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"The Office" Finale: One Last Good Prank

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | May 17, 2013 | Comments ()


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"This stupid, wonderful, boring, amazing job, " is the line that best captured our feelings about "The Office," and in a way, the last season has felt like a textbook break-up. You get to the point where you can't stand the sight of the thing that you used to love -- we've been there for several seasons now -- and there's a huge relief when you finally decide to end it. But it's then, once you've made up your mind, that the things that you used to love so much decide to reappear. You know you have to do it -- end it all -- because you know that, invariably, that sense of dread will return if you stick it out, but ending it in the face of what you used to love hurts, and the best you can hope for is an amicable break-up and a sense of closure.

Last night's finale of "The Office" was the perfect break-up: It built upon the last few episodes, renewing our sense of affection, it reminded us of what we loved about it, and it gave us some closure, knowledge that everything would be OK for us, and for the characters (except for poor Toby). It hurt, but in a good way. It felt right, and it delivered one of the best series finales in years, highlighting all that was "wonderful" and "amazing" about "The Office," and letting us forget the "stupid" and "boring" parts for an hour and 15 minutes.

To those what will say, "I quit years ago, and I don't regret it," I say: Good for you. But for some of us, our attachments run a little bit deeper. For better or worse, we see things through to the end, and last night, we got the payoff we wanted.

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Yes, Michael Scott was in the finale, and it was just right: He had a couple of scenes, we caught up on his life (he has children, who he adores), and he didn't take anything away from the existing cast. His entrance, when he replaced Jim as the Best Man, was absolutely perfect.

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In the daffiest subplot, Kelly and Ryan also returned, and reunited, running off together and leaving Ryan's baby with Kelly's husband, who left it with Nellie, who is taking him to Europe with her. Everybody wins!

I'd forgotten all about Erin's search for her biological parents, so Joan Cusack was an adorable surprise.

Poor Toby. He didn't get his happy ending. Appropriately.

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They had a lot of fun with Creed, mixing in his real past as a member of the Grass Roots with a fictional past, in which he was a fugitive. "During that time, the police say he sold drugs and trafficked in endangered species meat and stole weapons-grade LSD from the military." His ending is in prison, which he seems to be perfectly content with, able to make it his home.

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Stanley retired, moved to a beach house, and got the divorce he'd always wanted. He spends his days whittling things from wood, like this figurine of Phyllis.

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Dwight fired Kevin, because Kevin is terrible at his job. But Kevin bought a bar, and he and Dwight made up when Mose kidnapped Angela -- as part of the bachelor party -- and brought him to Kevin's bar, where Jim pushed Dwight into burying the hatchet.

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Andy, oh, Andy. Andy's meltdown at the a capella competition went viral, made him Internet famous, and turned him into a laughing stock. But he made the best of it, delivering a redemptive speech at the Cornell graduations, and earning himself a position in the admissions office at Cornell, which is where he always wanted to be. Or thought so, anyway.

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Dwight could not have had a better ending. He married the woman he loves in a shallow grave.

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He gets to be the manager of a company he loves.

And then, there's Jim and Pam. After another year at Dunder Mifflin, Pam decided to return Jim's romantic gesture by selling the house (without consulting Jim, appropriately) so that Jim could join Darryl -- who is now very wealthy -- in Austin with their sports agency.

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It was nice to see her answer the phone one last time.

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Jim and Pam have come full circle.

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So long, "The Office."

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"I thought it was weird when you picked us to make a documentary. But, all in all, I think an ordinary paper company like Dunder Mifflin was a great subject for a documentary. There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?" -- Pamela Beesley Halpert.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • It got me right in the heart. It was all about loving the characters and being sweet, and that always gets me. I was bawling when Michael showed up, and when he mentioned his kids--remember how desperately Michael wanted kids?!-- I was a complete wreck.

    And I absolutely loved all the little callbacks that only long-time watchers got: Mose (MOSE!), Devon, getting married in a shallow grave, etc. It's like the writers knew exactly what we wanted to see, and we got it. It was incredibly sweet.

  • Erich

    Erin meeting her parents very unexpectedly got me all emotional.
    For just a brief moment, I forgot that this was scripted TV and fell right back into the idea that it was a documentary, and I got all verklempt when she gave her mom that hug.

  • Amanda

    Erin dancing with her dad was hilarious and so sweet. :)

  • Guest

    Erin meeting her parents

  • mystile

    Despite some odd moments I'll touch upon I do agree this was an appropriate finale to a pretty special television series. The format was somewhat weird to me, with the panel and other documentary pieces alongside the bachelor/ette party and wedding, it's splitting hairs but two distinct episodes would have been fine. Give the bachelor/ette parties their own twenty some odd minutes and then the wedding/panel another for the finale, cutting fifteen minutes that wasn't needed.

    The panel itself it was deliciously awkward. I'm always happy to see Joan Cusack anywhere but the reunion was slightly bizarre, even if it did connect the fact that regular people saw the doc, including Erin's parents, and it effected there life in a very real way. The hostility towards Pam and the requests to read the secret letter were spot on. These were fans of the Office but it wasn't just a stroke fest.

