The Office Series Finale
by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
I don’t have the words to properly express how I feel about The Office series finale. This is a show that introduced to me what fandom was. I applied for (and got!) an internship at a website specifically because the owner/editor was such a huge influence in my love for the show. It was a show I literally planned my week around when I didn’t have a DVR just so I could watch it live.
I will always remember my first episode of The Office–Season Two’s “The Fire.” I knew as soon as I saw the Dunder Mifflin staff in the parking lot playing “Desert Island” and “Who Would You Do?” and later Dwight singing “Ryan Started the Fire” (to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”), that this would be a show for me.
Since then, I haven’t missed a minute of its specific brand of comedy. I own all of the DVDs. Because of this, I can quote entire episodes, especially from early seasons, with my all-time favorites being “The Injury,” “Diversity Day,” “The Dundies,” and “Casino Night.” To say I am a fan of The Office is an understatement.
Not only has it affected me personally, it has had a significant impact on the television landscape. It was one of the first to use mockumentary-style filming, seen today in other shows like Parks and Recreation. It revolutionized how NBC viewed Nielsen numbers – executives realized those statistics couldn’t be the only way an audience was measured when the show’s iTunes sales numbers were so high. It may not have even gotten a second season pickup otherwise!
The Office has also launched the careers of many of its stars. Steve Carell was certainly not a household name before it started. Ed Helms’ first episode wasn’t even until season three and he’s starring in the third Hangover film, set to be released later this month. And don’t get me started on John Krasinski’s ascent onto my TV Boyfriend List!
But enough nostalgic yammering from me. The series finale was a truly amazing end to an extraordinary show that can never be replaced. Though much was packed in, it didn’t feel rushed. It was perfect.
It picked up about a year after last week’s episode, on the day before Dwight and Angela’s wedding and also a panel with the local PBS channel where the documentary aired. Everyone who lived out of town came in for the festivities (with a little schedule-fudging help from Jim and Pam). Here’s the quick rundown on everyone’s whereabouts:
– Kevin was fired and now owns a bar in Scranton.
– Toby lives in New York with six roommates and is trying to write the next great American novel.
– Stanley retired to Florida. He lives on the water and spends the days on his porch whittling birds out of wood.
– Darryl lives in Austin and still works for Athlead, now Athleap, and the company is doing significantly better than anyone probably imagined (he showed up in a limo!).
– Nellie is living in Poland.
– Kelly and her pediatrician boyfriend Ravi are still together.
– Ryan has a son named Drake (not named after the rapper).
– After Andy’s disastrous audition for America’s Next A Cappella Sensation (complete with auto-tuned viral video), he moved to Ithaca, New York, and now works in the Cornell admissions office.
As for those who stuck around, Oscar is running for Senate and Creed – who turned out to be a member of the 60’s band The Grassroots – is a wanted felon. Consequently, he faked his death, assumed a new identity, and lives out of the office. Of course he does.
In an unexpected moment, but one that made perfect sense the more you think about it, Dwight asked Jim to be his best man, or in Schrute-speak, “bestest mensch.” Not one to let a potential pranking go to waste, Jim sets up an elaborate and wholeheartedly touching bachelor party, complete with bazookas, cigars, dinner, and the same stripper from Bob Vance’s bachelor party back in Season Three. The night ends at Kevin’s bar, where Dwight’s cousin Mose had kidnapped and stored Angela in accordance to a weird Schrute tradition.
The PBS panel the morning of the Dwangela wedding was filled with questions from a packed audience about relationships, privacy, and what it felt like to be filmed for the past nine years. Though the Dunder Mifflinites gave sweet answers, especially those from Jim and Pam regarding their love life, everything paled in comparison to the question Erin received from her birth mother and their subsequent reunion. And her birth father was there, too! I was already a mess of tears, and this made it worse.
Later, as Jim and Dwight are getting ready for the wedding, Jim can’t resist pulling one last prank. He informs Dwight he can no longer be his best man since he is not older than Dwight and he wishes there was something he could do. Even then, I knew what was coming, but it didn’t stop my gasp nor the waterworks from starting again. There in the doorway was Michael Scott. And how great was it that his first line back was, “That’s what she said” after Dwight exclaimed, “Michael, I can’t believe you came!”
After the ceremony, where they vows were said in the bride and groom’s graves (another nice callback!), the reception began. Ryan let his son suck on a strawberry, which he is allergic to, just to have a moment alone with Kelly. They end up running away together and leaving the baby with Ravi, who passes him off to Kevin. Don’t worry, the still-longing-for-a-baby Nellie has that under control and takes the tot off his hands. But Drake isn’t the only new child to join the Dunder-Mifflin extended family. Michael and Holly have kids too, and Michael had to get two cell phones to hold all of his pictures of them. As Pam said, he was just happy to have a family plan. Later, while glancing over at Jim and Pam and Dwight and Angela, Michael looked at the camera and said, “I feel like all my kids grew up and then married each other. It’s every parent’s dream.” I’m telling you, TEARS EVERYWHERE.
When Jim and Pam get home from the wedding, who comes out of their house but real estate agent Carol Stills (one more callback for the fans!) and a couple who wants to buy it. Pam felt bad Jim left Athlead for her and since he bought their house without telling her, she decided she could sell it without him. And you know what? It worked out in their favor. They decide to move to Austin where Jim can re-join Athleap and everyone can be happy. Aww!
A post-PBS panel party at the warehouse features the unveiling of Pam’s mural, completely new and improved after it had had butts painted on it earlier in the season, and cameos from real crewmembers and behind-the-scenes players of The Office. The main cast then goes upstairs for a private celebration where Creed serenades them. When Jim and Pam reveal to Dwight they are leaving, he fires them. They fear he is mad, but it turns out Dwight has a heart – he was doing it so they could get their severance. Again, aww!
To wrap up the show, Creed is then led away in handcuffs by the police (did you expect anything different?) and Pam takes her drawing of the building off the wall by the manager’s office, no doubt to have a keepsake of her time there.
As I write this review through my blubbering, still in denial it’s really over, I want to leave you with two quotes said tonight. I hope all Office fans take them away as heartfelt testaments to our time with the Scranton crew. First, Pam summed up the reason everyone enjoyed a show about a simple office with this: “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” And Andy got philosophical, saying, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them,” vocalizing what people will say when they reminisce about a show that undoubtedly had its ups and downs, but was consistently one of the best comedies to ever grace modern television.
Thank you, Dunder Mifflin, for nine incredible, unforgettable and altogether wonderful years.
Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars