The Office (2005)

A brilliant caricature of the average American workplace with hilarious office gag writing, unparalleled rewatch value, multi-layered genre blending, universal-accessibility, and TV’s best character cast, The Office (U.S.) is comedy’s [& perhaps: TV’s] greatest series. 10/10.

Plot Synopsis: Dunder Mifflin is a paper company based in Scranton, PA. Based on the British show, The Office follows the inner happenings of this average workplace environment, from characters like the boss-who-must-be-popular Michael (Steve Carell), the likeable every-man Jim (John Krasinski), receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer), the hungry temp Ryan (BJ Novak), and bizarre coworker Dwight (Rainn Wilson).

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

S1 – 7.1/10 / S2 – 9.7/10 / S3 – 10/10 / S4 – 9.6/10 / S5 – 8.7/10 /

S6 – 6.5/10 / S7 – 7.3/10 / S8 – 3.2/10 / S9 – 7.9/10

CLC’s Best #TheOffice Episodes: 1. The Dundies, 2. A Benihana Christmas, 3. Fun Run (Pts. 1-2), 4. Dinner Party, 5. Stress Relief (Pts. 1-2), 6. The Merger, 7. Finale (Pts. 1-2), 8. Gay Witch Hunt, 9. The Michael Scott Paper Company, 10. Safety Training, 11. Office Olympics, 12. The Client, 13. wuphf.com, 14. Goodbye Toby, 15. Product Recall, 16. Launch Party (Pts 1-2), 17. The Deposition, 18. The Surplus, 19. Pilot, 20. Branch Wars

Series Review

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

One Of The Greatest TV Series (& Perhaps *THE* Greatest Comedy Series) Ever Released

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Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. The Office might be the greatest comedy TV series (+ one of the greatest overall TV series) ever released. There, I said it. Since that fateful day Michael first called Jim into his office back in ’05 to help close that library sale, the series has captured the imaginations and hearts of millions of viewers even years after its final air date. It’s a pop culture phenomenon that’s taken over the world; an homage to origamic normalcy-turned-extroardinary; a workplace study so realistic you feel its characters could be your next door neighbors; a whirlwind of master-comedy so addictive people cycle through it time and time again without getting the least bit tired of it. Why is it able to do all these things; what’s the secret sauce? Balancing an inimitable array of genres, diverse storylines, and characters across its 200+-ep, 9-year portfolio elucidating the beauty of normalcy is no easy task – and what NBC has managed to accomplish here is – quite simply – one of the best TV shows ever made. A brilliant caricature of the average American workplace with hilarious office gag writing, unparalleled rewatch value, multi-layered genre blending, universal-accessibility, and TV’s best character cast, The Office (U.S.) is comedy’s [& perhaps: TV’s] greatest series.

The Best Character Canvas On TV

Led By Steve Carell’s Masterpiece, Charismatic, Comical, Insecure, Energy Lead: Michael Scott

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First, the characters: The Office simply has one of the greatest character casts in TV history. I would argue it might have THE greatest cast in TV history – and a wildly-diverse, trope-fitting, workplace-caricaturic one at that. From lovable Falstaffian Kevin (personal favorite) to downright weird assistant (to the) regional manager Dwight to suave every-man Jim to the girl-next-door(/desk) Pam to sassy black man Stanley to mama bear Phyllis to eeyore-y Toby to old and senile Creed to hypocritical-Christian Angela to privileged trust-fund brat Andy to silly Kelly to hungry-temp Ryan to Republican senator embroiled in a gay affair while preaching family values Lipton to others like Gabe, Erin, and Daryl, I dare anyone to find a better casted and blended character swarm – supported by top-notch performances and characterization/writing with each member getting multiple focused arcs to make them feel like a veritable part of the family by series’ end. They, of course, all bow to the godlike patriarch of the series – and one of the greatest performances in the history of comedy: Steve Carell’s Michael Gary Scott. Equally-brilliant as a complement to Gervais’ mythic David Brent, Carell’s comedy is on another-level – while the antithesis after his shaky S1-start to become a childlike ball of warm/fuzzy personality skilled enough as an actor to deliver the most ridiculous of lines with a straight-face, and countless characters/personas: from Prison Mike to Michael Klump to Santa Bond to Blind Guy McSqueezy to Ping.

