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Thread: The Office UK & US

  1. #1
    Member Missy's avatar
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    The Office UK & US

    Helloooooo

    This is a subject that has annoyed me for quite a long time: The need for Americans remake foreign films and television programmes, so that they can watch American Actors going through the same script, with a few additional Americanisms thrown in. Why??? I mean, I can sort of understand the desire for remakes, if the film in question is in a foreign language, but even then, what's wrong with subtitles - you can all read can't you? But I am quite perplexed by the latest move by Fox to buy up the rights to The Office and remake it in American Anyone who has seen the Ricky Gervaise version knows that he plays the smarmy self-unaware pratt boss, with just the right amount of pathos. David Brent is an icon! And all the other characters are just spot on too. There may be a few very specific cultural allusions that you wouldn't understand unless you live in England, but I honestly can't see why that would stop you enjoying the programme as a whole. What would be your reaction if you heard that an English version of a really iconic American film/series like Godfather or Friends was being made?

    So, what I'm asking is, as Americans, is this something that you think there's a demand for? The 'Americanising' of everything before you can watch it, I mean? Or do you think this trend is merely commercially driven? The media corps spotting a forumula that has already proved to be successful and duplicating that for money? Because, I have to say, from where I'm standing, it does seem incredibly arrogant The rest of the world watches PLENTY of American stuff, but you can't reciprocate just a little bit.

    I am thinking of writing an article of this kind for an American mag... is this something you have seen discussed before? Your views please

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    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    Helloooooo

    This is a subject that has annoyed me for quite a long time: The need for Americans remake foreign films and television programmes, so that they can watch American Actors going through the same script, with a few additional Americanisms thrown in. Why??? I mean, I can sort of understand the desire for remakes, if the film in question is in a foreign language, but even then, what's wrong with subtitles - you can all read can't you? But I am quite perplexed by the latest move by Fox to buy up the rights to The Office and remake it in American Anyone who has seen the Ricky Gervaise version knows that he plays the smarmy self-unaware pratt boss, with just the right amount of pathos. David Brent is an icon! And all the other characters are just spot on too. There may be a few very specific cultural allusions that you wouldn't understand unless you live in England, but I honestly can't see why that would stop you enjoying the programme as a whole. What would be your reaction if you heard that an English version of a really iconic American film/series like Godfather or Friends was being made?

    So, what I'm asking is, as Americans, is this something that you think there's a demand for? The 'Americanising' of everything before you can watch it, I mean? Or do you think this trend is merely commercially driven? The media corps spotting a forumula that has already proved to be successful and duplicating that for money? Because, I have to say, from where I'm standing, it does seem incredibly arrogant The rest of the world watches PLENTY of American stuff, but you can't reciprocate just a little bit.

    I am thinking of writing an article of this kind for an American mag... is this something you have seen discussed before? Your views please
    I see your point, but meh, brits are just as guilty of ripping off american sit-com formats and pushing the square peg into a round hole.

    One memorable (and only for the fact of how terrible it was - and that Pussy Galore of Bond fame starred in it) was the American show 'Who's the Boss' being remade over here as....heh, i can't remember the name funnily enough - probably a blessing. Same format, same scripts. I remember watching an American episode of the show then watching the British remake a few years later. Cringeworthy.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by martyR
    I see your point, but meh, brits are just as guilty of ripping off american sit-com formats and pushing the square peg into a round hole.

    One memorable (and only for the fact of how terrible it was - and that Pussy Galore of Bond fame starred in it) was the American show 'Who's the Boss' being remade over here as....heh, i can't remember the name funnily enough - probably a blessing. Same format, same scripts. I remember watching an American episode of the show then watching the British remake a few years later. Cringeworthy.
    Did it have one of those million-and-one McGann brothers in it? I think I may even remember it.

    And I agree about the mutual ripping off - the brits seem to do it with mainly european stuff, these days. Probably there's only so many ways you can rip-off the "Friends" format.
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    American film/tv/radio/stage producers remake successful and popular productions from other countries largely because of the money prospects offered. Particularly from the UK, because the cultural similarities bode well for local media markets. If it plays well in Britain chances are it'll play well in the States.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    In the case of The Office, only the UK version was good, as well as Couples, which should have never been duplicated. Unfortunately, I don't think the general American public gets some of the British humor and vice versa. But in reality, it all comes down to money.

  6. #6
    The fact is that Joe Sixpack isn't going to pay to watch a foreign film. No market = No money. It isn't dislike or disdain for the work of British artists, as has been implied, or the lack of understanding subtle nuances. Joe Sixpack will shell out to see "Amurcan" actors (with an occasional foreigner thrown in for spice...) and the market wants in Joe's pants. Viola!

