I’ve been a fan of the original since I watched a marathon on BBCAmerica with my parents around Christmas time (that’s not a sentence you see everyday). I got the series 1 DVD for my birthday, and have tried to convert as many of my friends as possible.
Color me unimpressed by the NBC version. To me, the acting seemed so wooden. I smiled at a couple bits, but they were all original Stephen Moffat bits. I think I was smiling only because it was a good joke, not because it was acted well. I only had one laugh-out-loud moment, which was a new bit (Jane playing on her cell phone in the bathroom stall). As a poster on Television Without Pity said, “it was like a high school play version of Coupling.” By and large, the cast was too good looking. Steve wasn’t dorky enough, Jeff wasn’t quirky enough, Patrick was too much of an ass, and Sally wasn’t insecure enough. Susan was bland, and only Jane was tolerable.
I thought the overall pacing of the episode was off, too. Granted, I understand that they had to trim stuff because the BBC doesn’t have commercials. But it didn’t seem to flow well. First off, they change the circumstances of how Steve and Susan meet (granted, only a little, but still). In the NBC version, Jeff hands Steve a condom, Susan raises her eyes a bit, but that is that. The British version seemed more smooth. Also, the British version sets up the Sally-Patrick date better. Sally first tells Susan that she only smiles for single men (and reminds Susan of an upcoming facial). Then, after Susan dumps Patrick, we see Sally smile. Later, when Susan shows up early to the restaurant, she explains that her facial has been cancelled. Which leads to the payoff of Sally on a date with Patrick at the time of the facial.
Plus, when Susan flashes the gang, she does so in a corner in which the walls are an open mesh! That makes her character seem more exhibitionist than she actually is.
I also got really sick of the 3-camera format. The BBC version has a lot more steady cam shots, outdoor shots, and more intercutting of related material (the opening conversations being the best example in this episode). Which helps make it more clever.
Then there’s the jokes that were cut. “One swallow doesn’t make her my girlfriend” is great material. I’m surprised they kept “I’m not completely SHAVED!”.
I know I’m biased–my boyfriend said I wouldn’t like the show on principle, even if it was good. Perhaps he’s right. Regardless, I think I’ve rambled on long enough. Any thoughts? I’m especially interested in the opinons of people who haven’ts een the original version.