And I like ‘Hannibal.’
It’s been a long and, as of lately, uneven road for ‘The Office’. Fittingly, its series finale was largely representative of these recent struggles. But damn if it didn’t pay tribute to the show’s beauty and nuance over the last nine years.
Series finales are of course a tricky thing and rarely wholly satisfy the audience. Tonight, ‘The Office’ wisely forwent major plotting in order to give every character their fitting end. For some of the characters this was an excellent, touching service. Anger at how quickly they could dispose of Kevin turned to joy as they redeemed him with a new career. Stanley, Dwight and Oscar all got to pursue their dreams. As did Andy, in a strained yet fine redemption of a character that was practically decimated. (Though the viral star story seemed to broad and vague for the limited time it was given.) Pam finally makes it up to Jim after an elapsed period of time, though how she got to the point of being able to move on was pretty much glossed over.
On the other hand, certain character endings felt forced and unnecessary. Erin’s birth parents come ex machina to round out an aspect of her character I’m sure you forgot about. (Casting Ed Begley Jr and Joan Cusack was also distracting.) Though it was somewhat amusing, I didn’t need to see Ryan and Kelly go for it one more time — and mostly just felt bad for the kid that ended up with Nellie. Too much time was spent on these characters that were already long gone.
And then there’s Michael. Steve Carell’s cameo was one of the biggest things this finale got right. So right, in fact. From his two lines of dialogue (of course ‘that’s what she said’), to the brief glimpses into his current life. It was minor yet pitch perfect. It in no way ruined his last episode and only enhanced this finale. His final “That’s What She Said” may be the most memorable part of this episode.
The time jump, though not a misstep, seemed like a bit of backwards engineering to get to the wedding and the remaining characters to a place where they could move on. A parade of parties is nice when you want to see all the characters together at once, but it shined a light on the writers pulling the strings.
Addressing the documentary head on and having the characters discuss how it impacted their lives was superb though. It was the kind of interaction with the doc I wish they had been doing more of all season. Regardless, it brought things appropriately full circle and created some genuinely stirring, deeply emotional call backs and statements on what the series stood for. It all amounted to something.
Which is why I’m lamenting the fact that this series finale compared to the pantheon of great finales seemed devoid of that iconic moment. I’m referring to the one memorable image that most great finales have. Sam Malone shutting off the lights. Tony and his family at the diner. Chandler, Ross, Monica, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe all dropping off their keys on the counter. Where is ‘The Office’ finale’s memorable shot? Is it Pam taking the painting off the wall? Is it the reveal of the mural? (Which didn’t linger long enough in my opinion.) Or was it Michael appearing in the door way and saying ‘that’s what she said’? The feelings were all there definitely, but maybe ‘The Office’s iconic finale moment wasn’t in the finale. Maybe it was Michael taking off his mic and asking if the doc would ever air? Or perhaps Jim proposing at a gas station in the rain? Or Jim and Pam’s first kiss?
As the finale more than showed, ‘The Office’s legacy will likely be none of these and all of these — a collection of beautiful moments both big and small.
It’s okay to admit if you had tears.
This was kind of, no, completely amazing.
Floor plan for The Office (via gregrutter)
‘The Office’ ends its historic and influential 9-season run tonight. Keeping in this new tradition I’ve created I’m going to reblog my favorite ‘Office’ posts from over the years throughout the day.
‘The Office’, it’s going to be very hard without you.
Another day, another conflicting report. I for one didn’t buy the denial last week. But at this point if he does or doesn’t show up, it’s going to be anticlimactic either way.
First Look: ‘The Office’ Series Finale | TV Line
NBC Reveals Description and Guest Stars for THE OFFICE Series Finale:
NBC has released the official description of the series finale for The Office, featuring confirmation of guest stars (sorry, no Michael Scott) and an unveiling that the hour will use a time jump:
05/16/2013 (09:00PM - 10:01PM) (Thursday) : THE OFFICE SAYS GOODBYE IN ITS ONE HOUR SERIES FINALE - GUEST STARRING MINDY KALING, BJ NOVAK, RACHAEL HARRIS, DAKOTA JOHNSON, JOAN CUSACK, ED BEGLEY JR., MALCOLM BARRETT, MATT JONES, ANDY BUCKLEY, MIKE SCHUR, BOBBY RAY SHAFER
Months after the airing of the documentary, the workers of Dunder Mifflin, past and present, gather for a wedding and a final round of interviews. Mysteries are solved, hatchets are buried, pranks are prunked.
Also starring Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Catherine Tate, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nuñez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Clark Duke, and Jake Lacy.
I’m not convinced Michael Scott won’t be appearing.
It was hard to get a full idea of what the Dwight-centric ‘Farm’ was going to be from the truncated version that aired as an A story in tonight’s ‘Office’, but based on what we saw there was definitely some potential.
The farm scenes weren’t full of jokes as they were likely getting out a lot of exposition, but immediately it felt like a kinder, brighter, more heartfelt program than ‘The Office.’ Not all of the cast was immediately believable as part of the Schrute family or farmspeople for that matter, but it was something that could have been eased into. The template was there for a charming, different kind of a show. Though, it’s easy to see why NBC didn’t go forward with it, as their comedy rebranding is trying to stray from the old quirky-quality-one-camera model.
Now as for the decision to air it cut up into an ‘Office’ episode. That was a huge mistake. For one, the story line made absolutely no sense. Instead of giving a semblance of a cohesive story about Dwight’s family, it was a jumbled mess of scenes that were vaguely connected. The office-focused plotline, while extreme, at least had jokes and humor, ‘The Farm’ just sucked the life out of the episode and became mostly jarring in transition.
Bold experiment, but probably not the best way to do it. And considering it’s so late in the series run of ‘The Office’, I can’t help but feel that this episode would have been more productive focused elsewhere — such as moving it towards its end game or repairing the damage done to Andy.