x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Office US closes for good

Five reasons to watch The Office finale, even if you didn't really watch the show.

The Office US cast from left, Phyllis Smith, Jenna Fischer, Jake Lacy, Rainn Wilson and Ellie Kemper. NBC / AP Photo
The Office US cast from left, Phyllis Smith, Jenna Fischer, Jake Lacy, Rainn Wilson and Ellie Kemper. NBC / AP Photo

To be frank, The Office US should have shuttered up two years ago. Now, at nine seasons and 201 episodes, for many viewers – most of whom have switched off – it’s -become a bloated sitcom overstatement.

The lacklustre life at the Dunder-Mifflin paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania – an American version of the British mockumentary, created in part by Ricky Gervais – nicely reached a natural expiry date at the end of season seven, when the office manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) seized his dream of moving to Colorado to start a family with his dorky soulmate Holly Flax.

Yet, even through the season eight creepy-weirdness that was Robert California (James Spader), there were sparks of greatness in this series that not only spurred Carell to movie stardom, but also saw his regional-manager replacement Ed Helms (as Andy Barnard) go on to make Hollywood history in The Hangover franchise.

For Helms, this week’s two-part grand finale of The Office and the release of the final Hangover movie bring to an abrupt end his two major career arcs to date.

“I’ve been so busy promoting [The Hangover 3] and talking about The Office, I feel like I’m in this state of denial,” Helms recently told the Late Show host David Letterman. “And in about two weeks, I’ll go home and curl up with my mother and sob uncontrollably.”

Without further ado, here are five reasons to watch The Office finale, even if you didn’t really watch the show.

1 Don’t be a water-cooler outcast

When the finale was broadcast in May in North America, viewership shot up to 5.9 million, the show’s best numbers in two years. You can bet folk will be taking to social media and chatting up the lunchroom pods the next day to spin the buzz. You can choose to be part of this nostalgic, bittersweet and unforgettable event – or risk being left to stare at your hummus and pitta.

2 Draw strength from a surrogate family

The Office can be a great comfort. It has helped millions to realise that we’re not alone, that we’re all part of the great working community of life with our common struggles and the never-ending rubbish we put up with to provide for those we love. As well, we’re reminded how our office mates can be very precious family, and comfort, indeed.

3 Get your ‘cringe fix’

Admit it, you love it when a comedy creates a feeling so fiercely uncomfortable that you can’t help but laugh your pants off. It’s a rare fusion of comedy and drama that puts viewers through such a delicious wringer – and The Office lets you wallow in pure cringe by the bucketful.

4 Pop a dose of reality therapy

Do you really think you’re the first person on Earth whose “temporary” job became a dead-end career? Hardly. Working life doesn’t always give us what we want. The Office shows that dreams don’t always come true. The regional manager Andy Barnard resigned, was rehired as a salesman, and was fired again – all on the same day! As the saying goes: when you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails. And the buffoons and misfits of The Office can show us all a thing or two about “sailing”.

5 See whether Steve Carell shows up

Producers have a delicate, thorny problem here – how best to sneak the now-movie-star Carell on to the show in a way that won’t overwhelm the series regulars. (Remember: Carell already had his happy ending.) You must watch to see the magic – it’s one extraordinary, unforgettable cameo.

 

• The two-part series finale of The Office will be broadcast at 8.30pm on Sunday on OSN Comedy HD

artslife@thenational.ae

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