May 17, 2013

Farewell, Dear Friends - The Office: "Finale"

"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them."

Farewell, dear friends.
I don't think there has ever been, and I doubt there will ever be, a series finale quite as perfect as the one The Office gave us last night. They gave us an episode that struck that near-impossible balance between a happy ending and one that was true to life.

They gave us sweetness and discomfort. Did you cringe a little during the bachelor/bachelorette parties? When Kevin and Toby were fired? While the panel audience grilled Pam? Good. If you didn't, The Office would be doing something wrong. Just like it would be wrong if it didn't also make you cry tears of happiness when Dwight and Angela were married, when Jim and Pam sold their house, when Erin met her parents, or when Kevin handed Nellie her new baby. Quirky sweetness and awkward ridiculousness. Tears and laughter. That's The Office. It's always been The Office.

They gave us nostalgia without being cheesy. It's impossible to pick a favorite line from the finale, but Jim's reprise of the line from the pilot about selling paper - types and reams of paper - might be it. It represents how The Office came full circle but in a way that didn't make me roll my eyes. The subtle cameos of returning characters - Jake, Carol, Devon, and wasn't that the same stripper from Bob Vance's bachelor party? - were perfect. They made the die-hard fans nod and smile without hitting us over the head with it.

They gave us Michael Scott... but not too much. The producers tried very hard to keep Steve Carrell's appearance in the finale a secret, but alas, you can keep nothing from the internet.  The excuse for excluding him was that Michael Scott already said goodbye, and now it was everyone else's chance. But the finale wouldn't be right without him. So they gave us Michael Scott AND gave the rest of the cast their chance to say goodbye. Again, an impossible balance that the writers, directors, and producers of The Office somehow managed to find.

They gave both closure and a future. Without tying everything up in a neat little bow, they gave us proof that these folks are going to be just fine. After all we've seen them face the last nine years, we know they can face anything. Even saying farewell.

They gave us what we knew we always had in these characters: an extraordinary group of ordinary people. If I were to sum up the Farewell Season of The Office in one word would be authentic. Never has the show seemed so true to its characters, to its plot, to its fans. Fans who will be forever grateful to have shared this show for nine years. And now all we can say is thank you. From the bottom of our collective heart. Thank you, Lazy Scranton. (What? The electric city!) Thank you for the friendly faces around the block: Michael and Stanley, Jim, Dwight, Creed, Andy, and Kelly - the ones we went to for all our business paper needs. Thank you, Dunder Mifflin, for being the people person's paper people. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't see the finale - or the last 7 or so seasons - but this warms my heart. So glad that The Office did something few shows can do - end well.