The Office Was Just Okay
Basically, this is a rant about Pam and Andy.
Season one of The Office was meant to be a straight rip-off of The Office UK. That’s why the US pilot IS a straight-rip off from the temp starting to a stapler being put in jelly/jello. Personally, I hate season one and will go out of my way not to watch it.
Season two is where The Office US really started to shine. I liked the will they/won’t they with Jim and Pam and I thought it was a good mix of humour and drama.
In my opinion, season three was the best season. The majority of the characters become better people through various experiences, even Michael. Pam learns how to stand up for herself, and even Dwight becomes less obnoxious.
I also really liked later on when Michael met Holly. Michael Scott isn’t David Brent; we want Michael to succeed and seeing him meet the love of his life was great, and it was the perfect way to remove Steve Carell from the show.
The problem was, the show kept going.
I’ve seen this happen since. Suits is going after Gina Torres and Patrick J. Adams departure, despite dramatically decreasing in quality. I guess the difference is that there were genuinely good episodes up until these points, so I can still watch most of Suits.
After Steve Carell left the office, however, I can’t really think of anything I liked about the show, with the minor exception of Catherine Tate and James Spader joining the cast. Although, I do have to say, and I have no idea why this is and I’m not trying to say anything other than what I’m about to say, but James Spader reminds me of Kevin Spacey. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s his voice or acting style. Anyway . . .
Rainn Wilson actually admitted that The Office wasn’t great after Steve Carell left, and that the spin-off, “The Farm” was never going to succeed. I’m kind of glad; I don’t like when shows try to sneak pilots into other shows, and this badly disguised badly was not something I would have tuned into voluntarily.
It’s interesting, because one of the reasons that there’s never been a Friends reunion, aside from Matthew Perry’s illness and Jennifer Aniston’s fame, is that it’s about a group of people at a certain point in time. I can’t remember who said this, but someone said, “Do you really want to see these people juggling parenthood and paying bills?” No. No we didn’t, and the Friends cast and crew knew this.
Unfortunately, The Office didn’t know this, which is why we got that terrible season of Pam being cruel to Jim for no reason and generally miserable to everyone. I think the turning point for Pam’s character was the microwave episode. She just became so bitter and annoying after that, which is too bad, because Jenna Fischer is a good actress. She’s so good that I hated watching her character because of how negative she was.
If I may rant for a second, Pam is the worst. She leads Jim on while she’s engaged, and then breaks up the engagement but, oh no, Jim’s moved on with his life. Pam proceeds to wreck Jim’s relationship and things are okay for a while, but then Pam fails out of art school. Okay, fine, I haven’t succeeded at everything I’ve tried, so I can related to that, and at least Pam tries to make a go at being a salesman and then the office administer. That’s all fine.
She starts to get terrible when Jim finds a career that makes him happy and she refuses to compromise and acts like he’s in the wrong. I think the writers realised how horrendous she was being, which explains her heel-face turn in the finale, but too little, too late honestly.
Worse than Pam, though, is Andy. Ed Helms kept leaving to film Hangover movies and, what I heard is that the writers got irritated with him, which is why by the end of the show, he was worse than he was in season three. I mean, to be fair to his character, the show should have ended with Steve Carell’s departure, so him becoming manager was never going to work.
Near the end of the show, when the cast finds out how much footage the documentary crew got, Nelly says that she thought she’d get more screen time if she acted like a villain. The problem with this is that given how Andy ends up acting, Nelly comes across as pretty great.
Overall, The Office was good from season two to season four, and then the episodes with Steve Carell are still mostly okay. I’ll just never understand why so many American shows always go on for so long that they stop being good. I mean, look at Sherlock. You can stop being good with a lot less episodes.