THE OFFICE….AGAIN….Last weekend I asked if the original British version of The Office was better than the American remake currently airing on NBC. An avalanche of Office fans insisted it was, so off I went to Blockbuster to get a copy of Season 1.

And the verdict is….inconclusive. It does work better as a British show, though. With apologies to my British readers, I’ve spent a little bit of time in British offices and the show really does capture the peculiar, slow motion, quasi-fatalistic air that at least some of them seem to run on. My experience with American offices is rather different, which is one reason the American version of the show just doesn’t work as well.

But still, what about the show itself? Is it funny? Not really. Is it gripping? No. Is it mesmerizing? Don’t ask me why, but yes ? in much the same sense as a sore fingernail that you can’t ignore. I put the disk in and couldn’t stop watching, even though I really should have been working on other stuff. I’m still not quite sure why. (Note to any WM editors who happen to be reading this: don’t worry. Everything is under control. Deadlines will be met.)

Of course, a “season” in BBC-talk appears to be six episodes, which wouldn’t even be a miniseries in the U.S., so watching the entire first season didn’t take long. Lazy bastards. What’s more, my local Blockbuster didn’t have the second season, so I had to go hunt down a Hollywood Video that did, which meant joining yet another video store. And the second season disk doesn’t include the 2-hour reunion special, either. The only way to get it, I gather, is to buy the box set, and I’m not really willing to shell out 40 bucks just for the 2-hour special.

Feh. This thing is causing me a lot of trouble. One of the perils of having a blog with enthusiastic readers, I suppose.