    As for me, I watch the original (UK) version of our popular Antiques Roadshow. I just can't seem to keep the conversion rate for a quid at the front of my brain
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    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    The crap storm that was Coupling. I watched a few episodes of it on BBC America and thought it was ok. I then watched the US version on NBC and it was just terrible. I mean really, really bad. Bad enough to be canceled after only a couple of episodes I think. The US version of the Office however was a bit better. Although I never made any effort to watch more than maybe 1.5 episodes so I don’t know if it’s even still on the air. I believe they worked off of “original” scripts so it played better with American humor.

    One of my wife’s favorite shows of all time is Absolutely Fabulous. Now that is one program I couldn’t imagine ever being able to do an American production of. Well, maybe not… It would be kind of lot like The Simple Life, only with on-screen drug and alcohol abuse.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    I think that everyone in the english speaking televisual world steals ideas off each other (or at least formats) and remakes them. Its called laziness. I think that one of the reasons that Americans remake programmes from other countries is as was stated, money. And the knowledge that they can. The reason why countries like Ireland and the UK import (rather than remake) American programmes is because people want to see them in their American form. If you had a programme about 3 pasty girls and 3 pasty boys living almost incestuous relationships with no basis in reality set in Manchester or London rather than New York, people would turn off in droves, or else set fire to their televisions.

    I would actually put forward the oft held and (maybe ) controversial view, that only the clever people in America get the ideas behind british programmes in their original format. If you want all the thickos to go out and buy the DVD box set of Cracker or the Office, then you remake them.


    Dammit gedunker got there ahead of me!

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    i think humour can be lost in translation, but this one is definately because its a money spinner for the lucrative US market re: Office and Coupling etc.

    ps. everytime i try to crack a joke, it gets lost in translation. Personally, i blame the content of the joke.................

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    When Mad Max was imported to the USA, they dubbed out all of the Australian accents.

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    When Mad Max was imported to the USA, they dubbed out all of the Australian accents.
    thats quite funny, was "throw me another shrimp on the barbie, sheila" translated into "big mac and fries super size please" ?!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pommyplanner
    "throw me another shrimp on the barbie, sheila"
    CHUKKY'S INTRIGUING FACTS #698
    that was a throwaway line coined for an ad campaign in the US... we dont have shrimps, we have PRAWNS.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally posted by chukky
    CHUKKY'S INTRIGUING FACTS #698
    that was a throwaway line coined for an ad campaign in the US... we dont have shrimps, we have PRAWNS.
    true, i don't think i've ever ordered a shrimp in my life, only prawns.........i was, however, making ref to jim carreys hilarious gag in Dumb and Dumber whilst being asked for directrions in a limo! now theres a classic movie comedy which should NEVER be translated for an english, taiwanese, martian etc audience

  14. #14
    Member Missy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by martyR
    I see your point, but meh, brits are just as guilty of ripping off american sit-com formats and pushing the square peg into a round hole.

    One memorable (and only for the fact of how terrible it was - and that Pussy Galore of Bond fame starred in it) was the American show 'Who's the Boss' being remade over here as....heh, i can't remember the name funnily enough - probably a blessing. Same format, same scripts. I remember watching an American episode of the show then watching the British remake a few years later. Cringeworthy.
    Oh come on, it wasn't that bad. *Chortle* Anyway, quite frankly, you Americans deserve it for all the dreadful films and TV you bombard us with

    Did it have one of those million-and-one McGann brothers in it? I think I may even remember it.

    And I agree about the mutual ripping off - the brits seem to do it with mainly european stuff, these days. Probably there's only so many ways you can rip-off the "Friends" format.
    2005-06-10 4:51 AM
    [ Yes, as far as I can remember Journeymouse, it had one of the McGann bros in it. Although, not Paul, who is my favourite.

    I honestly don't think it happens very much the other way round... Because, and I think this is the crux of the matter, we are used to the deluge of American Films and programming and we really don't mind the fact that the accent's different or that there may be a few references here and there that we don't understand.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    American film/tv/radio/stage producers remake successful and popular productions from other countries largely because of the money prospects offered. Particularly from the UK, because the cultural similarities bode well for local media markets. If it plays well in Britain chances are it'll play well in the States
    Yes I suppose the financial incentive is obviously a big factor for the producers.

