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So I have been enjoying the S3 DVD of The Office -- including the deleted scenes, which, unlike most shows' deleted scenes, are extremely funny -- while dreading every preview I read of S4. Each one I've seen indicates that they will be focusing more on Steve Carrell and less on the ensemble cast.

This is a big, big mistake.

Carrell is (aside from the interminable Jim/Pam stuff) the weakest part of the show. I'm not a Carrell hater or anything, it's just that he's fulfilling a role that was done better in the British version and which can't, alone, carry the show. The strength of the US version of The Office -- the thing that sets it apart and above the UK version -- is the focus on the ensemble cast, the development of the peripheral characters. It's always better when it does this, and always worse when it sticks to showing Carrell being clueless and smarmy. I know why they're doing it (it's because of his increasingly high profile on the big screen), but I think it's going to be a major misstep. Michael Scott isn't the power of the show. Toby, Creed, Kelly and the peripheral characters are. I hope the previews are overstating the case, but if not, S3 might end up being the last good season as well as the best season.

We'll see.

"I'm sorry. Phyllis didn't mention your promiscuity."


Sep. 5th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'm not worried about the focus on Michael Scott since the show has consistently proven so far that they know the real funny comes from the ensemble. My real concern for the show this year is the burn out the cast and crew will be facing since they have to do 30 episodes and five of them are hour long ones, all stacked at the beginning of the season. I know it's one of only two hits that NBC has, but over saturation is never the answer.
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
I love Creed so much. I especially love that the actor's name is Creed. I like pretending that he was found on-set one day just raiding the craft table and they decided to "keep" him.
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Man, remember in Season One when he made that joke about having played with The Grass Roots... That remains my favorite Creed moment.
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
YOU'RE not real, man!
I may be the only person on Earth music-geeky enough to have known Creed BEFORE he started joking about being in the Grass Roots, playing Grass Roots songs, etc. -- I love the hell out of the character, and when I saw his real name in the credits, I was all, wait up, is that Creed Bratton who used to be in the Grass Roots? And it's like the writers heard me and said, hey, nerdy, here's some special jokes just for you.
Sep. 5th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
Re: YOU'RE not real, man!
I didn't know about this!! I just made the mental connection (that I think you just alluded to) that the song he sings on karaoke is his own song. He is singing over his own song. OSFMIDAOSIETRAOSUEYR
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Re: YOU'RE not real, man!
Me neither. This is amazing. What I want to know is, who writes his blog?
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
I think that's just the previews, as they did the same thing with the previews for Season 3 (shots of Carrell being wacky, being wacky, saying something dense in the interview, Stanley looking tired) and the only episode I remember being too Michael Scott-intensive was the first one of the season.

I agree that the peripheral characters are what make the show, I could even do with less of the Jim-Pam romantic angle, which is the OTHER thing they over-emphasize in the ads to the exclusion of Creed being fucking astonishing...
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Man, there's some great deleted Creed scenes on the DVD...my favorite is the one where he says he sleeps in the office four nights a week, and spends the other three at his place in Toronto, so he can take advantage of Canada's welfare state.

My fave deleted scene though is probably a heartwarming one with Michael and Stanley bonding over Pretzel Day...
Sep. 5th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Man, now I have to see these deleted scenes. COME ON TORRENTZ
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'm with you in that the real strength of the show is the ensemble---but to be fair, Steve Carrell is a multi-million dollar movie star on a flagging network. They're gonna whore him out as much as they can. People who don't know the Office know who he is. Creed, not so much.

And all the previews I've read--and I have read legion, because I am sad---seems to stress that the writers are taking the extra episodes as a chance to give the ensemble a lot more time to play. So I choose to be tentatively chuffed.
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
I'm chuffed too!
Sep. 5th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
> above the UK version

Trained assassins have been dispatched to your location.
Sep. 5th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
Send some my way, too.

Gervais > Carrell, HOWEVER Stanley + Toby + Creed + Phyllis + Angela > random nameless office drones.
Sep. 5th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't get me wrong -- I don't say the US version is better overall. The original UK Office is about as perfect a piece of television as I've ever seen. What I mean is that the one aspect where the US version is better is in its expanding and focusing on the peripheral characters, something that the UK version hardly did at all. I don't think any of the leading roles are better than in the UK version, but the supporting roles are where the show really shines.
Sep. 5th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
You'll need assassins with a travel plan. The ensemble elements make the US version much more watchable, to my mind, especially for the volume of episodes and length of storylines. The Uk version is strong, but I have to admit I was getting tired of the four main characters and their persistent peccadillos ...
Sep. 5th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't worry too much about the promos - frankly, Carell's got the least availability to them with his movie schedule, so even if they're pumping him in the promos, chances are his storyline will be one among many, if only by necessity.

They also need to peel Rainn Wilson back from 11 and give the guys in the warehouse more airtime. Seriously, they have Patrice Oneal down there! Come on!

Of course, I've always believed the show's secret weapon is Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration.
Sep. 5th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
What a couple of Marys.
Sep. 5th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
Throw mother from the Tambien
All I've seen are the "What we did on our summer vacation" youtube spots, and those seem golden. Not too much Carrell, and when he is there, his awkwardness of explaining his relationship with Jan is comic territory that David Brent never got into. There was a nice smattering of the supporting cast, down to Stanley and Kelly. The 30 episode season does worry me, but there was so much cut and "super-sized" material last season- to the point where essential plot points were being lost in the shuffle, that it may make sense.

I don't want to get into the US vs. UK debate, but the American writers and producers found a perfect way to extend and expand the show when everyone thought it was impossible to add anything to the original.
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
I think Carrell is a very strong part of why the show is hilarious, but I agree with you--it'd be a mistake to dedicate more time to his character. He's so over-the-top and sometimes grating, you really need those well-developed secondary characters to make his interactions with them interesting in a non-superficial way. I mean, he's a clueless bigot. That's not so complicated. But his bigotry (or sexism, or mindless adulation of authority/celebrity) is a lot funnier if you know all about the target.


flavored with age
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
Ludic Log


Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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