Friday, April 29, 2011

The Office-"Goodbye Michael"

Michael Scott says goodbye to "The Office"
Credit: NBC

Michael Scott said goodbye yesterday, and my thoughts on the episode are after the jump.

When I finished the farewell of Michael Scott I didn't know what to think. My initial thought was that they really didn't play up the sap factor. I honestly wish that they did put more of a focus on the fact that this is goodbye for Michael, forever. But the more I'm thinking about it, the more that I realize that would be the wrong way to say goodbye to Michael, and the more that I realize that the goodbye that they had in this episode was as close to perfect as we're going to get.

At the beginning of the series, he would have made a huge deal about this. He would have taken over everything and tried to make it perfect like the manchild he was. But that's not who he is anymore. He became the kind of person, during the show's run, that would want to make the quiet goodbye.  He didn't want to make a huge deal with this at all, but I find that strangely fitting. Michael has handled events that are difficult for him in different ways, but this seems to be the best fit for his character. Getting a calm goodbye.

The vast majority of the episode was about him trying to say goodbye to everyone in the office, checking off his list with every person. He and Stanley shared a couple moments, my favorite of them being the one in the conference room. That was a funny moment that worked very well for me. We also got Michael giving Andy his client list, trusting him with these precious clients. That was a nice thing for Michael to do, I'm not sure it was the best thing to do, given the subplot it set off (*), but it was a nice thing that showed true trust. We also got Michael giving Oscar a scarecrow and him talking to Angela about her state senator boyfriend. We got him just leaving Kelly alone, instead of saying goodbye. We got him talking to Toby and realizing that he has a brother in Colorado (which led to a very funny scene later on between Toby and his brother). Then there was the trio goodbye, with Meredith, Creed, and Ryan. There were also the scenes with Darrel and the warehouse crew that were fantastic. Him trying to  make that shot in the warehouse was a very funny sequence, and a very Michael sequence. All of these goodbyes illustrated aspects of their characters and their relationship with Michael, and were beautifully done.

(*) I'm pretty much going to ignore everything involving Deangelo in this episode because everything  was all not funny at all. I have no hope for this character after all the shitty material that happened with his character this week. I didn't care for either the bad sales call or the cravings plotline. They both were not funny.

Then there were the goodbye moments that really worked for me because of the awesomeness of these moments and their goodbye from Michael. We got Phyllis making a pair of mittens for Michael, which ended up playing very well in later parts of the episodes with Michael rushing her so that they would be completed on time and then taking them before they were done. We also got Michael saying goodbye to Kevin by trying to be inspirational. It might not have completely came out the way that Michael intended but it was still a touching sequence.

Michael didn't need to try to be inspiration with Erin because he did that naturally. The scene with her was so touching because it played off of the father/daughter relationship the two of them have and it was so well acted by both Carell and Ellie Kempler. That scene was just so well done and it played off the decent subplot (**) very well. We also got resolution to the tensions between Dwight and Michael that had been boiling in the last episode. I thought that they couldn't have done this better, with Michael making amends to Dwight by writing a letter of recommendation. Another moment that sealed the deal for me was when Michael called the meeting and Dwight ran into the conference room. (***) It was a small moment that made me happy.

(**) While I've never been a huge fan of Gabe, I thought that the subplot with him being extremely upset over his breakup wasn't a waste of time. It was actually decent.

(***) I enjoyed that conference room scene, with Michael running around the idea of saying goodbye but never really saying it. It seemed strangely fitting, he could never quite get to the point in that room.

But probably the best goodbye moments belonged to Jim and Pam. The scene with Jim in Michael's office was absolutely perfect. John Krasinski did an amazing job in that scene. His delivery of "We'll talk about what a great boss you turned out to be" made me cry. I'll admit it. Jim seeing right through Michael's antics today showed how well these two have grown to know each other over the years and that scene was a perfect final scene for the two of them. For most of the finale, I was worried that Pam would not get to actually say goodbye to Michael. I thought that they wouldn't have that scene. But they way that they had her say goodbye was brilliant. We got a wordless goodbye where we see that they do get to speak to each other and they do get to say goodbye.

That final sequence in general was very well done. Starting with the scene with Jim, that final act really picked up and made for a brilliant goodbye to his character. Michael exits the office relatively silently, just letting everything go. It was a quiet scene, but he leaves with a last "see you later" and Creed fittingly saying "see ya later boss". Then we get Michael saying what was a brilliant monologue about how these people are your friends but they're only your coworkers. And with a request to hear when the documentary is released and a final "that's what she said" he takes the mic off his chest and walks away. Then we see Pam and they have their goodbye. Then we get a great talking head with Pam about how he says that Holly is his family now and he's going home to Holly. That's really what this episode has been about, not him leaving, but him going home.

We see Michael take off in a plane bound for Colorado. A fitting goodbye for one of the best sitcom characters of this past decade. Steve Carell has done an amazing job portraying him over the years, and did an amazing job playing Michael's ups and downs over the course of this episode and the past seven seasons. I may have not liked him at times, but he really was the heart of the show, which now moves into a new era.

Goodbye Michael, I'll miss you.

What did everyone else think?

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