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SERIES FINALE REVIEW: The Office “Finale” S9 E23

“Christmas Party” was the first episode of the The Office I’d ever seen.   Followed by “The Injury.”   Both were Season 2 episodes.  I only started watching The Office because my husband saw “The Injury” on a plane and thought it was both bizarre and funny at the same time but that I had to watch.    I watched these two episodes thinking this is the dumbest and strangest show I’ve ever seen.  But we both thought, to be fair, let’s watch it from the beginning to understand what the hell is going on.   So we bought Season 1 and spent an entire Saturday watching this show and laughing our asses off.   By then, we were hooked.

Over the course of 9 seasons, The Office has had some amazing episodes and some not so great episodes (as many series do.)  It created one of the greatest, most realistic love stories ever in TV…Jim and Pam.  It gave one of the top 50 characters in TV history…Michael Scott.  It made us care about this wacky group of people in a way I never thought I would.  I remember watching the finale thinking that I was so happy to get confessionals from every character on the show.  Even fringe characters like Meredith and Creed, I loved hearing how their stories wrapped up.    Not many shows can pull that off where you honestly care about each and every person.   Even annoying Kevin!  I was so happy to see that after he was fired he ended up buying a bar and having a really happy ending!  But over 9 years and 187 episodes, these people became part of our family, our TV family.   Even as characters came and went, other than Michael, our core stayed through to the end and it was nice to see everything wrapped up so beautifully.

Series finales are hard to do.  Especially when the show has been on as long as The Office has.   There are huge expectations.   You want story lines wrapped up.  You want people who deserve happy endings to receive them and people who deserve to be punished to get their comeuppance.  You want questions answered.   You want people who should be together, finally together.   You want something momentous, rewarding, and sensational but yet still stay true to the nature of the show and the characters.  And most of all, you want closure for you but also to know that the characters you leave behind are still doing well and moving on in their lives, even though you are no longer there to witness it.    For me, that’s a quintessential finale.   And it’s so hard to do, especially when you have very little time to do it.   The Office finale was probably the BEST series finale I’ve seen in a long time.    It had everything you want to see and nothing felt rushed or forced.   For a comedy, it had its goofy, silly moments, but in true The Office form, it had its heart-warming moments as well. It was, dare I say, perfect.  I laughed, I cried, I cried harder, I laughed again.   At the end of that show, I was so content with what I had just seen because it was exactly what I wanted.   And because I got a little taste of everyone, I didn’t feel cheated.    But the hands down, best moment of the show, was seeing Michael Scott return as Dwight’s best man.  Even now I’m tearing up writing this because it was a phenomenal moment.  And not just because I really didn’t think Steve Carell was coming back.   It was because John Kransinski, Rainn Wilson, and Steve Carell knocked that simple scene out of the park.  It was so touching to see these men, who have given each other such grief over the years, come together as friends and be there for one another…it was amazing.    There was so much talk about whether or not Carell would or should return for the finale.  The last I read, he wasn’t because he felt he already had his send off and didn’t want to distract from the rest of the cast. Class act as always Steve Carell!   But I stopped reading about the finale because if he did show up, I didn’t want to know about it.   And I’m so glad I made that executive decision because it made his reveal that much sweeter.  I literally gasped out loud when he was standing there and burst into tears….especially seeing Dwight’s reaction and getting one last “that’s what she said!”   And it was perfectly handled because it wouldn’t have been right to have the finale without Michael Scott but he was also understated enough so that he didn’t overshadow the cast, but we got just enough Michael to be completely satisfied.    Again, perfection.

There were so many relationships that developed on this show.  Some were more front and center like Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela, Darryl and Jim’s friendship.  But it was some of the unspoken friendships that developed that was so nice to see highlighted.   For example, Stanley and Phyllis.  Here were two people who worked together for 15-20 years.  They sat across from one another for 15-20 years.   Even though we didn’t see it every week, these two were great friends.  To see the genuine embrace between them when they hadn’t seen each other in over a year, was so nice.   To watch Phyllis sit with the new rep in Stanley’s chair and feed him baked goods so she could fatten him like, like she did with Stanley was great.   But what got me was parlaying the hysterical idea that Stanley now lives in a shack on the Everglades in Florida carving birds out of wood, into this touching moment where Phyllis bursts into tears because he made a wood carving that looked exactly like her.   It was simple moments like that which really highlighted the connections between these characters that developed over the years.  Was it something we watched week after week….yes and no.  Yes and no because it was so subtle, we didn’t realize we were watching it until the finale.   The same could be said for Oscar and Angela.  They both drove each other crazy over the years and talk about two completely different personalities.   Highlighting the fact that Oscar was having an affair with Angela’s husband!   But strangely enough, that experience brought them even closer together.   In the penultimate episode, Oscar could see how broken Angela was and in a beautiful moment of kindness, extends his home for her and Philip to live in until she can get her feet under her again.   And when she reached out and put her hand on top of his, I lost it.   It was just that simple gesture that spoke so loudly about her feelings for what Oscar was offering to her.   I loved it.  And I loved seeing that continue even after Dwight and Angela were married with Oscar being Philip’s godfather!

