Art, Movies, Lit, Theater

‘The Office’: The End Of An American Workplace

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The OfficeBy Dane La Born

It’s the end of an era for American television, as “The Office” closed its doors a few weeks ago after serving all our paper needs for the last nine years. A show that has since set an occasionally nauseating standard for sitcoms across the board, sometimes adopting the documentary-style of filming, such as “Modern Family” or “Parks & Recreation”; “The Office’s” camera work can also be seen in other shows such as “30 Rock,” solidifying its influence on filmmaking.

Despite some early missteps, such as the pilot episode being a carbon copy of the BBC version’s first episode, “The Office” found its stride quickly. I’ve always liked to think this was wishful thinking, more than anything else. I, for one, would love to work under someone like Michael Scott, all of his tactless comments steadfastly intact, because obviously, as long as you aren’t a person who is easily offended, that job would be amazing to have. If you are easily offended, then have fun telling Toby about it.

It wasn’t just Michael Scott, and the unbelievable performance given by Steve Carell, that attracted the masses to go to The Office and continue to come back, week after week, year after year, every worker there was easy to relate to, but there hasn’t been a couple that has captured everyone in quite such a “Sam & Diane” fashion as Jim and Pam. The “will-they-won’t-they” of their relationship for the first couple of seasons was … well, it was actually endlessly aggravating, but not so much so that you hated them. It was more of a “scream at the tv for them to realize what we all had by the end of the pilot” kind of situation.

After three years of the tense back and forth, they finally began dating, and are now married with two children. Despite some rocky times at the beginning of this season, it now seems like they will get their happily ever after. It was that feeling, though, that made them so good as a couple. Not having to stop at the beginning of happily ever after, and seeing the two of them go through the ups and downs of their marriage was a treat, and made for some of the most touching moments on the show itself. Seriously, youtube Jim & Pam’s wedding, it’s a lovely scene.

It’s been hard to get this far in the article without mentioning Dwight K. Schrute, or his beet farm, and there is a reason for that. Dwight is the standout character of “The Office,” beating even Michael Scott in sheer awesomeness and one liners.

“Have you ever tried to use a chain with three weak links? I have. And now I no longer own an Arctic Wolf”

The Dwight/Jim relationship is one of the most fascinating friendships I’ve ever seen. An entire paper could easily be written on the psychological proponent of the relationship, which I plan on touching on momentarily. Really though, it was the pranks. Some of the most original pranks I have ever seen were played by Jim on Dwight, things that would actually require quite a bit of thought and time to do, which speaks volumes on Jim’s own psyche. These include, but are in no way limited to; stacking three desks atop one another, replacing Jim with “Asian Jim”, the astoundingly hilarious Murder Mystery prank in Florida, sending Dwight a metal detector labeled “Gaydar”, and my personal favorite, sending Dwight messages from himself, in the future.

Not to be outdone, Dwight has had his revenge a few times, usually in a more extreme way. One snowball, launched by Jim at Dwight for comments on the snow being nothing more than a dusting, led to Dwight exploding out of a snowman and pelting Jim with snowballs until he was bleeding, sending him a small gift-wrapped catapulted snowball, culminating in Jim walking out to dozens of snowmen surrounding him, cowering in fear and anticipation as Dwight looks on from the roof, the psychological damage having been done.

This relationship came before Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag popularized the term “frenemies”, but has perhaps never been captured with as much brilliance as it is here. Jim is Dwight’s best friend, and they have both started to realize how much they really mean to each other, Jim having recently recommended Dwight for the regional manager job, and Dwight in turn asking Jim to be his second in command.

There are too many people to touch on in one small article, from Stanley’s daily crossword to Meredith’s sheer insanity, Erin’s bubbly charm to Kevin’s total lack of, “The Office” has served us with nine years of hilarity, and plenty of memorable characters. With the show coming to an end, and Dwight’s spin-off, “The Farm” not finding any footing, this coming Thursday marks the end for Dunder-Mifflin and it’s dysfunctional family. So yea, I guess that’s it. I’m done … that’s what she said. Zing!

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