‘The Office’: What Does Ricky Gervais Think of the American Version?

Ricky Gervais is one of the great icons on British comedy, up there with Peter Sellers and the Monty Python troupe. Part of why he is legendary is because he created the British television series The Office. The Office famously got its own American remake.

Many people are more familiar with the American version of The Office than the original British version. After all, the American version was far more successful. This raises an interesting question: What does Gervais think of the American version of the show?

Michael Scott from The Office | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

Is Ricky Gervais emotionally attached to the American version of ‘The Office’?

As an entertainer, Gervais can be somewhat unpredictable. This is a good quality in a comic. People want comics to surprise them and catch them off-guard in the best ways possible.

In that vein, Gervais has expressed opinions of The Office which might surprise fans. Sometimes, he seems to like the show without feeling very attached to it. He told GQ “You know, it wasn’t my baby. It was my rights, so I cashed the checks. I think it was good, but I didn’t have the same emotional attachment to it…I don’t think I’ve seen much of it … it doesn’t feel like it’s mine.”

Ricky Gervais with a guitar | Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Furthermore, Gervais revealed the makers of the American show would send him scripts which he’d formally approve without always reading them. It’s understandable Gervais would feel a little alienated from the show since he wasn’t as involved with it as he was with its predecessor. These comments didn’t really ruffle feathers. However, his comments on the season finale of the show did.

Ricky Gervais compares television finales

In 2013, Gervais was still working on his show Extras. The finale episode featured a guest appearance from Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay. This appearance garnered some backlash for supposedly being awkward, similar to Ed Sheeran’s later appearance on Game of Thrones.

Jane Fallon and comedian Ricky Gervais in a leather jacket | Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Gervais compared the finale of Extras to the finale of the American version of The Office. The Office’s finale featured an appearance from Warren Buffett. Gervais compared that episode of The Office to the ill-received finale of Extras. According to Deadline, he added, “if you’re going to jump a shark, jump a big one.” “Jumping the shark” is a slang term for when a show attempts a gimmick in an attempt to become relevant again.

Some Office fans didn’t take kindly to his words. However, Gervais said he was insulting himself. “The bit about it “jumping the shark” and being like Chris Martin in Extras was meant to be a little self deprecating in-joke. I myself, did a fun but pointless, over-hyped cameo in the episode too remember.”

Ultimately, he said the Americanized Office was superb but admitted he didn’t make it for artistic reasons. In contrast, he said he did create the British version of The Office for artistic reasons. Regardless of his intentions for the American office, Gervais admitted he made far more money from that version than from the original.

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