UK Office VS US Office

Script written by Julian McKenzie It's never a dull day at The Office. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this installment of Versus, we're comparing both the British and American versions of the hit television series, The Office, to see which awkward comedy reigns supreme. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Julian McKenzie

UK Office VS US Office


It’s never a dull day at The Office. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this installment of Versus, we’re comparing both the British and American versions of the hit television series, The Office, to see which awkward comedy reigns supreme.

Round 1: Office Gags


Whether you’re in Scranton, Pennsylvania or across the pond, this is one comedy franchise that isn’t afraid of a little pranking. Among the best gags from the UK edition of The Office is the classic stapler in Jell-O prank, where Gareth’s stapler is somehow stuffed into a large plate of Jell-O, much to his dismay. Gareth does join in on the fun, however, as he prank calls David Brent. As for David Brent’s involvement in office gags? Well… he dances.

On the U.S. side of things, they too have their rendition of the stapler-in-Jell-O gag, but they’ve also got tons more, thanks to the ongoing prank war between Jim and Dwight. In fact, we’ve even made a top 10 of their gags alone. Between Dwight from the future, Asian Jim, Dwight being recruited by the CIA or the vending machine debacle, the folks at Dunder-Mifflin sure have a sense of humor.

So, the American rendition wins this round. Because honestly, who’s going to top Jim impersonating Dwight?

Winner: U.S. Office 1 / UK Office 0

Round 2: Supporting Cast


The UK version has four solid main cast members as well as three definitive supporting actors. But David Brent is definitely the star of the show. The general manager of the Slough branch of Wernham Hogg paper merchants, he’s… self-assured, to put it nicely. To put it less nicely, he’s arrogant, ill-mannered and gets into trouble almost every time he opens his mouth. Working below him at the office are the awkward Gareth Keenan, Tim Canterbury – the smart-aleck of the cast – and Dawn Tinsley, a slightly reserved character and the object of Tim’s affection throughout the series. Those four usually capture the most laughs of the series. However, the equation wouldn’t be complete without the Wernham Hogg employees.

Meanwhile, in the American version, there’s a world of characters at Dunder Mifflin outside of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly, and more often than not, they can steal the show. Consider personalities like Stanley, Kelly, Meredith, and Kevin, whose idiosyncrasies and interactions provide us with constant laughs. Because the U.S. lasted nine seasons to the UK’s two, employees at Dunder Mifflin came and went – whether they worked upstairs of in the warehouse – but all were allowed the time to develop into their own, likely flawed characters. Well, except Toby. Everybody hates that guy.

Sometimes it’s tough to choose between quality and quantity, but fortunately in this case we don’t have to: the U.S. version has both! Point to the Americans.

Winner: U.S. Office 2 / UK Office 0

Round 3: Tim & Dawn vs. Jim & Pam


Ah, the Office couples. Tim and Dawn don’t actually get together until one of the last scenes of the series, but they have enough chemistry with each other to at least get the viewer to believe that they should be together, even if Dawn has a relationship with another character, Lee. Their growing friendship blossoms throughout the series, beginning as an innocent flirtation, moving onto awkward mutual attraction, and – following a declaration of love – settling into a deep depression. Fortunately for fans of the happy ending, Tim and Dawn do get theirs.

In the American version, the Jim & Pam relationship is more developed than Tim & Dawn’s, but it’s a little too drawn out over the show’s nine seasons. While they begin much the same way, with Pam engaged to someone else and Jim admiring the cute receptionist from afar, these relationships differ in how they evolve: for Jim and Pam, there’s a lot of clichéd sitcom “will they or won’t they?” drama for the first several seasons of the show. And once they actually become a married couple, their storylines are arguably less interesting, and certainly less funny.

Even though we do love Jim & Pam’s relationship, we have to give this one to the original office romance, so Tim & Dawn from The Office UK take this round.

Winner: U.S. Office 2 / UK Office 1

Round 4: David Brent vs. Michael Scott


In the battle of which office goofball reigns supreme, we begin with David Brent. Aside from being arrogant and full of himself, he is an extremely silly and ridiculous human being, to the horror of his fellow co-workers, but to the amusement of audiences. Like we said, Brent is the uncomfortable heart of this so-awkward-it’s-sometimes-hard-to-watch show, but even so, his heart’s in the right place – mostly. He just wants to be a good boss to his employees, but he’s oblivious to the way they really see him.

Meanwhile, we can’t deny that Michael’s unprofessionalism and immaturity regularly creates a number of hilarious moments. Like David, Michael is just trying to lead his troops and be a friend to his employees. However, he is slightly more successful in his attempts. Even so, without the delusional David Brent, there would be no Michael Scott, and that is something we need to take into account.

In the end, David Brent totally ups the cringe factor on the unskilled boss character, and is too funny to not win this round.

Winner: U.S. Office 2 / UK Office 2

Round 5: Final Episode


For the tiebreaker, we review the final episodes of each series. After two seasons, the UK Office ended with a two-part Christmas special where David Brent gets on with his life – sorta – after his job is made redundant by trying to his hand at a music career, going on dates and… visiting his old office. Meanwhile, the so-far unresolved Tim and Dawn storyline sees Dawn leave Lee and the United States to finally be with Tim. In both cases, it’s a nice way to end the show, but we can’t help but feel we wanted more from the series.

In the US version, the series wraps up the mockumentary by catching up with almost everybody from the past 9 years, bringing the characters together one last time for a panel about the show as well as Dwight and Angela’s wedding. After being absent for the show’s final seasons, Michael Scott makes an appearance just in time for the nuptials and even cracks one of his trademark jokes. Ultimately, we see that everyone gets their happy ending, as bizarre as they may be in some cases. And that’s all we’ve ever wanted from our sitcom endings.

While both series tie up any loose ends they may’ve been lingering, we have to give this round to the U.S. version for its fully fleshed-out and heartwarming closer.

Winner: U.S. Office 3 / UK Office 2

Verdict:


Both versions of The Office are great. In fact, the winner in all of this is the show’s creator, Ricky Gervais, who had a hand in both versions. But, overall, partially because it had far more seasons to develop the characters, we have to say that the American version was the more successful sitcom, winning by a score of 3-2.

Do you agree with our verdict? Be sure to debate us in our comments and subscribe to Watchmojo.com for more entertaining versus battles.
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