Very few remakes end up more beloved than the original things that spawned them. The new version of A Star Is Born (technically a remake of a remake of a remake), maybe? The Clooney/Pitt Ocean’s Eleven? In both cases, the remake benefits from the original being either old, crappy or old and crappy.
Remaking something current and beloved, like the makers of the US Office did, all but guarantees failure. The original is so fresh in people’s minds, how could a new cover version ever compete?
But somehow, against all odds, the US remake of The Office ended up being really, really good. All logic would suggest that you couldn’t do it without Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis and Mackenzie Crook, but somehow the American version, by taking a slightly different approach, managed to be extraordinary.
It was a lot more, well, American in its approach. Everyone was a bit more conventionally attractive, background characters were fully fleshed out, there were a lot more romantic subplots (probably a necessity in its nine-season, 201-episode run) and their version of David Brent, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, was a lot more sympathetic and likeable than Ricky Gervais’ original.
Carell left the show in season seven, and while it continued for another two years without him, the show’s best years were definitely the Carell ones. While half of the cast have gone on to movie stardom, they’re forever “X from The Office” in a lot of people’s minds (just like Martin Freeman, who can make all the Hobbit films he wants but will always be Tim Canterbury).
The idea of getting the cast back together is one that is constantly floated – the US TV market is flooded at the moment with beloved properties from decades past, with Will and Grace, Murphy Brown, the now Roseanneless Roseanne continuation The Conners… Will there ever be an Office reunion? It’s been off air for a whole five years now, surely it’s time?
That was the question on half the (familiar-looking) audience’s lips during Steve Carell’s SNL monologue this weekend.
Awwwww. It’s probably not going to happen, then – for all their joking about needing the money, everyone is doing quite alright – but it’s still nice to see part of the group together again.
(Makes you wonder, though: Who said no? Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski seem like two of the busiest people in showbiz, with him constantly henching and de-henching, directing terrifying films and reinventing himself as an action warrior while she seems to have umpteen projects on the go – including a TV reboot of Four Weddings And A Funeral – but, like, couldn’t they get Rainn Wilson?)
It also turns out Carell does a really good impression of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: