Can One Episode of "The Office" Redeem the Last Four Seasons?

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | May 3, 2013 | Comments ()


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No. Of course not. But it was an emotional episode of "The Office," last night, and though there are two episodes left, in some ways it had the feeling of a finale. It won't erase the declining quality of series since Jim and Pam's wedding, or worse, since Michael Scott's departure, but if "The Office" had been as good as it was last night over the last four seasons, a lot of people would be sadder to see it go. As it is, despite complaints about the series overstaying its welcome, it's hard not to feel something for these characters with whom we've been with for nine years. The last couple of episodes, and especially last night's, began to pay emotional dividends, and while they won't match our investments, at least there is some payoff.

Much of last night's episode revolved around Andy's decision to quit and pursue a Hollywood career. Everyone in Dunder Mifflin felt that was a terrible idea.






Nevertheless, after groping Toby's penis and taking a dump on David Wallace's car, Andy burned his bridges, making it impossible for him to return to Dunder Mifflin. And hell if he didn't go out on a sweet, achy Sarah Maclaughlin note that suggested that Andy may have some goddamn talent after all.


It was a lovely "The Office" moment.

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With Andy vacating the managerial position, David Wallace finally gave Dwight the one thing he's always wanted all along: The manager position at Dunder Mifflin. A few seasons ago, many of us groaned at the prospect of Dwight as manager (especially after his terrible turn as Interim Manager), but last night, it not only felt right, it felt immensely satisfying.

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No one supported Dwight's move more than Jim.


And in his small way, Dwight reciprocated his support.


Dwight also displayed a small moment of affection toward Angela during Andy's farewell song that was about as sweet as you'd ever imagine Dwight could get.





Angela, meanwhile, hit her rock bottom last night, losing her cats, getting evicted, and being forced to move in with Oscar.

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Then the episode's peak emotional moment came when Angela broke through her pride and admitted what we already knew>.


For me, though, the greatest thing about last night's episode was the way that they did, I think, manage to redeem Jim. It was the old Jim and Pam last night, and it felt good.






I think it was hard for Jim to admit it, but I think he made the right decision to stay for Pam, and more importantly, I think he thinks he made the right decision.

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He meant it, too, as we found out when Jim declined to go on a three-month business trip to reap the rewards of all his hard work. Now, I think we all realize, that it's time for Pam to sacrifice for Jim.




Those kids are going to make it, after all. Two more episodes of "The Office" remaining, and they're doing a damn fine job of ensuring that we will actually miss these characters after they're gone.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • KilometersAustin

    Anyone else find it weird that Pam's effort to pursue her dreams failed and Jim was wildly successful?

  • hickoryduck

    Weird? Not really. Some people can make it, some people can't.

  • me

    I don't know that it's wildly successful yet, though signs point to yes.

  • me

    Angela being poor is definitely weak sauce but it works as her comeuppance for being so judgmental over the years. Her not very discreetly pouring booze into a plastic cup in obvious reference to Meredith was a nice touch.

    Dwight's rise to manager does seem right this time, but that has a lot to do with the continued terribleness of Andy and the way they've somehow staged Dwight to be of the stronger voices of reason lately. Speaking of Andy, the nods to Ed Helms career were funny but a bit too easy, less would have been more. But of course when you have someone taking a dump on someone's car and then giving an undeniably spot on cover of ballad, subtlety in plot is not a thing anymore.

    Right from the start Jim being back and present 100% didn't feel like it was going to last, it was just too saccharine sweet. I don't love that cheese plot device where someone is in just the right place at just the right time to overhear a conversation, but I'm glad she did hear it. Listen, I'm married but I don't have kids, so I can't with any authority really put myself in that position, but how can Pam not tell Jim he has to do it. They've had such a history of supporting each other, just like when Jim supported Pam's decision to take classes in city, and that went nowhere. If he does miss out on this opportunity he's going to continue to like and love Pam and his life, but that regret is going to be there, and Pam is going to know that. Pam has to manage with two kids for a little more time? Especially when this could be the big payoff? She seems to have a fine enough support system in place. And to me the idea that Jim could just forego this big opportunity and continue at a job he was never really fulfilled with is darker than anything else.

    Also, Nelly is terrible.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I always forget Nelly's on the show until she shows up to be annoying. And then I forget again until the next episode.

  • dizzylucy

    I actually really enjoyed that one too. Definitely felt like the old Office, and especially the old Jim and Pam. I'm glad they're happy together again, at least for right now.
    And I love that everyone is actually happy for Dwight - I guess that only proves how bad a manager Andy was, if they're excited for Dwight!

  • jen

    My god, just watching the GIFs got me all weepy at my work desk. Cried right into my tomato soup!

