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Friday, May 16, 2008

Has "The Office" lost its must-see cachet?

Having made the real office rounds this morning, the feeling amongst Dunder Mifflin-ites at the Press-Gazette is that last night's hour-long "Office" finale was a success. Maybe a shrug-of-the-shoulders success, but a success nonetheless.

It was enjoyable, funny, tied up loose-ends, featured Oscar-nominated Amy Ryan (Beadie from "The Wire!"), and perhaps most important for the super-sized installment, didn't drag like extended episodes in the past. With the good comes the bad, and I think we all could have done without a pregnant Jan showing her crazy mug. "Fun Uncle" Michael choosing surrogate daddy duty over more Yoda impressions, and heck even better, potential sex (perhaps featuring more Yoda impressions?) with his new HR rep, was probably a necessary plot direction for Season Five. But Jan's belly was just enough to remind us Levinson-Gould (no more Gould) haters that she was a destructive, tornado-like force in Season Four that didn't need to reappear anytime soon.

So with that being the lone complaint -- maybe a few minor quibbles, but nothing worth addressing here -- why does it feel like "The Office" has lost its must-see status? As I've addressed previously, our bloggers have been pretty hard on it post-strike. But we keep coming back, keep watching with a relatively high amount of interest, keep talking about it the next day. For me, I suppose I'm constantly waiting to be let down again, and I'm also thoroughly opposed to the plot-i-ness regarding its more strung out storylines. I realize that has to happen for an enduring show, but regardless, it's an issue I can't resolve internally.

Or maybe it's just confined to Jim -- and not the Jim-Pam relationship, don't misinterpret. Perhaps I saw a kindred spirit in Jim that I don't see anymore. I liked having that underdog to root for. Even his latest Schrute prank or the assertive play with Ryan -- eh, neither did much for me, though I enjoyed the mature conversation he had with Pam about her going away to design school.

But Dwight is still awesome. I'd totally hire Darryl's band to play my summer barbecue. And yeah, I'd watch an Andy Bernard spin-off (that is where they're heading with the Dwight-Angela romp-a-palooza, right?) in the fall.

And Michael. Sweet Michael. Steve Carell's facial expressions and child-like wonder while at Jim's desk, realizing for the first time how innocent flirtations work with the opposite sex ... well, it was one of the show's finest moments to date. That's the oblivious yet realistic Michael we all know and love. I just wish I didn't have to watch it while thinking to myself, "Wow, remember when they used to do stuff like that all the time?"

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



I did highly enjoy the Japanese version of The Office as shown on SNL's Digital Short. Classy.

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At May 18, 2008 at 7:54 PM  

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