Tag Archives: The Office

The Office Finale: Bidding Adieu to One of My Favorite Sitcoms

17 May

So last night The Office aired its final episode.

To be completely honest, the last couple seasons of The Office haven’t been my favorite. To me they were sort of lacking in everything that the earlier seasons excelled in: the humor, the relationships, the plot lines (but mainly the humor, and the fact that Andy got a million times more annoying the second he took on the job of Manager). Because of this, I didn’t think the finale was going to effect me all that much, despite the fact that I loved the three or four episodes leading up to it (and even teared up at the end of each of them). I figured I’d shed a tear or two, be a bit nostalgic, and move on.

But Christ, that finale. It just… I mean, it had everything I wanted to see happen. They hit all the right notes; all the right stops. The episode as a whole was beautiful – the coming together of old friends to celebrate and say farewell – and everyone got their ending. Everyone was where they wanted/needed to be. It was wonderful to see happen to characters who have been with me for so long that I might as well consider them friends. Not to mention the humor was first-rate, and it felt just like the good ol’ days at Scranton once more. Honestly, there was no other way they could have ended it.

I was emotional throughout the entire experience (especially when one Mr. Michael Scott showed up), but I really lost it at the end when the characters were speaking for their last time to the camera and they started showing flashbacks of earlier seasons. It all seems so long ago; not just for the characters on the show, but for me as well. I was a sophomore in high school when I first started watching The Office on a regular basis. I had tuned in the year before, back when I was a freshman, a few times, but I think the awkward-cringe-humor was a bit much for me at first. However, I remember EXACTLY where I was the moment this show finally hooked me and the episode that did it (ie. I was on a cruise ship, it was about one in the morning, Rachael Lowary was asleep three feet away from me, and I was watching “Casino Night” on my iPod). After that, I rewatched the entirety of seasons one and two, and then watched the show devotedly for the rest of its run – even when the episodes took a dip in their later years. I was obsessed with it when I was in high school; it was the quintessential comedy in my life. Hell, I even have fan fiction that I wrote about it back in the day (which is by far the most embarrassing fan fiction I have ever written and I will never speak of the premise ever because of how embarrassed I am about it and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands to ever read it – only Connie Limbrick knows why, and I’ll kill her before she ever gets around to telling anyone about it).

I watched the finale at work last night – thankful that no one came into my own office, as I was heaving with sobs by the end of the episode – and as I walked home after I clocked out I cried the whole way. I couldn’t figure out why the ending of this show was taking such a big toll on my emotions. I didn’t cry this much when 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, or any other show I’ve ever watched ended. The only show I could think to equate my emotions to were what I went going through with LOST‘s end (except LOST was a million times worse and I literally couldn’t get out of bed the morning after its finale because I was so sad it was over). However, I began to think about it, and I realized that my experience with LOST was a lot like my time with The Office. Both shows started back when I was a freshman in high school (2004/2005) and stayed with me until I was in college. Unlike LOST, which ended three years ago, The Office stayed with me until now. That means it lasted from March 2005 (freshman year of high school) until May 2013 (senior year of college). I think a part of me is projecting a lot of my sadness/anxiety about school coming to a close on the Office’s series finale. The Office has been with me for so long, and it’s what I’ve come to know and expect from my Thursday nights – kind of like school (except with, y’know, life in general, not just Thursday nights). And I journeyed with all these Dunder Mifflin characters every step of the way, and now their time at Dunder Mifflin is ending at the exact same time my journey with school is ending. It’s hard not to equate life with television right now, especially when no other television show has been with me for as long as The Office.

As scared as I am about leaving college and entering the real world, I found so much of what the characters were saying at the show’s end encouraging. Plus the fact that many of them were moving on to do bigger and better things… well, I just found it comforting. I could relate to what a lot of the characters said about coming to terms with endings (“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them…”), but there was one quote that truly stuck out to me. One quote that I truly found encouraging as I make my dreaded approach to graduation:

“I didn’t watch the whole documentary. After a few episodes, it was too painful. I kept wanting to scream at Pam! It took me so long to do so many important things, it’s just hard to accept I spent so many years being less happy than I could have been. Jim was five feet away from my desk and it took me four years to get to him. It’d be great if people saw this documentary and learned from my mistakes. Not that I’m a tragic person, I’m really happy now, but it would just make my heart soar if someone out there saw this and she said to herself, ‘Be strong, trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears, just go after what you want and act fast because life just isn’t that long.’

