The Day The Office Died; When and Why I Think it Jumped the Shark
January 31, 2011 § 4 Comments
If you know me even a little, you know that I can quote literally every episode of The Office from Season 1-4, and some bits of 5 & 6. If you’ve ever visited my dorm room, you would probably be surprised if the show was not playing on my tiny television. After singing me a round of Happy Birthday one year at an XA meeting, I quoted Michael Scott’s speech from Season 2 when Jim Halpert gave him a yogurt-gold-olympics medal. I wrote an entire paper over it for my communications class, calling it an hilarious example of today’s American water cooler culture. You can ask quite a number of people where their first love of the show began, and I am certain it would be attributed to me.
Seasons 1-3 were hilarious. Pranks on Dwight were the highlights of the show; I waited wistfully for Jim and Pam to declare their love for each other, and the awkwardness of Michael Scott–such as when he accidentally outed Oscar–made me literally cringe. Season 4 was funny, and then the writer’s strike hit, and the show almost didn’t pull through until the finale when Holly was introduced and Toby was set to leave and Angela was caught cheating on Andy with Dwight. Season 5 was pure, magical comedy genius. The way it started normally and then Michael left to form his own company, Dwight and Jim almost switched positions, the episode that premiered after the superbowl is still my favorite all time episode, and at the finale, everything went back exactly the way it was before.
And then Pam got pregnant.
And the show died.
There are still funny bits, like the murder mystery game in Season 6, and the wedding episode was completely adorable–I laughed so hard when Michael presented his wedding present to the couple, and I loved how they danced down the aisle–and the love story of Andy and Erin was cute, though couldn’t compete with the story of Jim and Pam. I was terribly disappointed with the baby episode; it definitely did not tickle my fancy, and I found myself losing interest with the show altogether.
The genius of The Office was the juxtaposition of the outrageous characters Dwight and Michael with the normalcy of Jim and Pam all the while supported by crazy characters like Creed and Meredith and Kevin. But now Jim and Pam are married and parents, and they’re quite boring–hardly any pranks are played on Dwight and if they are, Dwight doesn’t seem to retaliate as much, and Pam is no longer the office “dud” which leaves no one to fill that spot. Andy is funny, but not funny enough to make me interested; Ryan got seriously weird; who cares about Gabe? I mean, besides Erin, and the so called “triangle” between them and Andy is weak, so very weak; Angela is no longer the office slut, so she’s not amusing; Kevin seemed to have got dumber, if that was even possible; and why the heck do they not have a love interest for Michael? And no, Holly isn’t it. She was done when she left the first time. It’s overkill for her to be back. As if the writers were grasping at straws for a plot line for the boss, and I’m convinced she’s going to be the “reason” Michael quits or whatever it is that happens for him to leave the show.
Which, what is that all about? No matter how terrible the show is right now, you CAN NOT have The Office without Michael Scott. That definitely doesn’t make sense.
I have the feeling that NBC just doesn’t know when to say when. You’re supposed to stop a show when everyone still loves it, that way we never remember the dark days of the comedy. I have issues with the channel, like when they premiered Parks and Recreation with a previous member of The Office and filmed it EXACTLY like how The Office was filmed. No. Bueno. The premise of the show being filmed as a documentary could’ve literally gone down in TV history as being one of the most genius ideas, but then NBC had to copy itself, and it will now go down as something overused.
I realize a lot of people will disagree with me, insisting that the show is still hilarious. And yeah, there are still some great one-liners, and some funny moments, but overall, the show is tired. It’s done. And I’m actually really mad at NBC for not having a better story line. Apparently everyone signed on for seven seasons, and NBC should’ve done a better job at creating a longer lasting storyline–Jim got the girl too early, prank ideas ran out real fast, and too many new characters were brought in, again, too fast.
NBC should revive it (to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive) like Fox did with House–most of Season 5 was atrocious, but so far Season 6 has been pleasant to watch–or they should let it rest in peace, while it can still be remembered as funny.
Either way, I’m out of good things to watch.