  15. #15
    Member Missy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Trail Nazi
    In the case of The Office, only the UK version was good, as well as Couples, which should have never been duplicated. Unfortunately, I don't think the general American public gets some of the British humor and vice versa. But in reality, it all comes down to money.
    Ah, you sound like a person of excellent taste Trail Nazi

    Ironically enough, though wasn't Couples (which I didn't find at all funny by the way) a kind of lame attempt at a British 'Friends'?

    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    The fact is that Joe Sixpack isn't going to pay to watch a foreign film. No market = No money. It isn't dislike or disdain for the work of British artists, as has been implied, or the lack of understanding subtle nuances. Joe Sixpack will shell out to see "Amurcan" actors (with an occasional foreigner thrown in for spice...) and the market wants in Joe's pants. Viola!

    As for me, I watch the original (UK) version of our popular Antiques Roadshow. I just can't seem to keep the conversion rate for a quid at the front of my brain
    Is that 'Sixpack' as in a sixpack of beer or sixpack tightly packed muscles? (You see, sometimes the cultural gap, really does make it difficult to understand one another). I bet he only wants to see the occasional foreigner in the role of villain Either a Brit or a Russian or an Arab, being chased and beaten to a pulp by Bruce Willis

    I think that "Joe Sixpack" needs to
    a) Read some books
    b) Get a passport
    c) Travel somewhere outside of America
    d) Stop eating supersize MaccD's every day.

    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    The crap storm that was Coupling. I watched a few episodes of it on BBC America and thought it was ok. I then watched the US version on NBC and it was just terrible. I mean really, really bad. Bad enough to be canceled after only a couple of episodes I think. The US version of the Office however was a bit better. Although I never made any effort to watch more than maybe 1.5 episodes so I don’t know if it’s even still on the air. I believe they worked off of “original” scripts so it played better with American humor.
    Totally agree about Coupling. And the thing is, I think that with most things, the original IS usually much better.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    Is that 'Sixpack' as in a sixpack of beer or sixpack tightly packed muscles? (You see, sometimes the cultural gap, really does make it difficult to understand one another). I bet he only wants to see the occasional foreigner in the role of villain Either a Brit or a Russian or an Arab, being chased and beaten to a pulp by Bruce Willis

    I think that "Joe Sixpack" needs to
    a) Read some books
    b) Get a passport
    c) Travel somewhere outside of America
    d) Stop eating supersize MaccD's every day. <snip>
    Speaking of six packs and McDonald's, it's about time for me to get off my fat American rump and get some lunch. Maybe I'll go out for a proper English meal and get some curry.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Boru
    I think that everyone in the english speaking televisual world steals ideas off each other (or at least formats) and remakes them.

    I have not seen remakes of Canadian "classics" like King of Kensington, Friendly Giant, Mr. Dressup, Beachcombers on US TV.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    Is that 'Sixpack' as in a sixpack of beer or sixpack tightly packed muscles? (You see, sometimes the cultural gap, really does make it difficult to understand one another). I bet he only wants to see the occasional foreigner in the role of villain Either a Brit or a Russian or an Arab, being chased and beaten to a pulp by Bruce Willis
    Joe Sixpack is a Pabst beer man. The guy with the tightly packed muscles is Harry Washboard, whose preference is Bud Light. Joe quite likes Bruce beating the holy snot out of the bad guy furners, but Harry likes the image of furners as played by Hugh Grant

    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    I think that "Joe Sixpack" needs to
    a) Read some books
    b) Get a passport
    c) Travel somewhere outside of America
    d) Stop eating supersize MaccD's every day.
    Joe hasn't seen the inside of a library since the second grade. He reads comics and occasionally the sports page. His idea of literature is Playboy. Joe doesn't need a passport -- he knows the world will come to him. Travel outside Amurca?
    What the durned blasted for? So he can get his pocket picked in Londontown or be made a laughingstock by a Parisian waiter? No, Joe'll set home and watch NASCAR. Silly thing -- Joe knows you can't get Supersize at MickeyD's anymore. Hardee's does have that real big burger. Angus beef at that. Makes a mighty fine snack between meals.
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  19. #19
    Member Missy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Boru
    I think that everyone in the english speaking televisual world steals ideas off each other (or at least formats) and remakes them. Its called laziness. I think that one of the reasons that Americans remake programmes from other countries is as was stated, money. And the knowledge that they can.
    i I know, I know, even Shakespeare 'stole' ideas. But buying up the scripts that have been used elsewhere is a whole new kind of laziness, surely.

