When reliving what was The Office, a part of you feels disappointed. You can’t help but feel a gap between what you loved and what remained.
A show that was so influential, hitting on every cylinder was everything an American landscape could be presented as – from a workplace, to our comedic tendencies, to our relationships – was lazy, uninspired, and unplanned for much of the last few years.
This might sound like a negative view, but we can only feel that way because of what we will remember: The most influential American comedy of the first decade of the 2000’s.
It is hard to take a show like this and piece together a history, so here are some of the reasons I will miss it.
– The first episode I ever watched was “Beach Games”, the secondary shift in the relationship between Jim and Pam. At that point, I knew nothing of the show, but this episode, like many before and after it, found a way to display every character for what it was in just one viewing.
We got Michael Scott and the full-of-himself, unaware, leader of a circus. Jim, the joking protagonist with FEELINGS~! Pam, the cute secretary, long abused, looking for respect, and making an obvious turning point in character that even a first-time viewer could see.
And of course, Dwight Schrute – half cartoon character, half nerd, just looking for respect of his boss – someone everyone could at least understand through the craziness.
– The characters, of course, were what brought the ensemble cast together.
There was Kevin Malone, the idiot with a heart of gold…and cholesterol. Kelly Kapoor, the superficial, pop culture lover, prone to obsession with a temp. The fast-rising, and quick downfalling Ryan Howard. Angela, the cat-loving, and heartbreaking accountant. The gay know-it-all Oscar. Andy Bernard, the money rich, love poor, a capella singing, anger hiding, acceptance-needing Nard-Dog.
These and many more all fit together like a glove. Seeing their interactions for many seasons seemed natural and realistic.
– And it is that, the relationships, that made The Office so special. It was a warmth between characters that even when fighting, shined through.
Jim and Dwight always had their pranks. Dwight and Angela were on-again, off-again. Angela had her Beard in Andy, who she strung along for an entire season. Andy and Dwight in their competition for Michael Scott’s love, and later, their friendship over shared defeats. Dwight and Michael, the big brother-little brother relationship that changed sides depending on location. Michael and the entire office, always looking for their love that most of the time, he didn’t deserve. Michael and Jim, the latter who, almost in a Stockholm Syndrome case, began to like and respect Scott towards the end of his time at Dunder-Mifflin.
Finally, the one that made the show what it was – Jim and Pam.
Perhaps their storyline was only meant for 5 seasons – the angst of this final season has never really fit them well, even with the logical Unhappy Paper Salesman Jim story.
But what went from crush, to relationship, to surprising engagement, pregnancy, and perfect marriage episode – it was their love story that kept viewers attached to them and the show.
Many shows tell the story of a guy in love with a girl – even the show that birth the American Office had one – but few hit all the right keys along the way.
And those will be the memories that last. Not Robert California or Nellie, or Andy “Michael Scott Jr.” Bernard or Will Ferrell.
It will be the hope and love we had for the fully fleshed out characters, their relationships, and the realism of their struggles and triumphs that will last forever.