It being a Thursday morning and all, I felt it an appropriate time to wax poetic on the fall [and fall] of NBC’s The Office. It doesn’t take a die-hard fan to realize that the show was on shaky ground once Michael Scott moved to Colorado, and like a newborn giraffe it had to struggle to get to its feet. Unlike a newborn giraffe, however, it was not ready to start running within the first few hours.
The first nail in the coffin came in the form of talks about a Dwight Schrute spinoff in which Rainn Wilson’s character would headline a show set on his bed and breakfast/beet farm. Apparently executive producer Paul Lieberstein and Wilson have been “joking for years” about this concept, and they’ve finally decided to do something with it.
The second sign that the show is on its way out is actress Mindy Kaling [who plays Kelly Kapoor] and her move to Fox to star on her own show. The program would feature Kaling as a “Bridget Jones-type OB/GYN doctor balancing her personal and professional life,” which sounds like yet another title to add to the list of shows revolving around a single woman and her zany existence [See: New Girl, Whitney]. So we have that to look forward to too, I guess.
Reasons we know the show’s coming to a close aside, I suppose the question to ask is why the show fell. It can’t simply be because of Steve Carell leaving, because the writers have demonstrated time and time again that they have a solid cast, with over a dozen well-rounded [funny] familiar characters. What they haven’t always demonstrated is the ability to use them.
Andy Bernard as boss is a great choice, but his having to compete for the spotlight with Robert California is uncomfortable at the best of times. Pam has been gone on maternity leave for weeks now and has a brunette replacement whose name doesn’t come to mind because she has no personality. Angela is still married to the supposedly gay senator, and no one really cares. I could go on, but I think you get my point: the show has stagnated.
While there have been good episodes this season, they’ve been few and far between. My only hope is that this season doesn’t become remembered as the new Scrubs: Interns, the ninth season of an excellent show reviled by both fans and people of good taste alike. “Goodbye, Michael” was a fantastic episode that ended well, and actually the fourth to last of this past season. If things end up the way they have been I’m going to have to consider it start considering it the last of the series.