Office Watch: It’s Not Just the Elevator That’s Broken


I just don’t know what to make of The Office anymore. I really don’t. I watched last night’s episode, “Stairmageddon,” with tears in my eyes and still laughing.

Laughing about The Office?

No. I was still laughing at Parks and Recreation and it’s last minute, which featured Ron Swanson trying his hardest to eat a banana. It was amazing and even thinking about it now, it makes me laugh. Last night’s Parks and Recreation as a whole was entertaining as hell and was another top notch episode of, what is in my opinion, the best comedy on television right now. I’m not even sure what challenges it. You can’t even say Modern Family does. That poor show has hit the phase The Office is in now, stale & unimaginative, in only half the amount of seasons.

The situation on Thursday nights has reached the point where Parks and Rec essentially opening for The Office makes about as much sense Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees. It’s not fair to either party involved.

But as far as last night’s episode goes, it was another example of The Office simply treading water, trying to stay afloat. A far cry from the show that we all grew to love. Jim and Pam are going to see a marriage counselor, the elevator is broken, Andy is looking for representation and the Senator comes out of the closet. That’s four different plots, none of which were especially funny. But if I had to pick one, forced to do so or be shot down with horse tranquilizers, I guess I’d pick the whole Stanley/Dwight/Clark plot. Although the short clips of Andy calling talent agencies like William Morris weren’t terrible.

The Stanley/Dwight/Clark thing was kind of funny at times, but a little weird the whole time.

Each part of it- the drugging of Stanley, sending him down the stairs, rolling him through the parking lot, cramming him into Dwight’s car* all seemed to last a minute or two longer than it felt they should. But hey, it saved us from more Jim and Pam, which was a good thing. But I just couldn’t decide if it was funny or not. Or was it just entertaining. Or was it even that?

* I do appreciate the fact that for the entire series, Dwight has driven the same car, a sweet Trans Am.

I’ve written before, in prior installments of Office Watch, that I’ve realized I’m watching The Office more because I feel like I should, as opposed to because I actually want to. That feeling continued with last night’s episode. I really want to feel differently, I really do. But week after week, the feeling remains. If anything, that feeling now has company- disappointment. Yes sir, disappointment. I’m just flat out disappointed with the producers and writers of the show. I really thought they’d go all out and you know, totally redeem themselves in this, the final season of the show- a show that has stumbled, bumbled and fumbled it’s way through it’s past two seasons. But they haven’t. Was Mindy Kailing that much of a force for them that her absence has left such a sizable void? I would have thought a show with the history of The Office would have a deeper bench in their writer’s room and would be talented enough to do something better than build an episode around something other than the elevator being down.

Really, the elevator being down? That’s what you’re going to base one of the last episodes around? I saw that yesterday afternoon, when checking if there was a new episode on, and couldn’t believe it. That’s so easy it’s an insult to the phrase “shooting ducks in a barrel” or “stealing fish from a pond.” It’s just bush league. They have supposedly worked so hard to create this world within the office and a broken elevator is the best thing they can think of to serve as the impetus for an episode. That alone should be enough to drive away the show’s last remaining fans.

But it hasn’t, because I’m assuming there’s other people out there like me who remain loyal to a dying friend, who feel obligated to ride this out to the end. Loyalty is a son of a bitch like that. It clouds your judgement with sentimentality.

That sense of loyalty will ultimately be what makes me watch these last few episodes of The Office. It’s not something I’m totally happy about or even totally cool with. But I’ll do it. I will.

Just as long as Parks and Recreation is on before it.

Photos: NBC


Categories: Office Watch, Television

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