Not too long ago, I started watching a TV series known as The Office – namely the American remake of a similarly titled British programme created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, a version which I’ve only seen parts of thus far. The American version, however, I have followed avidly, from seeing the first episode to tearing up during its grand finale just a few days ago.
Filmed in the style of a documentary about the lives of not-so-ordinary office workers, The Office takes place in the Scranton branch of a paper company known as Dunder Mifflin. We get to know the bumbling and awkwardly childish regional manager Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), his no-nonsense but incredibly nerdy and bizarre assistant Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Dwight’s cool mild-mannered arch nemesis Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), kind but shy receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) who serves as Jim’s love interest, and Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak), who starts out as the typical “new guy” but eventually develops into a narcissistic hipster.
With most of the focus remaining on these people for the first few episodes, the show eventually starts fleshing out some other Scranton workers, eventually ending up with an intensely large and lovable cast. We get Ed Helms as the lovably goofy wannabe performer Andy Bernard, Angela Kinsey as stone-cold buzzkill Angela Martin, Brian Baumgartner as the extremely dim but lovable Kevin Malone, Phyllis Smith as the grandmotherly Phyllis Vance, Oscar Nunez as the unexpectedly smart and competent Oscar Martinez, Leslie David Baker as sarcastic grump Stanley, Kate Flannery as slutty alcoholic Meredith Palmer, Paul Lieberstein as dorky butt monkey Toby Flanderson, Mindy Kaling as the adorably annoying Kelly Hapoor, Ellie Kemper as the cute but ditzy Erin Hannon, Craig Robinson as one of the only normal people in the office (Darryl Philbin) and last but not least: Creed Bratton as Creed Bratton, easily the most hilariously eccentric and batshit insane person in the Scranton branch.
For 9 seasons, an ever-present camera crew follows the lives of these individuals, going with them on business trips, interviewing them in-between work hours, going with them to parties and sometimes even stalking them at home. At the end of the show’s run, we finally got to see how the office workers reacted once the documentary finally aired.
As I am writing this, I have just recently seen the series finale, and let me tell you, after watching the show for so long, it felt like it got the farewell it deserved. Maybe it tried a little too hard to tug on heartstrings at times, but overall, it was a lovely and heartfelt goodbye to one of my favourite shows.
The Office was a show that knew how to keep you entertained. It knew precisely when to be heart-breakingly serious, when to be madly funny and when to be somewhat dark in its jokes. You could laugh at the quirky and awkward antics of Michael one scene and feel sympathetic towards the story arc of Pam and Jim the next scene, and every time it made a segue from comedy to drama, it very rarely felt too abrupt or clumsy. Even after season 7, when Steve Carell sadly had to leave the show in one of its saddest episodes, The Office was still enjoyable and funny, and the characters still got their share of great moments.
Are there some things I don’t like about the show? Well, I can think of very few, but there are still some things, sure. For one thing, I’m not sure it’s this common that someone starts a relationship with a colleague. I can buy Jim and Pam and (SPOILERS AHOY) maybe even Dwight and Angela, but we also get love story arcs between Ryan and Kelly, Andy and Erin, Michael and his supervisor (Melora Hardin) and later his temporary Human Resources Representative (Amy Ryan); the list goes on. Is it unrealistic and improbable? Sure, but so are most of the characters traits, so it’s more of an observation than a criticism.
Over the years, The Office has left us with too many memorable scenes, pieces of dialogue and character traits to name. From Dwight’s bizarre behaviour, to the numerous ways in which Jim pranked him. From Creed’s absurd one-liners, to Michael’s “That’s what she said” jokes. From the stupid misunderstandings of Kevin, to the many comical mishaps of Andy. Truly, with a cast this large and this colorful, it is difficult to feel bored during an episode. Picking a favourite is hard, but the one that made me laugh the hardest, at least as far as I recall, was probably Stress Relief. As for my favourite character, I’ll definitely pick Creed, but they were all amazing in their own right. Watching all the retrospectives and interviews, it is clear that it was the love and chemistry between the cast members that helped create the brilliant chemistry between the characters and create one of the most memorable shows of all time.
Overall, The Office was just a spot-on hilarious show. Employees at Dunder Mifflin, you all had a wonderful run, and you will be missed for ages.