Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Office Will Be Fine

I feel as if I'm one of the few fans who's actually looking forward to the next season of The Office.  Everyone seems to be really down on losing Steve Carell.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Michael Scott as much as Dwight did, as well as every other devoted fan.  But this show has always been about an excellent ensemble cast and their never-ending supply of quirky character traits (or flaws or whatever).  The writers purposely sent Michael off to Colorado before the season finale so that the show could find its footing before the summer layoff, therefore keeping viewers interested.  I honestly think the mystery boss selection was a better season finale cliffhanger than a sappy "farewell Michael" episode that would ultimately just leave viewers upset and unexcited for another season.

Let me be clear about this.  The Office does not need Michael Scott as much as it's fans think it does.  The perceived success of the show in a post-Carell world will require the stubborn Michael fanatics to ease their belief that this show will no longer be any good. Obviously, Michael was the star of this ensemble, but the show has made a point over the years to develop every character, giving them their own story lines and allowing them to become grow and adapt.  After spending the first 6 seasons of the show in a minor character role as a one dimensional tough guy warehouse supervisor, Daryll has grown into a full fledged, rounded, sensitive contributing character.  Pam has begun to show she can create jokes, rather than simply react to them, proven by her Jim-like prank on Creed in the finale. And after changing his personality in nearly every season, Ryan has become a character that I can actually enjoy watching. His hipster vibe, nonsensical statements ( I want someone who can lead me when I'm in the mood to be lead) and sarcastic remarks (Oh no, Stanley, you're going to live forever) have finally made him hilarious.

The end of the season left any true fan of The Office with reasons to keep coming back:  The new manager, sexual tension between Andy and Erin, Angela's odd relationship with the (state) senator, and Creed's plot to destroy the branch (just kidding).  Yes, Michael Scott is arguably one of the greatest characters in sitcom history, but his fame (or infamy?) would have never found it's place without being part of a great show.  Since the announcement of Carell's departure, I've said that next season will most likely be it's last. I don't really want it to end, but I fear that rating may take a hit, causing the NBC Suits to panic and pull the plug.  However, the cast and writers seemed excited to face the challenge of losing Carell, and are probably really excited for next season, as am I. My only hope is that the show can live up to my expectations, and change the minds of the non-believers. If not, I'd be okay with the show coming to an end.  There's nothing worse than watching a show limping from episode to episode, hoping to make it another week. And even if next season is the last, I'll still continue to call The Office my favorite show of all time.

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