This is going to be really hard.
I had planned on writing something for my favorite show ever, but each day I couldn’t put the right words together. Maybe it was because goodbyes are a bitch.
I had to do it, though. This isn’t a particularly funny post, nor was it intended to be. It’s just a small sampling of what the show means to me and how sad I am to see it go. This is my goodbye to The Office.
I was 16 years old when the pilot episode of The Office debuted. At the time, my favorite TV shows were reruns of Saved by the Bell and Full House. A television connoisseur I was not. Something about The Office was different from every other show I had ever watched. The first thing people noticed was the documentary style the show was shot in. It’s a format that successful shows like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation use because of The Office.
But that wasn’t what caught my attention.
It was the awkward pauses, the uncomfortable moments that made me squirm, and the too-smart-for-most jokes that take you a couple of seconds to understand before you crack up laughing. There was no laugh track, studio audience or any indication that told you “THIS IS FUNNY.” The Office was so much smarter than every other television show.
Everybody and their momma is writing a retrospective on The Office this week, and rightfully so. It’s a great television series, and easily the best show in the 00’s decade. It won an Emmy, but it rarely seemed to get the praise it deserved. There was never an Emmy for Steve Carell’s iconic, Michael Scott, perhaps the best sitcom character in the history of television (Uncle Jesse a close second). Ratings slipped after five seasons, but at its peak, the show had 10 million viewers a week. In high school, I would plead with friends to give the show a chance, that it was so funny and honestly, I just wanted people to get my jokes when I quoted The Office on a daily basis. I needed people to get my Todd Packer references.
I fell in love with Pam just like Jim Halpert did. She was a redhead, so that threw me off, but as the second season progressed, there were butterflies in my stomach when Jim and Pam were together. I remember Season 2’s finale, “Casino Night,” where Jim finally professed his love for Pam and they kissed. I was on AOL Instant Messenger talking about that moment with other dudes. It was weird, but it happened.
The shows other characters have their own, equally as large fan bases. Dwight was a dorky kiss-ass who you grew to love as he rose from Assistant to the Regional Manager all the way up to Regional Manager. Kevin Malone single-handedly saved Season 8 with his slow-moving dim-witted character. Stanley’s Pretzel Day episode and basically every line Stanley ever said filled me with joy. Seasons 3-6 of Andy Bernard were comedy gold. I’ll never hear “Cornell” without thinking of the Nard Dog. Creed’s one liners when you least expected them were like exclamation points on already fantastic episodes. Toby was the worst but you loved him. There’s so much more to talk about because each character has something about them that we all loved.
Except Robert California. F*** that guy.
Everyone says that The Office should have ended as soon as Steve Carell left the show. I disagree. Sure, Season 8 was a train wreck and the writers had no idea what to do without the star, but it had to go on. We were too invested in the rest of Dunder Mifflin to just say goodbye that abruptly. Michael Scott’s departure was just the start of a slow, excruciating farewell to the people from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Haggleman Mondays and I can attest that this final season was so utterly confusing and at times, just plain bad, that this was our reaction most Thursdays:
It didn’t help that the far superior writing was going on at 9:30 in Pawnee, Indiana. But somewhere along this season, everyone at The Office figured out what made them so successful and beloved. The next to the last episode that aired last week, “A.A.R.M,” paid homage to the show that I fell in love with, and the characters that I will cherish forever. Jim’s antics with Dwight, Dwight and Angela realizing that they were meant for each other, and Pam being shown just how much Jim truly loves her all brought us back to those first few seasons and the reason we found the show so perfect.
200 episodes later, and it’s time to turn the lights off in the offices of Dunder Mifflin.
I was emotionally spent after “Goodbye, Michael.” I don’t know exactly how the series finale will end, but I do know that at least one grown man is going to cry for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Thank you to The Office. Your quotes, GIFs and videos that have 30 second ads in front of them (Thanks, NBC) will live on forever. Thankfully, you’ve inspired another great show, Parks and Recreation, to fill that void at least for one year, but nothing will quite compare to you. You were a big part of 9 years of my life. I always had you to fall back on each and every Thursday night.
How will tonight go? I think Michael Scott, as he often did, said it best:
Farewell, old friend.