I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled TV Tuesday: An American Workplace

So I'm gonna keep this nice and brief; how many of y'all watched The Office finale last week? Thoughts?

For my two cents, it was a great emotional send-off to the characters, but it also made a lot of weird choices along the way, which I think is symbolic of much of the show's run. [SPOILERS] Erin's parents being played by Joan Cusack and Ed Begley Jr. was a great bit of casting, which ironically made that whole development feel more like a wasted opportunity than a victory for Erin. Ditto for Ryan's baby being stolen by Nellie. However, the return of Michael Scott could not have been better, and it was smart to limit his part to one or two scenes so as not to overwhelm the rest of the episode. The Dwight and Angela romance was something I didn't think I would care about, but it was remarkably well done and it made me surprisingly happy to see a joyful and relaxed (?!?!?!) Angela gabbing with her office-mates. And of course things worked out for Jim and Pam because, duh, they're adorable.


So those are my quick thoughts, feel free to talk about this or anything else in the comments! GO!

EDIT: Here's something I've been thinking about the Office (and the UK Office) for a while, might as well put it here. Apologies if it's a bit rambling.

The original Office was fundamentally a show about the difference between self-image and reality. David Brent was hilarious by virtue of believing he was hilarious, despite the ceaseless disappointment of his day-to-day existence. The gulf between how funny David thought he was and how the rest of the characters perceived him was so vast that it had tangible presence (think of the brutal silences that would follow his attempted jokes). That gulf of self-awareness was given an inverse in Tim, whose sardonic realism often meant that he understood others better than they understood themselves (Gareth). Yet this ability also paralyzed him from taking decisive action.


The American Office took a similar idea, but created something distinct from the original. Like David Brent, Michael Scott suffers from a dearth 0f self-awareness. The crucial difference is their surroundings. Michael's employees over time developed the willingness to meet him halfway. Instead of laughing at that gulf of misunderstanding, the show brought his co-workers together around him, proving over time that each has the potential to act as crazy and bizarre as Michael himself, and each is mostly willing to forgive whatever transgressions Michael commits (instead of simply sucking it up because he's the boss). Of course either show could tip into either direction at a moment's notice, but the American Office consistently showed a lot of love and affection for its characters, warts especially, where the UK Office always wanted you to laugh at David Brent because he makes an ass of himself.

Anyways, just a few extra thoughts on a Tuesday morning.

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