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The Office - Is the US or UK Version Better?

Updated on August 23, 2017

Which "The Office" Is Best? Here's What I Think...

I've watched the entire series for the American and British versions of The Office. They're both hilarious but the US version is better.

David Brent might say "Yeah, he's American and watched the US version first so who cares what he thinks." He'd be right. But one of the many things David doesn't know is that I'm a big fan of British comedies and really enjoyed the UK version (still can't get "Free Love Freeway" out of my head).

The shows are similar but each has its own style. The US version has better development of the supporting characters. The US and UK plot lines share some common elements but go their own way after the first episode.

Both versions use a lot of subtle references and "under the breath" type dialog. Being American it was easier for me to catch more of the humor in the NBC version.

Watch both versions and decide for yourself.

About The Office

What is this show?

In 2001, the BBC sent a film crew to document daily life at the Slough, UK branch of the Warnham Hogg Paper Company. The show aired for two seasons and a follow up Christmas special in 2003.

In 2005, the American network NBC sent a crew to film a documentary of daily life at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company's branch in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That version ran for nine seasons before ending in May, 2013.

The show is really a mockumentary. Both companies are completely fake, dysfunctional and funny examples of how not to run a business.

Since the original BBC version ended France, Germany, Brazil, the US and even Canada have all produced their own versions of The Office.

Clips From "The Office" - US Version

Clips From "The Office" - UK Version

Your Turn!

Which is better...the US or UK version of The Office?

David or Michael?

David and Michael are both completely delusional about their managerial and entertainment abilities. Both are masters at distracting their employees from getting work done and creating socially awkward situations.

David seems to get more bitter when he feels slighted than Michael does. Michael has shown an ability to somehow make sales when needed.

Question: Who would you rather work for?

See results

Leadership

Leadership
Leadership

Character Match Ups

The Office characters don't share the same names between the BBC and NBC versions. This can be distracting when you start watching the other version until you figure out who each character's equivalent is on the first version you watched.

Here's a cheat sheet for the major characters...

Dunder Mifflin (US)
Wernham Hogg (UK)
Michael Scott
David Brent
Dwight Schrute
Gareth Keenan
Jim Halpert
Tim Canterbury
Pam Beesly
Dawn Tinsley
Karen Filippelli
Rachel
Jan Levinson
Jennifer Taylor-Clarke
Roy
Lee
Kevin
Keith
Todd Packer
Chris Finch
Ryan
Ricky
US vs. UK Characters

Dwight or Gareth?

Gareth and Dwight are both fascinated by combat. Gareth is a Lieutenant in the British Territorial Army. Dwight has a purple belt in Karate and is a former volunteer sheriff's deputy.

Question: Who would win a fight to the death?

See results

Jim or Tim?

Encasing Gareth/Dwight's stapler in Jell-o. Gluing Gareth's phone handset to the base. Adding weights to Dwight's handset each day then removing them suddenly so that he hits himself in the head when answering the phone. Prank calls. Fake CIA missions for Dwight. Hiding everything from Gareth's desk. Getting Dwight to believe Jim was turning into a vampire. Hiding a dildo in David's office. Hiding Andy's cell phone in the ceiling.

These are just a few of the pranks Tim and Jim have played on their office mates. But who is the better prankster?

Question: Who is the master prankster?

See results

Jim Halpert / Tim Canterbury Tribute Video

Gareth or Dwight?

Both are self important and try to claim authority over their office mates. Gareth likes to take personal calls on speaker phone and chant "Oggy, oggy, oggy!" whenever his friends call. Dwight likes to share his knowledge of every subject known to man and plot his rise to power.

Question: Who would you rather be stuck working with?

See results

Ladies, who would you rather date at the office?

See results

Romance At The Office

A cool compilation of The Office romances from the American and British versions.

Guys, who would you rather date at the office?

See results

Desire

Desire
Desire

Own the British Version of The Office

The Office: The Complete BBC Collection (First and Second Series Plus Special)
The Office: The Complete BBC Collection (First and Second Series Plus Special)

Every episode including the series finale special and plenty of extra features. It even has sub-titles for non-English speaking English speakers!

 

Own the American Version of The Office

The Office: The Complete Series
The Office: The Complete Series

All nine seasons of this hilarious show.

