The Office's Rainn Wilson Has A Very Strong Opinion On The British Version Of The Show

The fact that "The Office" persists as one of the most relevant TV shows long after its finale is a testament to its legacy as one of the formative sitcoms of the early 2000s. As recently as 2020, Nielsen data asserted that it was the most streamed TV program of the year (per Variety). NBC's "The Office" is so popular that it's likely some casual fans don't even realize the show is a remake.

Five years before "The Office" would hit U.S. airwaves, introducing fans to Michael Scott's dysfunctional management of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, a similar story was brought to audiences in the United Kingdom. Debuting in 2001 on BBC Two, the original "Office" starred popular and controversial stand-up comic Ricky Gervais as David Brent, the character that inspired the early iteration of Steve Carell's Michael Scott.

Several characters from the U.K. series live on through direct successors in the American adaptation, including Martin Freeman's Tim Canterbury (which inspired John Krasinski's Jim Halpert), Lucy Davis' Dawn Tinsley (which inspired Jenna Fischer's Pam Beesly), and Mackenzie Crook's Gareth Keenan, Tim's annoying and socially inept desk neighbor. If he sounds familiar, that's because he inspired Dwight Schrute, one of the most iconic "The Office" characters who was portrayed by Rainn Wilson. While some of the U.S. cast understandably chose not to watch the original before providing their own spin, Wilson has confirmed that he's seen the entire thing — and he didn't hesitate to share his thoughts on Reddit.

Rainn Wilson is a big fan of the U.K. Office

On the subreddit r/IAmA, Rainn Wilson opened himself up to questions about his life and work as an actor. One user took the opportunity to ask Wilson's opinion on the original U.K. version of "The Office," to which he replied: "I f***ing love the english office. Some of the greatest TV OF ALL TIME." The actor had apparently been a fan of the series before auditioning for the show — a fact which, in some ways, seemed to hinder his first audition.

Wilson initially came in to read for the role of Michael Scott. As he told Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey on the "Office Ladies" podcast, Wilson's original audition was so heavily influenced by Ricky Gervais that he feels it was nothing more than an "embarrassing" impersonation of the British actor (via Mashable).

He's not the only "Office" star whose audition was made awkward by having already seen the original series. In the book "Welcome to Dunder Mifflin" (written by producer Ben Silverman and Kevin actor Brian Baumgartner), John Krasinski recalled that he joked that the American adaptation would ruin the original series to a stranger before his audition — that stranger ended up being Greg Daniels, the U.S. series' creator (via Screen Rant). Steve Carell, on the other hand, actually chose not to watch the show at all during his entire seven season run as Michael Scott (via The Things).