The Office: A Belated Review

Two of the intregal players in The Office

Andy Buckley, (left), as David Wallace, Michael Scott's Steve Carell's, (right), boss
Andy Buckley, (left), as David Wallace, Michael Scott's Steve Carell's, (right), boss

The Office last cast, 2013

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RAINN WILSON, Dwight SchruteB.J. NOVAK, Ryan HowardPAUL LIEBERSTEIN, Toby FlendersonBRIAN BAUMBARTNER, Kevin MaloneCRAIG ROBINSON, Darryl PhilbinCREED BRATTON, Creed BrattonED HELMS, Andy BerndardKATE FLANNERY, Meredith PalmerLESLIE DAVID BAKER, Stanley HudsonOSCAR MARTINEZ, Oscar NunezMELORA HARDIN, JanANGELA KINSEY, Angela MartinELLIE KEMPER Erin HannonJENNA FISCHER, Pam Beesly- HalpertJOHN KRASINSKI, Jim HalpertMINDY KALING, Kelly KapoorPHYLLIS SMITH, Phyllis Lapin- VanceSTEVE CARELL, Michael Scott
RAINN WILSON, Dwight Schrute
RAINN WILSON, Dwight Schrute
B.J. NOVAK, Ryan Howard
B.J. NOVAK, Ryan Howard
PAUL LIEBERSTEIN, Toby Flenderson
PAUL LIEBERSTEIN, Toby Flenderson
BRIAN BAUMBARTNER, Kevin Malone
BRIAN BAUMBARTNER, Kevin Malone
CRAIG ROBINSON, Darryl Philbin
CRAIG ROBINSON, Darryl Philbin
CREED BRATTON, Creed Bratton
CREED BRATTON, Creed Bratton
ED HELMS, Andy Berndard
ED HELMS, Andy Berndard
KATE FLANNERY, Meredith Palmer
KATE FLANNERY, Meredith Palmer
LESLIE DAVID BAKER, Stanley Hudson
LESLIE DAVID BAKER, Stanley Hudson
OSCAR MARTINEZ, Oscar Nunez
OSCAR MARTINEZ, Oscar Nunez
MELORA HARDIN, Jan
MELORA HARDIN, Jan
ANGELA KINSEY, Angela Martin
ANGELA KINSEY, Angela Martin
ELLIE KEMPER Erin Hannon
ELLIE KEMPER Erin Hannon
JENNA FISCHER, Pam Beesly- Halpert
JENNA FISCHER, Pam Beesly- Halpert
JOHN KRASINSKI, Jim Halpert
JOHN KRASINSKI, Jim Halpert
MINDY KALING, Kelly Kapoor
MINDY KALING, Kelly Kapoor
PHYLLIS SMITH, Phyllis Lapin- Vance
PHYLLIS SMITH, Phyllis Lapin- Vance
STEVE CARELL, Michael Scott
STEVE CARELL, Michael Scott

NBC's The Office ran from March 24, 2005 until May 16, 2013. Nine seasons. Not too shabby for a sitcom in the fast-paced, swiftly-produced, television comedy business in 2013. Not too shabby, indeed.

As a latecomer-viewer, halfway fan of The Office, I am rendering my personal review of a show that I never completely understood. At least from a comedy standpoint. I write that off to my age and the inability to get past "real" sitcoms that are "really" funny. Plus these "real" comedy shows have the secret ability to make me laugh.

I cannot truthfully say that about The Office. Although the show had a cult-following of most late-twenty-something's, slackers in offices, and single men and women who actually bought into the concept that The Office" could, at least, be partly-believable, and how these single men and women out for a buck, could survive the office world which some survivors (who are now selling their paintings or produce) on the sidewalk of some big city, say is so "cut-throat," leaving two inches of blood on their office floors, symbolic-proof that "only the strong and smart," survive the offices of 2013.

It wasn't this bad when I finished m career in a newspaper office in 2003, but I saw signs of things to come. Things that make a devout Christian person's stomach tie in knots when it's time to get up on Monday and head out to work.

But with the sitcom, The Office, there wasn't really any physical bloodshed. At least not on screen. I imagine that the real bloodshed came in writer's meetings each week and deciding on how to make John "Jim Halpert" Krasinski look even more laid-back, smug, more know-it-all and never reprimanded for his childish, and time-wasting pranks his character pulled on Rainn "Dwight Schrute" Wilson.

To me, this was the dead, over-worked, over-done area of The Office. Each week a new prank. Each show, either new episode, or all of the reruns that I've endured, there it is. That same dumb look on Jim's face staring dead-pain into the single camera that followed the show from inside an office set each week.

Krasinski looked into the camera so many times in each show, why didn't NBC jump on the gameboard idea and create a game for the family in their late twenties with no children, just an ambitious, laid-back spirit and name it: "How Much Can I Get By With At Work And Still Get Paid?" A blockbuster that would have rivaled that of the Parker Brothers' Monopoly.

Actually it was that predictable, Krasinski looking smug or somewhat cool, but still a know-it-all in every show, almost every scene, and my question was: Did The Office writers and producers "really" have to have John Krasinski's big face looking at us each week to keep their ratings in a survival mode?

You can be the judge.

