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February 11 2007

(SPOILER) Joss Whedon directs 'The Office'. Hilarious NBC promo video featuring Joss talking about his directing intermingled with some clips from the episode.

Looks like it'll be great! Can't wait!
I love the pranks Jim pulls on Dwight. Faxes from the future, Pavlov altoids and now this one. Verging on slapstick?
I think it is verging on slapstick, but I love the in-joke here because Joss is directing - so I give them a pass on this one.

Let's hope the rest of the episode lives up to the excellent calibre of this brilliant third season.
Hmm, I really don't get the US version of The Office. It seems so weird, and not really up to par with the original.
It seems so weird, and not really up to par with the original.

The original is basically perfection, yes - but the U.S. version is hilarious in its own way. It doesn't try for realism in exactly the same way, but most of the time I find it as insightful.

It's only these occasional moments of slapstick and silliness that really separate the two in my mind.
The US version of The Office has a reasonable amount of involvement from the people behind the UK version (they produce it, and wrote an episode this season).

Personally, I love them both. The US version is stylistically different after the first 6 episodes, but I think it really comes into it's own. The characters are lovable, hateful, scary and/or insane, the show hits the funny mark consistently every episode at the moment - what's not to love?

I hope Joss' episode attracts a bigger audience. They need it right now. I shall throw things at Universal if they cancel this.
If The Office is canceled (no way) at least John Krasinski (Jim) could always get a job as a vampire on a Buffy spin off.
That looks freakin hilarious! I can't wait!
The Office has already been picked up for next season so there's no chance of it getting cancelled anytime soon.

Can't wait to see this episode on Friday.
Aaaarghl, can't wait 'til thursday !!
The US version is very stylistically different from the Brit "Office," but I agree that they are both hilarious in very different ways. And it turns out I am as big a Pam/Jim 'shipper as I was an Buffy/Angel 'shipper, so I'm guessing Jim will be turning evil and snapping Angela's neck in Joss' episode. ;-)
Not a great fan of the USA version of the Office, as in this version they seem to putting too much of a 'performance' rather have the the scarily natural feel that the original show had, but after saying all that this looks like fun, so I'll be watching just for Joss's input.
Slightly off topic: In the papers here yesterday it was reported that when they greenlit the original UK version of the office they said they liked the idea but they didn't want Ricky Gervaise to be in it.
TV Execs: Is there ANYTHING they can't screw up?
Joss talking about sadness and death as his trademark whilst the real action is centered around vampiric activity is hilarious. In a making-fun-of-the-stigma-that-Buffy-was-just-about-chick-vs-monsters kind of way.
And it turns out I am as big a Pam/Jim 'shipper as I was an Buffy/Angel 'shipper, so I'm guessing Jim will be turning evil and snapping Angela's neck in Joss' episode.


Hahaha, oh man, I would pay good money to see that.
Okay, can someone clear up the term shipper for me? I assume it means big fan of, but where did the term come from?
Pure writing geniuses unite! I am looking forward to Thursday. I'm already laughing hysterically and the episode hasn't aired yet. I wonder if this is because Joss and Jenna are good friends.
'shipper is short for 'relationshipper' madmolly (though I doubt the connotations of 'worship' are entirely coincidental). It basically means a fan of a particular romantic pairing like Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike etc. (it's usually one that actually appeared in the show in question but not necessarily since various 'ships are also explored in fan-fic). Personally, I don't really see the point but each to their own.

(some shippers put the 'fan' back into 'fanatic' which is why particular preferences or the discussion of whose 'ship is best/most romantic etc. is, err, strongly discouraged on here ;)

Really gonna have to check out the US office. It does seem a bit different but then the object isn't to be the same as the UK version, just as funny as it, so different is fine.
can someone clear up the term shipper for me?

Shippers are the fans that support a particular relationship. Traditional Buffy shippers in the Whedonverse have been B/A (Buffy/Angel shippers) and B/S (Buffy/Spike shippers). They are also known as Bangel and Spuffy.
That is very funny and of course they wanted Joss to direct it. Who better? I've started watching The Office in preparation for this episode, so that I can understand the dynamics. It hasn't really grabbed me yet but then I couldn't watch the U.K. version past one episode. I can't watch and cringe at the same time. At the characters, I hasten to add. Not at the show itself.
I almost wet myself laughing - this is going to be ... I don't even have an adjective yet.
Do we have an air-date for this episode yet?
I still haven't watched any more of The Office, but I'm definitely going to have to see this episode. Who doesn't love bats?