The Juxtaposition Of Genres

Workplace Comedy, Romance, Buddy Cop, Crime Series, & Documentary Analysis: ‘Why Watch Many Shows When One Show Do Trick?’

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What separates – by Grand Canyon-margins – The Office U.S. from the U.K. version is that there is immaculate support from every single character outside its regional managerial star, with every side-character equally as compelling and finely-acted in Scranton than the forgettable and fast-forward-requiscent personality-less husks of Slough. Never before have I gotten so attached and comfortable with characters in a series as in The Office and that is a testament to the dazzling skill of the screenwriters, showrunners, and casters together sculpting such an inimitable triweave of cast many have tried, but few – if any – shows have managed to successfully copy. The amount of genres juggled episode-to-episode is equally as impressive a feat and what sets The Office into the stratosphere far above its competitors/kin. As Kevin might say, “why watch many show when one show do trick?” From its main genre of workplace comedy with incredibly-inventive office gags (Asian Jim, Casino Night Telepathy, the Jello stapler, Office Olympics, Forehead Stares, Bears/Beets/Battlestar Galactica, etc.) to romance with one of the greatest fairytale courtships in TV history in Jim and Pam also adorned with some other interesting ones like Kelly/Ryan and Michael/Jan.

The Quotability & Comedic Shenanigans

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Also present are buddy-cop shenanigans in both Michael/Dwight and Jim/Dwight to crime series in The Scranton Strangler (convincingly proven to be Dunder Mifflin’s own HR Rep upon careful rewatch!) to a game-changing mini-interview-vignettes/edited documentary style, it is absolutely stunning how they were able to juxtaposed so many types and subgenres of TV into one overall product that can satisfy really any viewer regardless of taste/desire. There is intellect in the comedy too: the series spoofs many genres and analyzes many real-life situations while reaping every droplet of laughter out of the premise, from the American household in Dinner Party to Nature Survival TV in Survivor Man to legal dramas in The Deposition to sport/triumph-of-the-human-spirit films in Fun Run to gender dynamics in Money to crime dramas in Drug Testing. in Fun Run to film all the brilliance of comedy too, especially visible in S4 and I have watched The Office I don’t even know how many times over the years, and still find just as much unbridled enjoyment out of the process as i d did the first time: leading to the show’s biggest miraculous achievement: rewatch value.

The Rewatch Value

A Special Testament Of Scripting Prowess Beyond That I’ve Seen In Any Other Series

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Finally, the rewatch value. The ultimate exemplification of cinema – and most things in life too – is one thing: the test of time. How do things hold up when they get copied or shamelessly ripped off? Can it still provide the same thrills years, decades, or centuries later in completely-different societal settings and atmospheres? What is The Office’s ultimate display of quality and magnificence of one-of-a-kind palpable/universally-bingeable tonal blend is something I’ve rarely ever seen in a TV series: rewatchability. It’s no secret that TV series are *LONG*, in this case 200+ episodes at 23 minutes a pop for a whopping 75+ hours of content as opposed to 1-2 hours for a film oftentimes preferred by critics like me and many others to even getting into TV series.

The Art Of Uncomfortable

A Correction Of Every. Single. Flaw. Of The Messy (Ricky Gervais-Wasting) U.K. Version

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But here, that ridiculous prospect is somehow inconsequential, many even finding more joy upon rewatches to notice little details and track characters throughout the 9-season journey to see it in ways they’d never considered before. I’ve actually never seen in another show so masterfully hold up to even double-digit rewatches, with its brilliant signature cocktail of ingredients outlined above for a smooth binge every time and fans not even getting remotely tired by it – says about all you need to know about the craftsmen that molded such a beautiful product all network execs need to study like textbooks. The only two conceivable problems with the series are one vexatious character in Nellie and a shaky start/finish. One of our least favorite characters ever being an off-putting, pointless, pretentious, nagging, job-stealing, grating character, as well as, ironically: British, echoing its character failures, Nellie is the one rough amongst a neverending sea of diamonds – thus passable. The series takes a bit to get going from S2-on and ill-advisedly tried to go S8-9 without its patriarch in Michael, but there is no show that does not have one or two bad seasons – thus also passable.

The Definitive Workplace Comedy

One Of The Greatest Casts, Leads, Existential Purposes, & Series In TV & American History

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Its wholly-overlookable 1-2 gripes matter little in the grand scheme of things, especially considered by its comparatively-meek rough-sketch U.K. predecessor lacking the vibrancy, energy, precision, cast, delivery, and scale here. There has never been such a diverse and thoroughly-entertaining comedy series as The Office (U.S.) – and isn’t likely to be again for a few centuries. Though the only badge-of-approval the 5x-Emmy winner really needs is how limitlessly-rewatchable it is for millions of Dunder Mifflinites, there comedy is the most complete package I’ve ever witnessed on television, brought to life by a once-in-a-lifetime meld of characterization, performances, and screenwriting. A brilliant caricature of the average American workplace with hilarious office gag writing, unparalleled rewatch value, multi-layered genre blending, universal-accessibility, and TV’s best character cast, The Office (U.S.) is comedy’s [& perhaps: TV’s] greatest series.

Season-By-Season Reviews:

S1: A Passable, But Chaotic, Remake With A Better Cast & Tone Ironically Held Back By Its Later-Greatest Triumph: Michael Gary Scott

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Season 1 – The introductory season to the legendary series, though with glimpses of the potential and brilliance it’d eventually get to through trial-and error, is unbalanced and often messy in execution/forced comedy (diversity-day anyone? yikes). It recreates many of the U.K. version’s Season 1 gags and plot-points, often outdoing them through improved line delivery and cleaner comedic timing as a polished correction – although I wish it had forged its own path a bit sooner. It effectively builds the foundation/framework of the series – introducing us to its caricaturic premise and a *phenomenal* character cast from Jim to Pam to Dwight that blow their British counterparts out of the water from their very first line. There is an endearing innocence and normalcy with just a hint of melancholy about it, echoed in its now-iconic alt-rock refrain by Jay Ferguson and The Scrantones as well as some nice arcs in its own right like the basketball game, healthcare plan, purse-girl, and a mega-boost in office-pranks. The biggest problem of S1, in the most unimaginable twist of irony I’ve ever seen in TV history, is what would become the series’ greatest achievement later-on: Michael Gary Scott. Greasy, hyper-manic, and sporting a bizarre hairline to boot, Steve Carell’s MGS in S1 is an absolute conundrum – one that pales in comparison to Gervais’ legendary David Brent and feels like a jittery coke addict in need of tranquilization or a straight-jacket. A cameo in big-comedic films like Bruce Almighty and the once-in-an-era Anchorman, his shaky ineptitude here is positively mind-boggling and one that gives me a headache just thinking about writing this – and, while it feels sacrilegious to call Michael Scott anything but greatness, he is the achilles heel of The Office S1. Thank the NBC gods we got an S1; you’re really going to want to start with S2. 7.1/10.

S2: A Near-Flawless Display Of TV & Comedy Impressively Correcting Almost Every S1 Flaw

