The Office is often a depressing show. The characters have been built up over four seasons to the point where the audience truly cares about them. It is sometimes difficult to watch these people toil away in their dead-end jobs working for an incompetent (if not well-meaning) boss. Then, you kick yourself in the shins and realize it’s a show. But, then later you realize that The Office is probably more true to life than any other office setting in television history and that it actually is a little depressing. There are Michael Scotts and Jim Halperts and Pam Beesleys and Dwight Schrutes in the world, only the real ones don’t make people laugh; they just go home and get ready to go back to work the next day. Sorry for the Debbie Downer intro here – the first half of tonight’s Office episode made me think about these things. That probably wasn’t the writers’ intention.
Recap: Michael, Oscar, Darryl, and Pam go to a job fair at a local high school (Pam’s alma mater) to try and rope in a new unpaid intern for the summer. Jim takes Kevin and Andy to play golf with a prospective client. Dwight stays at the office and tries to keep the remaining employees from bailing early. The job fair goes poorly, Michael insults their only prospective intern, and they leave empty-handed. On the golf course, Jim is shot down by the client over and over, but he remains persistent and seals the deal after the round. Dwight threatens to tell on anyone that leaves work early, but when he hits the bathroom, Stanley, Creed, Meredith, and Kelly leave. Angela and Dwight share a silent remainder of the day in the office.
Here’s why the first half was depressing (and it might have been on purpose): Jim tries at his job for the first time in forever (remember, he’s on probation from Ryan) and he stares failure in the face. Pam is treated like crap by Michael in a job she’s had enough of. Michael embarrasses himself to no end. Perhaps it was just my mood. More likely is that the first half/twenty minutes of the episode weren’t very funny, and if you strip the laughs away from any episode of The Office, it’s going to be kind of sad.
The writers, as much as I hate to say it, have painted themselves into a corner with Jim and Pam. Now that they are together and happy, they have no reason to stay miserable at Dunder-Mifflin. Jim took his name out of the hat for that executive position in New York for Pam. With what we saw in the final moments of tonight’s episode (Pam learning about graphic design, and the great programs in New York and Philadelphia), I can’t see Jim and Pam’s place in the Dunder-Mifflin world staying static.
Is it possible that NBC is setting up Jim and Pam to be the key players in next year’s Office Spin-off? Wouldn’t it make sense for Jim to step up his effort, get engaged to Pam, get promoted to, say, Philly Regional Manager, have Pam enroll in a graphic design program, and kick off your new Office series from there? Just something to think about.
Tonight’s episode had some nice moments, but it was a bit lacking in the comedy department. Next week’s one-hour finale is the big one, and I’m hoping that tonight’s sub-par effort is a result of the writers focusing more on the finale.
Top 5 Quotes of the Episode:
“You look like Barack Obama.”
“Got my knot on.”
“Kids are very wary of being lured these days. Thank you, Dateline.”
“So, we’re going to ditch this bitch. You in?”
“Yeah, kiss her. Kiss her good.”
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)