my number 3 show ever and while the American series doesn't even come close in my mind, it is a really great show and a worthy remake. I guess that would be my only reason to believe that a spin-off could even be watchable, let alone good.
Personally though I'd rather see "Upstairs/Downstairs with David Brent." :)

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Reel Fanatic said...

If i'm not mistaken, Bob, there's another British import coming to NBC in January called something like The IT Guys, about the techies who service an office building, and starring that rather annoying guy who hosts the show that replaced the much more enjoyable Talk Soup on E! ... I can't imagine it will be as successful an import as "The Office" has turned out to be, but I'll probably give it at least one episode to find out

Bob said...

I'll probably give that a try too. And I do like your idea about Jason Bateman as the boss. Then Will Arnett could take over in his $5,000 suit. "COME ON!"

I wonder if that British series has anything to do with Simon the IT guy who was in an episode of "The Office." If you don't remember, he was the guy who was mocking Gareth for getting his Bruce Lee movies mixed up.

Reel Fanatic said...

I vaguely remember that, Bob, but I have to admit I'll have to go back and watch it again on DVD, which I'll certainly enjoy doing anyway ... As much as I love Dwight Schute, Gareth is sorely missed

Bob said...

Yeah, I've actually been re-watching the British series recently. What an incredible show. I miss all of those characters, especially Big Keith.

Mercurie said...

This sounds like one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. Historically, spinoffs are almost never as good as the original. And often the ratings of the original show suffers after the spinoff debuts. I fear that this could actually harm The Office in the long run.

kat said...

I agree this sounds like a poor idea. I suppose I should just be relieved that they're not going to try to re-create "Extras" over here though.

Reel Fanatic said...

Don't breathe too easily yet, kat, and don't repeat that idea too loudly, because I wouldn't be surprised at all if that isn't coming all too soon

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Office 2 is one great comedy TV show that I ever seen. I am big fan of this TV show . I would love to watch it once again. What an incredible show. Big Keith was great character in it. all other characters was also great..

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