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Season 2 – A near-flawless display of television as well as one that rocked comedic TV history, S2 is where The Office (U.S.) diverged from – and blew out of the water – its U.K. counterpart. From its very opening second, the series is blasted with light, crisp (expensive-feeling) cinematography, and vibrancy – not only visually but also comedically and character-developmentally foremost in the instantaneous hyper-evolution of its savior: Michael Gary Scott. Cleaner, leaner, polished, and dramatically more-refined/reigned-in than his chaotic/manic S1-counterpart, this was the beginning of a beautiful dynasty of American workplace comedy achieved by the bold yet brilliant decision to no longer copy/replicate The U.K. Version and pave its own path. S2 masterfully fine-tunes its construction, precision, screenwriting, and gags for a brilliant, brighter, tonally-pure showcase of sitcom-glory that deserves unfathomable praise for how instantaneously it was able to flip the switch and self-analyze and listen to fans/critics to diagnose/cure ~every single one of your show’s problems. Perfectly-balanced, casted, & scripted characters begin to take shape – holding each their own down to even the peripheral faces of Kevin and Creed all the way up to Dwight’s magnetic bizarrity to the series’ breathtaking romance escalation of Jim and Pam from friends-to-star-crossed-lovers with a beautiful arc cascading to a stunning finale cliffhanger for maximum addictiveness and momentum going into S3. This is alongside side-splitting office hi-jinx and too many All-Time Classic comedy-TV episodes to count – like Casino Night, Drug Testing, The Client, Sexual Harassment, The Fire, and CLC’s vote for the greatest episode in The Office-history (and one of the greatest TV episodes ever for how instantly it hyper-evolved a mixed-to-bad precursor season into a comedy masterclass): The Dundies. The season is like crack – or better yet, the joint Dwight was so hilariously-obsessed with as (volunteer) sheriff’s deputy – and a hyper-addictive, smooth, bingeable masterclass of tonal television unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Only one minuscule flaw is to be nitpicked: a slight 2-3 episode lull around E12-14 that’s not as magnetic as the rest of the season but can be forgiven 100x over in the rest of the portfolio and achievement. S2 of The Office (U.S.) is, arguably, one of the greatest seasons of comedic TV ever scripted – and opened the flood-gates for not only the series’ dynastic reign, but a litany of modern copycats trying to sponge off the magic lightning-in-a-bottle it managed to captured against-all-odds here. 9.7/10.

S3: The Best Season Of The Office; The Boldest, Riskiest, & Most Classic Episode-Filled Dunder Mifflin Experience – Third Time’s The Charm

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Season 3 – The best season of The Office, third time’s the charm for NBC and Daniels in this flawless masterwork of comedy, characterization, and screenwriting amongst the best seasons of comedic television ever made. Boasting powerful command over its comedic prowess being able to wield its skills & find laughs even in the (riskiest), most brazen and controversial-land mine topics from its Gay Witch Hunt-opener is no small achievement – only getting better and better as the season progresses into a tour-de-force of All-Time classic episodes too numerous & diverse to count from A Benihana Christmas to The Merger to The Coup to Business School to Branch Closing to The Convention to Safety Training to Ben Franklin.. not to mention mythic pranks/sequences like Crentist, Prison Mike, Future Dwight, and the series-defining Bears/Beets/Battlestar Galactica). S3 finds gold in its back-to-basics self-analysis perfecting its tonal mix of innocent and thoroughly-watchable wackiness/gentility, while also reaching peak character portfolio – boasting such a miraculous, surgical understanding of its richly-scripted characters, it’s able to innovate, expand, and wildly shake-up its roster for maximum entertainment value. Moving perhaps its two most-beloved characters in Jim and Dwight (as well as Oscar) around like chess-pieces across the 23-episode board is high-stakes brilliance that opens up limitless new doors and visions as well as introduces two of the greatest characters in series history: gorgeous power-suited Karen (making for a complex love-triangle and phenomenal romance-arc) and Ed Helms’ star-making, Cornell-braggadocios, wealth-satirical acapella-bro Andy Bernard. The biggest validation of how much infinitely-better the U.S. version of The Office is than the U.K. version is clear to see in S3: how they handled the same overarching storyline in the closing and merger between the two branches of Wernham-Hogg/Dunder Mifflin – in one version, so inexorably-boring and support-nonexistent that they were cancelled a mere two episodes after their second season painfully screeched to a close, and in the other solidifying a dynasty of comedic gold for years to come: I’ll let you figure out which is which by season-count. Maintaining S2’s craftsman brilliance and top-notch comedic writing/character development while even somehow even one-upping its own previous-perfection while correcting its predecessor shaky handling of the same storyline, S3 is the summit of comedic-TV Mount Everest – delivering a masterpiece collection of 23 episodes for the ages. 10/10.

S4: A Masterclass In The Art Of Uncomfortable & Analysis Of Typical American Life Brimming With Energy/Whim From Its Opening Fun Run

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Season 4 – Starting impressively-quickpaced getting right into the ridiculous hijinx seconds-in Michael hitting Meredith with his car leading to the organization of a Fun Run race for a (cured-disease) cure, The Office is back and better than ever. Increasingly taking the action away from the office park in a refreshing innovation effort never getting too complacent or settling in its throne, S4 is yet another exemplar hallmark of TV showrunners being at the top of their game. The ability to go from traditional 20-minute sitcom length to 40+-minute two-parters as a comedy series and still not lose even an ounce of entertainment-value is quite-simply an unparalleled feat of screenwriting that also gives the series exponential advancement/depth opportunities. This is where The Office gets intellectual, taking teases from past-seasons and going all in on the spoofs and analytical comedy to find laughs in the most socially-commentative of places, like the All-Time uncomfortable suburbia/American family-analytic Dinner Party, gender-dynamics of Money, legal-spoof The Deposition, and Nature TV Survivor Man. It never loses sight of what got it to this stage however, maintaining its massively-fun fan-servicing atmosphere/shenanigans with tons more classic episodes like Branch Wars, Launch Party, and Goodbye Toby with exciting new arcs both romantically in the Dwight/Angela/Andy triangle, Pam and Jim (FINALLY) getting together, and of course – Michael and Jan, plus professionally moving Temp Ryan to NYC Corporate and all the chaos that invites with Kelly on the homefront. Besides Jan becoming a bit of a nuisance and overbearing, The Office S4 maintains the series’ Renaissance in a trilogy of some of the greatest comedy seasons in TV history boasting surgical comic self-awareness for brilliance in American workplace-caricaturing. 9.6/10.

S5: The Michael Scott Paper Company & Stress Relief vs. A Bizarre Decline In Consistency

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Season 5 – Shaky in first half with a bizarre weight-loss opening and several All-Time series lows like Baby Shower and Employee Transfer cascading into an infuriating Angela-affair arc highlighting the worst in the absolute worst character in The Office, S5 hits some speed bumps on its previously-clear skied dynastic cruise-controlled yellow brick comedic road. However, these fade into the background in a back half of the season amongst the series’ best turning back onto smooth pavement, developing strong new characters in eventual-staple, breath-of-fresh-air new receptionist Erin and the impressive Holly (basically the female Michael Scott) and one-upping its quotability and wackiness with classic lines sprinkled throughout its phenomenal directional arcs/storylines like the Michael Scott Paper Company (perhaps *the* most entertaining arc in Office history masterfully spoofing the start-up world in an only MGS-way), The Surplus, Kevin’s (famous) chili, Prince Family Paper, Gene Wilder-Wonka proud Golden Ticket, and the *sacred* Stress Relief (arguably the best singular episode in Office history containing its most famous and likely greatest scenes: the fake fire scare and BeeGees-CPR training). Although not the same level/pedigree of S2-4 by its slow start and a few dud episodes, a still-spectacularly-funny season of comedy TV miles course-correcting midway to keep the hits a’ rollin. 8.7/10.

