Well, that was tremendously satisfying.
That's what she said.
After nine seasons on NBC, the American adaptation of Ricky Gervais' beloved British series of the same name, The Office was given an absolutely lovely, sincere, and near-perfect send-off. No, not everything in the episode worked. But what did work — those heartfelt reunions and goodbyes — are what really stood out and what mattered and what made this 75-minute finale so very special.
But, that's almost fitting in a way. The past few years of The Office were pretty bad, but the finale erased all of that. This is exactly what the conclusion was about: redeeming yourself, making peace with something, remembering the good over the bad, and finding the beauty in imperfections. Everyone had their happy ending, including The Office itself.
Picking up a year after the airing of the PBS documentary about them, and a day before Dwight and Angela's wedding, we found our favorite characters at different places in their lives. But the employees of Dunder Mifflin were — and still are — at their core, a family. But, you can't have a family unit without it's papa bear, which in their case is Michael Scott. Yes, the rumors were confirmed and our wishes came true: Steve Carell returned for the finale, and it was just perfect.
After Jim was named best man for Dwight's wedding — or, as the Schrute's call it, Bestest Mensch — and he went above and beyond the call of duty (aw, remember the episode when Jim was terrible at Call of Duty?) by pulling off the Best... Prank... Ever... and surprising the groom with a new Bestest Mensch: one Michael Gary Scott. And their first exchange in nearly two years went as follows:
Dwight: "I can't believe you came." Michael: "That's what she said."
Oh, Michael, you haven't changed a bit. Well, he did a little, in that he now has gray hair and is blissfully happy with a wife and their kids. But at the core, he's still the same old Michael. He still can't dance and he still says things that come out wrong ("I feel like all my kids grew up and married each other... it's every parent's dream!"), but his heart is still in the right place. Please, please let the Emmys at least give Carell one for a guest appearance.
Michael wasn't the only one who got a happy ending so richly deserved. Pam finally made a big, romantic gesture to Jim and decided to move their family to Austin so he could pursue his dream; Dwight and Angela got married; Kelly and Ryan (that's right, Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak returned, too) got back together (even if they did so in the most terrible way possible: by ditching a baby... though would you expect any different from those two?); Andy went from a laughing stock to a hometown hero; Darryl enjoyed his continued success; Toby enthusiastically got invited to hang out; Oscar enjoyed a senatorial campaign (but sadly no showcase of his origami skills) and, in the most touching happy ending of them all, Erin finally got to meet her birth parents (played by Joan Cusack and Ed Begley Jr.).
But, really, even if they didn't have a big goodbye, all the characters walked away with something: wisdom. Lucky for us, they all got to share a few pearls (major kudos to The Office writing team for this episode, it was some absolutely beautiful stuff):
- "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Oh, Nard Dog. Someone should write a song about that.
- "I worked for a paper company all these years, but I never wrote anything down." Phyllis just destroyed me in this episode (she was so concerned about Andy, and she carried her old nemesis Angela down the aisle, and was so genuinely happy to receive her gift of a cute bird statue of herself from her grumpy pal Stanley) and this little snippet was a reminder to us all to take more pictures and write down your memories — you'll really cherish them someday.
- "Yes, I'd say I have gotten along with my subordinates." Dwight, referring to his wife Angela, best man Jim, and his best friend (aw!) Pam, among others.
- "Everything I have I owe to this job. This stupid, wonderful, boring, amazing job." Jim, TV's best crush, always and forever.
- "There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?" Pam, who grew into her own and allowed herself to find happiness over the course of nine years. As she simply put it, "Be strong, trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears, go after what you want." And thank goodness that The Office saw the beauty in ordinary things and ordinary people who were capable of extraordinary things.
Other finale highlights:
- Bringing back characters like Carol the realtor (Carell's wife in real life, Nancy Walls), Elizabeth the stripper, and of course, Mose. - Cameos by Seth Meyers and Bill Hader as themselves. Hey, we'll take as much of those guys on SNL as we can while we can get 'em. - Dwight carrying/dancing with Angela. - The group shot in front of Pam's mural calling for "everyone from the office." Judging by the cameo by Greg Daniels, it was likely everyone from The Office. - Creed's beautiful guitar serenade in the office. - Reminscing about the Office Olympics. - Pam getting in one last "Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam" and taking her painting of the office building with her. - Just. All of it, really. Goodbye old friends. And thank you.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran and Hollywood.com @Hollywood_com
More: 'The Office': The 10 Best (and 5 Worst) Episodes The 5 Biggest Character Transformations on 'The Office' Steve Carell is Returning for the Series Finale of 'The Office'
From Our Partners:Watch Justin Bieber Attacked in Dubai (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
If you've been keeping up with The Office's ninth and final season, here's some news guaranteed to make you smile: NBC just announced that an hour-long retrospective episode will air before the series finale. Get ready to relive the hilarity, awkwardness, and heartwarming stories from the past almost-decade!
The special episode will offer a look back at the past nine seasons, including actor auditions back when the show was first being cast, favorite moments, a behind-the-scenes sneak peak of the finale, as well as an emotional farewell to the characters of The Office. The retrospective will feature interviews with writers, producers, and actors, including executive producers Greg Daniels, Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, and actors John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, Angela Kinsey, Craig Robinson, Oscar Nunez and B.J. Novak.
The hour-long series finale will air immediately following the retrospective, and boasts an impressive lineup of guest stars including Kaling, Novak, Rachael Harris, Dakota Johnson, Joan Cusack, Ed Begley Jr., Malcolm Barrett, Matt Jones, Andy Buckley, Mike Schur, and Bobby Ray Shafer. The episode takes place months after the airing of the documentary, and the workers of Dunder Mifflin past and present gather for a wedding and a final round of interviews. "Mysteries are solved, hatchets are buried, pranks are prunked," promises the episode description.
Who will be saying "I do?" Will Jim and Pam finally get their happily ever after? Will Steve Carrell make a cameo? Watch the retrospective and series finale to find out, when both air on Thursday, May 16, from 8-10 PM ET/PT on NBC.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
More:'The Office' Wraps Shooting: Cast Shares Finale Secrets'The Office' Series Finale: Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak In, Steve Carrell Still Out
From Our Partners15 Nude Photo Scandals (vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
The film and television nominations for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have been released, recognizing achievements in both individual performances and the strengths of ensemble casts. This year's television award nominations are listed below, including many worthy recipients, but there are also a few surprising absences. Among the hard-hitters listed below are dramas like HBO's Mildred Pierce and Boardwalk Empire, AMC's Breaking Bad and comedies such as ABC's Modern Family (which swept the Emmys this year) and NBC's 30 Rock. However, some might be surprised not to find the new Showtime drama Homeland or NBC's secret weapon Parks and Recreation.
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Jan. 29, 2012 on TNT and TBS.
Click here to read the list of this year's film nominees.
18th ANNUAL SAG AWARDS NOMINATIONS: PRIMETIME TELEVISION
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Laurence Fishburne - Thurgood (HBO)
Paul Giamatti - Too Big to Fail (HBO)
Greg Kinnear - The Kennedy (Reelz Channel)
Guy Pearce - Mildred Pierce (HBO)
James Woods - Too Big to Fail (HBO
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Diane Lane - Cinema Verite (HBO)
Maggie Smith - Downton Abbey (PBS)
Emily Watson - Appropriate Adult (Sundance Channel)
Betty White - Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Lost Valentine (CBS)
Kate Winslet - Mildred Pierce (HBO)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Patrick J. Adams - Suits (USA)
Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Kyle Chandler - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV)
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall - Dexter (Showtime)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates - Harry's Law (NBC)
Glenn Close - Damages (DirecTV)
Jessica Lange - American Horror Story (FX)
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife (CBS)
