The Office: Dos and Don'ts for the Final Season

By Nick Campbell

Sep 19, 2012

Remember the days when you couldn't throw a beet without hitting someone who was 'shipping so hard for Jim and Pam, they actually hated Rashida Jones? Or who proudly displayed a Dundie on the mantle? Or who (un)ironically punctuated every sentence with "That's what she said?" Actually, that last one you might still be doing. She says so much crazy stuff!

America had The Office-mania. I mean, we didn't trust the show's cast to guide us through a popular operating system or anything but, darn it, we came close. You couldn't enter the vicinity of a Target dollar bin without seeing Dwight Schrute mugging from a stack of cocktail napkins. Though the fervor may have cooled some (those napkins are still sitting on a shelf at the Dollar Tree if you're still into that), it's sad to see The Office move into its final season knowing we'll have to say goodbye to (most of) these characters we've been hanging out with for nearly a decade. Make no mistake: It's time (and it might have been time last season), but it's still a little sad.

Although I can say Season 8 was better than the three or four before it, I have some advice for show in Season 9. It's not that I don't trust The Office. But I don't trust The Office. Allow me to offer a few suggestions that should help its producers and writers close down such a classic series with class.

DON'T explore every permutation of intraoffice coupling.

Just because it's the last season, doesn't mean we need to see everyone trying to mount everyone else before the end. This isn't an animal documentary on husbandry. This isn't Friends (seriously, how close did we get to Ross and Monica at least considering it?). We don't need to see what it might be like if Angela fell for Gabe or Kelly got down with... Gabe? I guess we've already explored a lot the permutations, so let's leave what's left to the slash-fic writers. I mean, there are already built-in arcs to tie up: Andy and Erin, Dwight and Angela, Darryl and Val. We don't need an increase the office incest. Stick to how the show established itself, men and women breaking through obstacles to find the loves of their lives. Speaking of which...

DO let us fall in love with Jim and Pam again.

You may or may not agree but, just like when your IRL friends get married, the Jam marriage made these two once-crazy kids bland. Seeing the couple become parents may have interested us a little, but the ultimate consummation of their soulmate nature stole a piece of the show. Obviously, no one would have survived 'shipping them for nine seasons, but maybe it's time to shake things up in the Halpert house. An affair, real or imagined? We need a test that will bring these two to the brink and remind us of why they (and we) fell in love in the first place.

DON'T make me watch more scenes in a maternity ward.

The people at the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin spend entirely too much time in the hospital and the only time it was halfway enjoyable was when Michael hit Meredith with his car. Besides, we don't need any more babies. No surrogates, no adoptions. Babies are not an option. Think harder.

DO make a wedding interesting if you insist on having one.

Andy and Erin getting married in the final act of the series is not interesting. Same goes for any potential marriages between any of the other cast members (Ryan and Kelly, maybe? Would that be weird?). I understand the temptation: Shakespeare comedies end in a wedding. But Shakespeare comedies don't last nine years. The only one that would maybe be worthwhile would be Jim and Pam renewing their vows after a hardship. Otherwise, keep these kids out of a church. I'll let you slide with a Michael/Holly wedding, but you're pushing it.

DON'T make Todd Packer your Janice.

The problem with Janice on Friends was that she lost her appeal as an antagonist by the time we realized Chandler and Monica were pretty much together forever. Annoying, for sure, but tired as a joke. Todd Packer is most effective when Michael Scott is around and, since Michael left, Packer has been used sparingly (I loved him in the Tallahassee arc from Season 8). Let's keep it that way. Small doses.

DO bring people back with style.

That being said about Packer, I want to see people return in a way that doesn't seem forced. Asking people to come back for a big event (a wedding, a funeral, a reunion, etc) seems as cheap as a clip show to me. Scrubs laid it on thick by having JD literally walk down a hallway filled with guest stars and then showing an epilogue soundtracked with Peter Gabriel. Bill Lawerence, you bastard. I'd rather see characters come back and shake things up for the Scranton Branch, not just show up for a quip and drop out. Don't get lazy.

