Jul 4, 2013

[TV] The Office: Season 8

This penultimate season of The Office was particularly notable since it was the one that did not involve Steve Carell as the character Michael Scott, who in many wells set the tone for the show for the most part. Plus this is the season that allows me to use the term "penultimate" as part of this review.

I have to admit that it was hard to conceive what The Office would be like without Michael Scott. And while the stories of the likes of Jim and Pam were certainly a lot more endearing, the constant presence of Michael was certainly a unique dynamic for the show.

But now we all have to move on and see what lies ahead. And while this wasn't quite the most coherent season for the show, it was still entertaining for the most part. Naturally the big focus was dealing with Michael's replacement, which makes for good enough television. And based on the DVD graphic alone, you can already figure out who got the job.

Side note: Who the heck made that DVD cover? It's horrible!

Synopsis: The Office is a US adaptation of a British sitcom of the same name. It was adapted for US audiences by Greg Daniels, who used to write for Saturday Night Life and other comedies.

So despite the different guest starts who came around in the last season, the new Regional Manager for Dunder Mifflin, Scranton ends up being Andy Bernard (Ed Helms). The company also has a new CEO in the form of Robert California (James Spader), which presents yet another interesting dynamic added to the show. And of course a new boss means new efforts to jockey for position such as Andy hosting a garden party for him thanks to Dwight (Rainn Wilson) offering the use of Schrute Farms as a venue in episode, "Garden Party".

This doesn't mean that we've totally forgotten about Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenne Fischer). We have Pam trying to deal with her pregnancy arrangements in "Pam's Replacement" and eventually Jim uses lame excuses to get out of work and spend more time with his newborn baby in "Jury Duty". But I did particularly enjoy when they bring in Nellie (Catherine Tate) again as the President of Sabre's special projects. It's such a delightfully vague title that allows her character a lot of leeway.

I think the only really interesting plot beyond Oscar (Oscar Nunez) forever suspecting that the Senator is gay is the paternity of Angela's (Angela Kinsey) child. And since there is the suspicion that the Senator is gay, then it may be plausible that someone else fathered the child. A good guess would be Dwight of course, given that he and Angela still has some special moments together. Thus the plot thickens.

Like I said before, the season is still a lot of fun and the cast is able to portray some rather ridiculous and yet still realistic situations in their office life - and this includes the ever strange "doomsday device" that Dwight develops in "Doomsday". But at the same time things just aren't the same at the office without Michael, no matter how endearing it is to watch Andy try so hard to be just as memorable as a boss. The addition of Robert California to things was an interesting enough twist, but he's rather on the level about things and really more a straight may to contrast all the shenanigans at the office. And bringing in Nellie also helped shake things up, but that can only go so far.

This season didn't quite have as big a standout episode as we've seen in seasons past.I suppose the closest to this may be the season finale, but that's not saying much. And it's just a shame - perhaps it shows that even the writers weren't quite sure how to approach things with Michael gone. His presence on the show really pushed forward some rather crazy ideas.

The Office is still a great show on the whole, but this may not have been their best moment, so to speak. It's enjoyable, but you can also sense how the show was already on its last legs by this point. So I can only rate the show as a respectable 3 Andyisms out of a possible 5.


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