Apr 20 2012

The Office Swan Dives Off the Deep End

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials,Television

I’m not sure what percentage of you actually keep up with The Office any more, as it’s in what, its eighth season now? Insanity. I doubt there are many loyalists like myself who have managed to keep watching every episode all this time, but if any of you managed to catch it last night, you’ll know what I’m talking about here.

My god.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a show go from relatable, understated comedy to this degree of complete buffoonery. Back when Michael Scott was still around, I lamented that he had become little more than a cartoon character, acting in ways that no human being ever would. I was sad to see him go, but I thought his replacement, Andy Bernard, to be a more toned down version of him, and the show seemed to be getting back to a place of relative sanity.

But no. It appears at last that The Office has gone full retard. That was going to be my title, but I figured it would offend those who didn’t get the Tropic Thunder reference. In any case, in nearly every second of last night’s episode the show became everything wrong with television. A brief summary of the nights events.

– Andy comes back to the office to find Nelly has taken his job and office.

– This news makes him impotent, literally impotent, a problem that plagues his and Erin’s new relationship

– Nelly finds out about this and holds an office wide meeting about impotence, and there is a full seven minute conversation about erections, orgasms and sexual dysfunction.

“Please join us, we’re having a meeting about your penis.”

This event was so out of place, it made my skin crawl. Not in the typically “socially awkward moment” way that The Office usually has perfected, but just the fact that the show had stooped to this. The most telling moment was when Toby was asked if he could do anything to stop this clearly inappropriate conversation. He throws up his hands and says “HR’s a joke, I can’t do anything about anything.”

It’s a symbolic line, really. Toby acting as the usual standards of comedy in which the show should operate, giving up hope as things just turn to shock value and almost Dadaist absurdity to get laughs.

And this was just the first half. Then Andy and Erin literally pitch a fit and starting yelling and screaming in the middle of the office like four year olds in the hopes of ousting Nelly. The grand finale is when Ryan shows up on horseback dressed in full Indian regalia to try and win Kelly back from her new doctor boyfriend. See what I mean about Dadaism?

It’s like the show’s turning into a post-modern experiment in awfulness.

This was far and away the most disgraceful episode of The Office I have ever seen, and I say that as someone who has genuinely liked the show for a long time, even in this last season. But after a 180+ episodes (the UK version was 12 and a Christmas special), it’s clear that the show has gone completely off the deep end and needs to end to save itself further embarrassment.

 





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19 responses so far

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    Couldn’t agree more! My friends and I were all looking at each other like ‘wtf is this shit’ as it went on.

    I did really like the Kelly/Ryan bit, but it was just a fraction of the show. It could just be the last few seconds that gave this storyline it’s hilarity (Jim & Pam reading his heart-felt poetry), but the rest of the show was just OUT THERE.

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    Also, props for describing it as Dada… Didn’t realize this was a word non-art people (under 50) used.

  • Velovan

    This episode was god-awful, but it wasn’t as bad as the clip show. That was the low point of the series, though this is giving it a run for its money.

  • Ender88

    Yup pretty glad I gave up on that crap show around season 4. This show hasn’t been funny in a loooooooooooooooong time if it was ever actually that funny at all.

  • Jason

    Unfortunately, Ender, it looked like it was recovering at the beginning of the current season. Then of course, they introduced a character who could “replace” Michael Scott in terms of sheer idiocy. Except while it could always be said that Michael Scott did have a likeable side to him, there is nothing to redeem Nellie Bertram’s character.

  • Cheryl

    The show should have ended at the episode where Jim comes back from blowing off the interview with coporate and asks Pam if she’s free for dinner…she says yes, turns back to the camera and asks “what was the question?” (or something along those lines).
    I consider myself very loyal to the show but this season has been dreadful. The only high point I can come up with was the garden party and Josh Groban kept calling Jim Tuna and thinking Merideth and Phyllis were his wives…other than that…can’t think of anything.

  • http://ricky-rampage.tumblr.com Andy

    For a show that’s already jumped the shark a couple of times, this was shooting a rocket over the entire ocean. I love The Office, too, and have been loyal for years, but this episode proved how little steam this show has left. It needs to end. And the sad part is, after tonight, I don’t see a way it can bow out gracefully, with dignity.

  • http://www.seasonedgamers.com japjay

    I agree but I can’t not watch it for some reason.

  • Rosstopher

    I missed the the 07 season, but other than that i always watch nbc on thursday night. Community was amazing, 30 Rock was better than usual and the office was just horrible. When parks came on and i started laughing again and i think watching such a bad episode made parks that much better

  • jaromir

    In all honesty I thought this was one of the better episodes (still a 4/10) of the season…..the pyramid tablet anyone? I don’t think I even chuckled durring that episode.

    I dunno, I’m a loyal viewer, and yes I agree that the show is on a steady slope downhill but (aside from this season) I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone say’s it is. I’ve always loved the cartoonish outrageous stupidity that this show brings, sure it’s over the top, but I don’t care; it really does remind me of scenarios that I’ve been part of in my work-life.

    Anyways, yes I agree, this season sucks.

  • http://z0r.de Azenomei

    wait… did andy just got fired???? WTF?? get rid of Nelly, she sucks monkey balls!!!

  • Paul

    I was just saying last night that this episode stretches credulity! The part where Nelly first refused to get out of the office and then started docking his pay made me wonder why I came back to the show (I stopped watching around the time Jo showed up). And the Robert character I never liked because he never really does anything except to set up the plot. Can anyone tell me what he is actually there for (besides being their overall boss?)

  • Dan

    I was hoping the show would find some kind of momentum with the Tallahassee story line, but that didn’t materialize. I enjoyed the Season 5 story arc with Micheal Scott Paper Co. was the last time the Office was my favorite comedy on TV. I recently re-watched 1-7, IMO Goodbye Micheal should have been the series finale.

  • Charlie Ward

    I left with Michael Scott. I was burned by another show I love continuing after its main character had left (That ’70s Show) and was not willing to be burned again, the allure of a Will Ferrell guest spot be damned. Sounds like I made the right choice.

  • jaromir

    Have to agree with Dan, 2 posts up.

  • Tim

    They’re building toward Nelly taking Robert California’s job and bringing Andy back in by the end of the season.

  • GamerEly

    I just couldn’t believe the part where andy’s pay was getting docked by somebody who wasn’t the manager and the employee would not follow the actual manager’s orders. At that point, Hank should have been called and Nelly would have been escorted out if I had been the manager.

  • DAFUQ?

    Honestly tonight episode holds the fate of the universe. If there even is one tonight. I really hope nelly and robert leave the show. Robert had this awesome potential to be good, but they ruined that.

  • ……….

    Ok all I have to say is, I liked this episode. Well….. some parts of this season. Personally I like Nellie. And she’s not ruining the show. At first I was skeptical of her being in the show and taking Andy’s job, but personally The Office was getting kinda boring for me at this point. And anyone who can basically deliver us lines like, “stop staring at my breast and start staring at my penis” has to be someone that could hold their ground in a show like The Office. Plus Catherine Tate is an absolute genius.

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