Ricky Gervais’ “The Office” to Open a Tel Aviv Branch
For American fans of the Emmy-award-winning series, “The Office”, it’s easy to get attached to characters like Jim, Pam, Michael, and Dwight as if we actually knew them and forget that they are just incarnations of their British originals.
For example, the story of Jim and Pam’s awkward yet adorable flirting that culminated this season with their wedding and then the birth of their baby girl, is based on that of Tim and Dawn from the British version. Michael Scott, the American boss portrayed by Steve Carell describes himself as friend first, boss second, and entertainer third, just as Ricky Gervais’ character David Brent does.
The American version of the show has been praised for being true to the original idea of its British predecessor while also being innovative. While many the story lines of international adaptations are based on the original’s, the international versions are not just carbon copies of the British scripts. Characters and story lines must be adapted to the culture of the country in which the show takes place.
Let’s hope Gervais’ characters translate as well to Israeli culture as they did to American culture. “The Office” is opening in Yahud, outside of Tel Aviv. David Brent will become Avi Meshulam (played by Dvir Benedek), Tim will become Yossi, and Dawn will become Dana. The series will also include an Arab character named Abed and a Jewish Ethiopian character named Abba.
The Israeli version of the “mockumentary” style series will be called “Super Office”. Like the other international adaptations of “The Office”, the program will be written, directed, and acted by locals. Gervais commented, “I am thrilled and amazed that Israel is making The Office with local writers, directors and actors.” He then joked “I mean, who ever heard of Jewish entertainers?”
For more information, see the BBC article.