    The reason why countries like Ireland and the UK import (rather than remake) American programmes is because people want to see them in their American form.
    Yes. I can agree with that! I heard something very clever being said by some Psychologist or other about how everyone secretly would like to live in the 'Friends' sit-com. If only I could remember what it was.. oh I can't remember anyway, it was quite clever. American culture, in general does have a very deep cross-over appeal. But I would maintain that that is, in large part, due to the incessant exposure that we, all around the world get to American culture, products, stars, through various media. You could look at it as a bit of a cyclical relationship. We're already quite accustomed to American films, therefore we wouldn't think anything of going to see a new one.

    If you had a programme about 3 pasty girls and 3 pasty boys living almost incestuous relationships with no basis in reality set in Manchester or London rather than New York, people would turn off in droves, or else set fire to their televisions.
    This made me LOL.

    I would actually put forward the oft held and (maybe ) controversial view, that only the clever people in America get the ideas behind british programmes in their original format. If you want all the thickos to go out and buy the DVD box set of Cracker or the Office, then you remake them.

    !
    Now Cracker was a prime example of what I'm talking about and what makes me so

    Robbie Coltrane was BRILLIANT as Fitz. I saw about ten minutes of the American remake and I nearly just It had been patently dumbed down and the lead slum down.

    Quote Originally posted by pommyplanner
    i think humour can be lost in translation, but this one is definately because its a money spinner for the lucrative US market re: Office and Coupling etc.
    The thing is though, if the ORIGINAL of whatever was better (and it is nine times out of ten) I think tthe British public wouldn't watch it, even it if was remade, especially for them.

    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    When Mad Max was imported to the USA, they dubbed out all of the Australian accents.
    Tut tut tut. See, it's like a big old Nanny State in the The States. Being protected from having to listen to confusing foreign accents by the big media corporations.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    Yes. I can agree with that! I heard something very clever being said by some Psychologist or other about how everyone secretly would like to live in the 'Friends' sit-com. If only I could remember what it was.. oh I can't remember anyway, it was quite clever. American culture, in general does have a very deep cross-over appeal. But I would maintain that that is, in large part, due to the incessant exposure that we, all around the world get to American culture, products, stars, through various media. You could look at it as a bit of a cyclical relationship. We're already quite accustomed to American films, therefore we wouldn't think anything of going to see a new one.
    I think the standard American response about lack of feedback in that relationship would be that we didn't ask the rest of the world to be so interested in our culture, and most Americans don't really realize that such an interest exists, nor do they care. So it's a little disingenuous to ask Americans to reciprocate.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    What about the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and the "Weakest Link" shows? Weren't they both done in the UK and in the USA?

    How did these shows fair in both country?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hceux
    What about the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and the "Weakest Link" shows? Weren't they both done in the UK and in the USA?

    How did these shows fair in both country?
    Pam Wallin rocked as the host of millionaire, for the 2 weeks they did it.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    Slightly O/T

    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Pam Wallin rocked as the host of millionaire, for the 2 weeks they did it.
    donk, I just knew someone out there would catch me for not mentioning that there was a Canadian version of the Millionaire show. How so Canadian, eh?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This Bear's comments to this topic are short and to-the-point:

    A
    It is all about the money. Is that good or bad?

    B
    Channel changers HAVE been invented. Or, we can hit the OFF button.

    That's all from me. Now I gotta get back to TV Land and Gilligan. You see The Professor has invented this............

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  25. #25
    Member Missy's avatar
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    Churchill: the Hollywood years.
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    I think the standard American response about lack of feedback in that relationship would be that we didn't ask the rest of the world to be so interested in our culture, and most Americans don't really realize that such an interest exists, nor do they care. So it's a little disingenuous to ask Americans to reciprocate.
    I was like reading your post. Is that really the 'standard American response' to American cultural imperialism?

    The thing is, that things have come to such a pass in this country, that, for example, domestic films just can't compete with imported American ones. It goes without saying that the highest grossing movies in the UK will be American blockbusters. Firstly British films, the ones lucky enough to get funded, can't compete with the might of the American marketing. And secondly, so accustomed are people here to watching American films that they kind of view homemade ones as 'foreign'!

    I just wanted to ask if any of you have watched 'The League of Gentlemen' - that's a BBC series. NOT the film called The Leage of Gentlemens' Apolcolyps or The EXTROADINARY league of Gentlemen, which was out a couple of years back. It's about some people from a very bizzare town in the north of England, called Royston Vasey and it's an absolute scream. I would advise you not to bother with the film which has just come out though.


    The other thing I wanted your advice on was if you thought that there was any mileage at all in a sujbect like this for an American magazine. I don't mind if you tell me that this is a boring thread, I want your honest opinions. I am considering something a little broader, perhaps American movies and their particular stamp on history. Have any of you seen/heard of

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