Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exporting/Importing The Office

The Office originally a British series, was successfully adapted for the American context. I think the show lost its “Britishness” once it came to the US. However it had to in order to become successful. Americans would not want to watch a show that does not pertain to them. In making the show more “American” it attracted a bigger audience and the results were worthy of the risk the American writers and directors took. 

In Alexandra Beeden and Joost de Bruin The Office: Articulations of National Identity in Television Format Adaptation they suggest that the adaptation of The Office was successful in the US because as they state “television format adaptations work through articulations of national identity, and suggest that the success of an adaptation may be linked to its ability to reflect and interpret its new context” (pg.3).

The role that national identity plays in the success of a cross-cultural adaptation is important. I think that because both the UK and US versions of The Office were written and directed by British and Americans respectively, the show was incorporated into their cultural sphere with no boundaries. As a result they were both able tot succeed.  As Alexandra Beeden and Joost de Bruin argue that “both versions of The Office use culturally specific humor, created from an ‘inside knowledge’ of specific British or American sensibilities; this includes references to people or characters from popular culture and institutions that carry connotations for those in the country” (pg. 14).

The way, in which The Office has entered into American society, humor and culture, after its success as a British sitcom, demonstrates that national identity is a fundamental piece of globalization in television.

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