April 16, 2013

The Office: "Promos" Review

After nine seasons, The Office has earned the right to be meta. Not in the hipster way Community is, but authentically meta. In "Promos," the Dunder-Mifflin crew gets its first look at themselves in ads for the show we've been watching all along. If you gave up on this show after Steve Carrell left, or because your DVR was full, you made a big mistake.

What I like most about The Office is how true it's been to its characters. For example: when reading the online comments about the promo Andy said, "I'm about to lose my FREAKING mind!" Did anyone else have a flashback to his looking for his "FREAKING phone!"? I was getting a little worried for the drywall! (Unrelated: Is that a Tamagotchi hanging on Andy's desk lamp?) Juxtaposing season one footage with season nine footage, we see both how the characters have grown, and how they're still who they always were. The Stanley throwback to Pretzel Day was a nice touch. The Office is even being faithful to the relatively new characters.  Acknowledging how unlikable Nellie was back in season seven, she says, "I thought I'd get more screen time as a villain!"And, well, she has!

Surprisingly, the only character they don't seem to be doing right by is Dwight. "The Farm" was apparently an attempt to start some sort of spin-off, but keeping up with that charade is so clearly the wrong ending for Mr. Schrute. If Dwight doesn't end up with Angela, it can't be because of a hot blonde farm girl who comes outta nowhere and may or may not be anything more than "tractor bait." I'm hoping that Angela's jealousy of Esther and voicemail confession to the Senator are setting us up a Dwight and Angela happily ever after.

And on the subject of soulmates, there was good news for Jim and Pam fans in this episode. When Pam went to visit Brian, we in the audience already knew the answer to her question about the secret footage, but her question about Jim? Pam articulated doubt about their future. For Pam, hope came from the past. While all the other characters were distraught over the secret footage, Pam found reassurance. Jim's changed. No question. And so has Pam. But The Office is true to its characters (and its fans), and the two of them will always be elskere. No trip to Florida, new life in Philly, or boom guy is going to change that. 

I'd love a DVD of it too, Pam.

Side note on the cameo appearance of Ryan Howard. Many of us here in Pennsylvania are glad The Office finally confronted the odd fact that one of the show's major characters had the same name as the famous first baseman. And ironically, though it doesn't look like "Athlead" is interested in Howard as a client, his real-life PR folks are getting him good gigs. Gigs it seems he deserves, as he does have pretty fantastic comedic timing.

Let's face it: There hasn't been a series finale in television history that was universally liked. So the most we can ask for is that the loose ends are tied, a happily ever after begins, and no spin-offs are attempted. The Office is, at least in part, on its way to giving us all that and more. Four episodes left...

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