I do give the show's producers (sometimes it was Steve Carell, Ed Helms, B.J. Novak, or even John Krasinski), some amount of credit for not only having one central theme of their show each week, but several small themes slightly-hidden in each week's show and fans grew to see how they all were woven together at show's end.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE OFFICE

  • Steve Carell's character, Michael Scott's ability to not know or see when things were really getting serious and putting his job in jeopardy. Carell's spot on the show actually drove home the adage, "Ignorance is bliss," and to a point, I am like that too. If I have something wrong with me, but I don't know it, I am happy. If I have something wrong with me and I know it, I worry. Case closed.
  • Stanley Hudson's "in your face" bravery as a man and as a paper salesman.
  • Creed Bratton's slick and craft way of staying employed at Dunder-Mifflin paper company.
  • Andy Berndard's in-touch with today's social rules and styles.
  • Ryan Howard's smooth approach to office work: show up, act like you are working and get a check. Honestly, this is being done a lot in America today.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THE OFFICE

  • Jim Halpert's wasting time standing at Pam then-Beesly's desk "acting" like he was getting information on a new client, but only making time with his future wife. Isn't inner-office romances still frowned-upon today in 2013 in some workplaces?
  • Jim Halpert's character doing anything on this show. (This might seem unfair and childish, but The Office could have survived well without John Krasinski).
  • Angela Martin's self-righteous tone she took with many of The Office characters.
  • Jim Halpert always having a script written so his character could make fun of Dwight. (Like I said. This was much over-done and does the term, "ad nauseum" come to mind?
  • Jan, Michael Scott's hot corporate girlfriend, being ashamed of him in public. What was wrong with Michael Scott apart from his verbal-bumbling, racial puns and being oblivious to reality at times? Nothing. Most office managers are like this in real life, but do a great job of keeping it hidden from the office workers.

PARTING QUESTIONS I HAVE ABOUT THE OFFICE

  • Was it me, or was each episode of The Office written just so John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer could hide themselves (in character) and let the other unimportant themes of each show be their "umbrella of safety"?
  • Why wasn't Michael Scott ever promoted by the writers? Maybe he could have been successful at a higher level and one day, he gets severely-depressed and the writers give him a "welcome back, Michael" party to irritate Jim Halpert.
  • Why did Jim Halpert, or Judas, go to David Wallace, the big boss, and complain slightly about Michael and this "raise" he was supposed to get, and then wham, bam, smug Jim is now a co-manager trying to really take over the office. Did you not see this?
  • Why was Dwight Schrute always written as a fool? Wilson's character, if he wasn't told, was the office "scape goat," and court jester. What a waste of good talent.

Am I sad that I didn't get to see The Office finale? No.

Did I want to see the finale of The Office? Yes, but when my wife opted for her show, I was secretly glad that she had made that move.

Even one farewell from John "Jim Halpert" Krasinski would have been way too many.

This is why I will never be a customer of the automobile insurance company he is now the spokesman for and I will not insult HubPages by naming it here in this piece.

So long, most, (but not Krasinski), of The Office.

(see my personal rating for the show below.) Now for a cool drink.

3 stars for NBC's The Office

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Comments 10 comments

writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

Hi, Kenny! I think this was an okay show. The only time I actually saw this was the last week of high school before I graduated in 2008. It was funny, don't get me wrong, but it's something that I wouldn't watch on a weekly basis. Wonder Woman says hello!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. What made this show funny, to me, was the people at my job really acted like this.


lupine profile image

lupine 3 years ago from Southern California (USA)

Hello Kenneth, good review. I tried to watch this show a couple of times, it was boring, not funny, irritating and wondered why I even watched it at all. That was enough for me. I know some who watch it regularly, don't know what they see in.


Mr. Thinktank profile image

Mr. Thinktank 3 years ago from California

Honestly, I would have to disagree with you on your review. I know some people don't "get it", but The Office was more than just a love story between Jim and Pam, with some Michael Scott thrown in between. Making it out to be so simple like that, I think, truly does disservice to everyone who made that show possible. One of the main reasons that the show is so possible lies I believe, in what Mhatter99 said above, the show was funny because "people at my job really acted like this".

The Office is a satirical social commentary based on the world of corporate America, and the typical 9-5 job. People who have been in this world for a long time usually understand it better then young people and people who have been out of the corporate world for awhile. However, people immersed in it on a daily basis not only think it's funny, but they understand all of the plot points and pranks that comes with working a boring typical "American White Collar" job like the one portrayed in The Office.

Now to be fair to you and a lot of other people who try to watch The Office for the first time, for some reason it doesn't seem funny. The jokes fall flat, everything seems awkward, and the way it's shot is somewhat disorienting. I challenge you though, to wait a few months and then re-watch some of the first episodes and see if it changes your opinion. You might be surprised at how differently you view it. If it still doesn't change your mind then all I can say, is that humans laugh at different things. Comedy is not universal, but laughter is.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear writinglover,

Thank you for your sweet comments. I agree with you too. I always hoped that "Jim" would get his for always being the "writers, darling," after all, wasn't Jesus the only perfect person who ever lined?


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Mhatter!

I know what you mean. The personnel at my newspaper job would have did a better job on this show.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Well hi there, lupine,

I've missed you. Thanks for helping me feel good about this hub. I won't forget it.

Love you lots.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Mr. Think Tank,

Love your name and judging by your comment, you surely thought of everything about The Office.

No sweat about your disagreeing. That's cool, man. It may be that why I disliked Jim and Pam is I know people like them in real life--sneaking, self-serving and letting fools like me take up the slack, as it were where I worked.

And maybe I'm too old school to cultivate a taste for Jim Halpert, the character, and Krasinski, the actor, for in his interviews with David Letterman, there's not that much difference in either.


lupine profile image

lupine 3 years ago from Southern California (USA)

Hello Kenneth,

I always like reading your hubs and hearing from you. Somebody had to say something about "The Office"...you tell it like it is! Voted up/awesome!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, My Dear Lupine,

Thank you, dear lupine, for saying this to me about The Office. Frankly, I had to do it. And I stand by my views. Plus, Dwight and Ryan were my favorites.

Like you.

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