A good way for two comedy nerds to kill an hour is to argue if the American or British version of The Office are better. Though most of my love is for the American version, one of the few flaws in it I think are the result of how prime time is divided. For something like the Office, a 30-minute block just won’t do and the hour is just too much (mainly because it has to be structures to split in half for syndication).
I think many could argue that the British version has more depth and more pain, but from what I’ve seen of the deleted scenes from the American Office, they got it. They essentially are writing the British version and then having to slice it out.
What’s brought this to my mind isn’t newly-posted producer’s cut of last week’s “Frame Toby” episode. Though it definitely demonstrates some of the flaws of trying to keep the show contained to thirty minutes with commercials time. At a little over 14 minutes in, having Toby siting at his desk, wishing that he had punched Michael is a wonderful little joke fully within the character’s pathetic sadness and instantly relateable. Just these brilliant little moments - which to me are what The Office is all about. They give me that recognition laugh that’s kind of rare in TV where I go, “Yep, I’ve been there.”
What brought this to my mind mostly was this cut scene from the previous episode where Pam shows Jim her design class work from New York. Here it is:
Now so much with the jokes in here, other than anybody-could-make-it joke that Jim does about sleeping with the professor. What I love about is how the little scene highlights that talent is really hard to direct, to put in the right place. That being good at something doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do with it.
But even more frustrating to me is how, as it stands with the just TV watchers, Pam isn’t good at art. They didn’t catch this little moment which tells you that Pam is talented and makes her decision to stay in Scranton and not explore more questionable. (Sure her art school buddy said she was good, but that scene could just as easily read that he’s trying to get with her).
It’s something that I’m sure they’ll address in a later episode, but I’d rather have it now in all its complexities.