Tonight Dunder Mifflin will close its doors as NBC airs the series finale of The Office. Now, I’ve been harsh on The Office the last two seasons; one of the first things I wrote for the blog was an open letter to the show asking it to stop being so terrible. I stand by all that criticism – somewhere in the sixth season the show started to deteriorate in quality and then went completely off the rails when Steve Carrell left the show. It became borderline unwatchable and if they hadn’t announced that ninth season was going to be its last, I don’t know that I would have even been watching this year.
My condemnation of the later season of The Office, however, comes from a place of love. I am tough on The Office because it has disappointed me; I know that it is capable of being a great and funny show. A quick perusal of the first five seasons demonstrates that fact. It could be smart, witty, silly and sweet – often all at the same time. The Office was easily one of my favorite comedies and I looked forward to watching and re-watching the episodes every week. It is better than the dreck that they have been putting on air. I expected more of it. It’s like when you honor roll student suddenly starts getting Cs – you are disappointed in them squandering their potential. When the show is on, it’s great; when the show if off its game, it is a disaster. Last week’s penultimate episode showed some glimmer of that former glory. If you ignored everything that had to do with Andy – who the writers have NEVER figured out how to write for since they made him manager – it was reminiscent of a classic episode of The Office. They still have some of the magic left and that makes me hope that tonight’s finale will send the show out on a high note.
In honor of this momentous occasion, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and check in with some of my favorite moments on The Office. We had our differences and I still think the show stayed on air two seasons two long, but I am still thankful for these great memories.
Jim impersonates Dwight
Jim pulled some great pranks on Dwight over the years, but this one tickled me more than most.
Dwight says “That’s what she said”
“That’s what she said” may be the greatest gift that The Office gave America, but none were quite as unexpected as when Dwight dropped Michael’s catch phrase post-concussion.
Between Michael and Jan’s sales pitch at Chili’s and the staff doing a table read of Michael’s screen play Threat Level Midnight, this episode is top to bottom one of my all-time favorites . Sadly I couldn’t find any good clips.
“The Office Olympics”
I can’t believe I couldn’t find any good clips of this classic episode either, but watching the staff fool around and play games while Michael and Dwight were out of the office almost made me care about the actual Olympics. Almost.
He was used so sparingly – usually only a line or two an episode – but he was clear comic gold
The Wedding Dance
I cited Jim and Pam’s wedding as my favorite TV wedding of all time, but the dance that the gang from Dunder Mifflin performed during their ceremony was so perfect that it deserves to be included in this roundup as well.
Michael vs. Toby
I love that we never really got an explanation as to why Michael hated Toby so much. Toby seemed like a nice enough guy – kind of a harmless sad sack – but Michael just hated him with the fire of a hundred suns. Perhaps it is best that we don’t know. Whatever the origin, it made for some funny moments
Jim asks out Pam
The Jim/Pam relationship is my favorite part of The Office and is the one part of the show that I think they did consistently well. The will they or won’t they element couldn’t go on forever and I was glad that they decided to only draw it out for the first three seasons. When this episode first aired and this moment happened, you probably heard my squeal clear across the country. I am far too invested in this fictional couple.
I’m not the only one paying tribute to The Office’s swan song:
- Esquire examines what was learned from watching The Office.
- The Huffington Post lists 10 things that they want to see in the finale.
- The Farm wasn’t the only spin-off from The Office that was considered.
- Ellie Kemper (Erin) shares her farewell photo album from the show.
- Uproxx has ten things about The Office that you may not have known.
- Vulture looks at what is up next for cast members now that the show has wrapped.
- Vulture also gives the characters from the show a Six Feet Under style goodbye.
- Grantland looks at The Office’s legacy.
- Angela Kinsey (Angela) spills the beans on what happened at the off-screen Christmas Parties for the cast of The Office.
- The entire cast converged on Scranton, PA (where the show was set, but not filmed) a few weekends ago for a huge going away party and Q&A. Steve Carrell surprised everyone by attending. I wish I had known – Scranton isn’t a terrible drive from here and we all know there ain’t no party like a Scranton party.
- The cast says some emotional goodbyes:
- Don’t forget that the finale tonight is a supersized 1 hour and 15 minute episode, so set your DVRs accordingly. NBC will air a special about the series before the finale, at 8 pm (ET).
Even though the show is past its prime, I will be a little sad to watch The Office ride off in the sunset if for no other reason than I quite liked John Krasinski being a part of my week for the last nine years. The early years of the show will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish the best for this talented and funny cast. They made me very happy but it’s time to put the show to bed.