Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Farewell to The Office (sniff, sniff)


Me: Hello, my name is Karen.
All: Hi, Karen.
Me: And I’m an Office addict.

It began innocently enough early this year when my youngest son and I were ill with terrible sinus infections. Clogged heads and drippy noses, we plopped ourselves in the family room, he on the sofa, me on the love seat, unsure what to do. TV, of course, but what to watch? Bored of our regular programs and unimpressed with the current movie choices, we scanned Hulu Plus.

The Office.

I had seen a few episodes before, but never was able to watch it regularly between the kids not being quite old enough and my husband being unable to relax while viewing. It reminded him too much of work, you see. Now in junior high, my son was of an acceptable age, and we started Season One.

By the time the three-day illness subsided, we were on Season Three and desperate to figure out when we could see the rest. After all, we did have to rejoin humanity, and there was school and work to tend to. We watched an episode each day after he came home from school, sometimes even two, before homework. What else was there to do during those cold winter days in Chicagoland? They had pulled us in, and we had to know what happened next.


As the seasons passed, I fell in love with Jim and Pam as they fell in love with each other. I watched Michael Scott grow from an awkward office buffoon to a sad victim of Jan to owning his own paper company briefly to finding his perfect match. I laughed out loud at the Jim versus Dwight pranks, the constant abuse of poor Toby, David Wallace’s Suck It invention, Stanley’s mistresses, Angela’s cats, Phyllis’ wedding to Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, anything Kevin said, Creed’s shadiness, Meredith’s drunkenness, Andy’s tattooed bottom, Darryl’s dance moves, Oscar’s know-it-all-ism, creepy Gabe, and Ryan and Kelly’s make out sessions in the annex.

Then there was Dwight Schrute, dorky with his beet farming, Battlestar Galactica-loving self, complete with quirky phraseology, “superior” intelligence and genetics, and yet occasionally, a surprising vulnerability, especially during Angela’s engagement to Andy. This season’s “Dwight Christmas,” an austere Schrute family holiday, and his joy at playing Belsnickel was sublime. “Impish or Admirable?” will forever be a part of our family holidays. Dwight is truly one of the greatest TV characters of all time.


I haven’t felt this sad about an impending season finale since the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show so many years ago. The original British version of The Office only lasted two seasons, a mere fifteen episodes. This one closes out its ninth season this week. How could that be? Americans never outdo the Brits in television or film. That’s just a fact.

The Office wasn’t about car chases or explosions, although Ryan did start a fire in the Dunder Mifflin lunchroom once. The fate of the world did not rest upon anyone’s shoulders. There were no quests. They just sold paper, and we loved them for it.

Through their antics, I think each of us could see a little of ourselves. The camaraderie of their work family. The humor in everyday life. The beauty of Jim and Pam’s story was not the big moments, some huge declaration of love, but rather the subtleties—the look on Jim’s face when he glanced over at Pam at the reception desk, the way she rested her head on his shoulder on the boat at Niagara Falls.


It is true that everyone has a story. The writers, cast, and crew of The Office told theirs with wit, humor, and a whole lot of heart.

Thank you for nine awesome seasons.




6 comments:

Kelly Hashway said...

I've only seen a few episodes of The Office. I think it was on during another show I watched.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

You're really missing out, Kelly, because it's a great show.

Carol said...

Well gosh. I watched a couple episodes of the Office a million years ago but didn't follow up. Now I see that I have an entire series of juicy stories for some time in the future when I need to sit still for a while. I am anxious to compare notes with the offices I have worked in!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

It's a good break, Carol. Thanks for stopping by.

Claudine G. said...

I caught a few episodes of it (in a season when Steve Carell was still around) and those characters were so distinct. I remember Jim and Pam's wedding. That was a great one!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Yes it was, Claudine! :)