By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®
The Office returns tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC and I enter the season relieved. The show has announced that this season will be its last. No matter what happens, it will all be over soon. There’s a certain freedom showrunners and writers feel when they know they are heading towards the end. They can write towards something that is finite. So I enter the season both relieved and optimistic.
Because, let’s be honest, The Office wasn’t great last season. It’s difficult when the quality of a beloved TV show begins to decline and a series over stays its welcome. It’s especially challenging when it’s a show that used to be fantastic. It’s not that The Office is horrible now, it simply isn’t the hilarious show it once was. That’s partly because the jokes have become too repetitive. It’s partly because Steve Carell isn’t on the show anymore. It’s partly because the comedy chose to focus on things most viewers don’t care about (is there anyone out there who cares about Erin and Andy as a couple? Anyone?). And it’s partly because some of the characters have, at times, morphed into caricatures of themselves (I’m talking to you Dwight). (As a side note, I also wish the show would stop dropping potentially interesting story lines. They did it when they jettisoned the idea that Phyllis was Erin’s mom and they do it again tonight.)
Of course, there have been other problems. James Spader never quite gelled with the show, which was odd since he seemed like her would be the perfect fit. And I simply can’t get on board with the addition of Catherine Tate’s Nellie. Her shtick is funny in and of itself but on The Office it plays like the rest of the cast is doing a show and she’s stuck in an improv skit.
But I’m still watching The Office because every episode usually has at least one moment that makes me laugh out loud. And I’m keeping an open mind about this new season because the season premiere shows a lot of promise:
- First of all, the way to my remote is by adding a former Greek star to your cast. Clark Duke (Dale on Greek) comes about as a new Dunder-Mifflin employee dubbed Dwight Jr. The scenes between Duke and Rainn Wilson are pretty great. Jake Lacy (somehow looking years younger than he did on Better With You) is the new Jim. Their presence not only provides some good comedic fodder but it also serves as a reminder that everyone is older and it might be time for some employees to move on.
- There’s a tease at a very interesting plot twist involving Oscar that I hope the show explores and does not abandon (see above)
- The one thing I’ve always loved about the show is the relationship between Pam and Jim. The series managed to put them together without disrupting the show and has kept them consistently true to their characters. Jim is a loveable underachiever who cherishes his family but has always known he is not realizing his full potential. Pam is a homebody who realized everything she needed was right in Scranton (one of my favorite episodes is when she is thrilled that Jim bought her childhood home). A plot development in tonight’s premiere is utterly believable and I kind of can’t wait to see what happens next.
Are you excited for the final season of The Office or did you break up with the show a long time ago? Talk about it below and remember to follow my blog so you’ll know every time I have a new post. Also with the new season starting next week, I will be bringing back both the “Quotes of the Week” and “Where Have I Seen Them Before?” If you see a familiar face or hear a great quote, write me at amyattvgaldotcom or contact me through my contact page.