The Office: Promos


by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)

As documented here before, I’m not a fan of the track The Office has been going on lately. It hasn’t been laugh-out-loud funny in a while, characters have adopted personalities I don’t recognize, and many things meant to be comical turn out more mean-spirited than anything else. But I hope “Promos” turns out to be the catalyst that jump-starts the show’s redirection.

In the episode, everyone discovers promos for the documentary The Office: An American Workplace have started to air. (Fun fact: this was the original full title of the show.) At first, the Dunder-Mifflin crew is excited, but once they realize many personal and private moments from the last ten years have been caught on film, the mood turns to one that is less-than-thrilled.

When they encourage Pam to go visit Brian, the fired boom mic guy, at his apartment, I didn’t think things would end well. When he handed her a beer and she asked him if he thought Jim had changed from when they first started filming, I shook my head no and wagged my finger at my screen. But when Pam got mad at the answers he was giving regarding their privacy and then stormed out, I finally became happy. Hopefully she will come to realize she loves Jim and Brian can’t get in the way of that and I think the fact that she sat at her desk wistfully watching the promo with footage of the early stages of her and Jim’s relationship is a big step in the right direction.

But Pam wasn’t the only one affected by the footage being put online. Angela and Oscar realize their respective relationships with the Senator will air and it could harm his chances of possibly becoming President one day. So they call him and get his voicemail and Oscar tells him it looks like it will come out that he is gay and Angela tells him she cheated on him with Dwight. As odd as it was to see Angela and Oscar getting along, I actually loved their dynamic. They were very funny together and I kind of wish they had been able to have more one-on-one scenes throughout the show’s run, Senator or no Senator.

Andy had his own demons to deal with – namely, the Internet commenter. The show’s fake version of a YouTube commenter is as mean and dumb as a real YouTube commenter, which makes Andy want to lose his freaking mind. I have to say, though, when it was revealed Nellie was one of the nasty commenters, I laughed. I didn’t like Nellie when she was first introduced, which was maddening because obviously Catherine Tate is great, but I love what they’ve done with her character by giving her a more relatable side. (I’d also like to say thank you to everyone for being nice to me in the comments of my stories!)

There was also a sub-plot involving Dwight, his new Brussels sprouts farmer girlfriend, her family, and the leasing of a tractor. I found it to be boring and draggy, so I’m not even going to go into detail about it – just know it was dumb. Another not so great storyline was Jim and Daryl’s in Philadelphia. They try to get former Phillies player Ryan Howard to sign to Athlead, but all he wants to do is read his screenplay with the two of them. Writers, what was the point of getting him if all you were going to have him do was sit at a table and read a piece of paper out loud all day?

Regardless, I really enjoyed this episode. When the staff was gathered around Oscar’s computer watching the promos and footage from the first few seasons was shown, I’ll admit I got teary-eyed. I miss Michael, I miss Jim and Pam, I miss inter-office shenanigans, and I miss the overall vibe the show used to have. I think the writers have finally realized most people feel this way, too, and “Promos” seemed like their way of getting the show back on track. With any luck, things will continue on this upward trend, which will give The Office the momentum it needs to produce an amazing finale and one that is worthy of this ground-breaking, wonderful show.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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