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer (TNT)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock (NBC)
Ty Burrell - Modern Family (ABC)
Steve Carell - The Office (NBC)
Jon Cryer - Two and a Half Men (CBS)
Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family (ABC)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Julia Bowen - Modern Family (ABC)
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Tina Fey - 30 Rock (NBC)
Sofia Vergara - Modern Family (ABC)
Betty White - Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) - Steve Buscemi, Dominic Chianese, Robert Clohessy, Dabney Coleman, Charlie Cox, Jose & Lucy Gallina, Stephen Graham, Jack Huston, Anthony Laciura, Heather Lind, Kelly Macdonald, Rory & Declan McTigue, Gretchen Mol, Brady & Connor Noon, Kevin O'Rourke, Aleksa Palladino, Jacqueline Pennewill, Vincent Piazza, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Van Wagner, Shea Whigham, Michael Kenneth Williams, Anatol Yusef
Breaking Bad (AMC) - Jonathan Banks, Betsy Brandt, Ray Campbell, Bryan Cranston, Giancarlo Esposito, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Aaron Paul
Dexter (Showtime) - Billy Brown, Jennifer Carpenter, Josh Cooke, Aimee Garcia, Michael C. Hall, Colin Hanks, Desmond Harrington, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Rya Kihlstedt, C.S. Lee, Edward James Olmos, James Remar, Lauren Velez, Peter Weller, David Zayas
Game of Thrones (HBO) - Amrita Acharia, Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Josef Altin, Sean Bean, Susan Brown, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Ron Donachie, Michelle Farley, Jerome Flynn, Elyes Gabel, Aiden Gillen, Jack Gleeson Iain Glen, Julian Glover, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Richard Madden, Jason Mamoa, Rory McCann, Ian McElhinney, Luke McEwan, Roxanne McKee, Dar Salim, Mark Stanley, Donald Sumpter, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
The Good Wife (CBS) - Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, Alan Cumming, Matt Czuchry, Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Archie Panjabi, Graham Phillips, Makenzie Vega
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 Rock (NBC) - Scott Adsit, Alec Baldwin, Katrina Bowden, Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman, Tina Fey, Judah Friedlander, Jane Krakowski, John Lutz, Jack McBrayer, Tracy Morgan, Maulik Pancholy, Keith Powell
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - Mayim Bialik, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons, Melissa Rauch
Glee (Fox) - Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Ashley Fink, Dot Marie Jones, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Mike O'Malley, Chord Overstreet, Lauren Potter, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Harry Shum Jr., Iqbal Theba, Jenna Ushkowitz
Modern Family (ABC) - Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julia Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ed O'Neill, Rico Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara, Ariel Winter
The Office (NBC) - Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, Kate Flannery, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, John Krasinski, Paul Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, Craig Robinson, James Spader, Phyllis Smith, Rainn Wilson, Zach Woods
S07.E09: Because I’m obsessed with the three act structure, I’m inclined to look at this week’s and next week’s episodes as the close to the first act of the seventh season. And as such, The Office is finally wrapping up the introductions before throwing us into predicaments and later coming to resolutions. And honestly, it's about time. I’m not saying that The Office is spinning its wheels, but something has to happen soon. There has been a severe lack of emotion in the show since: a) the novelty of Jim and Pam getting together wore off and b) Michael found and then lost Holly. Additionally, anything involving Andy, Dwight, or Angela has just become stale. They’ve tried to kick it back up with the Gabe, Erin, Andy triangle, but it just seems hollow compared to the emotional roller coaster that was the saga of Jim and Pam.
So hopefully things will turn around with Michael’s departure drawing nearer. Taking a sneak peek at the episodes ahead, Holly is set to make a return so maybe The Office’s heart will start beating again and Steve Carell can leave on a high note.
With that said, let’s get to the cold opening. In a surprising-they-haven’t-done-this-before bit the office’s power blacks out because Michael was using a space heater and an electric fan at the same time. This causes the network to be rebooted as well, which requires a password for logging back into it. A great little call back with Jim when he tries to remember the IT guy’s name but they trace back the IT guys of the past and eventually remember that the password made Michael laugh but offended Pam. Which means that the password protecting the entire server of the office was “bigboobz.” Gotta love modern day security.