DON'T show me who is making the documentary.

I know it's been announced that we'll meet the crew this season but I'm saying this anyway, just in case it's not too late. I don't care if the mastermind is Werner Herzog. I don't want to see it. Do not walk into temptation!

DO make the result of the documentary available.

After nine years of footage, I hope it's, like, seven minutes long. And only a minute of it actually has to do with a paper company. It's a commercial for the Scranton Board of Tourism. Yessssssss.

What about you? What do you want to see in the final season of The Office?

  • Comments (27)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • Fallon21 Sep 21, 2012

    DO show a follow-up with Michael Scott and his wife and their baby.

  • smorbie Sep 20, 2012

    I would like to see Angela and Dwight together.

  • Lostindharma Sep 20, 2012

    Do get rid of Nellie and pretend that she never existed.

  • mrjimmyjames Sep 21, 2012


  • dref22 Sep 20, 2012

    Do show me Jack Coleman. He's a fanboy and he says he'll be back, but will he really?

  • bicelis Sep 20, 2012

    Hey, don't dis the Scrubs finale. Yeah, it might have been a bit corny, but it was perfect. The only drawback is that they made season 9...

  • FoxZerro Sep 20, 2012

    Hey don't dis Scrubs Med School had it been a completely new spin off show like the creator wanted it probably would have been received better.

  • mrjimmyjames Sep 22, 2012

    FoxZerro, it was made into a completely new spinoff show like the creator wanted and it didn't quite make the cut but he gave it a good try. It was exactly what he wanted. The network never prevented him from making it that way. The only thing the network prevented was officially calling it ScrubsMed. It was Scrubs season 9 in name only. But it was really ScrubsMed (Med School) season 1.

  • mrjimmyjames Sep 21, 2012

    The thing with Scrubs Med School is that it really wasn't Scrubs. The producer himself (Lawrence) told the audience before to consider it a completely new spinoff and not the actual (original) show. Just because the studio thought it would be better to advertise it as the original Scrubs instead doesn't mean it actually was. So that wasn't Scrubs falling apart in its last season but in fact an ill conceived separate show. The last episode of Scrubs was actually "My Finale", which allowed the show to be great from beginning to end. Which was a perfect way to end it. The scene with all the cameos at the end was terrific. I don't see how anyone could hate on it.

  • NicholasCampb Sep 21, 2012

    "My Finale" was a good ending for Scrubs. The scenes at the end make sense as we're inside JD's head where sappy and saccharine live. It's a clinic in audience manipulation but my only beef with Bill Lawrence is that I shed a robot tear or two. That was the right way to end Scrubs. I'd like to see The Office bring back characters I love for more than a quip or a punchline, though. I want Roy or Karen have a day and not just a reaction. What about Jan?

  • Lefin Sep 20, 2012

    There's a good amount of plot threads and character arcs to wrap up in this final season and thus, a lot that could go wrong. This article has some smart and savvy suggestions concerning potential pitfalls to avoid.

    I think that it would be a grave error to show the documentary crew. From my perspective, the documentary thing has little to do with the actual story, instead being an aesthetic construct designed to explain to the viewer why the show has the visual and aural style that it does. The laugh track was a real institution in the American sitcom at the time (it still stubbornly persists today), so it would have made sense if they had wanted an in-series reason for the lack of a studio audience.

    That being said, the idea of the series ending with a 7-10 minute "documentary" made out of series footage is great.

  • coutterhill Sep 20, 2012

    DO show me who is doing the documentary!

  • LeePierce Sep 20, 2012

    There's an episode in the beginning of the season entitled "Roy's Wedding" where they bring back Roy, and Jim and Pam search their lives for buried secrets. Looks like someone has the "iTV show" app...

  • pabloibarra_316 Sep 20, 2012

    I just want to see Michael Scott again...

  • rishabhpb Sep 20, 2012

    Nine-minute documentary, not seven. One for each season.

  • See More Comments (9)