Over the past several years, the economy has taken a big hit. Thousands of businesses have suffered. Unfortunately, the economy hasn’t impacted Dunder Mifflin, the fictitious paper company around which NBC’s The Office is centered. The Office is a “mockumentary” based on the average American office. Due to an exceptional cast and a world class team of writers, The Office has reigned as one of the most successful sitcoms for the past eight years. Sadly, however, this show is simply not what it used to be.
There are many reasons that The Office has been able to reach its level of success, one of which being its original sense of humor. It was originally noted by many to have a trademark dry, subtle, awkward humor that couldn’t be found in any other show on air. However, over the past few years, they have completely abandoned this style of humor.
Characters have turned into caricatures of their former selves in order to get cheap laughs. This can mostly be seen by Kevin, an overweight, oafish accountant played by Brian Baumgartner. During the early years of the show, Kevin’s stupidity and love for food was used perfectly by the writers. However, in recent seasons, Kevin’s stupidity has escalated beyond all possible belief. Jokes like him not knowing the letters of the alphabet have propelled his character beyond the point of realism and diminished the overall quality of the show. And it has affected nearly every employee at Dunder Mifflin.
Another reason why The Office is not what it used to be is the departure of Steve Carell from the show. Carell brilliantly portrayed Michael Scott, the inept regional manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton Branch. In 2010, he announced that he was leaving the show. His final episode aired April of 2011. His departure was clearly not anticipated by the writers throughout the course of the show, as the seventh season featured unnaturally fast character development by Michael. Additionally, while I won’t reveal any spoilers to anyone who wants to watch the series on Netflix (Which I heavily recommend), the plot behind his departure is contrived and hard to believe. His departure left a gaping hole in the show that left it scrambling to find a replacement, a hole that was filled with awkward guest spots like Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Deangelo Vickers and Robert California, played by James Spader. The failed attempt at utilizing these very talented actors in itself shows that The Office had developed a wonderful formula with Carell. Since his departure, they have not reworked that formula.
On top of all these reasons, the plot of The Office is simply no longer interesting. I will preface this by saying that I completely understand how this happened. The premise of the show is extremely limited, and the fact that the show was as good as it was for so long is astounding. However, in year nine, it is simply time to stop. The love story behind Jim, played by John Krasinski, and Pam, played by Jenna Fisher, has become extremely stale and uninteresting. The plot has become very inconsistent. One year, the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch is facing downsizing. The next, it is somehow the company’s most profitable branch. The show’s plot has lead to it becoming unwatchable.
What was once the best show on television has become merely a shell of its former self. The negative evolution of its humor and the departure of Steve Carell have ruined what was once a great show. Almost all realism has been lost and the plot has become stale. It is sad to see a s show I used to love so much do so poorly. Thankfully, however, it will all be over soon, as this season is the show’s last. The Office can be seen Thursdays at 9 on NBC.