But I think the friendship that was most beautiful to see come full circle, was the friendship between Jim, Dwight, and Pam….mostly Jim and Dwight.   Jim explained it perfectly.  He never hated Dwight.   He never wanted anything bad to happen to him.  He razzed him the way you would razz your brother.  And when it came down to it, he loved Dwight for who he was.   Dwight, we always knew, secretly had a man crush on Jim and even though he hated when Jim got the better of him, which was most of the time, he loved him for it too because he felt like he was in with him.  Over the course of the series, we saw their true feelings towards one another pop out because when something serious was going down, they leaned on each other and protected each other.  I think it’s also why Dwight considers Pam his best friend.  Because even though Jim would play countless tricks on Dwight and Pam would be complicit, she never wanted to hurt Dwight.   And when Dwight was going off the deep end really annoying his counterparts to the point no one liked him, Pam always stuck by him.   There were many times Pam believed in him when no one else did and he knew that.  Just as Michael always wanted to be their best friend, so did Dwight.   And in many ways, he was.

I can’t wrap up this review yet until I’ve spent some time on just Jim and Pam.   We watched their relationship grow over 9 years from best friends, to unrequited feelings, to an awkward but beautiful first kiss, to the beginning of a relationship, to an engagement, marriage, and children.   They were America’s ideal couple.   Then we hit season 9 and Jim and Pam hit a rough patch.   He was working for a start-up company in Philly and commuting back and forth from Scranton.  She felt all alone and abandoned at Dunder Mifflin and raising their 2 kids.  I really wasn’t sure where the show was going with this…especially with Brian the camera man lurking around and having obvious feelings for Pam.   I hoped they weren’t going down the affair route.  It wouldn’t have felt right.   And I hated watching Jim and Pam fight and be angry with one another.  I hated it.   Most especially, I hated seeing this couple who could have entire conversations by just looking at one another and knowing exactly what the other was thinking, being reduced to therapy speak.    “I appreciate” this or “to speak my truth” that.   What?   Are you kidding me?    This is what Jim and Pam is going to be reduced to?  But then a light went off.   We are getting to watch Jim and Pam remind, not only each other, but the audience, why they fell in love in the first place.  We get to see them fall in love all over again.   And because they have been the most real relationship on the show from day one, it would only make sense that this new job opportunity for Jim would put a strain on them.   It wouldn’t have made sense if it didn’t.   So we got to see that angst and then we got to see the payoff.   We got to see Jim and Pam flashbacks in the smartest way possible, in a video tribute to her so Jim could show how she is not only enough for him, but his everything.   It was a perfect way to be able to give the fans those flashbacks to our favorite moments yet still keep it within the context of the show.  In the end, Pam decided there is no way Jim is giving this up for her and sells their house without telling him (because, well, he bought the house without telling her) and they decide to move to Austin so Jim can work full-time for Athleap.   She finishes her mural, which is the story of the people of Dunder Mifflin, and Jim and Pam will live happily ever after….as they should.

In the end, all is right with the world.   Michael Scott is still married to Holly and they have lots of kids (which he needs two phones for all the pictures), Jim and Pam are together, happy, and moving to Austin to work with Darryl, Dwight is now regional manager of the Scranton branch (as well as the assistant to the assistant to the regional manager) and is married to the love of his life Angela and we officially learn that Phillip is really his son, Oscar is running for State Senator, Stanley is retired and divorced and living in Florida, Phyllis is still at Dunder Mifflin and still married to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, Erin found her birth parents and is still together with Plop, Andy is working for Cornell University, Meredith got her PhD (which she was going to school for the whole time), Toby is living in NYC with 6 roommates, Kelly left her pediatrician boyfriend to run away with Ryan (who by the way left said baby with the pediatrician,) as a result Nellie, takes the baby back to Poland with her and she now has the child she was always searching for, Kevin owns a bar, and Creed is going to jail!

