Jun 27, 2013

[TV] The Office: Season 7

I know, I know, this review is a few years late. Despite the fact that the US version of The Office has already wrapped up as a series, I'm still a few seasons behind in terms of these reviews.

You see, I got into The Office because of my partner, Tobie. But he has a bit of a challenge when it comes to seeing the "end" of show s that he really loves. And since he really, really loved the office, it was hard to watch the episodes without the security of there being a next one available. So to best address this, we made sure to always stay a season behind the broadcast run to keep a buffer going. And thus my reviews have been equally delayed.

And when we knew that the show was going to end entirely, well, you can imagine how much we ended up dragging our feet to getting around to watching the subsequent seasons leading to the end.

And this particular season certainly marks a great big step towards the eventual end of the show since it marked the time when Steve Carell announced that he was leaving the show, and thus changing the whole dynamic of things forever.

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.

At this point we're safe in the knowledge that the Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) relationship is more than secure (they have a baby!), given this used to be one of the more interesting sub-plots of the show. Things moved on to Andy (Ed Helms) and Erin (Ellie Kemper) starting to develop a potential relationship during the last season but eventually young Saber executive Gabe (Zach Woods) manages to start something with Erin instead. And as a nice little surprise, this season actually gives Michael an interesting shot at possible happiness

The season certainly worked a lot on furthering various character plots and just building on the success of past seasons by making this quirky office crew even more familiar and endearing to us. For example, Andy had long talked about his various performances on stage as a singer and whatnot and we finally get to see him in a play - specifically the musical Sweeney Todd in the episode "Andy's Play". Darryl (Craig Robinson) tries to put himself forward even more by sending one of his ideas directly to Corporate in "Costume Contest". But really the more interesting sub-plot involves Holly (Amy Ryan), the temporary HR representative who joins the show mid-season.

When Holly joins the show, it becomes rather freaky just how well she gets along with Michael (Steve Carell). And it's not just about getting along with him, but the two have amazing resonance with one another in terms of interests and that particularly quirky sense of humor. And of course this translates into some pretty endearing on-screen chemistry. Of course it becomes the obvious plot point that the regional manager can't get involved with a subordinate in this manner, and so it nicely lays the groundwork for the end of the season.

One of the episodes that stood out the most for me would have to be "Threat Level Midnight" where suddenly it is established that Michael has been writing and filming his own movie over the years. And after 11 years of production, the movie is finally ready to be screened for the office crew. And man, it was just a brilliant piece of work. Words fail me. And this factors in the fact that this season includes "Sex Ed" where Michael manages to contract an STD and thus goes through the painfully hilarious experience of contacting his ex-girlfriends from prior seasons.

And don't think I've forgotten about Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and his quirky on-again, off-again semi-romance with Angela (Angela Kingsley). She starts dating State Senator Robert Lipton (Jack Coleman), whom Oscar (Oscar Nunez) adamantly believes to be gay.

The latter part of the season involves Michael and Holly figuring out their complex little relationship and eventually Michael's replacement. I'll leave you to watch the season to understand why he eventually leaves Dunder Mifflin. This naturally becomes a blatant excuse to parade about various guest starts like Will Ferrell, Catherine Tate and a cameo by Ricky Gervais, who created the series.

This season was still funny enough, but there was an odd sense of things being less hilarious compared to before. Perhaps it was the knowledge that Michael Scott was going to leave as a character and thus it affected all the writing for the series. And with a lot of the Jim and Pam story already explored, it seemed like a mad scramble to build up the other characters to give them more material to work with.

It was sad to see Michael go, but they (the writers) did their best to give him a rather respectable exit. And while this was not some of the best episodes that featured Michael Scott, they were certainly poignant enough to act as a nice send-off

The Office is one of the best sitcoms we've all seen come around in a while. This season had one main focus - making sure Michael Scott left with a bang. And I'd like to think they managed that pretty much. Thus the show gets 4 weird Dwight ideas like the hay bale maze in the parking lot out of a possible 5.

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