‘The Office’ Begins Preparing for Branch Closure

After a memorable, often-wonderful run, “The Office” is hardly coming to a premature end. The announcement the show is heading into its final season felt like something of a relief, frankly, even for those of us who have long admired it.

Having seen Steve Carell move on and James Spader come and go, there just didn’t seem to be many
Jim-500x500more doors to open, or close. Other longtime regulars — like Mindy Kaling, taking on her own Fox series — have also moved on. Nine years, for almost any series, is more than enough, as the show’s softening ratings attest.

Still, the notion of building toward a conclusion — which starts with this Thursday’s season premiere — is always tricky, and the writers appear to be embracing the task with a couple of significant plot lines that will carry through the season, including a few unexpected twists.

Pam-500x500They also introduce two new characters, which, frankly, risks becoming more of a distraction from the show’s core, though that’s difficult to firmly establish from the busy opener.

Suffice it to say, without giving too much away, the episode lays the groundwork for people leaving, as happens with any office. At its best, “The Office” has delivered a balance of heart, wackiness and awkward situations, and the early days of the Pam-Jim relationship offer a how-to model for how to milk such a scenario over multiple seasons.

Hopefully the show can send them and the rest of the Dunder-Mifflin team out in style, and the premiere is for the most part promising. That said, the prospect of a spinoff seems increasingly unnecessary. The show and its characters simply feel played out.

Remember, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s original yielded a mere dozen episodes, plus a special. As much as I enjoyed this “Office,” there shouldn’t be any tears when they finally get around to closing the U.S. branch.

*  *  *

On a separate front, NBC also made the “Parks and Recreation” premiere available, in which Amy Poehler‘s character, Leslie Knope, takes a trip to Washington, D.C.

I know the show has a near-rapturous (if small) core of fans, but every time I dip my toe back into it I still come away underwhelmed — including, in this case, the performances by three U.S. senators who make cameo appearances. I know they’re not really actors, but if you’re going to bring them on at least give them something to do.

By that measure, perhaps the field trip wasn’t such a great idea. Even for “Parks” enthusiasts, in terms of comedy, the current Congress sets the bar pretty high.


Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Voices News from Variety