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Greg Daniels
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Feb 24th 2006

A huge amount of the credit for the brilliance of the US adaption of The Office must go to Greg Daniels. Check out his resume.

Greg Daniels

I think it's safe to say, the guy knows what he's doing.

Mar 21st 2006

I love King of the Hill. I don't watch it like I watch The Office - didn't start watching it until it was in syndication, as a matter of fact - but I still like it. I was pleasantly surprised (but not surprised at all, really) to realize that both shows are from Greg Daniels (his last name being, fittingly, my maiden name :-). People say that The Office is so realistic that the humor can sometimes be uncomfortable (true, I think), and the same can be said of KOTH. The Hills are the most realistic family on TV, even if they are animated. The whole show painfully mirrors my hometown in NY, so I have a soft spot for it (and, depending on the situation, an aversion to it, but that's all meant as a compliment).

Mar 21st 2006

Great link! The fact that he did the "22 Short Films About Springfield" episode of the Simpsons speaks volumes. That episode focused solely on the side characters of the show, and proved that show had reached the point were even non-Simpson-family characters were (pardon the pun) three-dimensional.

The Office is quickly following the same path, as the non-major players are all developing their own personalities and backstories. It's a sign of a great show!!! I can't wait for the webisodes!

May 4th 2007

So, I've been wondering about this: How much credit and / or blame does Mr Daniels deserve for the various swervings of this season? Sure, he's the boss -- but does he direct the show in the same way that some show-runners (Joss Whedon, Rob Thomas) do, or does he allow things to occur organically? Is there a plan pre-season? (It seems to me likely that this is the case, but that it's not real strong in its particulars.) How much is The Office Greg Daniels' baby? He did a lot of fabulous work on King of the Hill, in particular, and the first two seasons of The Office were truly magnificent, just about as good as television gets. We loved him for that. Do we blame him for the fact that season 3 has been as stilted as season 2 was organic?

Clearly, at some point, the people in charge of The Office decided that season 3 was going to be Pam's season, much like season 2 was supposed to be Jim's. Unfortunately, that went horribly awry. Do we credit Daniels with a good idea poorly executed by others? Are there demerits to be given out for sticking with an idea that was obviously failing long after it made any sense? Was the original idea flawed? Was it even Daniels's idea?

I guess, to some degree, these questions are unanswerable without some elaborate "behind the scenes" book written by an insider. I just wonder about them a lot.

May 4th 2007

Do we credit Daniels with a good idea poorly executed by others? Are there demerits to be given out for sticking with an idea that was obviously failing long after it made any sense? Was the original idea flawed? Was it even Daniels's idea?

It's all a matter of perspective... These aren't necessarily facts, just opinions shared by many. But not by me. Minority or not, I've enjoyed the way this season has played out and I'm looking forward to a ripper of a finale.

That is all.

May 4th 2007

Fair point.

May 4th 2007

That it was good idea badly executed is definitely an enticing perspective. I can definitely see it that way. But I also can't help but feel, and maybe this is my own Dilbert-ian experiences talking - that corporate meddling is in part to blame. NBC's ratings woes in recent years are well documented. This was one of the few up and coming shows the network could hang its hat on. Rather than letting it develop and flourish slightly under the radar of a flock of successful shows, maybe it became too important to the network's revival strategies. Suddenly they needed shows with broad appeal. They needed to lure viewers in, and that might not necessarily have jibed with catering to faithful fans. I could just see higher-ups fearing that the show would blow its wad on its most appealing storyline too fast. And they couldnt' take a chance on the hope that they could replace that alluring plot with another. I imagine the creative minds who conceived the first 28 episodes had the confidence that they could, if not duplicate it, at least come up with something nearly as good or just appealing in its own right. But Jeff Zucker had a network, and a career of his own, to save. In short, I feel like things went awry in a desperate attempt to make The Office the next Seinfeld/Friends instead of simply letting it be the next Office.

