Skip to main content

Am I Still Watching "The Office"?

I wasn't planning on continuing to write about NBC's The Office; my obsessive zeal for the series has sadly become something more akin to continued disappointment, something that many of my readers have indicated as well.

When I didn't comment on the latest installment ("Night Out"), I got a few emails from readers curious if I had in fact finally given up on the series altogether. It's safe to say that I haven't tuned out completely but the above statement holds true. I don't expect a lot from the series anymore, which has devolved into a sad shadow of itself, a thinly veiled sitcom that has now begun mining comedy from the wacky "situations" the characters find themselves in week to week (a beet farm! an NYC nightclub! a dinner party!) rather than the characters themselves.

The Office
did used to move outside of the confines of the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton offices every now and then and when they did, it was a novel conceit that separated the mundane 9-to-5 existence that defined these characters... and provided the basis for much of the series' humor. And at its heart, that was what I loved most about the series. It wasn't scenes like this week's over the top cold open--which found Michael getting a peanut butter shampoo from Dwight to remove chewing gum from his hair--but scenes that cut to the bone about the quotidien repetition of these characters' lives, interspersed with a (more) realistic zaniness.

This week's episode was written by Mindy Kaling, whom I still think of as one of the series' most talented writers (along with Michael Schur). While I did find the A-story (Michael and Dwight surprise a coked-up Ryan in Manhattan and go clubbing with him) way OTT, it was the episode's B-story that actually did remind me of the series' glory days: after Jim hatches a plan to keep the Scranton branch working late Friday night (so they won't have to come in on Saturday), the gang discovers that they've been locked in... and quickly turn on super-couple Jim and Pam.

There were some genuinely squirm-inducing and yet funny moments here (the type that the series used to excel at), like when Toby boldly put his hand on Pam's knee--sitting next to Jim, no less--and then got so nervous, he announced he was moving to Costa Rica and then hopped the fence. Or Creed being right about the black security guard's name. Or even the gang getting upset with Pam was a novel conceit (she threw a football and hit Meredith in the face), though I am getting a little tired of Meredith being the office punching bag.

And yet it wasn't enough for me to come back around. I'll still finish out this season of The Office but I no longer look forward to the series each week and that is a sad testament to the level of disinterest I'm maintaining with this once-great series. Can they rediscover that spark again next season? Let's hope so but I won't be holding my breath...

On the next episode of The Office ("Did I Stutter?"), Stanley barks at Michael during a meeting, causing Michael to try to change Stanley's attitude; meanwhile, Dwight tries to buy Andy's car and Pam spends the night at Jim's but discovers an unexpected inconvenience.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC; 8-10 pm); Gossip Girl (CW); Dancing With the Stars (ABC; 8-9:30 pm); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/Rules of Engagement (CBS); One Tree Hill (CW); Samantha Who? (ABC; 9:30-10 pm); House (FOX)

10 pm: CSI Miami (CBS); Medium (NBC); The Bachelor: London Calling (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Gossip Girl.

The naughty teen soap continues tonight with a brand new episode! On tonight's episode ("Desperately Seeking Serena"): Serena's former partner in crime Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) returns to Manhattan, Nate falls for social outcast Vanessa (no!), and Jenny meets a guy who could ensure her permanent popularity. I can't wait!


Anonymous said…
I stopped watching when the show went off the air during the strike and I don't miss it at all now.
Anonymous said…
My question is, are you still watching Battlestar Galactica this season? I have to admit, the episodes this season have been kind of disappointing. Though the most recent episode had some great character moments with Chief Tyrol.
Unknown said…
Good question! Personally, I'm weary of BSG's incessant religious fervor. With the mystical this and the miracle that and the proselytizing, I'm beyond bored. It's sad when the only interesting characters are the Cylons themselves (the Original Recipe Cylons like Six and Three, not the four new Extra-Crispy Cylons). And I'm really not looking forward to Leoben coming back. Ugh.
Anonymous said…
The last Office episode did have some bright points but I definitely do not look forward to the show anymore in the same way I used to. In fact, I always watch The Office first and then 30 Rock in case I need cheering up after a dismal episode. I know that 30 Rock will always make me laugh!
Anonymous said…

Agreed, agreed, agreed.
Anonymous said…
Maybe it's just me, but I've found the post-strike episodes to be some of the series's best.
The CineManiac said…
I still watch The Office, while the show is no longer as good as it used to be I still enjoy it.
Dwight with the College Amazon was great.
Also I have new respect for Meredith (Kate Flannery) as she answered my MySpace message for some swag to auction off for my friend.

Popular posts from this blog

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous season

Pilot Inspektor: CBS' "Smith"

I may just have to change my original "What I'll Be Watching This Fall" post, as I sat down and finally watched CBS' new crime drama Smith this weekend. (What? It's taken me a long time to make my way through the stack of pilot DVDs.) While it's on following Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights (10 pm ET/PT, to be exact), I'm going to be sure to leave enough room on my TiVo to make sure that I catch this compelling, amoral drama. While one can't help but be impressed by what might just be the most marquee-friendly cast in primetime--Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Jonny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, and Franky G all star and Shohreh Aghdashloo has a recurring role--the pilot's premise alone earned major points in my book: it's a crime drama from the point of view of the criminals, who engage in high-stakes heists. But don't be alarmed; it's nothing like NBC's short-lived Heist . Instead, think of it as The Italian