Monday, December 3, 2012

Final Digging Deeper

    After reading the Beeden and Bruin's article on the importation of the series The Office, it is obvious that the show lost its "Britishness."  However, the major thing the show did not lose after adapting to America was its overwhelming popularity.  In order for a show to succeed, the viewers need to have a sense of cultural identity that matches the show.  In the article, the authors note about Joseph Straubhaar's theory of "cultural proximity."  His theory states that "audiences seem to prefer television programs that are as close to them as possible in language, ethnic appearance, dress, style, humor, historical reference, and shared topical knowledge" (Beeden, Bruin).  No two cultures will ever be the same, and this means that the British show, The Office, has to be adapted to fit America's cultural identity if it wishes to be aired in America.  Change is inevitable.  

    Now that we understand why The Office had to adapt, we can explain how it adapted.  The first major way in which the show adapted was its central workplace setting.  In the American series, the Scranton office contained a number of different American items including university stickers and flags, a Homer Simpson toy, and a water cooler that is the center of office gossip.  These are things you do not see in the British version.  The British series has objects that are a lot less obvious.  The British version is located in a Trading Estate, highlighting the history of British industrialization and urban banality.  The second way in which the shows are different is through their attitudes.  The British show contains a lot more slow, piano-themes music.  The opening of the show highlights a cloudy sky depicting a normal dreary day in Britain.  Whereas the American series contains a much more lively, upbeat tone with cheerful opening credits.  Another major difference is the humor that is used.  In the British series, they use humor that relates to stuff such as the Royal Family, whereas the American series uses humor that relates to stuff such as Hillary Clinton and the Three Stooges.

    I believe that The Office definitely provides evidence for globalization as cosmopolitanism.  As I said in the first paragraph, no two cultures are the same.  For a British show to succeed in America, it has to transform into an American-themed culture.  The idea of cosmopolitanism suggests that we embrace the idea that there are differences among our cultures.  That being said, we should use this idea to our advantage to produce content that is rewarding to the culture we are trying to pursue.  

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