Catherine Tate, she of the luxurious Titian hair and the vast comic talents, is making her debut on American network television tonight when she guest stars on NBC's one-hour season finale of The Office (9 EST/8 CST). Tate joins a large roster of comedians who are applying for the regional manager position recently vacated by Michael Scott (Steve Carell, who left to pursue a movie career), and I couldn't be more excited.
Tonight's other guest stars vying for the job vacancy include Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, James Spader, Rickey Gervais and Will Arnett. These actors range from comedy superstars to cult fan faves (Hello, Gob Bluth!), and Tate is by far the least known to most Americans. However, Doctor Who watchers know Tate from her role as Donna Noble, the 10th Doctor's companion for a season. For a small, geeky segment of the American TV-viewing public, Tate is the No. 1 draw for tonight's episode.
If you're not a Doctor Who fan, here are a few samples of the comedy genius that is Catherine Tate from her UK sketch program The Catherine Tate Show. She is, to quote the Doctor, brilliant.
As for The Office, I have no idea who will land the regional manager job and anchor the show next season, although some reports indicate that producers are seriously considering Tate for the job. On one hand, Tate deserves a Carrey or Romano level of fame here in the U.S. On the other hand, she doesn't deserve to get stuck on a sitcom that's entering its eighth season and is wheezing through a painful decline. Plus, she's starring in Much Ado About Nothing with the 10th Doctor himself, David Tennant, on London's West End right now. I would hate to see anything interrupt that brilliant pairing, at least until I'm able to hop a flight to England and catch a performance.
|Tennant and Tate in Doctor Who.|
Seriously, she broke my heart in "Turn Left."
Incidentally, Tate is a comedian who also kills at drama. If you haven't seen her in the bleak Doctor Who episode "Turn Left," then you'll be surprised at her range and her subtlety. I desperately want her to catch on in the United States. We need more funny red-headed women with acting chops on this side of the pond.
So what do you think? Will Tate out-funny all those other funny guys tonight? If she does snag a full-time gig on The Office, how likely are you to tune in? And can I get any support for my opinion that Donna Noble was, in fact, the best of the Doctor's recent companions? (Hmm. Perhaps that should be its own post; Donna was a controversial and divisive character, and I loved her for that.)
In advance of tonight's episode, I'll leave you with one final clip, which Doctor Who fans will adore: