S07E21 Oh lord, you guys. Let’s just go ahead and get the tissues ready for next week. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep my composure, it’s going to be so emotional. For once, I’m glad NBC ran the promos for next week’s The Office. I know it’s coming and I know it’s going to be another episode like “Casino Night” or “Goodbye, Toby”. So I’ll just man up and prepare myself to say goodbye to a beloved fictional television character.
But this week was a surprisingly sweet episode as we begin our official sayonara for Michael Scott. It’s his last Dundies and the whole office turns it around on him to give him their own send off. Needless to say, it was absolutely amazing.
‘The Dundies are my baby and they need to go on.’ – Michael
Once again we find ourselves at the Dundies, Michael’s annual tribute to the whole office. As I’ve theorized before (or blatantly ripped-off from someone else, I can’t remember), the Dundies are one giant metaphor for Michael’s reign as boss. It’s a highly self-indulgent affair, but at the same time he honors everyone in his own special way. Slightly offensive at times, but this is Michael we’re talking about.
Our cold opening has Michael dragging Deangelo to everyone’s house just like the Oscars. We’ve seen Jim’s house before and Stanley was grumpy as usual but the real treat was getting our first peek at Meredith’s living situation and…yeeeeah, it was as gross as you would expect. I was hoping that we might be looking at Creed’s house but nothing they would have shown would have been strange enough. Creed exists in the strangest world possible in our minds, it’s much funnier to keep him there.
‘You’re doing it for all those kids out there eating off the Louis-Vulpee kid’s menu who are wondering who does it gets better.’ – Michael
Ah, but it turns out that Deangelo has the world’s worst case of stage fright. He’s perfectly fine leading a meeting but put him in a performance and he clams up. It’s a bit of perfect acting by Will Ferrell when he struggles to even come up with basic banter, let alone witty banter (which, by the way, is the one kind of banter that Kevin absolutely hates). We get a little mini-version of The King’s Speech when Michael tries to train his tutelage with breathing exercises and screaming over a Walkman. But it is no use, even when reading off the cue cards Deangelo is the worst presenter ever. It’s becoming fairly obvious how different he is from Michael and a man that can’t stand on stage and enjoy every eye upon him is as different from Michael as you can be.
But then the show must go on and The Dundies commence. Everyone gets their little moment in the spotlight. Jim wins father of the year, much to the surprise of Pam, and promptly forgets to thank Pam. Kevin colors on the tablecloth with some brought-from-home crayons. Meredith wins best mother, but tosses that to the ground when Erin wins cutest redhead. Erin then sends the night down into awkwardville when she breaks up with fucking Gabe in front of everyone. Fingers crossed that something happens between Andy and Erin later in the season. We’re gonna need something to cheer us up after Michael’s departure.
‘9,986,000 minutes’ – The Office
But before we get into the super sweet ending, not everyone was thrilled tonight. Dwight is still really pissed off about being passed over for the manager position and takes it out on everyone with sound effects. Dwight is rarely this intentionally funny (where he is actively doing something that can be perceived as funny rather than doing something he thinks is normal/sane) and his timing on the keyboard was amazing. And when Michael tries to confront him about it in the car on the way back to the office, Dwight bails. In Deangelo’s words, “he’s at a full sprint away.” I don’t like seeing Dwight sad like this, the man is due for some compensation of some sort, so hopefully this is something that will be resolved in episodes to come.
Ah, but the ending. How sweet and surprising. And I’ll be honest, when they first started and I realized what they were doing I thought “this is so stupid.” But by sheer force of sugar-sweet will the damn thing won me over and I was choked up at the end. Singing a parody of a Broadway musical as surprise for Michael? The office knew exactly what to do for him and they pulled it off perfectly. Not to mention their lyrics were heartfelt, poignant and funny. Yes, it’s over the top. Yes, it’s so sweet it could give you diabetes (which Phyllis doesn’t wave around like some people). But it was Michael Scott. We could afford to give him that much. I think Michael summed it up pretty well for all of us:
‘Yeah, ok, well this is gonna hurt like a mother f*cker.’ – Michael Scott