Cue a slow clap.
Yup. A slow clap. A slow clap is what The Office deserves after last night’s episode, “A.A.R.M.” The episode, the last episode before next week’s finale, was essentially the show’s finale. Next week’s episode is set six months after the events of “A.A.R.M.” and as a result, will most likely serve as more of retrospective. “A.A.R.M.” was the kind of ending The Office and it’s fans were hoping for.*
* Not counting “Goodbye Michael” in season seven.
The episode worked because it brought The Office back to the things that had worked so well over the years- the relationships of Jim and Pam and Dwight and Jim, and to a lesser extent, Dwight and Angela. Unfortunately it didn’t bat .1000 because it suffered from an Andy storyline that severely lacked in pay off, which is kind of an apropos microcosm of Andy’s role on the show in recent years, specifically since Michael left. But I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to waste time thinking about the negative when the positive was just so effin’ positive.
Genuine belly laughs and real emotion has been M.I.A. this season. But last night both were in full force. The evolved relationship of Jim and Dwight was amazing and made the scenes between the two that much better.
When Dwight was named manager last week, I wondered how they could make that work, seeing as how it really didn’t the first time around. Yet it worked because of how well Jim threw himself into the role of Assistant to the Regional Manager. The scenes involving nonsense? Amazing. Jim rigging the challenge to become his assistant so Dwight would naturally name himself? Double amazing. The chemistry between those two had been missing recently, so it was refreshing to see it come back with such force this late in the game. And it just wasn’t when things were funny. The scene between them when discussing Dwight’s feelings for Angela were great.
And they were twofor great. Bonus.
It was a twofor because it was split between Dwight and Jim in Dwight’s office (which featured some amazing artwork by the way) and Pam watching the Jim/Pam Highlight Reel the documentary crew put together. Now I’ll be honest, I’ve been battling some fierce allergies lately and a part of it has been watery eyes, but it wasn’t just the allergies that had my eyes watering as Pam watched the Highlight Reel. It was effin’ emotional as shit! Come on! And it was recall emotional. It brought me back and had me remembering just how sweet the two of them were before they got married. All the will they/won’t they, does she/doesn’t she was part of what drove the show in it’s first few seasons. I thought it was a great way to remind the audience why we fell in love with Jim and Pam in the first place.
It really deserves another slow clap.
What do we really want from a show in a position like The Office when it ends? That’s what I’ve been wondering for the past couple weeks now. So many shows fail to stick the landing when their run is up and part of that is because our expectations are so high, so out of wack. We essentially want every single part of the show we’ve loved during it’s run to somehow be represented in the finale. It’s impossible. We know it’s impossible, but we want it anyway. It’s one of the most reliable lose/lose scenarios out there.
What The Office gave us last night was their best attempt at giving us what we want. Did it really make sense for everyone in the office to want to dance with Daryl? Not really. But it was fun as hell and gave all the role players a good moment to shine. It was fan service. And we all kind of wanted Dwight and Angela to get back together and it happened. Even more fan service. They even included some serious fan service pay off with Jim giving Pam the letter he didn’t have the courage to give her back in the season two episode “Christmas Party.”
I have no idea what to expect from next week’s finale, but I honestly don’t really care. Last night’s episode made me excited for it and excited to watch it- something I had doubts about only a few weeks ago.
And that’s all that matters.