I also loved Joss in his Veronica Mars season 3-looking tee over long sleeved shirt.
Looks good, so strange that the one with a bat and Jim trying to convince Dwight he was turning into a vampire would be the one Joss ended up directing.

zz9 said:
"Slightly off topic: In the papers here yesterday it was reported that when they greenlit the original UK version of the office they said they liked the idea but they didn't want Ricky Gervaise to be in it.
TV Execs: Is there ANYTHING they can't screw up?"


Actually, I think I may have preferred it that way, I really cannot stand Ricky Gervais, and credit him with a large amount of the fact that I just don't find the British Office funny at all. Puzzles me how he's made a career in comedy when I just do not find him funny in the slightest. Love the U.S. version though, currently one of the best comedies on TV.
Fun :) I'll have to give U.S. Office a look-see next time I have time. I watched a couple of eps of UK Office back when it first started and though it amused me it didn't hold me, so I haven't watched it since Series One. OTOH, still trying to forget US Coupling after delighting in UK Coupling repeatedly. God help us if someone in the US notices Spaced (or Life on Mars for that matter... oh crap!) and tries to remake it... eek!

ETA - hey, doesn't Life on Mars Series Two start in a couple of days?
Yup, 2 brand new episodes of Life On Mars on Tuesday (one on BBC1, then the next one on BBC4).
Oh, hellz yeah! :)
Do we have an air-date for this episode yet?

Yeah, this coming Thursday. :D
Been a fan of The Office since the beginning. This should be fun. Jim's schemes on Dwight are hilarious. And I think Jim will make a good vampire. He did a nice job in the short preview. I like the idea of a Jim turning evil briefly. And the name similarity of Angela vs Angel is just too erie. Thanks Joss!
Yep, 'Life on Mars' is back for its second (and final) series on Tuesday (strange Ghost Spike i'd've assumed BBC3 for the second ep but you're absolutely right it's BBC4 - not that it makes any difference to zeitgeist who will no doubt be 'pursuing its aquisition through other channels' ;). Apparently they've filmed 2 or 3 endings so that it can't be spoiled. Should be good.

(not seen the US 'Coupling' but then I couldn't even watch the UK one after Jeff left - bit of a purist. Is it true they didn't change the script at all for the remake ? Sounds like a recipe for disaster)
OMFG, this looks so hilarious! Did they write this episode knowing he'd be directing it? I think I'm in love with Vampire Jim.
Looks awesome. Here's how NBC.com describes it...

MICHAEL GOES TO BUSINESS SCHOOL WITH RYAN - Ryan (B.J. Novak) invites Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) to be a guest speaker at his business school. Meanwhile, Dwight battles a bat that gets loose in the office while Pam (Jenna Fischer) invites co-workers to her first art show. Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Melora Hardin, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, and Mindy Kaling also star.
That looks so funny! I love The Office.
Joss said this is a coincidence. I believe he didn't set out to direct this particular episode, but ya gotta think some PTB at The Office decided this should be the one for Joss.
Someone asked me if Joss supplied the coat for John's character to wear. I think supply is going too far, but I wouldn't doubt it if that was Joss' idea, that attention to detail. In fact, the jacket drawn up like that with pointy corners like a cape, looks just as I envision it on the cover of one of the older paperback editions of Stoker's novel; I seem to remember a sideview of a skull and then the black cape, but even googling I couldn't find it. I can't wait to see this episode.
I never ever watch any promos or read any info on upcoming episodes of The Office because the show is capable of such wow! moments and delightful asides that I want to be unspoiled for them. That said, I watched half of this promo because, well, how could I not sneak a peek at Joss. Oh yeah, it's going to be good.
I'm suddenly very scared of the possible combination of clinging uncomfortable moments where The Office delights and Joss Whedon's skills for emotional build-up. Make.. it.. stop..
The American Office is superior. It's alot funnier, and this is coming from someone who waited until recently to start watching it. I love the British Office(and I watched the British one on BBC America and have the box set), but it's no contest. British Office is more realistic, but the American one has more laughs.
Giddy with excitement over this ep and the promo was awesome. themayor- I agree, I love the US version, the British one, not so much. (Please don't throw things.) I think the realism of the original was why I didn't like it, I was so uncomfortable and sorry for these people. I found I couldn't watch it through my constant cringing and eye covering in horror. Very realistic, I was just a little too sympathetic to the characters dealing with a boss that - well you know. Can't wait for Thursday.
British Office is more realistic, but the American one has more laughs.

