Sunday, May 5, 2013

What I’m Watching: The Office

The Office: Season 9, Episode 21 “Livin’ the Dream” (B-)

I have many things to say about this episode. With less than two weeks until the series finale airs, you can tell that this show is headed into the sunset. This episode was full of the kind of nostalgia that exists only when characters realize that their time left together is short, prompting serious self-reflection, and, in some cases, a complete change in behavior that doesn’t track with years of history. That’s most evident in Jim’s satisfied response to Dwight being appointed manager, because he feels as if Dwight has earned it after so many years, namely because us viewers think so too. Oscar offering for Angela to stay with him is exactly the same, and what I liked most about that was that Angela now feels close enough to him to break down crying and confess her love for Dwight. The sensei scene and Andy changing his mind for the third and fourth time were unnecessary wastes of time, but there was something truly wonderful and charming about Jim and Pam flirting all day and falling back in love with each other. Jim did seem sure about his plan regarding the West Coast expansion of his Philly job, and I wonder if Pam will be more open to the idea of moving now that she has seen Jim sacrifice himself for their relationship. With Jim and Pam, Dwight, Andy, and Angela taking center stage, I’m not sure if the rest of the ensemble will even get much of a sendoff, but I hope that these final four installments will prove reassuring and entertaining, a fitting tribute to when this show used to be so good.

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