For nine years, we watched the crazy antics at Dunder Mifflin. We laughed, cried and connected with its entire cast of characters. Within that nine year run, the show became a huge cultural phenomenon. All of that, though, ended in the following years as the ratings and audience enthusiasm faltered. I was one of those people who felt that the show should have ended back in season 7 when Steve Carell’s, Michael Scott left the show. Despite that, I still stuck around, always feeling like the end was near.
Show creator, Greg Daniels and his team had a challenge ahead of them. Not only did they have to appease the loyal fan base but also give a satisfying conclusion. Well, in the end, he succeeded. Most of the problems the show had this season were corrected by the end.
I’m going to get the bad out of the way first and the bad was Andy. He has never been one of my favourite characters, hell I don’t he has been anyone’s fave. He has always been a plot device nothing more, he never adhered to character logic. He was what the writers wanted him to be, whether it was being a Dwight stand-in for Jim at the Stamford Branch or when they needed him to become Michael. For the final season, Andy went back to being his selfish self. He was completely unlikable after he came back from his boat trip and then again, the writers changed to him to a nicer, dorkier version with the whole singing/acting career ambition. That said Andy did seem to find actual happiness after the whole “Baby Wah Wah” thing. Except for his conclusion, his entire arc was a disappointment.
Another point that was a letdown was the Erin and Pete romance. I mean they started out being all cutesy but it never panned out and completely fell flat at the end. No acknowledgment at all in the finale. I was happy that Erin left Andy, especially after how he was treating her but they never sold us on her and Pete. It felt like the writers wanted them to be like Jim and Pam but it never really took off.
One of the strongest arcs of the season was the Angela and Oscar one. The went from snippy co-workers, to rivals, to friends. Angela has always been one of the more complex characters on this show. She was harsh, hilarious, smug, and occasionally kind. This season, she also learned humility. She walks that fine line of being sweet but never losing that core character, of being a judgmental bitch you can root for.
I have a complain though, because after Angela left the Senator, how did she end up destitute. She was stealing office supplies and was homeless to the point where Oscar had to take her in. She could easily support herself with the job she had, she did it before she meet the Senator. I regress because in the end it did make her repentant and she ended up with Dwight.
Speaking of Dwight, he is probably one the most beloved characters on this show. The evolution of this character over the life of this show and his relationship with Jim and Pan. The constant pranks between him and Jim were always fun to watch but this season probably has one of my all-time faves, the Asian Jim prank. I mean, they even had me doubting whether it was all true or not. I always thought that Dwight and Angela were perfect for each other because even he walks that fine line. If he ever became rational, he would stop being so funny but if he became more crazy, he would become more annoying. Despite some flaws in story, he got the wins he needed: the dream job and the girl.
Finally, the part of The Office that was the absolute best to watch: Jim and Pam. Their problems this season were more dire than in past seasons but we all knew that Jim and Pam would eventually survive through it all and that they would get the happily ever after, everyone wanted for them. My one gripe was the whole Brian the boom guy plot point. The writers took a risk, allowing us to peek behind the curtain but it never really paid off. Brian was nothing more than a trick, trying to make us think that Pam may leave Jim for him. The whole out of nowhere love triangle was unnecessary. The writers should have trusteed the audience to know that their martial problems alone can add stress to any marriage.
Jim and Pam’s romance at times has been epic. It is one of the most well-executed and brilliantly conceived relationship on TV, so I didn’t enjoy that whole plot line. In the end, though, The Office gave us an ending for them we could believe in. Sacrifices were made by both and so were gestures of their love.
The finale itself was beautiful to watch. Everyone got an ending I could get behind and a Michael Scott cameo, we all wanted. I thought Michael came back for the right amount of time, it wasn’t too long as to take away from everyone else. It made fans happy and gave us an emotional and heartfelt reunion for Dwight and Michael.
Overall, this season had its ups and downs but the writing and production team still delivered. With a great few final episodes and an incredibly solid series finale. The Office has never been perfect but it has always been a joy to watch. I laughed, I cried and I was happy. The lights have gone out at Dunder Mifflin and boy, do I miss them.
Score: 8 out of 10