Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Office - This is going to hurt like a motherfucker

Remember March 24, 2005? I had just had my 14th birthday and The Office was premiering. We were introduced to a number of characters. Now it's April 2011 and we are gearing up to say goodbye to one of the most beloved television characters of all time, which is strange. It's not strange that Steve Carrell is leaving, his contract is up and he thinks he's done all he can with the character. Fair enough. It's strange that we've come to love him as much as we do. He was not a likable character in the early seasons of the show. He was offensive and rude and unaware of who inappropriate he was. He was a "friend first, boss second and probably entertainer third." It seemed like he was only interested in being liked. That changed, at least for me, in Booze Cruise. Michael and Jim were talking about Pam and Jim was feeling bad about never being able to be with her because she's engaged. Michael inspires confidence in Jim (and America) by saying "BFD, engaged ain't married." and the sexual tension between Jim and Pam was back on track. JIm and Pam were such an integral part of the show in the beginning, but it's become very obvious that they are not good or interesting people. We made the mistake of thinking they were interesting in seasons 1-3 because they had a good, relatable story. In Koi Pond, which was probably one of my least favorite episodes of the show, Jim is caught letting Michael fall into a koi pond. My first thought when that happened was "But Jim's such a nice guy." He isn't though. While his pranks in the early season are funny and he's a good straight man to the increasingly over-the-top Dwight, he does not like his position at Dunder-Mifflin. "If this were my career, I'd have to throw myself in front of a train." Well, Jimothy, you have advanced in this company and worked there for at least seven years. Now, being married and a father, Jim has come to accept his job as a career, as predicted by Ryan was back when. "Jim has worked at the same place for five years. Jim eats the same ham and cheese sandwich everyday for lunch. I don’t know. If I were a betting man, I’d say he will have a fun weekend in Philadelphia." In the most recent episode, in which Erin (who is the greatest addition to the cast since Andy Bernard!) contemplates breaking up with Gabe. When Jim leaves the conversation he says "I'm sorry. That just... wasn't interesting to me." Pam isn't as rude a person as Jim, she's just boring. That's not to say I don't like these characters, they're nice when they need to be, but The Office isn't Parks & Rec. I don't get excited whenever any and all characters walk on screen. Instead it's like "Oh, it's Jim. Oh, it's Pam. Oh, It's Dwight." I don't expect anyone to be hilarious whenever they're in a scene. Except Creed, but he very rarely has lines. What's great about The Office is the interactions between the characters. Obviously, the early seasons were full of pranks between Jim and Dwight, but as Jim matured he didn't do that as much. He is now more interested in providing for his child and boring wife. There is a quote on Pam's wikipedia page from Jenna Fischer about her audition; "Don't make yourself all pretty, and dare to bore me with your audition. Those were her words. Dare to bore me." Maybe she's become more interesting in the last seven seasons, but I can't think of anything she's done that is terribly memorable. The Finer Things club was a collaboration between her, Toby and Oscar. Her marriage to Jim was more Jim's doing than her's. He planned the secret boat trip and it was the rest of The Office that danced down the aisle. Once again, I don't hate her or Jim, they play very good straight men, but the show is interesting without them. But is it interesting without Michael? I think it can be. My favorite thing with Michael was his father/daughter relationship with Erin. Erin is so great, as previously mentioned. Her imminent story line with Andy is bound to happen next season, as they've been hinting at it this entire season. Early in this season there was a great scene with Erin and Andy after his performance in Sweeney Todd. I can't remember exactly what they talked about, but it was nice to see the chemistry between them. Andy is also great. When he first came on it was very strange to have this new character (and Karen) it took me a while to accept him. I thought he was just some lame dude coming onto the show so late in it's run, back when three seasons was as many seasons as the Office had had. Now we're almost done with season 7 and he is one of the best characters. Andy is great because he can be both the straight man and the cooky character. Darryl is also great, as is Creed, as is Angela, as is Phyllis, as is Stanley, as is Toby, as is Kelly, as is Ryan, as is Meredith, as Dwight can be. It would be nice to see someone from The Office be promoted. My vote would go to Jim because they've been teasing the fact that Jim will never leave since the very beginning.

Jim: I don't think I'll be here in 10 years,
Michael: That's what I said... that's what she said.
Jim: That's what who said?
Michael: I never know - I just say it. I say stuff like that, y'know to lighten the tension. When things sort of get hard.
Jim: That's what she said.
Michael: Hey - nice! Really good! Bravo my young ward.

Kelly has also been talked about as Michael's replacement. Which would be awesome. More Kelly = More Laffs. I think Andy would also be a good fit, personality wise. Both he and Michael really want to be liked, are upbeat and inept at being in charge. Although, Michael got better as the show went on and we don't really know about Andy's managerial skills. If they were to bring in someone new, I wouldn't mind seeing Will Ferrell stick around. He's been pretty good so far. I'm interested in seeing him without Michael. There will be at least one episode with Deangelo and without Michael. If Will Ferrell doesn't stay on, I'd like to see Ricky Gervais come in as David Brent. While the cold open with him and Michael Scott was nice, there was practically no substance there. It was just riffing, until David Brent said "Do you have any job openings?" Then it seemed like he might come back at some point. Apparently he is. All of the news sources are saying that David Brent will return in one of the final episodes of this season, probably for an interview, which would be a great scene if that's all it is. If no big names are becoming the new boss (and if there even is going to be a new boss) a correspondant from The Daily Show would be good. It seems like a natural progression. Steve Carrell came from The Daily Show to The Office gracefully, as did Ed Helms. Perhaps Jason Jones? I'd also like to note that I accurately guessed Michael's departure way back when in July of last year. Although, I did guess, like, four scenarios. Shut up! Nobody asked you! Here's my great assumption.
Anyway, I'm probably going to cry when Michael finally leaves.

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