Closing time for The Office


I’m going to warn you. You can’t say I didn’t. I just think it’s important to let you know from the outset. This week, my column is going to be different than in previous weeks. Less of the usual five or six whimsical, mildly informative paragraphs about US comedy; more a heartbroken diatribe. I’m basically treating it as group therapy. Without other people getting the chance to say anything.

Something terrible is happening. It’s so terrible I almost can’t bring myself to type it. But I’m going to be brave. I can do this. Deep breath. Here goes: The Office US is ending. The first day this issue of the OxStu is available (Thursday 16th May) will be the day that the show airs for the last time, and the doors of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton will be firmly closed to the camera crew which has documented the lives of its employees for the past eight years. I’m not crying, I swear. The-Office-Jim-Pam_l1

When, like me, you spend all of your time watching TV, there is always one show which started it all. For me, that was The Office US, and I’m pretty devastated to see it go. Even though the finale comes off the back of a frankly poor ninth season, and even though everybody knows that nothing has been the same since the departure of Steve Carell – who, in his role as the lonely, distasteful, wonderful boss Michael Scott, sealed his status as a timeless comic genius – there’s still a lot of love left for this show, which at its peak was untouchable in terms of the nuance of the writing and the sheer funniness of its ensemble. The excellency of The Office lies in its cast, who bounce off each other splendidly without losing any of their unique charm.

I’m going to try to work through this dreadful loss by remembering the good times. There were so many good times. Dwight’s ‘Ryan Started The Fire’ song. Michael screaming “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY”. Andy punching the wall. Television comedy’s most epic and best played romance, which has come to be known only as ‘Jim and Pam’ (the most recent episode featured a montage of old Jim ‘n’ Pam moments and I dissolved into a pile of disgusting snot tears. I am an ugly crier.), and which will forever be a reference point for how to do TV love stories properly. Ice-cream cake. Ryan becoming CEO. I could go on for hours, but instead I’ll look forward to the finale, which is all I have left to hold onto in this sham of a nearly Office-less world. What sort of send off can we expect for a show which has such a long history and leaves such a legacy?

The finale is set 6 months on from the penultimate episode, which ended as the documentary about Dunder-Mifflin finally aired. The characters attend the wedding of Dwight and Angela (!), and some old faces return. Confirmed to appear are Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak (who played the perpetually warring on/off couple Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard, and left at the end of last season), and rumoured for a cameo is, of course, Steve Carell. Though everybody and their brothers have denied it, it wouldn’t be the finale of The Office without the man who defines The Office.

The thing which always made The Office special was its characters, and it’s fitting that they should reunite for a final hoorah. For the viewers it’s a sad day. The road without The Office might seem long and it might seem hard. And that, in the immortal words of Michael Scott, is what she said.


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