“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home” – Creed Bratton
TV finales are tricky. Comedy series are even trickier. While dramas tend to go out with a bang that series the big bad vanquished once and for all, comedy finales don’t have that luxury, giving them a feeling of epilogue rather than climax. Many comedy finales turn to long running romances or departures of characters to lure out some sentimental feelings from the audience. The Office did a bit of both, though not necessarily in the clichéd sitcom fashion.
The Office’s final season has served as a larger finale of sorts. The vast majority of the show’s recurring characters have returned for one last go around. Many of the episodes have actually been funny, a stark departure from the poor quality of the show over the past few seasons.
The Office’s finale wasn’t a home run, but no one should’ve expected it to be. It was a fitting tribute to the characters who made the show so memorable over its nine year run. All of them were given moments to shine throughout the hour-long episode.
I was impressed with the way that the show handled the return of Steve Carrell. Michael Scott was the star and the main reason for the show’s success. But he had his finale already. Scott’s return was needed to give the show proper closure, but it was smart to keep his on screen presence to a minimal. Scott dominated the screen when he was on it and that wouldn’t have been fair to the characters who toughed out the show for two years after he left.
The standout performer of the finale was Dwight. The majority of the show’s characters are one-dimensional without a great deal of growth over the past decade. Dwight might be the only exception to this as his character grew and reached a certain degree of maturity. Dwight evolved from a bizarre gullible brown noser to someone who genuinely cares about the people around him. Dwight picked up most of the slack left behind by Michael’s departure and it was good to see him come into his own.
The Office should’ve ended a few years ago, but the same can be said of most shows that air for more than six or seven years. The finale served its purpose and gave a proper send off to a show that used to be one the funniest of television. I will miss The Office, not because I want more episodes but because of the tremendous impact it had on changing the dynamic of network comedy.
The most you can hope for in a comedy finale is to be reminded of the reasons why you watched it in the first place. They’re rarely home runs because they don’t need to be. Barring a surprise return from Robert California, I wouldn’t have done anything different.