So thank you, Dunder Mifflin. Thanks for the laughter, the tears, the memories, that time the bat got stuck in your office, and the journey.

I’m gonna miss you.

15 Favorite Episodes of 15 Favorite Television Shows

8 Jul

When watching Breaking Bad yesterday (I’m halfway through season 3), I came across my favorite episode of the series thus far. This got me thinking about my favorite episodes of all my favorite television shows, so I came up with this list. I’ve seen these fifteen shows all the way through at least once (with the exception, again, for Breaking Bad) and consider them my favorite shows of all time.

Please keep in mind that these are all my personal opinions, and that opinions are subjective. So while my favorite episode may not be yours, that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong.

Here we go.

Arrested Development: Hand to God

Truthfully? I don’t have a favorite Arrested Development episode. Every episode is just as hilarious as the rest. That being said, I chose the episode ‘Hand to God’ merely based on the fact that it contains my favorite moment of the entire series.

Runners up: ALL OF THEM.

Breaking Bad: One Minute

Let me start off by saying: I am no fan of Hank Schrader. Throughout the course of the series I continue to find him to be the ultimate douchebag (his PTSD subplot is fascinating, but his general personality makes him a DB thus far). That being said, this episode provides (again, thus far) the most heartbreaking moment of the series in which Hank shares an elevator ride with his wife, Marie. What’s more, this episode proceeds to deal out intense moment after intense moment. It has a major character revealing cold open right before jumping straight into an intense fight, followed by an equally shocking, perfectly over the top speech given by Jesse (which won Aaron Paul the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor that year). The episode keeps its stakes high throughout, keeping every single character on edge in what they are doing, until it finally peaks at the very end in the most epically intense closing five minutes of any episode in this show. I won’t go spoiling it for anyone, but it involved me clutching my face and murmuring, “Just drive, you bastard. Drive away now!” Breaking Bad knows how to play to its audience with their shock and awe methods, and they rarely let you down with their ability to play up the tension.

Runners up: Peekaboo, Grilled, 4 Days Out

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Body

There’s basically next to nothing I can say about this episode that wouldn’t cause spoilers, so I’m gonna keep it short and simple. Here’s the DL: the use of zero music will give you chills, the absolute raw emotion will cause reality to sucker punch you in the gut, and in the course of a single episode not only does Anya deliver one of the most heart rendering speeches of the series, Buffy speaks the most heartbreaking line of the entire series as well. As someone who has gone through exactly what Buffy does in this episode, it tears at me just thinking about this episode. While I’m not sure when I’ll be able to bring myself to rewatch ‘The Body’, it goes without saying that this is the episode that has stuck with me the most of the series, and it is definitely the most powerful, best written, best acted, and best produced as well.

Runners up: Storyteller, Hush, Conversations with Dead People, Becoming Part 2

Community: Remedial Chaos Theory

It’s fair to say I’m not the biggest Community fan out there. That doesn’t mean that I’m not crazy in love with it. Oh no, it just means that there are some really rabid fans for this show, and while I’ve been watching it since the beginning and adore it to my heart’s content, I’m definitely not the most rabid of the fans. However, this show is one of my favorites, and last season’s ‘Remedial Chaos Theory’ surpassed every other episode for me. When it comes to taking a film genre, a theory, or, heck, even just an idea, Community manages to go above and beyond just about every single time, and ‘Chaos Theory’ is definitely the cream of the crop. Offering six different alternate realities in the case of one of the gang going to pick up a pizza, the show displays their powers of comedy and intellect when taking several story lines and finding multiple ways to reveal them differently in each story arch.