All that said, I don't things went so badly this season. They just didn't unfold as quickly or as satisfyingly as I'd hoped. There has still been a lot of greatness along the way. And the last few episodes have reaffirmed my faith that the show can rise to the occasion again. That's why I agree with this...

and I'm looking forward to a ripper of a finale.

May 4th 2007

I'm thoroughly enjoying this season but will also readily admit that it's not as good as S2. I assign the blame to 75% corporate meddling and 25% poor execution. Not that those percentages are based on any substantial evidence, just a gut feel.

I think the run of The Office to date is comparable to what often seems to happen in the music industry. A band starts out, they're either on an indie label or if they are on a major label the company doesn't pay much attention to them or interfere with their process. The band puts out an amazing album or two, gets huge, and sells a ton of records. Then the record company gets involved, starts meddling in the recording process, giving advice, and tries to tweak the sound a little in order to appeal to a broader audience. In addition, the band gets a little full of themselves and think whatever they do will appeal to fans and as a result get away from what made them great in the first place.

So I think that's what's happened here. The execs at NBC put some pressure on Daniels & Co. to broaden the humor, be a little wacky and not as subtle. And Daniels thought his creation was so strong that he could get away from the Jim/Pam story. He's basically right, but this season has really missed the warmth and happiness that Jim & Pam provided us with last year. It will be fascinating to see the direction the show takes in S4.

May 4th 2007

A band starts out, they're either on an indie label or if they are on a major label the company doesn't pay much attention to them or interfere with their process. The band puts out an amazing album or two, gets huge, and sells a ton of records. Then the record company gets involved, starts meddling in the recording process, giving advice, and tries to tweak the sound a little in order to appeal to a broader audience. In addition, the band gets a little full of themselves and think whatever they do will appeal to fans and as a result get away from what made them great in the first place.

Yeah, I don't like Good Charlotte anymore either.

(That's just a joke/example. You're absolutely right about that whole process.)

May 4th 2007 edited

I present to you a post made by me on October 17th, 2006, around the time we all started to worry about a run of below par (wait, shouldn't that mean better?) episodes.

Perhaps the Emmy (or maybe just the nomination, I don't know if the episodes were written before the win...) has given the writers big heads? Maybe they're trying too hard? I think it's possible that with the Emmy recognition, they are now trying to appeal to a broader audience in the hopes of picking up (and keeping) some extra viewers. Hence the outlandish plotlines, the bizarre over-the-top behaviour of some of the characters (namely Michael, Dwight and Angela)and the generally more sitcom-ish feel to the show that some people have mentioned previously.

I know a lot of people here are upset at the turn the show has taken (if you could call it a turn) but we here must only be an infinitesimal fraction of the show's total veiwership. Let's face it, the vast majority of people out there (outside of the NA fora, of course) are morons. And those are the people that NBC will want to add to The Office's ratings tally. I guess the writers have to bow to NBC's wishes to some extent.

I guess if any of this was ever true, it still is. Especially the very last sentence.

May 4th 2007

I think that was the first post of yours I ever read. One of them, anyway. Back when I still thought you were a girl.

May 4th 2007

People I've actually met still think that sometimes.

May 4th 2007

People I've actually met still think that sometimes.

It's because you travel everywhere with a kangaroo. Only girls are supposed to do that.

May 4th 2007

You mean Roger? But he's such a manly 'roo!

May 7th 2007 edited

From Brian

Rather than letting it develop and flourish slightly under the radar of a flock of successful shows, maybe it became too important to the network's revival strategies. Suddenly they needed shows with broad appeal. They needed to lure viewers in, and that might not necessarily have jibed with catering to faithful fans. I could just see higher-ups fearing that the show would blow its wad on its most appealing storyline too fast. And they couldnt' take a chance on the hope that they could replace that alluring plot with another.

twss.

Edit. I felt I had to say more than just twss, so I'm agreeing with you all that it appears that corporate meddling is to blame for the 'change' from S2 to S3. I think that the corporate meddling is here to stay, however, so lamenting the lack of S2 storylines and humour will be to no avail. We're either going to have to learn to like the S3 storylines and humour, or leave. The Office is no longer the best kept secret o the network. They're gonna plug it for all it's worth, and leave the creativity and quality that was once the hallmark of this sitcom for dead.

