So, I love the American version of The Office with Steve Carrell. He’s awesome. The writing is awesome. The entire cast is awesome. The only thing that wasn’t too awesome were a few seasons near the end after they jumped the shark. But as much as I like the American version, I’ve always loved the British version with Ricky Gervais more. I love its rawness and antithesis to what we would get from Hollywood. A friend turned me onto it back in the early 2000s when it was first airing. After two episodes I was so hooked, that I went out and bought the entire series on DVD (back when that was a thing).
Ricky Gervais is one of my favorite comedic actors/comedians of all time. A lot of it has to do with his gut wrenching honesty and low tolerance for BS and hypocrisy. Plus, he’s a big advocate for animals, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
But I admit sometimes his scenes on shows can be hard to watch because of the cringe factor. The embarrassment level is so high that I sometimes almost have to turn it off. But I never do, because it’s so funny.
I would say that when it comes to cringe humor, here’s how I would rank ’em:
- Ricky Gervais (on pretty much everything he appears in)
- Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Steve Carrell on the American version of The Office
So with all that being said, I present my 5 favorite scenes from the British version of The Office.
#5 Fire Drill
Ricky Gervais as David Brent, and Mackenzie Crook as Gareth Keenen, conduct a fire drill. They insist on moving the woman in the wheelchair down the stairs by themselves, get tired, and then just leave her on the landing. It’s just so wrong.
#4 The IT Guy
This is every IT guy you’ve ever met. And Tim’s reactions are the best.
#3 Motivational Speaker
David Brent is somehow, against all odds and reason, is hired to be a motivational speaker. And it goes just as you’d think it would.
#2 Free Love Freeway
A guy comes to the office to conduct a training session. Of course, David Brent completely ruins and hijacks the training, culminating on his self-indulgent performance on guitar of “Free Love Freeway.”
#1 The Dance
This is Ricky Gervais at his best/worst. The new boss is everything David Brent wants to be, and thinks he is, but definitely is not. And he can’t help himself from bragging about his dancing skills and then demonstrating them in full bloom. I’ve seen this a million times and it’s hysterical every single time.