The Office: “Finale” Season 9 and Series Finale Review

Photo Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/the-office-series-finale-photos_n_3199872.html

“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”

The Office came to a close with a finale that unfortunately, was kind of a mixed bag. But there were definitely enough moments that gave us closure and had our tear ducts on the fritz.

So let’s start with some of the bad stuff. Setting the finale a year after last week’s episode was a big mistake. Just as the cameraman said to Dwight in the beginning, “this is for the DVD extras”. Well it certainly felt like it. A lot of the little moments with the characters felt like the white text at the end of a movie that tells you a tidbit about them after the story ends.

Oscar running for state senate and Stanley retiring are in line with the characters but didn’t necessarily add anything. They are things that really don’t matter. Yes, Creed finally being revealed as a criminal was really funny, but was it finale worthy? The same goes for Kevin and Toby getting fired.

At least the rest of the characters got endings that were worth seeing. Erin finding her parents, while clunky with the delivery, was a big payoff. As was Nellie ending up with Ryan’s son. These were things worth seeing. Unresolved threads not punchlines.

The finale can be divided into four parts, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, the panel, the wedding, and the final party.

Dwight naming Jim as his best man was really special, but Jim has a few “pranks” up his sleeve. Some nice moments in this part included Dwight shooting the bazooka and Meredith’s son being the male stripper (he was so young when we saw him back in season two!). But something like Kevin forgiving Dwight fell completely flat because we missed out on a full year.

Heading into the panel we found out that Andy’s audition from last week had went viral. Something was darkly satisfying about him become the butt of every internet joke. It also felt very Office, despite being something that would never happen in the first years of the show.

Now the panel was the epitome of DVD extras. It brought Erin’s happy ending and tried to make problems between Jim and Pam resurface. But again, this being a year after last week’s killed all the tension built from the entire season.

Moving onto the wedding, this was the best part of the episode for obvious reasons. Just as Dwight is about to go get married, Jim says his best man should be older. And there stood Michael Scott. I actually instantly burst into tears. Michael is certainly better suited as Dwight’s best man, not that Jim was a bad choice. His first line was “That’s what she said.” We find out at the reception that he has two kids, who he shows to Pam on his two different phones (he’s so happy to have a family plan). It’s amazing how much of a presence he had, while not being overbearing. His last line was perfect. “I feel like all my kids grew up and then married each other. That’s every parents dream!” That’s our Michael.

But Michael wasn’t the only one back for the wedding. Ryan and Kelly had some great stuff here too. Kelly is married and Ryan is a father. They both end up ditching it and running off together. Will it last? Who cares! This captured the essence of the characters even though they haven’t been seen since the premiere.

As the show wrapped up all it’s loose ends, Jim and Pam’s issues stuck out like a sore thumb. But they were finally resolved as Pam is selling their house (Carol cameo!) so they can move to Austin for Athleap (formerly Athlead).

Then the cast gathers for one last time. Creator Greg Daniels made a cameo in the photo in front of Pam’s completed mural. But then they all separate and go off by themselves. We learn Andy is a motivational speaker at Cornell, a worthy end for him.

Finally, we get one last round of talking heads. The phone rings and Erin is buys, giving us one final “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.” Dwight tells the documentary crew about all the friends he has in the office. This was a classic “finale” scene.

But I still can’t shake the fact that we skipped a year of these people’s lives and then reentered them for the finale. It felt like the season ten end instead of the season nine one. So the first half of the episode really struggled in setting us up. It caused some of the payoffs to flounder. But once it got going there was a lot to love. Classic cameos, last ends tied up, and an emotional last round of interviews from everyone.

Pam said it best. “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point.” The Office may have been about ordinary things, but in the span of classic comedies, it was anything but ordinary. It’s a show that will live on forever and parents will show their kids (I know I certainly will). It will be quoted and referenced for a lifetime. And while this finale took far too long to show us that, it eventually did. That’s all that matters. Grade: B

 

By Matt Dougherty

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