I recently became a believer in “The Office” again.
The show finally seemed to rediscover its funny bone this season, with a string of highly amusing episodes. Finally, I thought, the post-Steve Carell slump is over, and the series can go out on a high note in its final season.
Then last night happened.
Really, writers? Is this all you got? Another third party designed to drum up one last bit of drama in Pam and Jim’s relationship?
Jim’s job causing problems for the couple is one thing (and totally realistic, but why would we want that?). But having a member of the documentary crew suddenly harboring feelings for Pam and swooping in while Jim is away in Philly— trying to, you know, make something of himself for his family — is going to go down as one of the worst stories this show has every told.
We first met that crew member, boom mic operator Brian, last week, when he comforted Pam after she had a pretty epic fight with Jim.
At first glance, it seemed kinda cool that we were meeting one of the people who has been following Jim, Pam and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew for all these years. But then I listened to a couple podcasts, where people speculated about a potential love triangle — something that had never crossed my mind. Not even once. The writers wouldn’t be that predictable, would they?
Oh, but they would.
Last night, Brian was back immediately, in a quick scene with Pam. She apologized for getting him in trouble (the crew is not supposed to interact with the cast) and, by the end of the half hour, he was looking at her in the same loving, unrequited way Jim used to back in the day.
The kicker? Jim’s voiceover played out over the scene: “Because of where my desk was, I spent all those years looking at Pam. And I found love. So, that stuff matters.”
It got even worse in the second episode, as Brian stepped in when an angry warehouse worker tried to attack Pam (there was something going on about a defaced mural, but that’s besides the point). It was laughable! Brian hit the guy with his boom mic, and the show sailed right over that shark.
The episode ended with Pam apologizing to Brian once again, this time for getting him fired. And, before he walked out the door, he told her he’d always be there for her.
All of this happened during two episodes that would have been enjoyable by themselves, without the added drama. Pam and Dwight teaming up to haze Clark and, later, exact revenge on the warehouse worker who vandalized her mural was great, as was Kevin's big speech to the Senator, calling him out for mistreating Angela and Oscar.
There had to be a more creative way to introduce the documentary crew. But, instead, “The Office” chose the simplest, least interesting route possible.
Way to go out on top, guys.
Contact Casey Gillis at (434) 385-5525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.