Finally, I loved the way they wrapped up the documentary element.  I always wondered how they would do it.   I like the fact that they were smart enough to know that since the viewing of the documentary was in the penultimate episode, it wouldn’t make sense for the camera crew to be there for the finale.  It’s actually the first thing I said to my husband.  But they got around it by doing a time jump and saying they were there for a follow-up and retrospective with the Dunder Mifflin crew on being a part of the documentary, which they’re filming for the DVD.   And because the series was filmed this way, it was great for the cast to be able to say what they really feel about their show and do it in the context of speaking about the documentary.    I think the best line of the finale was when Andy/Ed Helms said “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days while it was going on instead of after they were over.”  You could see the way he was getting choked up that it was probably more an Ed Helms comment, than Andy Bernard.

I will miss The Office.  I know the last few seasons weren’t great and the show really went down hill after Michael left, but I don’t care.   I will miss The Office and all the people involved in the show.  I also want to commend the cast for heading out to the real Scranton, PA and spending time with the people of Scranton and thanking them for their good-natured sense of humor and their support of the show.   I thought it was awesome that they would all do that and take the time to not only say goodbye to us a viewers, but their second community of Scranton.     From top to bottom, the end of the series was handled magnificently and I can’t wait to watch The Office on Netflix, on syndication, on my DVDs, for many years to come.

What did you guys think of The Office series finale?

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in NBC, Season Finales, Series Finale

 

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James Spader Joins The Office

Ugh.  This is good news and bad news.  The bad news is, James Spader has signed on to be the new office manager on Season 8 of The Office.   The good news is, it will be short-lived because he has his sights set for the CEO position which he will get.   Therefore we still need to find a replacement for Michael Scott.   Which I still believe, is impossible.

As you can probably tell, I’m not the biggest James Spader fan.  I can appreciate that he’s a good actor but for some reason, he just rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe it’s the fact that every role he’s in, he comes off as so completely arrogant and obnoxious that I equate his characters with him.  Not fair, I know, but it’s the truth.   I was already concerned about filling Michael’s shoes, and this casting doesn’t have me very optimistic.  But like I mentioned above it’s not permanent so I guess I can see how it goes.

What do you think The Office fans?   Do you like the casting or not?

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Casting News, NBC

 

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REVIEW: The Office “Goodbye, Michael” S7 E22

Season 2, Episode 10: “Christmas Party.”    That was the very first episode of The Office that I ever watched.  I remember my husband coming home from a business trip and he told me about this funny show he watched on the plane called The Office.  We decided to watch “Christmas Party” and while my husband found it hilarious, I remember thinking…”this is the dumbest and wackiest show I have ever seen.”  I didn’t know the characters or the premise or why the boss was such a jackass.  So my husband suggested we get Season 1 to put it in context.   We got the DVD and had a marathon Saturday.  I have been a fan ever since!!!

I must admit, I haven’t been as much of a fan during Seasons 6 & 7 because I think the show has lost a little something.  It hadn’t been as funny or engaging and I think at times, it was being off the wall just for the sake of being off the wall.   It also started to take Michael Scott’s character into more of a caricature than a character (which struck me as funny when Michael ripped up Kevin’s picture and told him to never be a caricature!)   But “Goodbye, Michael” reminded us why we fell in love with Michael Scott (and therefore Steve Carell) in the first place…underneath that insane and manic exterior lies a really good man with a huge heart who only ever wanted to love and be loved and have people accept him for who he is.

Steve Carell is one of the most underrated actors and comedians.  Michael Scott is arguably one of the most challenging roles to play and I think it’s very easy for a character like him to go off the rails quickly to being unlikable and unwatchable.   Even to the point that you can’t watch the show.  Michael Scott could have turned into one of the most hated and annoying characters of all time.  Now you’re probably thinking “but at one point or another, he was all of those things.”  And you would be right.  But the trick is to do it to the point that it actually enhances the show instead detracts from it and keeps you coming back to see what he will say and do next.  Most importantly, you need to show that character as someone deeper than the nut job you constantly see.   That is what Steve Carell was able to do so brilliantly.  He was able to deliver and unbelievably insane character at times with such heart and spirit that even though you wanted to crawl under a desk out of embarrassment for him at times, you also wanted to hug him for his always wanting to believe the best in people (except Toby.)  Carell let you see the damaged Michael and the broken Michael and also the Michael that genuinely cared for the people who worked for him.  The line between funny and quirky vs. annoying and bizarre is very slight with a character like this.  I think Carell was able to perfectly balance the two, which isn’t easy to do.

