Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Office

 In October I binge watched all 9 seasons of The Office.  I started watching it just as something entertaining to have on while I did other things, but the particular humor of this show was not something I could only half pay attention to.

The Office depicts a mundane world of unexciting characters doing boring, almost pointless, work while held hostage by their self-absorbed, performance oriented boss. The interactions are awkward and uncomfortable, but also incredibly hilarious and even surreal. The characters have seemingly little in common, yet they must co-exist in a small depressing space hour after hour. The antics are largely based on situations where dominant aspects of one character clash with another, and in an amazing and special way, it is through these juxtapositions of flaws that a unique joy emerges. Dunder Mifflin is really fun. In small and silly ways, like when they all get swept up in betting about every little thing.  And The Office is often touching, as unlikely friendships form and awful behaviors are seen from a more compassionate perspective.

Steve Carell is incredible as Michael Scott, and the last seasons when he was gone seemed unfocussed and disappointing, but it was also during these seasons that the characters' narratives really took off. It became less about the office and more about their lives. I was shocked by how moved I was by the final few episodes, where the documentary about them over all theses years is finally aired. They get to see themselves, and, beautifully, while the viewer expected them to be exposed as petty and sad and crazy, their lives are instead shown as meaningful, and they get the unique opportunity to watch their past unfold before them.  As much as I laughed out loud during 8 and a half seasons, I was totally crying during those final episodes. I was caught off guard by how moving it was. Something that particularly touched me was the friendship that formed between Oscar and Angela.

I liked it so much it is possible I will soon start it again from the beginning!

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