With a British original version, and a hit US version (as well as popular versions in Russia and France), "The Office" is being franchised again, to the Holy Land. Although this latest franchise was originally reported in the Guardian last year, the show is readying for launch soon, so additional details about characters, casting, etc have surfaced in Ha'aretz, via Tablet, and on tv.MSN.uk. As the awkward boss, the Israeli version has Dvir Benedek, last seen in Israel's critically acclaimed sumo-themed movie, "A Matter of Size."
The Tablet story by Liel Lebovitz notes that the Israeli version is likely to be more political, because one of the lead writers is reportedly Uzi Weill, "the creator of some of Israel’s fiercest political satires—his hit 1990s show Ha’hamishiya Ha’kamerit, frequently poked fun at such sensitive topics as the Holocaust, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, and the Israel Defense Force."
MSN reports several other characters due at the Super Office. "Another new office worker is Karol, an older and very cynical accountant. Leah, a highly Orthodox Jewish woman who is "constantly pregnant", is another new addition."
A comparative cheat sheet for British and US fans :
"The Office" (British) => "The Office" (US) => "Super Office" (Israel)
David Brent (British) => Michael Scott (US) => Avi Meshulam (Israel)
Gareth (British) => Dwight (US) => Yariv (Israel)
Tim (British) => Jim (US) => Yossi (Israel)
Dawn (British) => Pam (US) => Dana (Israel)
Slough (British) => Scranton (US) => Yahud, near Tel Aviv (Israel)
According to the Ha'aretz story, the show "also includes a character named Abed, described as 'an intellectual Arab with a gentle soul,' and Abba, who is Ethiopian." Sounds like we can still expect some uncomfortable silences as racist comments are uttered by awkward branch managers (and assistant to the regional managers), but this time in Hebrew.
Will awkward, uncomfortable, gut-busting laughter ensue? Time will tell - and if it's still on this summer when I'm in Israel, I'll tell you too.