Runners up: Critical Film Studies, A Fistful of Paintballs/For a Few More Paintballs Mores, Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking, Basic Rocket Science, Advanced Dungeons and Dragon

Doctor Who: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

I’m an odd Doctor Who fan. I prefer Eccleston over Tennant and Smith, I don’t understand everybody’s great love of the episode ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’, and I will never understand why there is so much Martha Jones hate. Even so, I am a passionate Who fan and it’s still nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite episode. After much debate and consideration, I think I’d have to go with the two part arc of ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’ in season one. It’s a chilling plot, and will change your entire perception of gas masks for the rest of your life. Not to mention the episode introduces the infamous Captain Jack Harkness and offers some wonderful Doctor/Rose moments. (Cutting it close for first was ‘Vincent and the Doctor’, which has positively the best ending to any Doctor Who episode.)

Runners up: Vincent and The Doctor, Blink, Rose, Doomsday, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways, The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, The Girl Who Waited

Firefly: Out of Gas

Oh man. This was a difficult one. I was torn between ‘Out of Gas’ and ‘War Stories’, since both episodes have such rich, compelling plot lines. In the end, I decided to go with ‘Out of Gas’, seeing as I’m probably biased on ‘War Stories’ since I can’t say no to a Wash-centric episode. ‘Out of Gas’ is a wonderful episode because the fans finally get to see how the crew came together, along with just how much Serenity means to Mal. It’s a fun episode, but also one that borders on tragic. Plus Alan Tudyk with a mustache is always a ridiculously good thing.

Runners up: Our Mrs. Reynolds, War Stories, Jaynestown, Serenity, Objects in Space

Frasier: The Ski Lodge

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Frasier is the smartest, funniest, sharpest sitcom with a laugh track that ever was. ‘The Ski Lodge’ is an episode where Niles, Daphne, Frasier, Frasier’s current boa, and a ski instructor travel up to a cabin, all under the impression they’re gonna get laid. The only problem is, they’re all mixed up about whom will be sleeping with whom. A top-notch script with impeccable humor. (Honorable mention: the episode ‘Three Valentines’ simply for Niles’ seven minute ironing fiasco, which is one of the most brilliant comedic pieces in television history.)

Runners up: Mixed Doubles, Goodnight Seattle, Something Borrowed Something Blue, The Ski Lodge, Three Valentines, The Proposal

Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming

Truthfully, I’m a much bigger fan of season one of Thrones. I hadn’t read the book series when I watched the first season, and I was so captivated that I watched all the episodes in a little over twenty-four hours. Season two was wonderful, but didn’t hold my attention quiet as well as season one did. I’m positively in love with the first episode of the entire series, ‘Winter is Coming’, because I think it does such a good job setting up the show and introducing all the characters. Plus it may very well be the only time all of the characters are somewhat remotely happy. Not to mention the ending of the episode, which is an amazing hook to draw fans in.

Runners up: A Gold Crown, The Pointy End, Baelor, Blackwater

How I Met Your Mother: Slap Bet

The major problem with How I Met Your Mother is, unless you’re completely invested in the characters and their stories, you’re not going to find it funny. Lucky for me, I’m incredibly invested in every single character and in love with all of them, even Ted (whom the internet has decided to hate, apparently). For a fan favorite, you can’t go wrong with ‘Slap Bet’, seeing as it contains two of the best jokes in HIMYM run. It’s got both the birth of Marshall and Barney’s slap bet, along with Robin’s retro “Let’s Go to the Mall” music video. (Honorable mentions go to ‘Best Burger in New York’ which I credit, to this day, for gifting me with my ultimate love of hamburgers.)

Runners up: Sweet Taste of Liberty, Showdown, Slapsgiving, Best Burger in New York, Bad News

LOST: Finale

When it comes to the LOST series finale, people either praise it or loathe it; there is no in between. Not only were people upset with questions being left unanswered, but a crazy amount of people seem to get very confused about the Finale and don’t fully understand it. It leads fans to say such idiotic things like: “I can’t believe they were dead all along.” Look. I know I said no spoilers. But no. They weren’t dead all along. You’re just dumb. The ‘Finale’, to me, is the perfect wrap up to a perfectly imperfect show. It tied up loose ends with characters in the flash sideways, it has an absolutely gorgeous monologue delivered by Christian Sheppard, and some of the most emotional moments of the entire series. The very end of the episode takes the cake though, as the character of Jack Sheppard reacts the opening moments of the series, only backwards. If you say that doesn’t bring a tear to your eyes then you’re not a true LOST fan (sorry, but I calls ’em like I sees ’em).