May 7th 2007

I felt I had to say more than just twss,

Daoust, don't give in to peer pressure. Just because everyone else is giving long opinions on things doesn't mean you have to, too. I believe a simple TWSS post is equally as valid a 4 paragraph post. So, my point is,

Feel free to do whatever you please.

May 7th 2007

Wait, confused again.

May 7th 2007

This is me, DftF. Your old pal. It's me.

May 7th 2007

I think I've figured it out. Now if you'll kindly say something about how I should have known because I was in the future, it will all be okay.

May 7th 2007

Can you travel back to yesterday and tell yourself what's going on, so you can avoid all this confusion? That's a good time traveler.

May 7th 2007

Feel free to do whatever you please.

twss.

May 7th 2007

Ugh... They've nominated "The Coup" for the Best Comedy Series Emmy. This may lend more weight to the theory that NBC is appealing to the moronic masses. The Coup was one of the season's most slapstick, over-the-top-ridiculous episodes. Little of the stuff we here love, but lots of lowest common denominator type comedy. Sigh...

May 7th 2007

Ugh... They've nominated "The Coup" for the Best Comedy Series Emmy.

Ugh is right. That was my least favorite episode.

May 7th 2007

Ugh... They've nominated "The Coup" for the Best Comedy Series Emmy.

When you say "they've nominated the coup," Who are they? I just wonder who chooses which episode gets nominated and how they come to that conclusion.

May 8th 2007 edited

Who are they?

I just assumed the producers of any given show submit particular episodes for consideration. Of course I know nothing about it, I don't even live in the same country! I guess I never actually thought about it in detail.

May 8th 2007

Who are they?

Them, you know, them. They are always causing trouble for us and messing up our things.

May 8th 2007

From what I can glean (links to PDF) from the Emmy submission procedures notebook, producers submit their shows, and actors submit an episode that highlights their skills. Technically, you could submit for any category you want, ie, Daniels & Co. could submit an episode for consideration under reality television, though they'd never be nominated. I assume that most producers do this in consultation with their networks.

A producer can submit more than one episode per category, though I imagine you'd probably piss some people off. Actors can submit one per category.

Anyway, I remember last year, Lauren Graham kind of torpedoed her chances by submitting an episode in which she does a lot of emoting in the "Best Actress in a Comedy" category, which sounds like an obvious mistake. Also, nominating one of the worst episodes of your show (for instance, "The Coup") would seem to be an obvious blunder. You really wonder if They really think "The Coup" was their funniest episode. Really? I can name maybe a half dozen off the top of my head that were better. In no particular order: "The Return", "Back from Vacation", "Grief Counseling", "Traveling Salesmen", "Business School", "Cocktails" . . . I could go on, but I've already belabored the point.

May 8th 2007

I guess submitting a single episode for consideration makes sense, since there'll be a lot of submissions for the committee to sort through, but I would think that if they're going to be handing out the title of "best series" to a show, they'd want to base it on more than one episode.

May 8th 2007 edited

I don't get it. I didn't know where all this "Coup" hating is coming from. I thought it was much better than Diwali, or the Convention, or Phyllis' Wedding. I guess we are all allowed to have our own opinions. It just seems like I'm an outsider for liking the Coup. Is it their best episode, is it worthy of an Emmy? Perhaps not, but it's not the only one from S3 that is lacking in the quality we came to expect from the Office, from S2.

Edit. The Coup was written by Paul Lieberstein, who's episodes I generally have enjoyed. His eps seem to always put fans in the "love it" or "hate it" camp, with few in the middle ground. I'm in the love it camp for The Coup, as I am with most PL eps.

May 8th 2007

I agree that it was way, way better than "Phyllis' Wedding", for one, and probably "Diwali" as well (I barely remember "The Convention").

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