Saturday, May 21, 2011

Season Finale: The Office-"Search Committee"

Will Arnett interviews for the job on "The Office"
Credit: NBC

My thoughts on the season finale of the Office are after the jump.

I am decisively mixed on this episode and how to approach it. It had a lot of funny moments, but it played like an audition episode of a reality show. Many guest stars were in and out quickly and only a few of them were slightly funny. They were pretty much a famous actor coming on the set for one day to do a schtick and leave. I really don't know if I should waste my time discussing most of these interviews because there are only two that could possibly be relevant to the show in the future. Although the interviews weren't great, the other aspects of the episode were just funny enough to help salvage it from complete disaster.

Of the interviewers, the only two outsiders who could realistically come in and work on the show are James Spader and Catherine Tate. It doesn't help the show that I don't like either of those characters. Spader went too far into weirdness. There was nothing particularly redeeming about his character at all. Tate just came off as doing some combination of David Brent and Michael Scott. I found her to be way too over the top. But that's the problem with giving these characters only a few minutes of screen time each. They don't get to form any sort of character at all. They only get to show off some sort of schtick. These two actors are certainly capable of forming a character, they just weren't given a chance.

That said about the guest characters, the interviews with the regular characters didn't land either. Dwight had no need to go to those lengths in order to be interviewed. I understand that's what the character would do, it's just not funny from my perspective. This character has a tendency to go too far into the crazy range, and this was an example of this. Darryl has proven himself to be a lot smarter then this episode made him out to be. Again, I understand the character perspective of him thinking that the search committee knows him, so he didn't need to prepare anything for the interview. I just don't like it when smart characters are made out to be stupid, which was exactly what happened here.

I was pleasantly surprised by how Andy was brought into the fold. Based off this episode, he was the only interviewee who actually clicked with me as being good for the job. He actually seemed like he would be a capable character that could do very well if he was placed into the job. I don't think this is an idea that holds up if I include aspects of the character presented in previous episodes. He's proven to be very Michael Scott-like when he is the focus of the episode, but based off the evidence in this episode alone, him as the boss could work.

What salvaged the episode from almost disaster was the other plotlines. Creed as the boss, like Dwight, wouldn't work as a long term idea, but it worked really well in the episode. Pam trying to stop Creed from destroying the branch was hysterical. Angela getting engaged to the State Senator was something that was expected, but it provided some great material for the rest of the office. Everyone's reactions to the engagement were surprisingly funny, especially Oscar and Ryan's reactions.

Andy and Erin are no Jim and Pam, but they're still cute enough as a couple that the will-they-won't-they trope doesn't have me wanting to rip my hair out. It's inevitable that they will get together, and that can annoy me. But this specific relationship lead up is working well enough and is funny enough that I don't hate it.

What this finale was made up of was a lot of guest stars and other plotlines that worked. This show can be funny, this episode happened to be way too stuntish to work as a whole.

What did everyone else think? 

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