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February 14, 2014

The Samaritans: Kenyan television rolls out its NGO-bashing version of The Office.

I watch very little television of any kind. Even worse, I have a problem with people who do. On a normal day, I just think you don't need to have the thing on any longer than 30 minutes for the news. Exceptions are some sports events, some movies, much of HBO, and anything having to do with Parker Posey or Lee Remick. Generally, however, I think television is Bad.

I do like to check out TV in other countries; it can tell you some things. And so a few years ago in a Manchester hotel room I watched part of an episode of The Office, the original BBC mockumentary comedy series created by Brits Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in 2001. I thought it was brilliant. I had no idea, of course, that an American version had started airing in the states a few years before.

Since the original BBC show aired, there have been seven (7) versions of The Office: U.S., Germany, France, French-Canadian, Chile, Israel and Sweden. So you can see one version or another in about 85 countries.

And now it seems there is an eighth--out of Kenya. Called The Samaritans, the Kenyan version is about a dysfunctional NGO bent on saving Africa. The show, a satire of the world's international development community, is produced by Xeinium Productions and funded so far by Kickstarter and via its own website. The first African takeoff on The Office, the series is about the Kenya field office of an NGO called Aid for Aid which "does nothing". See yesterday's article and video in the Global Post.

kenya_samaritans_1 (1).jpg
Photo: Xeinium Productions

Posted by JD Hull at February 14, 2014 12:22 AM

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