Has The Office become one of the most disposable comedies on TV?

Being that this is Steve Carell's final season, I expected last night's Office premiere to really shake things up. Hell, this might even be, you know, the show's final season. Yet other than a few stray gags, the premiere was pretty much par for the show's recent course. The main characters were the most uninteresting, and the sideline characters brightened only as much as they could. Has The Office become one of the most disposable comedies on TV?

"Nepotism" opened with the news that, in the off-season, hired his nephew Luke to be the office's assistant. Luke screws up coffee orders. He fails to send packages he promises to send. He listens to headphones while sitting at other people's desks and distracts everybody with his stupid drumming. He needs to go, but Michael can't fire his nephew. Nor can he even tell people that Luke is his nephew at all. Of course, the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew finds out and forces Michael into a corner, which means Michael does something childish, impulsive, and awkward. He gets angry at Luke, bends him over, and spanks him.

That moment was certainly momentous, but the lead-in was far less interesting than the pay-off. We see Michael milling about and wondering what to do, and then he holds little seminar for the rest of the office—where he tells them not to hassle Luke and uses a bunch of confusing symbols and instructions. It's been seven seasons; Michael Scott needs to be outrageous, or at the very least unpredictable. Otherwise it rings far too familiar, and the build in "Nepotism" has been done before, to death.

The remainder of the episode focused on Jim and Pam hassling Dwight. Now that Dwight is the owner of the building, he's locking up thermostats and walking around like he owns the place (because he does). Jim tries to sneak some keys onto Dwight's massive keyring, and Pam snickers so loud Dwight finds out. Next: Jim is bummed, Pam decides to pull her own prank on Dwight to make up for it, Pam ends up stuck in an elevator with Dwight. Dwight is no longer funny. He's simply stupid for stupidity's sake, last night peeing in the corner of the elevator as soon as it got stuck because he wanted to "establish a pee corner." He was funniest when there were shades of realism, just as Michael Scott is funniest when you sort of feel bad for the guy. But Dwight has become a caricature of himself, and Pam has lost any distinguishing characteristic other than "fondness for Jim-style mugging."

Me, I want to see way more of Erin and Andy, because something tells me that relationship isn't over. And, of course, more Creed.

What did you think of the premiere?

Comments (18)
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Sep 29, 2010
The show is fine and has years left if people give it a chance. I'm not sure about how many people tuned in from the beginning just to see Carell, but I was not one. He was the main reason I never wanted to watch the show. But boredom set in and the show was on Instant Play on Netflix and I started watching it. It has 3 things going for it when Carell leaves...

1. Strong Cast
2. Great writing
3. Likable characters

The Michael Scott character can leave, and if people can accept he wasn't the heart of the show, it can continue.
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Sep 26, 2010
The opening was just awesome.
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Sep 26, 2010
Sorry, but if you thought the episode was so dull and poorly written, why did you continue watching it? Was it so you could satisfy your emotional need to complain? Get a sense of humor, people.
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Sep 25, 2010
It was better then some of the episodes last season.
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Sep 25, 2010
come on !! are r for real ? its was one of the best episode i ever seen in the recent years , The Office is back to what it used to be in season 2,3 and 4
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Sep 25, 2010
I wonder how they decide which posts to put on the front page. 95% of the time its like that person is the only person with that opinion. I thought it was a pretty good episode. Exactly the kind of episode I want to see when I sit down to watch The Office.
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Sep 25, 2010
It was a good enough episode.
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Sep 25, 2010
I thought it was a good episode, I thought Season 6 as a whole was really bad and this episode salvaged some hope for me in Season 7. The funniest part was definitely the spanking, come on how could you not crack up during that scene? A middle aged man spanking a 20 year old? Hysterical. Carell should get an Emmy just for that scene.
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Sep 25, 2010
writers are a bunch of lazy puds who probably pat themselves on the back for making this excuse for a season premier
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Sep 25, 2010
This show should continue after Steve Carrell leaves, we've got a lot of supporting characters that are just as funny as he is, if not funnier.
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Sep 25, 2010
I really liked the opening musical number. I enjoyed the show and it made me laugh. Steve has said it is his last season. Maybe it's winding down. Luke would have been a great new character, but I guess we've seen the last of him. Erin and Gabe was kind of a switch. Would like to see Andy fight to get her back. Lots of characters could come to the fore, but who could fill the vacuum when Carrel leaves? If they brought in a new boss, he would have to be incredible. Cheers was never the same after Diane left, but they kept going anyway.
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Sep 24, 2010
I think it was a good episode, with a BRILLIANT opening, besides i still have 21 episodes AHEAD
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Sep 24, 2010
The episode was a dud. Jim vs. Dwight with a sprinkle of Pam is hilarious. Jim vs. Dwight with a splash of Pam just isn't funny.
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Sep 24, 2010
I was disappointed overall, but I did like the opening musical number. But Dwight was over the top.
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Sep 24, 2010
are you kidding me steve? it was incredible. first great episode ive seen in some time. your just too shaken up by the last two seasons that you dont realize the rain is gone.
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Sep 24, 2010
It has gone from great to barely OK these last few seasons.
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Sep 24, 2010
I thought the episode was hilarious :D had me laughing several times...
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Sep 24, 2010
This show has been like beating a dead horse since season 4...it needs to be put out of its misery so the producers can concentrate on making Parks and Recreation totally awesome (and not let it get canceled!)
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