The Office used to be a really great show. Like, a really, really great show. We were late on the train, but we started watching it in the summer of 2009, which was overall a really good, happy, sunny time for us.
I would say the first three seasons are really the best. At the end of Season 3, Jim and Pam got together, which was nice, but was also the beginning of the end. Seasons 4 and 5 were still okay. In Season 6, Jim and Pam had their first baby, and the show tried to replace the romantic tension of “Jim and Pam” with “Andy and Erin” (which failed). They brought in a new company (Sabre) and a new recurring character, Jo (Kathy Bates) (who I normally love). Then Season 7 was the final Michael Scott (Steve Carell) season, and frankly I don’t remember much of it. In fact, I can’t tell you what happened in seasons 7 through 9, and I just finished watching the most recent episode 5 minutes ago.
Next week is the final episode of the final season, and it can’t come fast enough. Back in the early seasons, we couldn’t finish one episode without starting the next one. Now we spend the whole time half paying attention and occasionally snorting with exasperation.
So without further ado, here are the 10 worst things about The Office:
Oh, it probably goes without saying that if you are still catching up and you don’t want to read spoilers, you should probably stop now.
Okay, the 10 worst things about The Office:
1. They’ve tried so hard to force Pam and Jim drama.
We loved watching them flirt, watching the near-misses, and yearning for them to get together. Those moments were so touching. Once they got together, there were still some nice moments – the proposal, finding out she was pregnant, and the wedding, for example. But we’re missing the push-pull of two people who are so obviously meant to be together but can’t make it happen. None of the substitutes – Andy and Erin, Dwight and Angela – have lived up to that. Face it, Pam and Jim, you guys are a boring married couple who mostly gets along. Just enjoy it.
2. Which reminds me – what the heck is Jim’s Philadelphia job?
And you don’t have to hit me over the head anymore with the fact that Pam feels guilty for making him come back to Scranton, but that Jim just loves her so much, blah blah blah.
3. Blatant foreshadowing – quit acting like we haven’t seen all this “surprise” stuff projected for seasons.
Yes, Phillip is Dwight’s baby. Duh. Dwight and Angela are going to get back together for reals. Duh. Why have you taken so long getting to this point? This is what you’re going to use to fill up all these hour-long episodes?
4. Too many random, flat characters.
What is Nellie still doing there? Who are Pete and Clark? Why are they there? Are they just trying to replace the brilliance of BJ Novak, Mindy Kaling, Steve Carell, etc? It’s not working.
5. Here are some other character complaints: Kevin has turned into a ridiculous and unfunny parody of the actual character he used to be.
But remember when Kevin brought us this gem? He’s totally not like that anymore.
6. Also, they just never figured out Andy Bernard’s character.
I guess he was kind of funny at the Stamford branch, when he was calling Jim “Big Tuna” and singing “Lovefool” over and over again. But then he was dating Angela, and then he was the angry guy who punched a wall and had to go to anger management (aka go film The Hangover?), and then he came back and was the dorky guy who went to Cornell, sang in a capella groups, and was in a community theatre production of Sweeney Todd…and since becoming Regional Manager (a TERRIBLE decision) he’s just been given Michael Scott-esque storylines and dialogue. Oh, except for when he was gone for months on a random boating excursion (aka filming The Hangover 3?). Ugh, I like(d?) Ed Helms but I am so over Andy Bernard.
7. Introducing the film crew.
The first time Pam looked up and spoke to Brian (the boom mike guy) I had a moment of “Whoa, that’s kind of cool.” Then it turned into more fake Pam and Jim drama, and it just got to be too much. It just feels like a gimmick to draw out these plot lines to fill the rest of this finally-final, but it-just-never-ends, final season.
8. Making the documentary into a thing.
Also, all of this talk leading up to watching the documentary feels like filler. And in tonight’s episode, the whole office gang gathers round at Poor Richard’s to watch the documentary. But…how can it be airing if there’s still one more episode for us to watch? Also, all the talk about the film crew and the documentary has just meant that we’ve had a lot of clip show-esque moments. Lots of footage of the good old days for us to look back on and remember when we used to love this show and marathon it and rewatch the Christmas episodes. But it’s like rubbing our noses in it, to show us the moments we loved, when what we have now is so much LESS.
9. Dwight’s beet farm spinoff that almost happened.
Luckily it didn’t get greenlighted, but for a hot second we almost had a new NBC show called The Farm. It would have featured Dwight Schrute and his family running a bed and breakfast -slash- beet farm that they had inherited. One of the episodes of The Office season 9 was the pilot episode for The Farm. I get why NBC passed, and I support their decision.
10. I am going to be seriously bummed if Michael Scott comes back for the finale.
I think Steve Carell made the right choice in leaving when he did, and I think the series should have ended on that note. It’s limped along now for 2 more seasons, and I want to remember him on the show the way it was. I hope that Steve Carell holds to his decision to not come back for the finale. I like to think of Michael as moved on, married, and raising kids with Holly.
Look, The Office: I will 100% still watch rerun episodes of you on TV. I will seek you out. I even still want to go back and watch your original, British version. But, like many things, you’ve just overstayed your welcome. (You took the Weeds path, rather than the 30 Rock path.) This is partly my fault for continuing to watch you, but we had some good times. I’ll be there watching next week, for the full hour and 15 minutes or whatever nonsense you’ve got up to, but then I’m going to gently but firmly change the channel, and that will be your signal that it’s time to go.
We’ll always have Diversity Day, and Booze Cruise, and Casino Night, and so many more.