ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Worst Episodes: When Did "The Office" Get Bad?

Updated on June 27, 2020
NateB11 profile image

I am interested in all things Entertainment, including style, movies, celebrities and TV, action, comedies and sci-fi and even video games.

Steve Carrell played the boss at Dunder Miffling in The Office.
Steve Carrell played the boss at Dunder Miffling in The Office. | Source

The show is iconic. Certainly the characters are. Dwight Schrute has spurred thousands if not millions of memes across the Web, with his choppy hair-cut with the short bangs and know-it-all attitude and need to impose regimentation on everyone and everything. Jim and Pam had the most believable romance ever depicted and Michael Scott became the poster child for clueless lovable insecure bosses that everyone has had or will have or has miraculously avoided.

What could go wrong? Well, it did eventually, but it took awhile. Let's journey through Heaven and Hell and find out how the miracle show went down the tubes, but also miraculously redeemed itself in the end.

Jenna Fischer played Pam Beesly, love interest of Jim Halpert and one of the original characters of the series The Office.
Jenna Fischer played Pam Beesly, love interest of Jim Halpert and one of the original characters of the series The Office. | Source

The Office was an amazing show, let me just start with that. The cool camera work inherited from UK version originator Ricky Gervais, the innovative cringe comedy expertly performed in each episode, the acting, the original ensemble, the romance, the whole bit. Nothing quite like the show and it spurred many copies. The show was great, I still love it and I even liked it when it started going sour. But like a lot of long running series, there was that shark jumping point when it became obvious that they needed to wrapped things up a long time ago.

So, The Office was still good through season 7, though it started to show signs of wear. The unfortunate introduction of Andy Bernard and Erin really made the show go off on unnecessary tangents and uninteresting story-lines. I'm glad they kept the series alive to finish Michael Scott's arc and see him happy and finally living the life he always wanted, but the addition of superfluous story-lines and characters was a bit much to handle.

But what happened was, the characters that needed to have their story arcs completed, had already completed them. Pam and Jim finally got together. Their story was one of the most captivating stories I'd ever watched on TV. Anyone can relate to the pain and longing of wanting to be with someone and not being able to and finally being able to; the tension and relief created by that story was extraordinary. Once that story was complete, though, and then Michael got together with Holly, and then Michael left and Pam and Jim kept moving around in job positions (Jim was off to Philly part of the time to pursue other business and Pam became a salesperson and her position as receptionist had to be filled), it seems the show started to flounder. Well, show-runners evidently felt they needed new story-lines but unfortunately recycled the old ones and tried to superimpose them onto new and uninteresting characters.

This was the case with Andy and Erin: Two mostly unlike-able characters that were supposed to be in love but had no on-screen chemistry. Writers tried to re-create the tension of the Jim and Pam romance but the lack of chemistry between Andy and Erin and the weak story plots with the two characters left me yawning. I mean, it was unintentionally cringe-worthy. I'll say right here, the only things that redeemed the show after season 7 was the completion of Dwight and Angela's arc, beautifully performed by Rainn Wilson and Angela Kinsey, and Michael's return to attend Dwight's wedding. It was beautiful.

And then you had these weird extraneous characters like Robert California, played by James Spader, and Jo Bennett, played by Kathy Bates; granted great actors and characters who were well-portrayed with a certain importance to the story, still so far removed from the original feeling of the series that they just became abrupt and disruptive additions to the story-line. And, worst of all, the introduction of Catherine Tate as, at first, the new boss and then as another staff at the company, she was a discount copy of Robert California that did nothing for the show.

When Will Ferrell came in to do some episodes in season 7, I almost got my hopes up, but it was just a hilarious short-lived visit that left me wanting more.

And then there were the episodes that amounted to nothing but, seemingly, the writers waving their arms wildly trying not to fall off the rolling log on the river. Some kind of weird television death knell similar to jumping the shark but less interesting.

One of these episodes was the field trip that "boss" Andy Bernard decided to have employees go on, to Gettysburg, to boost morale. Again, this is where the writers evidently thought it would help to superimpose successful past characters onto new unsuccessful characters; it seems they were trying to make Andy the new Michael, except that Michael was funny and like-able and cringing created by him also created intense belly laughs. He also would take the gang out on field trips to boost morale, but when Michael did it, interesting things happened and it was funny. Like when Pam walked across fire and, more or less, told Jim she loved him. Here, again, Jim and Pam was a relate-able, believe-able romance that you wanted to have happen. You were rooting for them. The Gettysburg trip had you trying to believe that Jim liked Andy which was again, not believe-able. The whole episode made me cringe, in a bad way.

Same thing with the episode in which the staff all go to a party at Robert California's house. Yes, we get it, California is weird, full stop. And then they continue the unbelievable plot of Erin wanting to be with Andy. Boring.

Just half-hearted attempts at jumping the shark.

So my feeling is they should have kept the story-lines mostly centered on the original characters. These are:

  • Michael Scott
  • Pam and Jim
  • Dwight and Angela

And the other remaining ones of course should have remained fairly prominent and important and offer necessary support. These are:

  • Kevin
  • Creed
  • Jan
  • Stanley
  • Ryan
  • Kelly
  • Phyllis
  • David
  • Oscar
  • Toby

Holly, of course, was necessary for Michael's story arc.

These are the mostly unnecessary characters:

  • Erin and Andy
  • Robert California
  • Jo Bennett
  • Nellie

I might be hasty putting Robert California and Jo Bennett on there, but they're close to being the extra baggage that Nellie, Erin and Andy were.

In short, I think it was very possible for them to wrap things up in the 7th season, Michael finally gets the girl and rides off into the sunset and Dwight and Angela possibly could have completed their arc too. Because after season 7, there seemed to be mostly uninteresting and superfluous story-lines and recycled ideas meant to fill time and substitute for a dying inspiration that the show originally rode on in its first several seasons.

Catherine Tate played Nellie in later seasons of The Office.
Catherine Tate played Nellie in later seasons of The Office. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)