Which is why I love both - for different reasons.
Is there a contest? Does the one Office have to be better than th other?
Is there a contest? Does the one Office have to be better than th other?

Yes.

La Job is the best!

Actually, I've only seen it once, but it distinguishes itself from the other incarnations by having quite a lot of foul language.

ON-topic then, kinda funny to see promotional material touting a director where said director says that you shouldn't be able to tell that he directed it.
I also like both of them. But (as an American who prefers the US one) I was wondering if the preference-breakdown by nationality. Maybe these TV-types know their audiences :-).
I know I can tape this or download it the next day, but I HAVE to think of an excuse to let my evening class out early to see this when it airs.
Nebula1400, assign it for homework! C'mon, you can connect it to your subject matter somehow.
Haha, oh boy! This promo actually doesn't make it look much like The Office we're used to, but that's what promos do sometimes. I bet it will be awesome! Silly writers writing for Joss. :)
Oh, effin' bloody hell, looking at the promo, does this ep ROCK or what? You know that ep of South Park where Cartman can't wait for the Wii to come out, so he asks Butters to freeze him so he can be defrosted in the future when the Wii is out? Yeah, me. Freeze me till Thursday night when this ep airs -- can't wait! /fanboy drooling ;-)

Also, I'm with Caroline. Saying one Office is better than the other is justthisclose to 'shipping. I'm just sayin'. They both have great qualities, and yay for My Master Jah Sweden Joss for directing this upcoming US Office ep! :-)

[ edited by billz on 2007-02-12 02:56 ]

ON-topic then, kinda funny to see promotional material touting a director where said director says that you shouldn't be able to tell that he directed it.


Well, that's definitely true for a show like "The Office" - which should look like a documentary about an office. I suppose these big name directors are good for advertising - and for the actually day to day work - but I don't really want this one to stand out. Which is why I love the bat in-joke :-)
Hee-hee. Vamp!Jim is awesome.
I haven't seen the Brit version--do they keep up the illusion of the office being filmed by documentarians better than the U.S. version does? After Season 1 of the U.S. version, I didn't really care whether it felt "authentic" anymore anyway, it just became one of those suspension-of-disbelief modes you go into with many TV shows. During Season 1 though, it seemed like they were really pushing the whole cameramen-as-barely-there-characters device. The main cast would often gesture or refer to the camera's presence (as they continue to do now) and in one of Season 1's deleted scenes, one of the documentary crew even has a line.

But there's no way that device works after certain events in Season 2 (and maybe major ones in Season 1, can't remember). The cameras wouldn't be granted waivers in that many non-Dunder-Mifflin areas that the employees travel to and characters admit things to the documentarians that're way too personal/revealing. So you pretty much have to accept those direct-to-the-camera scenes as sort of in-their-head confessionals or...something. I dunno. Am I making any sort of sense?

[ edited by Kris on 2007-02-12 05:26 ]
Am I making any sort of sense?

Sort of. And I think the producers' justification is that this "documentary" hasn't yet aired for the characters to see, so their personal revelations aren't yet that relevant to other people in the office. I think that would be a wonderful finale, though - a few years down the track.
So, a fellow whedonesquer talked me into putting the Office in my que. When I found out Joss was directing an episode, I moved season 1 to the top. A month later...the Office is now my favorite show on TV. I love it! I'm so excitded for Thursday!
I now like both the British and the American versions of The Office, but it took me a little while to warm to the American one, 'cause I agree, crossoverman, the original was perfection. I think Gervais was brilliant in it - watch his eyes when Brent is exaggerating or lying to see top-notch acting. (And both Extras and his own stand-up comedy are superb.) The writing (God, I love the "Training" episode beyond words) and the ensemble acting are just right on.