Runners up: Walkabout, Constant, Dr. Linus, Ab Aeterno, Pilot, Confidence Man, Greatest Hits

Mad Men: The Suitcase

You can’t get any more cliché than saying, “Oh yeah, ‘The Suitcase’ is totally my favorite Mad Men episode,” but the fact is it’s a stupendous episode. Pam and Don have the most dynamic relationship of the series, and watching them interact is always a treat. It’s the only episode of Mad Men I had to go back and rewatch because it was THAT good. Why Elisabeth Moss is Emmy-less is still a wonder.

Runners up: Shut the Door. Have a Seat, The Phantom, The Other Woman, The Beautiful Girls, Nixon vs. Kennedy, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Commissions and Fees

Modern Family: Family Portrait

Okay, I admit it, ‘Family Portrait’ is number one specifically for the pigeon scene matched with Cameron’s singing. That is the high light of this shows entire run. I mean, every episode is hilarious and perfect, but nothing beats watching a grown man try to take down a pigeon with a tennis racket.

Runners up: Virgin Territory, Dude Ranch, Fizbo, The Kiss, Halloween

The Office: Business School

I guess it should come as no surprise that all my favorite Office episodes come from the first three seasons of the series run (with the exception of ‘Michael’s Last Dundies’, ‘Goodbye Michael’, and ‘Garage Sale’, all from the seventh season. Say what you will about the more recent seasons, the show did it right when they had to write Michael off). You’ve gotta admit, The Office was in its prime back in the day, and no episode more so than ‘Business School’. We get to see Michael pull his normal antics in front of Ryan’s class, Jim trick Dwight into thinking he’s turned into a vampire, and Michael and Pam share a truly tender moment. Plus there’s something so endearingly funny about Meridith’s head and a bat being inside a plastic garbage bag together.

Runners Up: The Fire, The Injury, Casino Night, Initiation, The Dundies, Ben Franklin, Gay Witch Hunt, Garage Sale, Michael’s Last Dundies, Goodbye Michael

Parks and Recreation: The Fight

Like a fine wine, Parks and Recreation keeps getting better with age. After a shaky first season, Parks and Recreation has continued to impress its audiences more with every passing season. That being said, nothing quite tops season three’s ‘The Fight’. The montage of all the characters talking drunkenly into the camera (or just laughing, a la Jerry Gergich) is the bees knees. Plus drunk Ron Swanson dancing while wearing April’s tiny hat? Yes please.

Runners up: Camping, Pawnee Zoo, Summer Catalog, Time Capsule, Andy and April’s Fancy Party, Flu Season

30 Rock: Greenzo

To be honest, I had to type “best 30 Rock episodes” into Google in order to fulfill this one. I’ve been watching 30 Rock from the beginning, but I’ve only ever rewatched a couple of the episodes. This show is one of my favorites, but the episodes have all kind of blurred together after all this time. When I kept trying to rack my brain of all the episodes of 30 Rock I love, I kept coming back to ‘Greenzo’. It’s from season two, which is when the show really found its footing, it’s got a great guest spot for David Schwimmer, a brief Al Gore cameo, and an out of control party at Kenneth’s. It also contains two of my all time favorite lines from 30 Rock: “Mr. Jordan, I saw you steal my sink” and “If the earth’s not here, where else is Greenzo going to dance?” (My runner up episode is ‘Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter’, but that’s simply based on the fact that Liz delivers a monologue that describes my perfect guy to a tee.)

Runners up: Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter, Tracy Does Conan, Believe in the Stars, Poppa Mia, Apollo Apollo, Everything Sunny All The Time Always