As for the episode itself, I thought it was perfect.  It was funny (Oscar and his doll and Michael’s reaction), it was touching (Erin, Jim, and Pam’s final good-byes with Michael), it had some great moments (Dwight reading Michael’s letter and Michael tearing up in the break room realizing he doesn’t want to leave), and it gave us long time viewers some flashes to the past (Michael wanting to use the bailer and Ping.)  I don’t think this episode could have been handled any better.  I was also happy that Will Ferrell was put on the back burner for this episode.  He certainly wasn’t forgotten about but he was put aside for the sake of the episode solely focusing on Michael.

Michael had a list.  There were people he needed to say good-bye to before he left for Colorado.  We learn he is saying all his good-byes today but he isn’t leaving until tomorrow.  I like how he went from person to person to give them a gift or have one last conversation with them.  I also like that everyone stayed true to character.  Kelly was annoyed by Michael, Stanley really had no time for him, etc.  Although for the sake of time, he had to say good-bye to Gabe, Creed, and Meredith together.  I must say, I was surprised he gave Toby a one-on-one good-bye.  But I also loved how as awful Michael has always been to him, he still offered to set his brother up to help him get acclimated to Boulder.  I choose to believe that while Michael wanted no part of hanging out with Toby’s brother, he was also very touched by the gesture.  As Michael says good-bye, he crosses those people off his list.  For me, there were a few good-byes that really stood out:

Oscar

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard watching The Office.  First when he pulled out the doll/scarecrow, it made me laugh for its sheer patheticness.  But the kicker was Michael’s reaction. The way he was laughing at the gift he gave Oscar, made me bust out laughing.  I am one of those people who when I see someone laughing really hard at something, I can’t help but laugh with them…even if it isn’t funny to me.  But this was a double dose of funny to me and hysterical watching someone crack up that much.   I watched it several more times and it got funnier every time.  That will be one of those You Tube clips (when I can find it, that will make me laugh whenever I need it!)

Erin

I’ve always loved Michael and Erin’s relationship.  I found it interesting that he always thought the things she said and did were slightly strange (has he ever listened to himself) and therefore felt the need to protect her to some degree.  He was like a big brother to her and their last moment was just like that.  He told her that she was beautiful and smart and that when she found true love, she would know it.  He also told her to call him anytime.  “Extension 417” she said.  When he thought she was serious she told him she was just kidding and he kissed her head and walked away.  It was so sweet.

Dwight

This really wasn’t a good-bye as much as it was Dwight finally getting what he always wanted from Michael…a best friend and acknowledgment.  While Michael was always so busy trying to be Jim’s best friend, Dwight was always trying to be Michael’s.  Dwight in many ways was Michael’s wing man.   The Goose to his Maverick.  But there were many times, he didn’t get that reassurance.  He also never got the attention and the breaks that Jim got.  Michael was always hard on Dwight where Jim was the golden boy…the probably the main reason Dwight always hated Jim so much.   But in this episode, Dwight finally got his confirmation of respect and friendship.  And Rainn Wilson played the scene perfectly.  When he paused during the part where it talked about all the things that made Dwight superlative, the change in his face brought me to tears.  It was so touching.  And then in typical The Office fashion, at the most emotional moment, the funny breaks out, because Michael asked Dwight to meet him for a private paintball battle.  Dwight was so excited and I found it hilarious that he had all the equipment needed already in the back of his car!!!  They had their fight and Michael, with a huge smile on his face, crosses Dwight off his list.

Pam

Michael has always loved Pam.  Not in a romantic way but in a “you’re the heart and soul of this office and I love you for it” way.   And in her own way, Pam loved Michael too.  I think it took her many years to come around to Michael, but she was one of the first people to really see a different side to him.  She was one of the first people, he let in.   So after a while, Pam was able to put the craziness in perspective because she knew who was underneath all that.  She always had his back and there were times she would support him when no one else would.  That didn’t go unnoticed by Michael which is another reason he was so crazy about her.  The only thing that was slightly disappointing was how predictable her good-bye was.  You knew she wasn’t going to be in the office when he left.  But as soon as his cab pulled out and her car pulled in, you knew she was going to chase him down in the airport.  There was no way in hell, Michael would leave without saying good-bye to Pam.   And even though I knew it was coming, it still made me burst into tears when I saw her run in with her shoes off and hug him good-bye.  The best part, there was no mic so we couldn’t hear what they said to each other.  I loved that.  I know there was some debate over the lack of mic for that exchange but I love it.  It was their own private moment that Pam tearfully relayed to us and she watched his plane take off.

