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I am definitely one of the fans of The Office who have found Season 6 to be less than stellar. The show seems to have hit its creative peak in Seasons 2 and 3 and ever since, it’s been more focused on showing the characters delving into ridiculous situations that are far from realistic, yet funny at the same time. However, just because a show is funny doesn’t mean it’s as entertaining as it used to be. I don’t think The Office has reached the point yet where it can be considered bad by any stretch of the imagination. And from what I can see, people are just not feeling the new episodes. However, I thought this episode had some great work by the supporting characters and some increasingly irritating work by Michael Scott, who has turned into a needy little child over the six years on television. It’s one thing when you have a main character who is notorious for being strange, but when you let the oddities of his personality smother the tolerable parts, it becomes a bit difficult to handle.
The thing that has always made me like Michael Scott is that he had the feel of a boss but let his absurd personality play second fiddle to his job role. He wanted to be a great boss yet he let his goofiness dictate the way he managed. For the past two seasons, it seemed as if he acted ridiculous and insane for no reason other than acting ridiculous and insane. I can see some radical bosses acting the way Scott did in earlier seasons, but now? There’s just no way. He still has some of the best talking heads on the show, but there are some episodes that just make you wonder, “Can any human being be this stupid?” This is a fictional show, of course, but The Office once prided itself on being a mockumentary, effortlessly blending reality and fiction into a twenty to twenty-two minute package. However, it’s easier to enjoy the show now if you watch it less as a mockumentary and more as a straight-forward single camera sitcom (almost like Scrubs, for a comparison). However, in six years on air, it feels almost like The Office is afraid to bring in guest-stars as if the integrity of the show would be destroyed by doing so. So far, we’ve seen Conan O’Brian, Jack Black, Jessica Alba, Cloris Leachman, Amy Ryan, Idris Elba and now Kathy Bates?! The integrity of the mockumentary has already been destroyed on The Office, so they might as well enjoy the perks of being popular enough to pull in incredible actors and actresses to guest-star.
Regardless of how I feel about Michael Scott and the erosion of reality on the show, I love the work that the supporting characters did in this episode. Jim and Dwight once again proved why they are the characters who have influenced so many other argumentative dynamic duos, those who play pranks on each other and just generally don’t get along. Dwight’s “Megadesk” was hilarious, and his comment about Pam and Jim being “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle-Dumb-Ass” was awesome. If there’s one character who remains consistantly hilarious and has remained the same for six years, it’s Dwight K. Schrute. He hasn’t been given as much to do this season with Jim and Pam’s relationship sort of taking over much of the plot, as well as Dunder Mufflin being bought out by Sabre, but there is the occasional episode where we get to see him shine and do what he does best. It wouldn’t be the typical Dwight/Jim rivalry without Jim somehow finding a way to get back at Dwight, and we get to see that with a return to the “Megadesk” joke. I’ve always been a fan of the tags The Office places at the end of their episodes, and this one was certainly no exception.
One plot point this season that has been sort of hit or miss with fans of the show is the relationship (or lack of relationship) between Andy and Erin. Some people have complained that the writers are trying too hard to create another Jim and Pam storyline while others are lauding The Office for moving towards hooking these two eccentric personalities up. I fall into the latter camp, as I’ve found Andy to be one of the show’s best supporting characters since he was introduced in Season 3. The fact that he’s been added to the introduction of the show proves how great his impact is on the show. Erin, despite being a bit irritating at times, is set to be the “yin” to Andy’s “yang,” or the “Jim” to his “Pam,” if you’ll allow me a quick joke. Andy and Erin continue to entertain as the new couple in The Office, and I have to say, I’m glad that the writers finally got the “Will they, won’t they?” schtick out of the way, because we had Jim and Pam for that. The chemistry between the two actors is undeniable, and watching Andy attempt to ask Erin out by faxing her was priceless and fit in with exactly what his character has become. It’s apparent we’re not going to see them together without at least a little bit of tension and difficulty, but at least they’re funny (Andy in a kilt/field hockey dress = priceless).
As for the rest of the supporting characters, there was the usual mix of hilarious and vastly unfunny: Oscar and Kevin were great, while Meredith, as usual, unfunny. However, seeing Todd Packer return for the first time in three or four years was awesome.
Overall, it was a funny episode of The Office again, but this season certainly hasn’t stood out as much as other seasons. There have been some really great episodes (the wedding episode, the birth episode, the premiere, some of the earlier episodes as well), and some god-awful ones (Mafia, The Banker etc.), but as long as the showrunners know when to end the show and not carry it out forever, I’ll be happy. Right now, it’s clear the end is near, so if they can end on a high note, I’ll be happy