S6: Where Things Start To Get Weird In Office Lore, Kept (Barely) Afloat By Scott-Tots/Niagara

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Season 6 – Where things start to get weird in the Office-verse, S6 is all-over-place in arcs and quality. Bursting with energy from its season opener – arguably the best in series history after The Dundies and Fun Run – things weirdly devolve & dissolve into a mess of poor scripting wholly uncharacteristic of the NBC-hit’s usual tight-as-a-drum writers’ room. A yawning Sabre introduction stretched across the whole season siphons energy off in large quantities – with less-welcome (boring) new characters like Gabe & Jo, stale arcs like the dual-manager one somehow managing to do the impossible: make Jim Halpert uncool, & some of the series’ worst-ever episodes like Mafia (might be the worst episode of The Office All-Time) & Koi Pond hold it far back for its previous dynasty-standards. However, the presence of enough decent episodes like Gossip, (Dinner Party-esque uncomfortable) Scott’s Tots, Happy Hour (Date Mike FTW!), Niagara (finally witnessing the romance culmination we’ve been waiting 6+ years for in a beautifully-executed climax: Jim & Pam’s wedding & delivery), & its much stronger Donna back-half keep it floating above water as passable (yet ~lazy & inconsistent) comedic television. 6.5/10.

S7: A Farewell Tour For M.G.S. That ~Succeeds On That Arc With A Few Decent Ep’s & Less Sabreism, But Flat. Carell Got Out Just-In-Time

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Season 7 – A return to the clear-cut, focused storytelling implications of early seasons, S7 finds great endgame in Michael’s final arc – though it can’t help but feel a little.. abrupt and premature. Admittedly uneven as a season overall ending chaotically in a (comedic superstar cameo-filled) scramble, S7 at least matches the ridiculous, airy, innocent comedic stylings that made the series such a hit in the first place, while upping the nostalgia factor. A near-complete dilution of Sabre-isms, revamp of Gabe into a quirky/plucky presence, classic episodes like Threat Level Midnight, The Seminar, Classy Christmas Pts. 1-2, The Sting, and wuphf.com (one of the series’ best episodes masterfully spoofing the start-up & social media worlds), and character shake-ups in swanky newcomer Danny Cordray + returning Holly to Scranton set the stage for the ultimate climax: the departure of Michael Gary Scott. Perhaps the greatest character and performance in comedy TV history, Michael is the focus of the show again in S7 – given an emotional sendoff that ties up all out-standing arcs from the past 6 seasons beautifully and gives him the marriage-bliss closure he deserved, followed up by the only comedic presence that could fill his shoes (even if only for a short arc): Will Ferrell. Though I wish Michael had stayed ’til the end from a completeness perspective also preventing the inevitable doom that would follow in S8-9, I understand completely his decision to go out on ~top after witnessing a slight challenge to his reign/dynasty in the bizarre inconsistency/laziness in S6. Part of that tumorous lethargy and complacency can be seen in the season’s lows too: perhaps the worst season opening in Office history (managing to somehow blunder a cameo by talented AHS-veteran Evan Peters) and multiple All-Time-Not episodes like Christening/China/Todd Packer/Andy’s Play. Overall though, S7 impressively finds the fortitude to send its major character off nicely, and feels the closest to classic-Office as anything in the series’ back-half: S6-9 – a major feat. 7.3/10.

S8: A Shameless, Lethargic, Superficially-Motivated Identity Crisis As Bland/Lifeless As Being A PA-Based Paper Pusher In Real Life

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Season 8 – Feeling the gaping, unrecoverable hole of Michael’s absence hopelessly sending S.O.S. calls for his (inimitable) show-carrying energy/presence, S8 is a MASSIVE/lethargic/soulless identity crisis amongst the biggest – disastrous – falls from grace in television history. What were NBC & Daniels thinking trying to keep this going w/o MGS, and for what purpose – two more seasons usually skipped by fans anyway while still not even reaching double-digit season count if shameless materialism was *so* important to the showrunners? Withstanding a singular point of (ambivalent) intrigue in James Spader’s wildcard je-ne-sais-quoi bizarrity in Robert California on peak display in S8’s only two decent episodes: The List and Pool Party (+ mixed storyline potential in the Florida + Dwight parental arcs deserving far better execution), S8 is an uneventful slog that feels like a chore or even punishment to get through, especially knowing where the series came from. Adorned with one of the worst characters in TV *HISTORY* in Nellie Bertrand (cannot even put into words how bad she is: an infestation of pretentious, grating, pointless, self-important tastelessness whose mere delivery of lines & presence is enough to warrant consideration of jumping in front of a train), a neutered/watered-down Andy stripping any shred of intrigue from the once-vibrant Cornell-bro into a white-bread puffball of personalitylessness, and snaillike pacing droopily uneventful in gags, S8 sports unwatchability almost all episodes season-long – especially Spooked, Lotto, & Doomsday: the three worst episodes in Office history by CLC’s vote. If there was ever a point of contention U.K. Office fans hoped for to justify their version, it’s this: at least the U.K. version knew when to call it quits and go out with a bang instead of whimpering. S8 of The Office (U.S.) is as bland/lifeless as being a Pennsylvania-based paper-pusher.. in real life, and could lower the series’ legacy if continued like this. 3.2/10.

