I’ve said quite a bit on this website about how The Office has made me cry. I cried seven years ago during the “Casino Night” episode. I cried when Jim asked Pam out on a date for the first time. Just last week I cried because of Dwight which had never happened before and possibly says more about my emotional stability than anything. Point is, The Office is at it’s best when it’s just as tear-worthy as it is laugh-worthy.
Last night’s finale didn’t make me cry. That’s not to say that the episode was bad, I thought the finale was very well done. I just think it was because things went the way they were meant to go. Instead of crying from being surprised or because something emotional happened, I got thankfully teary eyed at the happy moments; the moments when things finally felt complete. For the record, I also laughed a lot. I’m not just about crying and this was a really funny episode.
The finale took place one year after last week’s episode meaning one year after the PBS documentary aired. The episode started the day of a “where are they now” panel held for fans of the documentary which was also the day before Dwight and Angela‘s wedding. We find out through flashbacks that Kevin and Toby have been fired, Stanley has retired, and Pam has painted a mural for a community center (or something like that) in Scranton. This mural really scared me. This mural said, “Hey audience, Jim and Pam are totally happy in Scranton, so you need to be happy too and forget about how a big theme of the early seasons was Jim and Pam not wanting careers at Dunder Mifflin.” Yeah, very talkative mural. Scary, scary mural for me because I desperately wanted Jim and Pam to leave Scranton. The series would’ve been ruined for me otherwise. I used a line from this show for my senior yearbook quote so… yeah, I’m not messing around here.
We also find out that Andy‘s audition for the American Idol-like a capella show from last week went viral. That caused him to be invited (as a joke) to hold a commencement speech at Cornell which then turned into him getting a job offer at the university. I like this story for Andy. The whole fame thing was obviously not going to work out, so I think working at Cornell made a lot of sense for him. Oscar still works at Dunder Mifflin but is also campaigning to be a state senator. After the whole Angela, The Senator, Oscar love triangle, I loved this idea too. Darryl is still working for Athlead which has been bought out by another company and is based in Austin. When I heard this I was like, “Dear god please let Darryl take Pam and Jim with him! There’s still time!”
The first half of the episode was Dwight and Angela’s bachelor and bachelorette parties. Dwight has a night out with the guys organized by Jim, his best man, while Angela has girl time at her and Dwight’s house. Angela gets kidnapped by Mose in some sorta weird Schrute family ritual and then Dwight has to go find her at a bar. This part of the episode felt sorta unbalanced and a bit rushed ’cause next thing you know it’s time for the Q & A panel before the bachelor parties really feel over.
The panel was really enjoyable with a lot of the questions being directed at Jim and Pam. (As they would if this were a real panel. I know some people are gonna disagree with me here, but I really enjoyed how meta this thing got. I’m a sucker for that.) People pointed out that Pam really owed Jim because he left Athlead for her and Pam responded, “I’m working on something.” This was really exciting! Maybe the mural didn’t say as much as I thought! Maybe the mural just said, “I’m leading you on.” One lady didn’t have a question but just gushed about how awesome Jim is. That lady and my 17-year-old self would have a lot to talk about. Erin also met her birth parents at the panel and… I didn’t really know much about that storyline. She was really happy to see them, so that’s cool.
Next up was Dwight and Angela’s wedding. This provided one of my teary scenes because Michael surprised Dwight by showing up. It was great seeing him back, looking all dignified with a bit of grey in his hair, and it was great seeing how happy it made Dwight. This was Jim’s final prank because he bailed on being best man only to bring in Michael as the new best man. I did wish that it had been more of a surprise to me, but unfortunately I’d already heard that Steve Carell was returning. Oh well, still loved it. We find out that Michael’s has kids which is also awesome and I liked see him and Pam together looking at pictures of them.
A couple of cameos I wasn’t so fond of were those of Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kelly and Ryan and they had a funny exchange when Ryan walks up with a baby at the wedding (he dated some girl, got her pregnant, and then she ran off leaving him with the kid) and he says the baby is named Drake which Kelly loves because, well, she’s Kelly. What I didn’t really like was them kissing and running off together leaving the baby behind with Kelly’s husband who then passed it off to Nellie who said she would take it back to Europe with her. I don’t really mind Kelly and B.J ending up together, just could’ve done without it if it had to be done in such a crazy way.
After the wedding, Jim and Pam head home to change before a party PBS is throwing in the Dunder Mifflin warehouse and guess who’s coming out of their door: Carol! Real estate agent Carol that dated Michael! But why would a real estate agent be at their house, Jim wants to know. Because Pam has been secretly showing their house to gage interest and if she gets a good response can do a big “Jim gesture” and offer that they move to Austin where he can work with Athlead again. The people that were currently viewing the house say they want it, so Jim and Pam decide to actually go through with the plan. JIM AND PAM ARE LEAVING SCRANTON! ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD!!! (Ps. This was another watery eyes moment.)
At the party, Jim and Pam tell Darryl the news and Jim looks so happy in this scene that it makes me think John Krasinski was actually that happy for his character. From what I’ve heard this cast is extremely emotional, so I wouldn’t be surprised. At the party, Office producer Greg Daniels is supposed to be one of the PBS execs so I assumed all the other people were other behind the scenes Office people which I thought was cool. After the party, it’s the after party, so the cast heads upstairs to hang out and drink liquor Meredith hides in her desk. The phone rings and we get one last “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.” Then she goes on to tell the caller that she’s sorry but Jim Halpert no longer works there. Wait a minute, who the heck is calling the office for Jim really late at night? (Or was it Jim calling on his cell phone as a joke?) Whatever, I didn’t notice while I was watching because I thought it was cute that she This is Pam-ed and I was just so glad they were leaving Scranton that I didn’t care.
The episode ends with the cast listening to Creed (who they found out had been secretly living in the office after he stopped working there) play a song on guitar and reminiscing about their time together. It’s all very sweet in a good way. Pam gets the last words and sums up that she was glad beauty could be found in something as simple as a paper company. She also steals the drawing she did of the office building that has hung there since early on. We get a close-up of the drawing followed by a shot of the actual building and the show ends.
I’m a fan who was very devoted early on, who these characters meant a lot to, but I strayed when things started to get boring, when the emotion seemed to leave. I came back during the second half of this final season and saw that things were starting to, in my opinion, get right again. To a fan like me, and I’m sure many others, this ending was near perfect. It kept in sync with the ideas that were so strong in the beginning, but that started to falter somewhere in the middle. Towards the end, Pam says something about how if people watch the documentary and feel influenced by her to make moves and be confident, that would mean a lot to her. Basically, if they watch and are able to feel something in their own lives because of her. I watched The Office and felt something from these characters. Pam achieved what she wanted and so did the show. Things have been brought full circle. It feels complete.