After nine seasons, Dunder-Mifflin will finally close its doors and carry on without the documentary film crew following their every move. The Office is one of my all-time favorite shows, right behind Friends and Gilmore Girls. While those two shows have been off the air for a while now, I can clearly remember watching the final episodes of the series and completely breaking down. Like, an irrational, ridiculous puddle. To this day, it’s hard for me to get myself to watch either of the finales, since I just get way too emotional about it. TV is real to me, you guys, ok?
I was a little late coming into The Office, only tuning in at the end of season three. But as soon as I watched the first few episodes I was hooked. Like the level of obsession where I would watch every episode over and over again, go online to fan sites, crazily watch charming interviews of John Krasinski and I may or may not have watched a fan video or two.
In 2009, my friend Meghan and her sister Katie and I even drove down to Scranton, Pennsylvania for one of the official Office tours. Super dorky, but whatever. We got some free swag, and got to check out the real places that the characters reference on the show. We even had some special guests on the tour, Jennie, the gal who runs the awesome OfficeTally website (again, I’m a total geek for this show!), and Robert Shafer, the guy who plays Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration!
I’ve even creepily visited the actual studios in Van Nuys a couple times, including right before they shot the finale, where we left a janky note thanking the cast & crew, and also made friends with the security guard who gave us insider info on the cast’s filming schedule the next day!
And despite the fact I will admittedly say the past couple of seasons haven’t been as good as it was in the beginning, I have stuck by it with every passing episode. Now that we’re down to the final one, I’m in this weird middle of being totally in denial and completely okay with it ending. Luckily, the writers have played out this season in such a way that it doesn’t leave us wanting more. In fact we’re getting some happy and satisfying endings to our beloved characters, that it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here ya go, fans. This is The Office, wrapped and tied up in a nice shiny bow.’
That being said, these last few episodes have been absolutely gut-wrenching, to the point where I’m a complete mess. Even the promos for the actual finale felt like a punch right in the babymaker and I just couldn’t stop crying. Ever since the writers and producers realized there was a strong fan base for the show, they’ve been really great at making sure there is complete continuity on every episode, adding to the realistic documentary style. Little things like the everyone using the same mug they’ve been using since the pilot, or small character traits like Toby randomly mentioning he writes a series of crime novels or Stanley telling Pam everyone’s changed over the years while eating a giant pretzel.
The arcs of the main characters have especially hit me hard coming into the final stretch, like Dwight and Jim slowly becoming friends instead of all out foes. And of course there’s the iconic Jim/Pam love story. Despite the fact they’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch this season and there’s been a bit of uproar about it, I didn’t really mind. These two have had the epitome of a perfect relationship, and since this show is supposed to be a real documentary, they just had to have a rift at some point. Real life isn’t always about ‘will they or won’t they,’ which is why Pam and Jim went on their first date at the end of season three six seasons later, they’re still together.
And in the last few episodes, I admit I was a little hesitant about how Jim would just give up this awesome job just because he loved Pam so much. But in the penultimate episode, where he showed her the video, it all made sense. Just as he was showing Pam this montage of all their greatest romantic moments to remind her of why he chose her over Philadelphia, the writers were also showing us why we fell in love with these two in the first place. And in honor of keeping tradition of being awesome to the fans, turns out the video was based on a real fan video made circa season 3 with the very same song.
Excuse me while I start crying again just thinking about it.
This show took chances to show a realistic lifestyle at a boring paper company. The fact that they even decided to break the fourth wall a little by having Pam interact with a crew member (aka ‘Boom Brian’), is extremely ballsy. They could have easily just pretended the documentary was still filming way after we as viewers could see. So what better way to end it than by showing the Dunder-Mifflin folks what they’ve collected over the years with romance, breakups, firings, babies, and sad departures all caught on camera?
All this goes to say that as much as I do/don’t want The Office to come to an end, I’m glad it’s ending the way it is. More often than not, network politics get in the way and fans of shows aren’t treated with the kind of ending and closure they deserve (see: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Party Down, etc.). Luckily NBC (finally) did something right by working with the show’s producers and actors and collectively deciding this would be the last season. It gave them a chance to end the series the way they wanted it too. In fact that the writers/producers all talked to the actors and asked them how they wanted their character’s stories to end, and incorporated it into the storyline. What other show would do that? Judging by the way the last few episodes have played out (and even how they dealt with the departure of Michael Scott), us fans are in for a satisfying, bittersweet ending.
So, thank you, Dunder-Mifflin and co. Thank you for nine wonderful seasons of laughter and tears. Thank you for making this journey worthwhile. My Thursday nights will never be the same.