    In the interest of being brief I'll give some thoughts based on some characters...

    Michael Scott- A truly perfect scene with him taking over as best man. However, it was little more than a cameo and I know that's what made it great but it's been so long, and he was so good. I really thought he'd come marching in with Holly and a gaggle of kids in tow, and while he did have children they were only briefly mentioned. Michael also did not accompany the crew to the office at the end, and yes I know that was good writing, but I would have liked to see him there just one more time.

    Pam/Jim- I finally got my closure on Jim joining what is now Athleap, and I was really glad to know he could go right back without a hitch, even if that's some hollywood convenience. The things Jim and Pam said about the Office were touching and appropriate and nothing I could say would add anything.

    Dwight/Angela- A very fitting end for D and Monkey, they let Dwight be heartfelt and sweet but still be Dwight. Everyone knows that only Steve Carell was the only person that could have given Michael Scott any just, but Rainn Wilson as Dwight was such great casting. Angela not telling Dwight Phillip was his son until he proposed anyway seemed kind of terrible to me honestly. How long would she have waited otherwise? Forever? I don't buy that you withhold that kind of knowledge.

    Kelly/Ryan- Yeah...I guess there gag was fitting but..whatever.

    Stanley/Phyllis- This was one of my favorite storylines in the finale. Stanley's retiring to Florida and whittling was spot on. And I really have to give credit to Phyllis who in real life was a casting agent before the Office. Her blend of sweet matron of the office and naughty chick was so well balanced. Phyllis feeding a young svelte black man to make another Stanley was a nice touch.

    Andy Bernard- The viral video thing was fine I guess. We've seen Andrew Bernard's character go through the ringer too much so at this point I've really lost perspective on him. He got to go back to Cornell and he seems happy

    Oscar/Kevin/Meredith/Toby - Not much to say here, Kevin had such a great season I would have liked to see some more pay off but it was fine. Meredith's gags with her son didn't really do it for me, nor did her storyline of getting another degree during her office tenure. Toby isn't doing so well, alright then.

    Darryl/Creed- Darryl's rolling up in a nice suit and stepping into a limo tells us he's doing great at Athleap, so that's good. And how he gets to work with Jim again,they've always had a nice rapport. And Creed...well what can you say about Creed.

    Clark/Pete/Erin/Nelly- Don't care.

  • Xtacle Steve

    I really enjoyed it and I haven't enjoyed The Office in years. It's weird to think what NBC's Thursday nights will look like next season with 30 Rock, The Office, and Community (Or what I remember as Community) gone. I really hope NBC has something good lined up as a replacement, because as bad as the rest of their stuff is, I love their Thursday night comedies.

  • PerpetualIntern

    I cried ugly tears during the last scene, even though I haven't watched for the last three seasons. Michael's quote about watching his kids grow up and marry each other was perfection: so sincere and so clueless at the same time.

  • JenVegas

    After living in Chicago for 15 years, meeting my husband and having my child here I'm packing up my life to move to NY and this finale resonated with me in ways I didn't anticipate. I totally found myself bawling into my bubble wrap when Andy was talking about how he wishes that you could know you were in the good old days before you leave them. Damnit, The Office, you made me cry and now I might actually miss you a little bit.

  • PaddyDog

    I'll admit we tuned in last night after a long boycott just to say goodbye. Was it everything I hoped for? Almost. But did it beat the incredibly over-hyped, disappointing series finales of Seinfeld, The Sopranos, etc? Hell, yes. They knew what people wanted to see and they gave it to us*

    *With the exception of my wish for Nellie to end up buried in one of those shallow graves.

  • When Jim was messing with Dwight saying he couldn't be his best man because he was too young, I was bouncing on the couch chanting "Michael Michael MICHAEL COME ON!" And then I cried. And then Pam talked about Michael's two phones and his family plan and I cried some more. I gave up on the show about halfway through last season, with the occasional pop in. But I had to watch the finale.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Is the Dwight spin-off still happening? I didn't know Angela was signed on.

  • mlurve

    Nope, NBC didn't pick it up.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Thanks!

  • Mrs. Julien

    and THANK GOD!

  • anikitty

    I cried and punched my girlfriend when Michael appears as the best man. I think she's forgiven me. (not domestic violence, just excitement)

  • InternetMagpie

    I was never a big Office fan, but oh my god that was a perfect way for Michael to come back. I got teary at the GIF.

  • MissAmynae

    same here. so many feels in that one little moving picture.

  • prestocaro

    Before I got to the parenthesis, I imagined an arm punch... but now that I've read the parenthesis, I'm imagining a right hook to the nose.

  • anikitty

    Arm punch...but definitely harder than either of us expected.

  • I agree that The Office finale hit all the right notes and will probably go down as one of the better series finales in recent memory.

    My only wish is that they could have found this tone during the last season more often.

    As good as the finale is, it plays like a Hail Mary Pass compared to the rest of the season.

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