S9: A Course-Correction After The Disastrous S8 W/ Clever Documentary Angle & Emotional Finale, ~Ruined By A Sacrilegious Jim/Pam Arc

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Season 9 – The final season of The Office course-corrects after the disastrous S8 unloading baggage like Sabre, Robert California, and lazy screenwriters with an influx of energy to reboot the system. The season still feels the ripple-effects of Michael’s absence while keeping its worst-ever character Nellie while adding a new contender in forced/adultery-tempt Brian – with two absolutely-awful plot choices as well: giving depraved physical assaulter Roy a happy/rich ending and the *unforgivable* Athlead storyline near-ruining the show’s star fairy-tale romance: Jim & Pam. A forced, idiotic unraveling no one wanted to see, I cannot imagine what was possibly going through the showrunners’ heads when near-escalating the two star-crossed lovers’ (and two of the biggest characters in the show) arc into that almost of divorce. I don’t even have enough time to explain how wrong and sacrilegious it feels – the worst of which is the near-complete obliteration of Pam’s likability as a character. What was once a quirky, timid, relatable receptionist and small-town girl has now been retconned into a hypocritical narcissist of unfathomable proportions – having the audacity to throw temper-tantrums and threaten Jim if he doesn’t give up his only dream across the show to stay in a mediocre/underachieving life because she wants to. Jim’s done nothing but blindly support her constant failures over the years without question: Art School (she “loved” living in the big city NYC then and was gone from the Office for months..), Michael Scott Paper Co. (leaving a stable job she claims is ‘most important’ now for the worst startup in history with ex-con Ryan and Michael freaking Scott), Sales, etc.. He even gave up relationships with infinitesimally-more beautiful women in Katy & Karen and has stayed in a job he hates (S1E3 – “If this were my career, I’d have to throw myself in front of a train”) just because she’s fine with a life of poverty and mediocrity – and for that, . That is, until she sees Darryl balling out with a rich lifestyle and sure-success company and wants to gold-dig for herself – godly permitting Jim to join only out of greed and riskless parasitism (plus being rightfully guilt-tripped by mere bystanders asking how she could doubt and force ultimatums upon Jim) in case her immorality couldn’t get any worse. The predominance of the arc near-ruins the season completely – with is such a shame considering it does everything else very well. S9 skillfully wraps up with a bow almost all out-standing series story threads and questions, while brimming with resolute characterization and adding some new flair of its own. An energy infusion by a pacing boost and more quick cut-editing, resurgence of quality pranks like (Legendary) Asian Jim, Stairmaggedon, and The Dunder Code, revitalized Andy even given a villainous Caribbean twinge amidst thoroughly-entertaining Erin/Pete romance and Stardom-Chasing arcs, great new characters in nostalgic-S1 Dwight/Jim-reminiscent Clark and Pete, fleshed out side plots we wanted to see like Toby & the (framed.. by him) Strangler + Schrutian customs, and absolutely brilliant fourth-wall-breaking innovative social experiment angle play up the series’ docu-structure while giving it emotional resonance & intellectually-advanced analytical worth. This all convalesces into one of the All-Time great, tearjerking, closure-full, satisfying event-feeling series finales in modern TV history – for an overall-nice ending to our time at The Office. 7.9/10.

Official CLC Score: 10/10