I think they got it right in the American version when they let the writing evolve the show into its own self and didn't try to copy the Brit one. It became a whole 'nother thing, and to my mind, a thing of joy. The acting is just as ace as the British version. I look forward to Joss's episode, and love that it's got a bat & vampire talk.

Oh, gods, Saje, and yes zeitgeist, that thing that was the brief-but-painful American Coupling was a disaster to behold. I think I may have watched two? episodes, and they were, I think, word-for-word, or close, to the British one.

But golly gee whillikers, the direction was appalling, the casting and acting were both bad, the characters felt indistinguishable from one another, they had no discernible chemistry with one another - in fact, no relationship to one another - and there was a laugh track. The dialogue that worked in the British version did not, for whatever reasons, work in the American one.

I thought it was unwatchable.
I've never seen another promo for The Office which showcased the director. Shows you how much of a rockstar Joss is.

That's a compliment, btw. I love rockstars. :)

[ edited by themayor on 2007-02-12 11:24 ]
I haven't seen the Brit version--do they keep up the illusion of the office being filmed by documentarians better than the U.S. version does?

Yeah they do but in fairness that's much easier to achieve over only 12 episodes plus specials. In the Christmas specials of the UK version (and possibly the second series, can't remember) the characters have also seen themselves in the earlier episodes so you have a kind of feedback effect (especially with Brent who tries to play on his 'fame' to hilarious effect).

Watched the first few US episodes last night and thought it was pretty good. As you'd expect the losers weren't quite as loser-ish (Jim especially is a bit less of an obviously apathetic waster than Tim) but a lot of the cringeworthy 'humour of embarrassment' survived and after the pilot it started to develop its own feel (in the pilot the guy playing Jim was basically channeling Martin Freeman, even down to his facial expressions). Dwight is a great character too, bit of a nastier edge than Gareth with less pathos but in some ways that makes him easier to laugh at (and though all the leads are excellent, Jenna Fischer is just brilliant at showing us tiny slivers of this incredibly bright, vivacious, funny woman bubbling away beneath the put upon, verbally abused exterior).

The only potential issue I could see was the whole premise being dragged out for too long, especially Pam/Jim. Pam mentions her artistic ambitions briefly but the problem is that eventually they're both going to start to seem like real plonkers for staying in jobs they so clearly hate. You can only ride the apathy excuse for so long before sympathy starts to dry up IMO.
Heeeyyyy. I just found out I'm a plonker : )
Saje said:
"Pam mentions her artistic ambitions briefly but the problem is that eventually they're both going to start to seem like real plonkers for staying in jobs they so clearly hate. You can only ride the apathy excuse for so long before sympathy starts to dry up IMO."

Sadly true to life though, y'know? Much as people probably hate to admit it, I bet a good number of folks here even are in situations like that. I know I'm dead sick of one of my three part time jobs, the one I've had the longest (three years). And yet I stay, partly because the extra bit of cash helps, partly because I haven't figured out how to exit gracefully yet and with enough goodwill from my boss that I could still use her for a reference.

It might eventually feel dragged out, the apathy of the more full-of-life-and-potential personalities on The Office, but at the same time the show's been great at revealing the sadness in people like that (and in Steve Carell's character, Michael Scott, much as he annoys the shit outta me).
Very true (i'd imagine everyone's stayed in jobs because it's easier than moving and because you tell yourself it's not that bad, I know I have) but i'm not watching you for entertainment Kris, nor are you the hero/heroine of a TV show (presumably ;).

I guess i'm saying I want it to be ultimately uplifting in the way the UK one was (gotta say, i'd be surprised if the US show was more downbeat than the UK one) where, yes, you saw the sadness of people who maybe feel things haven't gone the way they wanted in their lives but you also saw their resilience and ultimate triumph. The longer Pam and Jim stay in their dead-end jobs the harder that's gonna be to swing IMO (there's a danger you'll stop rooting for them and start being annoyed by them and also that if/when they actually take the leap - presumably at/near the end of the show - you'll be thinking "About bloody time you silly sods" rather than "Yes ! You go girl !").

Course, i've only just started watching it so, typically, i'm becoming disillusioned by the end before I even reach the middle ;). Hopefully in the actual doing of it they find a way to keep it fresh.
Good thoughts. Just wait 'til towards the end of Season 2. Things are shaken up enough that I don't think certain situations'll be getting stale any time soon.

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