Three weeks ago sources revealed that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving Parks and Recreation midway through its upcoming sixth season. News about the impending departure of unlucky in love Ann Perkins and perfectionist City Manager Chris Traeger was expectedly met with some sadness and disappointment by devoted Parks and Rec fans. The cast of the NBC comedy has developed into one of the strongest ensembles on television, and, with the exit of The Office and 30 Rock last season, Parks and Rec is poised to be NBC’s number one workplace comedy, with the citizens of Pawnee providing the most colorful and entertaining array of recurring characters and bit parts this side of Greendale Community College. Losing two main cast members is a bit of surprise, a curious altering of a formula that seemed to be working so well. But here’s the thing: we actual welcome the change, as it will solve the show’s most glaring problem, a significant flaw that has existed since episode one: what do you do with a problem like Rashida?
Tag Archives: Dunder Mifflin
We very clearly remember the moment that we fell for The Office, the NBC stalwart that closes up shop at Dunder Mifflin tonight after nine mostly great seasons. It was the fall of 2005, when The Office was starting to find its legs after a rocky and uneven six episode first season, and we in our first autumn post-college, back at our parents’, and for the first time since we were four-years-old not attending school. We were at our best friend and future roommate’s house, hanging out, maybe barbecuing, maybe drinking a few beers, maybe watching the first season of Lost on DVD, which dominated much of our time (and thoughts) during that period. We knew about the The Office, another blatant attempt to import a UK hit stateside, but missed its brief run earlier that year, as was the case with the aforementioned Lost, as the only shows we watched religiously during our final year of college (and last few months before true adulthood) were The Simpsons and Survivor. We did, however, recall reading that it was an imperfect translation of the original, and the Steve Carell-led vehicle – who was then best known as the other Steve from The Daily Show – was not likely to resurrect NBC Thursday night Must See TV, let alone make it past Season 2. So with the middling reviews in mind, and the fact that we were unfamiliar with the original Ricky Gervais version, we didn’t go out of our way to watch the show. But that night changed everything.
This week we’re looking back on the just completed/completing seasons of NBC’s Thursday night comedies. Today we check in the senior member of the team, ‘The Office.’
For quite some time we were religious with our Office recaps, but then two things happened 1) we were working a paid job more than full-time and 2) the show became, well, inessential. We hoped to check-in during Steve Carell’s final season, but analyses was few and far between. But even though we weren’t providing regular reviews, the series was still required viewing. We might not follow-up the next morning with our thoughts, but we were still going out of our way to watch it Thursday night, as much out of habit as desire. But this season, with Carell’s Michael Scott off to Colorado, the show became the least appealing, least critical member of the lineup. Wait til Friday to watch Community? We’d rather not. Skip an episode of Parks and Rec? No way. But go a week without watching the latest The Office? Sure. View an episode of Robert California’s Dunder Mifflin out-of-order? Fine. We just didn’t care that much anymore.
But a funny thing happened at the end of The Office’s eighth season. We were actually invested. We almost felt things, things that just nearly came close to approximating the real emotions that the show’s best seasons elicited. For the first time all year, the series seemed to find its voice.
With the new fall TV season almost upon us (did you see the “new” promo for NBC’s Wednesday & Thursday night comedies?), we thought we’d offer our first The Office related post in quite sometime. But this one is less about them and more about us.
had offered a side-by-side comparison of the employees of Dunder Mifflin’s changing styles during their seven seasons in front of the “documentary” cameras. It was engaging, well-researched, and totally spot-on It was also VERY familiar, as we had (twice!) previously posted our own visual essay on the stark physical transformations experienced by the Office cast. Sure, The Fug Girls presented their findings in attractive slide-show fashion, but we find the single page model much easier and efficient (and we’re not about forcing you into
clicking through a dozen panels just to drive up our page views). The truth is, we both did a great job distilling the pygmalion like evolution of these characters, and each post has its merits. So, you know what, we’ll just go ahead let you decide.
Ours: Who Are These People?
Well the good vibes had to end at some point, and after a string of strong and then stronger episodes, that run ended rather abruptly with last week’s episode, “Christening.” We actually don’t have too much to say about it, which is to expected since it aired a week ago, but also because it was a rather forgettable episode.
And it didn’t have to be, that’s what was so frustrating about it.
More: Michael and Andy drink the Kool-Aid, Jim and Pam drink NyQuil, and Toby gets hosed down with Holy Water
At the risk of getting very repetitive we’ll quickly revisit our season long question: Which Michael Scott did we see in the latest Office installment, “Scott’s Tots?” Well-meaning but confused and ill-prepared Michael or malicious, self-absorbed, cripplingly myopic Michael? Well, as usual, and probably as it should be, we were served some of both. But, as we’ll see, we at least ended with the more preferable of the two.
I didn’t mind this episode, but it also didn’t seem especially funny. Whereas I was in a social environment when I initially viewed “Mafia” from earlier this season, and even laughed heartily at it, I knew very quickly that episode wasn’t that humorous, at least not that good. On other hand, I watched “Scott’s Tots” alone at 2 in the morning which, I admit, could have been a detriment (I did, however, enjoy some leftover birthday ice cream cake, so, despite the hour, I still managed to fulfill my Office watching pre-requisite of either ice cream or NY pizza (and when I say NY Pizza I don’t mean “NY Pizza,” the moniker that every pizza place outside of NY throws onto its marquee in hopes of tricking the consumer into thinking their product is comparable to the thin, crispy, cheesy, heavenly Big Apple standard, and not what it really is, an inferior copy. Rule of thumb: if some pizza joint beyond the tri-state area bills their product as “NY Pizza,” you’re probably going to be disappointed. Also, unless they serve slices, it’s not NY Pizza. And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging)); perhaps I wouldn’t feel so ambivalent about it had I watched before midnight with a crowd. Still, my intuition says that it would have been the same. Not particularly hilarious, but, actually, a nice little episode, and the kind of more authentic offering that has been sorely needed of late.
As we’re a bit late to the party, just some (hopefully) quick thoughts on last week’s Office entry, “Shareholder Meeting.”
The theme for this season (and probably the entire series), as we have already talked about in great detail, has been the vacillation of Michael Scott from mildly idiotic but well-meaning and somewhat competent to completely oblivious, self-absorbed and wildly unqualified, and finding that the best episodes seem to be when Michael trends towards the former. Indeed, in their review Vulture notes that, “as a general rule, the less Michael Scott is a Homer Simpson–esque boob, the better The Office becomes.” In “Shareholder Meeting,” we get a glimpse of both Michaels, and I think this episode just missed the mark, not because Michael again veered of course (although, he sorta did), but because the show shied away from the opportunity to let things get even uglier.