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The End of Dunder Mifflin For several years, The Office was easily the funniest and best written comedy on television. Its hard to pinpoint which season is the pinnacle of the series, it may be a tie between seasons 2, 3, 4, and 5. Every one of them is tremendous. Considering season one was barely half of a season, The Office was still fairly young heading into its 6th year, so it was reasonable for fans to expect the same level of high quality comedy we’d been enjoying since the show’s inception. Tragically this isn’t exactly the case with #6. The season begins with a very promising start that maintains both the energy and the quality of the previous seasons. In fact the entire first half of the season is, for the most part, very well done… but eventually season six dissolves into a mix of mediocre and sometimes, painfully bad episodes (the finale being one of the worst eps in series history).The biggest problem of season 6 is the massive story arcs. Now, multiple episode storylines have always been a strong point for this series; whether it was the Dwight and Angela affair in seasons 2-5 or the Michael Scott Paper Company in season 5, reccuring plots on The Office were always successful. This is also mostly the case in season 6; the problem is that the show ultimately becomes so reliant on large story arcs that they eventually lose sight of what the foundation of The Office’s success had always been: great characters and great comedy. There is a glaringly obvious shortage of stand alone episodes. No matter how many reccuring storylines there were in previous years there was always a large number of classic stand alone episodes (naturally revolving around the hysterical antics of Michael Scott). As I’ve said, there is nothing wrong with extended story arcs but when every single episode relies on them it is inevitable that the humor and the character development will suffer. As is the case here.Most of 6′s storylines are engaging and well written. The financial trouble of Dunder Mifflin is topical and provides several great episodes (Michael making empty promises to a room of angry Dunder Mifflin investors is classic) but ultimately the writers paint themselves into a corner and make drastic, unnecessary (I cannot stress the word unnecessary enough!) changes to the series. The introduction of Sabre turns a very good season into a shockingly mediocre one. The changes to the cast are awful. We lose the subtlely hillarious David Wallace and are force fed two bland and awkward replacements: Gabe Lewis and Jo Bennett. The presence of Kathy Bates is especially intrusive. Not that she’s a bad actor, but her character is just so out of place that she literally sucks the comedy out of every episode she’s in.Its also terribly obvious at times that the writers are either not working together or are on seperate pages. Some of the ongoing subplots are incredibly inconsistant; many are forgotten about for episodes at a time, never resolved or never even lifted off of the ground. At the end of a mid-season episode, an alliance is formed between Dwight and Ryan the Temp; the goal: to bring down their mutual nemesis, Jim Halpert. This promising subplot is then instantly forgotten about until a much later episode, when it is put to a sudden, dissapointing end. There is also a mid-season resurfacing of the Dwight/Angela saga, which again, is consistantly ignored, conveniently brought back every two-three episodes or so before another quick ending. The only story that gets constant attention is the awkward relationship between Andy and Erin, which has its moments but is also often filler material. Andy is a great character but Erin comes on way too strong when heavily featured.Fortunately though, season six actually starts out fairly strong with a string of very memorable episodes, and even throughout the rough stretches there are still a handful of good eps. One of the major story points that drives much of the early season is the promotion of Jim to the “co-manager” position. This one works very well (while it lasts) as it advances the progession of the character from goof-off to responsible future parent and it provides the basis for some great early episodes that play off of the rivalry/friendship of Michael and Jim, as well as the rivalry/rivalry between Jim and Dwight. Though, at the same time, putting Jim in a position of responsibility undermines the foundation of his character and all later attempts to regress him back to what he used to be come up short.Basically, The Office simply runs out of steam halfway through its sixth year. The scripts begin to allow very little room for Steve Carell to shine. Creed no longer gets his usual one liners. Character development comes to a near halt. There are no more stories about Pam as a salesman. Ryan is pushed to the distant background. Dwight doesn’t get nearly enough screentime, and even more disturbing: he gets almost no screentime with…
No Halloween open? I just want to express how ripped off I feel that after buying the entire season 6 of The Office the Halloween open is missing from the episode Koi Pond. I hope that NBC and the creators/actors of The Office read this and realize how they are making their fans feel ripped off. If they were going to remove it from the episode, they should have included it in the deleted scenes. To make matters worse they included a still pic on the menu of Disc 2 just to remind us what we’re missing. I tried to see if maybe it was hidden as an Easter Egg but have had no luck. Perhaps if everyone expressed how disappointed they were, Universal will create replacement discs. We are paying for the ENTIRE season of The Office including DELETED and BONUS material. I hate it when organizations complain and get “offended” by things thereby making it impossible for everyone else in the world to enjoy it. I don’t care if the American Society for Suicide Prevention was offended by a FICTIONAL character making an inappropriate joke. Newsflash: the Michael Scott character’s main purpose on the show is to make inappropriate jokes. It’s almost like they were just sitting around waiting to find something to be offended by so they could shove their cause down everyone’s throat. Seriously, if someone were actually going to kill themselves they would do it regardless of if they saw an episode of The Office or not. And don’t try to say someone might see it and then decide to kill themselves. That’s just stupid. If by any means that were true, it would be a Darwin Award. Why not stop there then? Why not omit all the Erin scenes where she says she’s been in foster care because that might be offensive to people who were in foster care? Why not omit the Dwight character when he talks about his farm because that might be offensive to people who own farms? Why not omit the episodes where Pam is pregnant before marriage because that might offend people who are against pre-marital sex? You see where I’m going with this. If every single comedian or comedy show adhered to trying not to offend people, there would never be anything on TV ever. Do you think the creators of South Park care who they offend? In fact, that’s what makes the show funny. Do you think Dave Chappelle decided not to certain skits because they might be “offensive” to people? Seriously people if you work in comedy, it’s a given you’re eventually going to offend someone somewhere at sometime. And for all those complainer or “offended” people out there. You DON’T have to watch it. Instead of ruining it for the rest of us with your griping, just let us enjoy our shows in peace.
Going downhill I think this season is the epitome of hit-or-miss. It seemed like every other episode was either filler or just poorly written. Also, I frequently felt the deleted scenes should’ve stayed in instead of much of the kept scenes. While this show doesn’t have much consistancy in general this season is particularly bad in this area where it seemed almost nothing had any effect in later eps. Don’t get me wrong, this season definitely had its moments, but they were few and far between. Many of the jokes were more for shock-value instead of actual humor and Jim & Pam are just plain boring now. The show is still great, but with only about 50% of the eps being good this season (at best) it is clear the show is losing some steam, which is a turning point few shows fully recover from. If you’re a big-time fan of the show then I would of course recommend getting this season, but if you’re only interested in Jim & Pam’s wedding, or some other event that takes place in an ep or two, then just download it/them.
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