Monday, April 21, 2008

When Will The Office Close?

I've had a strange feeling throughout this entire TV season, even before the writer's strike debacle turned everything upside down. It's a feeling I don't like to admit or even think about, but I feel it just the same: Is The Office starting to suck?

While most people are excited about a new episode, I can't help but wonder when the magic will be gone and the one TV show that I actually make time to watch will jump the shark. The pre-strike episodes didn't particularly knock my socks off, so I have begun to warily dread new episodes, since each 22-minute dose might bring the residents of Scranton one step closer to the end of their comedic reign.

Think I'm paranoid? I must admit that the most recent episode bolstered my hopes for the show's humorous revitalization. Michael Scott's reentry into the dating scene is something that will give the writers plenty to work with, but I can only hope that they won't stray too far from reality by making the characters even bigger caricatures than they already are. A big part of the show's humor is the true-to-life-despite-being-outrageous-ness of the characters. I know all of these people. I work with them every day. So do you.

A new column on Gaper's Block states that the breakdown of The Office's realistic, documentary-style logic could be the beginning of the end for the show. This is something I never even thought about, but its definitely worth questioning.
"The Unseen Documentarians have now been following these people at this mid-range regional paper supply company for four years, with multiple cameras and, increasingly, access to different branches and more and more parts of their personal lives. I know we're supposed to suspend disbelief, but you can't ask people to on the one hand accept a documentary-style show where characters are looking at the camera and talking directly to you, and on the other hand not have a plausible reason for why they would be doing that."
Perhaps The Office was meant to close its doors to TV viewers after four years. I think I'd rather accept that than watch the show gradually fade from the glory of its earlier seasons. The Office has already had a tremendous run and I just can't bear the thought of watching it slowly shrivel up into something unrecognizable. (Insert "that's what she said" joke here.)

For now, I guess I'll just hold my breath and anticipate laughing on Thursday nights for a few more weeks. What do you think?


Anna said...

It was pretty painful watching Michael at that coffee shop date, though hilarious when he was asking Phyllis if her friend could fit into a rowboat.

I'm more worried about what this "Office" spin-off they're planning will do in terms of diluting the show's brand of humor. But "The Office" is still among my top three shows.

Matt said...

"It bothers me that you're not answering the question."