An end to one of the more iconic and influential television shows, ever.
Eight years and nine seasons after the first time Michael Scott uttered the words “that’s what she said,” the doors of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company have closed.
Was it the best show ever? No. Was it one of the best comedies of all time? Possibly, but that still remains to be seen. Did it capture the hearts of America every Thursday for a solid seven seasons ? Yes. Then, did it pump out a crap eighth season, to which most people thought the show had run it’s course and maybe it wasn’t that great after all? Maybe. It had it’s moments; James Spader was solid but a weird addition that took the show to a dark places – mainly because that’s what Spader does. Then the rumbles began and anyone with a clue figured the ninth season would be it’s final season.
Being the first in American television to be filmed like a documentary, with a cast of semi-celebrities and solid character actors. The Office started with terrible ratings and was criticized for being a rip-off of the original English version of the same title. Six episodes for the first season is usually a death knell for any sitcom – just ask Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 or Go On – even the original only lasted two seasons and a series finale special. Which is usually the norm with English Television if you’re not Dr. Who or more recently Downton Abbey. The American Office lasted as long as shows like Friends or Seinfeld. Only two of the greatest and most influential comedies of all time. Is The Office on the same level as those comedies ? After a near-perfect season finale, it may be safe to say, yeah, yeah it is.
The Office, unlike Seinfeld, was about something (no knock on Seinfeld, but let’s face it, it claimed it was a show about nothing), it was – like Friends – about love, and how relationships can grow in the most simple of places, like an office. We watched for four seasons as the romance between John Krasinski’s and Jenna Fischer’s characters of Jim and Pam sat in limbo. Then we laughed and cried when Jim finally popped the question in season five at a roadside gas station in the, ever so cliché, pouring rain and as we found out Pam was pregnant we almost felt that these characters were good friends of ours. That we’s be expecting invitations to a baby shower soon.
The entire show was just as in depth and open to you as the characters were with one another. Every season revolved around a love story – whether it was Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) and Holly (Amy Ryan), Darryl (Craig Robinson) and the lady in the warehouse (I can’t for the life of me find the actress or character name), Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey), Andy Bernard (Ed Healms) and Erin (Ellie Kemper), or the ever classic Ryan (B.J. Novak) and Kelly (Mindy Kaling). The whole show was about relationships between people and the perseverance of love.
It was also about all the ridiculous things you could pull off in an officer setting. Some of the greatest moments revolved around Dwight. Starting with a stapler in Jello (also happened in the original) to the gift of the bazooka that Jim gives Dwight for his “Gutenprank” (bachelor party). It’s hard to sum up with words some of the better moments.
In the series finale, everything is wrapped up with a pretty little bow. Taking place a year after the documentary aired, everyone is still where they last were, Jim and Pam still work in the office, Dwight is Regional Manager, Jim is Assistant to the Regional Manager, Stanley is retiring, Kevin and Tobey are fired during said retirement, and Andy is an embarrassed internet sensation because of his emotional breakdown during his audition for “America’s Next Acapella Sensation”. I won’t get into any spoilers for the sake of myself. But, there are two things I’m going into next that can be viewed as spoilers.
The return of Michael Scott was amazing. Carrell said two lines the entire time, “That’s what she said,” and “I feel like all my kids grew up and they married each other… It’s every parents dream.” The latter he mutters through tears as Dwight, Angela, Pam, and Jim are in the background of his interview. Perfect doesn’t even begin to describe that as the final sequence for the character. The ignorance and genuine love in his statement is a fitting send off to one of the pantheon bosses to grace our television screens.
The ending of Ryan and Kelly, too was a fitting end to one of the funnier underlining storylines in the show. Like the Bizarro Jim and Pam, Kelly and Ryan were more comparable to a nightmare than the dream that was their opposites. With them abandoning a baby and fleeing hand-in-hand while Ryan lets loose a cry that he’s “MASTERED COMMINTMENT!” is easily one of the more extreme and fitting ends to an unnoticed television romance; that can easily run with the likes of Sam and Diane, Rachel and Ross and now Jim and Pam.
When all is said and done, it’s hard to get truly emotional when a television show ends. I’m sure that many people shed a tear throughout the years watching The Office – I felt my eyes well up a little when Michael returned in the Finale – as did people when Rachel came through the door and didn’t get on the plane. But, as Kevin, one of the best characters in the office said, “If there is one thing that I’ve learned through this whole experience, it’s that if you film anybody long enough, they’ re going to do something stupid. It’s only human natural.”
And whether it was the at-times awful season eight, or all the great seasons before it and even the rollercoaster that was the final season. It was ‘human natural’ to want to be in the same universe as these characters. No matter what you did, you wished that you too could have it as simple as these people did. And every week once a week, you were able to escape to this world of simplistic love and optimistic ideals. Now we’re just left empty, yearning for more….
That’s what she said.