I didn’t start watching the US version of The Office until the fifth season and that was only because I needed something to fill my Hulu queue. I’d been interested in picking up the previous seasons on DVD for ages and the online service finally gave me a (free) reason to get into the series. I hate TV, but I love The Office. Loved The Office, really.
But for long-term fans, probably there to see Steve Carell start the show off having rolling onto the cast from movie star success – and rolling off the show seven years later to much less success – The Office has already grown long and tiring. Even as I began watching the show, the cat-callers were begging for season six to be the last one, please be the last one. I didn’t see that then, but I do now. let’s take a lovable cast of characters and put them in a single static set, the titular desk farm, and just kinda go at it. It was great to fall in love with Jim falling in love with Pam, or to see Michael’s blooming relationship with Holly get smudged up at every opportunity. But then Jim married Pam and we had the wedding and got kids and got boring. And Michael got with Holly in a very unexciting few episodes just to tie off that storyline. And Phyllis mentioned her husband was cheating on her and that thread never went anywhere.
And for every exciting idea came a boring one or a stupid one. Will Ferrell stepping in as new regional manager Deangelo Vickers as Steve was stepping out started fantastic and ended horribly with Ferrell reducing his performance to play himself. David Spader’s Robert California was a fantastic addition to the eighth season as Sabre’s new CEO, but then we spend half the season in meetings with David Koechner and an annoying British redhead who still plagues the series. Andy then loses his job because he spent too many episodes chasing Erin and subsequently started a paper company years after Michael, Pam, and Ryan had done it several levels better.
But everyone’s leaving The Office. They know the ship is heading for its decommissioning ceremony and whoever’s left is here to tie up things. From the premiere, we see Jim’s about to do something drastic, his first thing in years, Dwight is there to be that crazy ol’ beet farmer, the rest will simply fill space in the set while Andy continues to act like a child running the place. We have some new blood in Pete and Clark, the latter played by underemployed fratboy Clark Duke, but they’re throwaways, it’s the final season.
Maybe we all fall in and out of love with The Office at some point. That’s me at this point.
And I’ll be there for every last episode.