Jul 11, 2013

[TV] The Office: Season 9

Well, this is it - we're finally at the end of this amazing series. And I doubt it'll be easy for anyone to come to a firm consensus in terms of how to "rate" this series as a whole, but clearly it has had an impact on so many of us - at least those of us who watched this amazing show.

The Office marked the start of something different in television - now the mockumentary format is something that we see in both television and movies. And while we should still respect the show's British roots, one has to admit that this US adaptation managed to eke out a space all of its own in the pop culture landscape.

The Office was more than just an other comedy. It wasn't just a show with lots of slapstick gags or seemingly omniscient camera crews who are always in the right place to catch the action. This show was genuinely about people when you get to the heart of things. And while many of them seemed more than just a little crazy, they also felt very real to us given how much development went into their respective stories as written over the years. And that's really what made this show so successful - the crazy characters that made up the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin.

Synopsis: The Office is the US adaptation of the British TV series of the same name as created by Ricky Gervais. The US version of the show was adapted for American audiences by Greg Daniels.

It's nice when a show is able to map out its own path from beginning to end. We've seen too many shows scramble to leave audiences with some modest sense of closure after getting cancelled prematurely. In the case of The Office they had nine full years to tell stories and to wrap most of them up, more or less. And they certainly found a way to end things well.

The season starts with Jim (John Krasinski) taking on a second job with some college friends. The clincher is that it's a job that requires him to be out of town for like half of the week - something which naturally becomes a strain on his marriage with Pam (Jenna Fischer), especially with the new baby. Andy (Ed Helms) is back from management training as regional manager and does his best to handle the misfit crew - although one things leads to another and he ends up running off again on a bit of a whim. Go figure.

Oscar (Oscar Nunez) starts an affair with the Senator, who is Angela's (Angela Kinsey) husband. Although it had long been implied that the Senator was a closet homosexual. Dwight (Rainn Wilson) does his best to get along with the new employees while keeping his eyes on the prize - any chance of promotion. And you have the new guys Clark (Clark Duke) and Pete (Jake Lacy) both set their sights on Erin (Elie Kemper).

This season has a number of great episodes that either touched on old plots or were just a heck of a lot of fun. I loved the fact that Roy (David Denman), Pam's ex-fiance that we all rooted against, actually found someone and got married in "Roy's Wedding". Dwight had his odd moments in the spotlight with the crazy episodes "Work Bus" and "Dwight Christmas". And there's the awkward episode "Lice" where Pam is guilty of bringing Lice into the office. Naturally ridiculous hilarity ensues.

The real zingers in this season opted to address a few key points. First the question of whether or not Dwight and Angela will ever get back together. Then there's the question of whether Dwight will ever get promoted - I mean seriously, he's so crazy but he truly wants the job more than anyone else. But the biggest question of them all was what the heck was going to happen to the documentary that they were filming? Was it just a premise that would never get fully developed or something more?

Thankfully, the writers did in fact use this last season to address those questions and going all the way as to including the premiere of the documentary as a real even within the show's universe. And that was a pretty cool decision indeed. More than that, we actually get to see some of the crew - although the exact manner this happens is something I'll leave for you to experience for yourself.

The two-part season finale was a gem of a production. They made sure to revisit a lot of the pertinent plot lines, wrap things up and even find a reason to get the old gang back together for one last crazy episode. And while it seems almost insane how everyone continues to act in line with their crazy character archetypes, this is precisely why the show worked.

Last seasons are rarely the strongest seasons for any show, but this ninth season of The Office certainly did a good job of cleaning up after itself. And while I'm sure that Scranton as so many more stories to tell, I'm still glad that things ended the way they did without the show dying some weird slow death of increasingly bad episodes. And thus I'm happy to rate this final season as a respectable 4 crazy things that Andy does in an attempt to get famous out of a possible 5.

The show as a whole however, is definitely a perfect 5 out of 5 for me. Flaws and all, it still remains to be an amazing piece of television history.

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