If you’ll indulge me for a second, this cold opening could be viewed as a deconstruction of the modern office environment’s reliance on technology that most people don’t understand. With the network down, the whole company came to a screeching halt and they could literally not do any work until they guessed this password. But what would’ve happened if they couldn’t guess it? I’m pretty sure none of those characters would have known what to do. I mean, I work for a website and our entire business revolves around the internet yet I know absolutely nothing about what goes on behind the scenes here. I have to leave that to guys and gals much smarter than me (after all it takes way too many braincells to think of different words for “boner” and memorize coding language). So while this was a subtle (and probably unintentional) bit of satire regarding the corporate reliance on advanced technology that most people don’t understand, it was a fairly funny opening. Which is probably the important thing.
The main story of this week’s episode revolved around someone we haven’t seen much of in the past few seasons. Ryan has quietly become a tertiary character despite the fact that BJ Novak is one of the main writers and co-executive producers of the show. Feeling a bit inspired by the post-Social Network way of looking at the post-Facebook world (I think that makes sense, yep, it does) Ryan is shilling out for his website WUPHF.com which was first introduced last season. He has rounded up a bunch of investors from the office including Michael, Pam, Andy, Darryl and the bunch. However, things aren’t going quite as well as Ryan had hoped (which, considering he thought he would be a billionaire in like four months, might not be a shocker) and his investors are calling for him to sell the site before it goes belly up and bankrupt in nine days. His only lead for the sale is the Washington University Public Health Fund, who only needs the site for its acronym.
Pam confronts Michael about his delusional relationship with Ryan and calls him out on how one sided the friendship goes. This dynamic has worked well throughout the series because it's usually just a line thrown in for comedic effect. But now Ryan has other people’s money at stake in this venture and it's up to Michael to finally recognize that his relationship isn’t as special as he thought. He confronts Ryan and almost gets him to change his mind, but not quite. Then all the investors confront him and Michael stands up for Ryan with a rather inspired description of him. Ryan is image obsessed and selfish but he does aim high and have ambition coming out of his ass. But that doesn’t quell the fears of the investors, so Ryan eventually caves and sells to Washington University.
The next storyline involved Jim, who discovered to his unfortunate shock that Sabre has enacted a commission cap which he reached last week and thus removes all incentive for him to work. Thus he retracts to old-school Jim and begins to look for new ways to goof off. With Pam knee-deep in work, he has to look for other sources of amusement. This whole bit felt slightly off, except when Creed asks him how long he “can hold that pretty little breath of yours.” Old Jim slacked off because he was fighting the man, this Jim slacked off because the man basically gave him permission to do so. It didn’t feel right until he started seriously messing with Gabe using some audio editing. He leaves Gabe scrambling to keep up with Jo’s audio book which Jim manipulated into a phone call. It was that bit of inspiration that set this prank above the others in the episode.
Our final story line of the week was another adventure involving Dwight's ownership of the building. His own description of what he did is far too succinct and clever for me to try and sum up so I'll just share it with you: “Did I truck 300 bales of hay to a parking lot to rectify some childhood disappointment? Yes.” So he created a world of hay for all those to enjoy, just as long as they paid him. Angela made another slutty move to get Dwight in her pants, but he was having too much fun making money off of hay. She eventually meets another dude and they hit it off well so she decides to give him the goodies. Dwight is shocked by this, of course, because he never expects anything to go anywhere but according to plan. The only redeeming things about this bit was Dwight’s hay king outfit at the end (which looked a little like Max’s costume in Where the Wild Things Are) and Kevin being completely befuddled by the maze. A little broad and unrealistic, but alas that is the Dwight of recent seasons. I’ll take it.
So all in all, a decent episode, not terrible, but at this point it feels like we’re just shooting the shit waiting for Michael to leave. However, there was this gem when Jim talks about how good he is at getting his child to eat real food: “Let’s be honest: If I can make mushed carrots seem better than a boob, I can pretty much sell anything.” This is an interesting statement because you have to remember, in the world of the show, Jim is basically using his face and voice to turn a child against Pam’s boob. Thinking like that, it is fairly impressive. Needless to say, I gladly submit myself to test out which is more persuasive. Oh the sacrifices I am willing to submit myself to in the name of science. You’re welcome bitches.