 

Your favorite version.

What do you think of "The Office"?

See results

David Brent Sings "Free Love Freeway" - A David Brent original.

They are supposed to be taking a corporate training course but David thinks what the class really needs is entertainment.

Credits

The Office images and motivational posters: NBC.com and BBC.com.

How big a fan of The Office are you? Can a new version of a show be better than the original? What is your favorite moment from The Office? Leave a comment below...

That's What You Said...

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    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 3 years ago

      I loved the David Brent "motivational talk"- totally cringeworthy and painfully funny. Though his dance comes a close second!

    • profile image

      lawyer-marketing 4 years ago

      Love US version.

    • BigRedDomino profile image

      BigRedDomino 4 years ago

      Huge fan.my husband and I met at work,discovered we both liked the show, and fell in love while watching it. It never leaves the DVD player. We are the real life Jim and Pam.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The US versions is painfully unfunny... like most things american.... Will Farell, Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Robin Williams, Chris Rock..... the list is almost endless of talentless shmucks that have no idea what true comedy is. The saddest part is watching them try SO HARD and still be SO UNFUNNY. Its kinda' painful.

      ....and that sums up the US version of the office perfectly - its tries SO HARD but is SO UNFUNNY that its kinda' painful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      British version of office is so cool!!!!!!!!:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Ricky Gervais directed the shows that steal directly from the UK version...that was the whole point!! But after the first few (maybe like 3 episodes), the US version became independent and the characters were able to shine (especially the 'lesser' characters: Angela, Toby, Oscar, Kevin....)

    • IQplusone profile image

      IQplusone 5 years ago

      I love the office - best show on tv

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      UK version is CLEARLY better, the US version takes the SAME EXACT scenes from the UK version in their 1st/2nd seasons plus the UK version did it right with 2 seasons and 2 specials. The US version is funny but it has stayed on for 3 or 4 seasons too long.

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      Great lens, I love the office!!!

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 5 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      "You chested on me when I specifically asked you not to?" The office is so funny.

    • TheLeftFitz profile image

      TheLeftFitz 6 years ago

      Awesome lens! I personally prefer the US version; the UK version seems so slow in comparison. *Blessed*

    • howdoyouspellst profile image

      howdoyouspellst 6 years ago

      I ADORE The Office. It's amazing!! So funny. Excellent lens!!

      Blessed by a Squid Angel!! :) :) :)

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 7 years ago

      My favorite TV show ever!!

    • bestcomedyfilms profile image

      bestcomedyfilms 7 years ago from UK

      great lens and interesting debate, thanks!

    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 7 years ago

      Really nicely put together lens (I'm inspired to improve mine, now! For sheer cringeing- the UK version when David Brent does his "motivational" speech, and for the feel good factor, when Tim and Dawn finally get together.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      Very interesting lens here and well put together!

      I'll feature it on my Friends lens!

      Dom.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 8 years ago

      I absolutely love The Office, only seen the UK version so I can't comment on American one. I have added a link to your lens at my Blossom Comedy lens, 5 stars

    • InkedEmma profile image

      InkedEmma 8 years ago

      Love this lens! Great polls & content! I am a HUGE fan (of the American version!) :) They are both good, but the US is just a tad better. I'm adding this to my lensroll for my Office lens! Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I like both.. But I think the UK Version is better.. Ah wait the american version is better... OK I CAN'T CHOOSE.. Both are great!!! Funny!!

    • cappuccino136 profile image

      cappuccino136 9 years ago

      Excellent lens. I'm making my first Monkeybrain lens and I got some good ideas of things I can do from looking at yours. Thanks!

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 9 years ago

      Great job with the comparison here - I wasn't even really aware that there was a UK "The Office"! Loved the videos!

    • profile image

      Alpinefolk 9 years ago

      Another great lens. I am a huge fan of the office, and pretty much anything Ricky Gervais has done. 5*

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      Huge fan of the UK version - but have only seen a few episodes of the US one. I have to vote for David Brent. It is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I loved the way Ricky Gervais ended the series with the Christmas special.

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 9 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I just love The Office. Either version.

    • rwoman profile image

      rwoman 9 years ago

      I'm a fan but I guess not a BIG fan or perhaps I'm just tired...