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Lost in the Office

May 15, 2008

I was a little out of my element in the office today. We had an open house for all of the graduating students and their families, and along with the rest of the staff, I was expected to mingle and chat with these people. I am many things (smooth-chested, a fish out of water, former peanut butter and pickle sandwich eater), but I am not good in crowds of people I don’t know. If I know a few people who can help me start talking to other people, I’m fine. Or if I see someone standing or sitting alone, I can talk to them. But it’s initiating conversations with people in small groups that I am really, really bad at. I tense up, my mouth dries up, and I get stomach cramps.

That’s how I felt after watching The Office finale tonight.

Don’t get me wrong—the episode was great. It was funny throughout, particularly watching Amy Ryan (awesome in Gone Baby Gone!) treat Kevin like a slow person. It was refreshing to see Michael actually act like a normal person around a woman he liked, especially since he had to try so hard not to kiss and/or propose to her right away. The whole Toby-centric theme was nice, and I always like it when Darryl sings.

But let’s face it: The events of the last ten minutes of the show, although somewhat shocking, were not good fodder for cliffhangers. If there was an episode next week to tie up those loose ends, that would be another story. But those were not happy, hopeful cliffhangers. Those were sad, disheartening cliffhangers that made me wonder “how are they possibly going to work this out” instead of what I should have been wondering: “How will the show deal with everything working out the way it did?”

Let’s review:

Ryan got fired/arrested, but not before Jim left an overly aggressive message on his voice mail. Maybe this was nothing, just a joke that gives Jim the upper hand over Ryan, but maybe there’s something else there.

Toby and Angela are engaged, and Angela and Dwight had sex in the last few seconds of the episode. Again, not the biggest deal, but it’s sad to think that Angela would settle for Andy when she’s clearly meant to be with Dwight, and now we have to inevitably deal with an engagement that will be broken off and will hurt Andy.

Michael is going to be the fake father of Jan’s baby. Office producers, I get it. It’s funny that Michael somehow ends up with this abusive woman time after time. Role reversal, ha ha, let’s move on. I know Michael isn’t supposed to ever act like a normal person, but couldn’t he at least be himself and be happy with Amy Ryan? That was perhaps the saddest moment of the episode, seeing Michael call Jan and say that he’d be there for her, despite the fact that Jan got a sperm donor while she was dating Michael because he wasn’t good enough. There aren’t many things that are sadder than that.

Last, but certainly not least, Jim and Pam. It’s one thing that Jim didn’t pull off the proposal due to Andy’s poor timing. It’s quite another that she’s going off to art school for the summer. That’s not an irrelevant tidbit the writers threw into the episode. I know a lot of people may not be happy that Jim and Pam are together and happy, but I love that there’s still comedy and chemistry between them even though they’re happy. It shows that you don’t have be a couple that fights or lies all the time to be funny like in every other sitcom. So now what? See, we’re not left wondering “will Jim propose?” or “when will Jim propose?” We’re left wondering how they’re going to mess it up. Will Pam meet someone else at art school? Will the distance get to them? Will Jim just never find the right moment to propose, and Pam gets more and more distraught?

I was honestly hoping that there would be a clip after the Dwight and Angela scene that would have Jim proposing to Pam. Maybe that scene will be shown online. But I really just feel dissatisfied. Couldn’t just one major character be happy? The only happy character is Kevin, and that’s only because Amy Ryan is treating him really nice because she thinks he’s slow in the head!

It’s like my work’s open house all over again.

P.S. Lost was great. Not a ton happened, but the setup for the finale was perfect.

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