Why the Final Season of the Office Just Might Be Worth Watching

[Warning: Full spoilers for the first episode of the final season below]

While some of the Stew Over editors quit on The Office sometime between when Jim and Pam got married, Michael left the show, or when we just couldn’t take watching a show we once loved flounder, I stuck with it. I recognized it wasn’t as good as it used to be, saw it’s flaws, but figured that since I’d come this far I might as well see it through. As the show’s final season kicked off last night, I tuned in to see how things would start to wrap up.

Final seasons of shows can go one of two ways. They can sputter towards the finish line, depressingly marching towards that final air date or, hopefully, they can go the other way. They can throw shit at the wall and without the burden of having to soldier on, provide their characters with new and interesting storylines. After one episode of the final season, I’m hopeful.

First things first, the cast has shrunk. Gone is Kelly Kapoor, the E! watching, Ryan loves-me-he-loves-me not, vapid character that went from slapping Michael in the face during one of The Office’s funniest scenes in Season One to one of the more annoying characters on the show. As Mindy Kalling moves on to The Mindy Project gone too is Ryan, following her to Miami (Ohio). Like so many other office denizens, Ryan’s character struggled to find his place on the show these last few years. There’s a reason Icarus’ story ends after he flies too close to the sun. It’s no fun watching him slum it again at the Crete McDonalds.

Gone too is Gabe, someone Chas described as “Bizarre, creepy, and lacking any redeeming characteristics” which is incredibly hard to argue. Add Robert California to the list of cast offs as well. What we’re left with are (mainly) the core characters we’ve cared about since the first season, and at least for some of them, they seem to have found some interesting storylines.

Most importantly, we finally seem to have a life goal for Jim. He spends most of this episode realizing he’s stuck at a dead end job having quit on his dreams to start his own company and become a millionaire. As the episode ends, however, he grabs an opportunity to start his own business with a college buddy, even if he that means he might have to move his family.

Elsewhere, Angela is giving her cat up for adoption, which is admittedly incredibly boring. But when Oscar agrees to take it, we find out that he’s been seeing Angela’s husband, the oft-suspected gay Senator. This could turn into nothing, but at least they’re taking a chance with those characters.

Dwight seems to be lacking a new motivation as he basically spent the episode falling over, but with his spin off theoretically still in the works, his character has time to develop his storyline.

While this episode lacked as many jokes as The Office tends to have (save a few fantastic Creed Bratton lines at the end), the creators seem to be moving the show in the right direction. I’m actually looking forward to watching next week’s episode as opposed to just DVR-ing it and getting to it when I get to it.

So, did you watch or are you planning on doing so? Let me know in the comments.

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