Jim

This is the one that killed me the most.  Probably because I felt like I was watching John Krasinski and Steve Carell getting emotional over saying good-bye to each other vs. Jim Halpert and Michael Scott.  I felt that those two men’s emotions were very real in that scene.  This was probably my second favorite relationship on the series (behind Jim and Pam of course!!)  Jim always gave Michael a hard time and he knew exactly what buttons to push on Michael.  But he was never mean or malicious.  It was always in good fun.  As I said before, Michael always thought that he and Jim were best friends.  And in many ways, Jim was his best friend.  Jim knew how to talk to Michael when no one else could.  He knew how to calm him down when needed, fire him up when needed, and advise him when needed.  If there was one person Michael needed to go to for real advise, it would be Jim.  Even in their last scene he asked him, “am I doing the right thing.”  As usual Jim was there to guide him and give him strength…”Absolutely!”   Jim was always the most perceptive person in the room.  And on Michael’s last day, he was the only who could figure out that Michael was leaving at the end of this day and not the next day.  So he went in to see him and made sure that he told him what a great boss he turned out to be.  “The best boss I ever had.”   I just burst out crying and couldn’t stop.  If you could see me now, you would see it’s happening again.  They shook hands, wished each other well and Michael went down to grab his cab.

I also want to make one final comment about the break room scene.  Michael is eating lunch by himself when Jim, Pam, Kevin, and Oscar come in to have lunch.  Jim asks him to join them but he says he almost finished but thanks.  Pam starts talking about how she is going to town to price paper shredders and Kevin is glad because the last one stunk because it wouldn’t shred magazines.  Pam tells him they aren’t supposed to shred magazines and Kevin tells her that he knows that.   Michael watches the whole thing and he looks into the camera and we see him start to cry.  He goes into his office and loses it.  He doesn’t want to go because he won’t be able to find his favorite TV channels and he refuses to start improv at the bottom if his credits don’t transfer.  But we know why he really doesn’t want to go…the people.   He calls Holly to tell her he isn’t coming and that he can’t do this.  As soon as he hears her voice (her Yoda voice) he is reminded not only why he loves her so much, but why he is leaving in the first place….he wants to start his life with her.  As he finishes his call with her, back to being sure about his decision, she tells him she will see him later when she picks him up at the airport and that’s when we find out he is really leaving that day and not the next day.  It was a very touching scene and another testament to Carell and his ability to go from hysterical to sad to jovial to contentment.

I don’t know if The Office can make it without Michael Scott.  While I love Jim, Pam, Dwight, Andy, Phyllis, Oscar, Angela, and the rest of the cast, Michael Scott makes that show.  I’m sure Will Ferrell will do a fine job because he is a funny guy but DeAngelo is no Michael Scott and he is no Steve Carell.    It’s not fair to compare but it’s hard not to.  For many seasons, other than Jim and Pam, Michael is why I tuned into that show.  Michael’s chemistry and banter with the other characters is what I loved.   How can the show possibly go forward without him?   I guess we’ll have to see.

I want to thank Steve Carell for giving us almost 7 seasons of laughter and tears and for giving us one of the most memorial characters in TV history.  I don’t know how I will be able to The Office without you.  I wish you much luck in your future career and personal path…no matter where it takes you.  On a selfish, I really hope that someday soon, my TV will have you on it again.   Because nothing beats lying in bed and watching you entertain me every Thursday night!!!   (That’s what she said!)

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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NBC Renews Three Shows!!!!

Some NBC comedies got a very nice St Patty’s Day present.   Community, Parks and Recreation, and The Office have all been renewed for the 2011-2012 season.  No huge shockers here but The Office is a teeny tiny bit surprising considering this will be the first season without Steve Carell.  I guess NBC wants to see how the show will fare without him.  Makes perfect sense, I just wasn’t sure NBC was willing to take that chance.  But since most of their shows are awful and not getting renewed, it makes sense that they would keep a solid show….Michael Scott or no Michael Scott.

I guess this may not be good news for Perfect Couple and Outsourced that these were not renewed with the other shows.   And bubble shows like Chuck, Parenthood, and The Event are still waiting to hear their fates which may not come until the official announcements in May.  I think Parenthood is safe, I think The Event is gone, and Chuck, as always, is a toss-up.  I hope Chuck comes back and you know what, each season it finds a way to squeeze itself into the lineup.   But who knows.

Check out the 2011/2012 Cancel/Renew post which is being updated…………NOW!

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Breaking News, Renewed Shows

 

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Coming Attractions

I am still catching up on my DVRs.  I really should stop scheduling work events that interrupt my TV viewing.  Especially during premiere week!  People I work for, if you happen to have read that, I’m kidding!!!   (not really.)

So the last shows I have to watch and comment on are Glee, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, Survivor, Blue Bloods, and the Office.   Stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in ABC, CBS, NBC, Recaps and Reviews

 

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