The creator and star of the original BBC version of the sitcom criticized the hourlong season finale of the American Office on his blog Friday, writing, "If you're going to jump a shark, jump a big one."
Gervais, 49, is an executive producer on the U.S. adaptation and guest-starred earlier this season, reprising his character David Brent in a scene with Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Although he said he is "very proud" of the U.S. format, he took aim at how long Carell's version has been on the air. Only 14 episodes were made of the British Office, while the American Office just passed 150 episodes.
"I assume most people know I didn't do the U.S. remake for the art," he wrote. "I did my version for the art. That's why I stopped it after a few hours of telly."
Despite his own appearance on the season finale (via Skype), Gervais called Warren Buffett's cameo "mental" and said the finale reminded him of the Chris Martin episode of Extras (in which a celebrity cameo is awkwardly forced into the series).
"I would never ever in a million years take a permanent role in the show as an actor," Gervais wrote. "You don't start a company to work on reception."
Several hours later, Gervais clarified his earlier comments, saying he was simply pointing out the differences between the U.K. and U.S. versions. "Sorry, who dissed The Office finale? I f------ didn't, that's for sure," he wrote. "I simply said it's different to the original which I created and made with different ambitions. What's wrong with that?"
Gervais also said he was only making fun of himself when he discussed his cameo, and said he didn't mean to criticize the series. "The bit about it 'jumping the shark' and being like Chris Martin in Extras was meant to be a little self deprecating in-joke," he wrote. "I myself, did a fun but pointless, over-hyped cameo in the episode too remember. ... I certainly wasn't dissing anyone involved more than myself."
Added Gervais of the NBC series: "I wouldn't knock it. It's still my show. All I said was I do it for different reasons. That is simply what they call the truth."
Do you think The Office has jumped the shark?