Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Please Make Me Love The Office Again!

So, I had a huge discussion with a friend about "The Office" today.  I have been a supporter, a fan, pretty much a groupie of this show, enthralled by people whose lives seemed just like mine. I hung in there through the DeAngelo debacle, before Angela dated Andy, even back when Jim's hope of dating Pam was just that, a hope and a prayer. Life was good then, watching these people that made my life seem normal...

Only, as I have watched the 8th season, I have come to a strange realization. I am not the enthusiastic supporter anymore. It started somewhere around Jim trying to escape from Robert California and losing his shoe on his way up to the roof, (see Robert pinning Jim down here) and ended last night when I watched Erin flirting with Dwight. I just don't care anymore!

If you've watched the 8th season, you know what I'm talking about. I think we all can pretty much agree that this season stinks so far. No one cares about the Erin/Andy/Jessica triangle, because they'll end up together anyway! We don't care that Robert California lost his wife and is going to lose his house. I don't care about all of these stupid things like Gabe's excessive travel or Oscar's bar trivia that the writers think are supposed to matter! Let's get back to the stuff that really matters, and quit fooling around in Robert California's pool.

We need the razor sharp wit back, the characters we cared about, and circumstances we could relate to. We loved watching situations that we knew were going to end terribly and we had to watch but at the same time couldn't bear it! (take for instance, when Angela and Dwight were finally caught...) Most of all, we need characters that we care about, (I repeated this on purpose, it's important!)  not bobble-headed dummies and stereotypes like every other sitcom and soap.

Here's the problem, we don't care about the characters because they're becoming stereotyped. The writers are vainly trying to spice up love interest, like between Andy and Erin and Darryl and that new warehouse girl. But who cares, we know what’s going to happen. (They'll end up together, duh) Jim has lost his wit,  Dwight has become depressed and stuck, and the rest have basically fallen off the map, just treading water.

Why don't the writers focus on what we might really care to see, like if Angela will ever find out if her 'Senator' is gay? Or are Pam and Jim going to move to a better job? What about Dwight, he's already got 2 businesses he runs besides his job at Dunder Mifflin (the beet farm and the office park for those who don't remember), why can't he take a job at corporate? That would be perfect, Dwight would have a new army of people to torture, ones that aren't anethstitized to his antics. Why doesn't Gabe just give up already? Why does Ryan insist on hanging in limbo land of temp job and do-nothing? And why oh why can't Robert California be something other than an over-stressed, selfish CEO?

If the writers were to make a new episode this season that would actually be good, here's what should happen...

Robert California would get threatened with a lawsuit for his public indecency. He'd have to make a public apology, and we'd see the human side of him for the first time ever. Gabe would realize he's being jerked around like a puppet (as seen when he also jumped naked into a pool), give the ultimatum to Robert about working here or there (2 days in Scranton and 3 in Florida, I mean come on, no one puts up with that!) Robert would try to placate him but Gabe would realize this, stand up for himself, and leave in a blaze of glory. Ryan would see this, realize that he used to be somebody, and would quietly draft a letter of resignation. Meanwhile, Pam would bring the new baby in for people to fuss over, and Angela would realize that her husband doesn't treat her at all the way Jim treats Pam, and we would get to move along on that subplot. 

It's just a thought, but to move some of these vacant ideas swirling around in space into formed thoughts and actions would be nice. I want to love The Office again, I think there is still so much possibility there. We don't have to end the show, all that needs to happen is that the writers capitalize on the talent and characters they already have. After all, no one's as inept as what we've recently seen from the pens of writers for the Office. At least, not on TV.....

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