  • I was seriously shocked by how good that episode was. I found myself laughing aloud several times and the whole timè I wondered where the quality had been all seàson. Jim and Pam were actually enjoyable and they shut Andy the hell up. And they actually managed to make Angela a sympathetic charactèr which is kind of amazing. I also liked the celebration of Dwight and how everyone was legit happy about his promotion.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I was happy for the actress that plays Angela. For once, she wasn't being asked to channel tiny bitchy ice queen

  • Me too. Especially considering she's known as very nice woman. if you ever watch any of the behind the scenes vids she's always smiling and laughing and seems pretty cool.

  • anikitty

    I did not cry like a baby during Andy's song. Because that would be weak and stupid. And I certainly didn't feel sorry for Angela crying in Oscar's arms because she's mean.

  • crispin

    How in the hell is Angela THAT poor? She's worked there for god knows how long and must have alimony coming in from The Senator. For all the goofy things The Office has their characters go through (hell, 99% of them would've been fired years ago) I thought this was a massive jump in logic.

  • Yeah, it costs like $6/year to live in Central PA. It's essentially a pre-monetary society. I pay my mortgage in Shrute bucks and no one seems to care.

  • Same thing over here in NW PA. The cost of living is crazy low and you could buy a NICE, large home for well under 150K

  • dizzylucy

    That's the only thing bothering me too - surely there would be some kind of settlement, and child support, but I may be forgetting - how much time has passed since the senator came out and they split up? Maybe that stuff hasn't happened yet, but definitely she's had a good job for all these years, I can't believe she'd be that broke.

  • Agreed. She was married to a state senator who publicly admitted to his indiscretions. The amount she would get from a settlement from him would be quite large.

  • mlurve

    Even besides that, she's an accountant. How can she be living paycheck to paycheck with no savings?

  • Boston Red

    I'm thinking there's a huge catnip dependency in there somewhere.

  • oilybohunk7

    She did live alone, with all of her cats, before the senator with the same job. I know kids are a huge expense but to end up looking for tents to live in?

  • DeltaJuliet

    I guess it's just the pessimist in me but I can't help but think that Jim will end up being resentful about it one day.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    What the hell was Michael Imperioli doing in this episode? Aside from earning a paycheck, I mean.

  • Travis_J_Smith

    Yes, last season was spotty, but I found enough to like each episode for it not to feel like a waste and sure as hell didn't find it to be the utter trash popular opinion said it was. And before then? The Office had been on a slight decline, yet nearly all shows go on one once they reach a certain length, and I hardly noticed. But this season has been horrendous, torpedoing practically every character in the cast, all the while trying desperately to make up for it with moments that try for, but fail to achieve any significant emotional impact (ex. Andy's farewell song, Jim & Pam's hug last week, Angela's breakdown, etc.). Even speaking as someone who liked the show all the way up until this season, I'll be glad to see it go.

  • "Now, I think we all realize, that it’s time for Pam to sacrifice for Jim."

    /Pam throws bottle of lube across the desk to Jim
    //sighs
    ///Jim smirks into camera
    ////"created by Greg Daniels"

  • Mrs. Julien

    Dude.

  • That's not what he was going for there? I haven't watched The Office in years. I just assumed it got DARK.

  • Boston Red

    Everyone knows... threesome, dude.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I love old Jim and Pam! It made me swoony.

  • They even did the whole air five thing again! It was nice to see them back in their groove and Jim calling her Beesley again!

  • Joe Grunenwald

    They were the old Jim and Pam, weren't they? ...right up until the point where Jim had to make a life decision, which he did once again without consulting with his wife. That just put everything into perfect clarity for me.

    Jim Halpert: good at the cutesy stuff, bad at actual marriage.

  • pajiba

    Jim: "So, Pam, this deal went through, and it would mean a 3-month long business trip."

    Pam: "Uh huh."

    Jim: "So, I wanted to consult with you about this."

    Pam: "I thought you already decided to put your marriage first."

    Jim: "Oh, I did, but I just thought I'd run this by you."

    Pam: "So you want to go?"

    Jim: "Well, no, I didn't say that. I just ... I wanted to consult with you about an important life decision."

    Pam: "JIM. We've already gone over this."

    Jim: "Right. But now, it's different."

    Pam: "How is it different?"

    Jim: "This is the end. The REAL end. There's a lot of money at stake, and our future."

    Pam: "Right, so it's OK to prioritize your job over your marriage if there's a lot of money involved?"

    Jim: "No. I'm not saying that, I just ... "

    Pam: "You know what, Jim? You do whatever you want."

    Jim: "But .. "

    Pam: "You wouldn't have asked if you didn't want to do it, so you've clearly already made up your mind."

    JIm: "I haven't. No. That's why I wanted to consult ... "

    Pam: "Just go. Do whatever you want, you're going to anyway."

    [Pam storms off.]

    MARRIAGE.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Little late in the game to start up The Office fan fiction, isn't it?

  • A "Do whatever you want" from my wife usually ends with me doing the opposite.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Wow. Fake Pam sounds like a horrible person. Good thing the Pam on the actual show isn't like that.

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