A fan’s farewell to The Office

I’d like to take this moment to say goodbye to some friends who will be leaving me today. I am, of course, speaking of my friends from Scranton: Jim, Pam, Dwight, Oscar, Kevin, Angela, Stanley, Phyllis and the rest of the gang (Except for Toby, of course). Every Thursday night since 2006 (with the exception of my semester abroad) I have watched The Office. I have followed every kiss and heartbreak of Jim and Pam’s love story, every jello-ed stapler of Jim and Dwight’s prank wars and every foot of Michael’s that was burned on a George Foreman Grill, which is the best episode of the series in my opinion.

Remember how weird it was the first season? Michael Scott was a bad version of David Brent with a greasy haircut, and Mindy Kaling wore weird ruffled blouses.  In short, if you had told me after I watched the pilot that seven years later I’d still be watching the show religiously every week I wouldn’t have found that realistic.

Now, I’m not so enamored as to think that it is still the same caliber that it was during its heyday, but compared to some of the drivel the networks pump out each fall, it still has the power to keep me smiling from week to week. So, what has made this love affair so strong?

I’d have to say a fair amount of the credit goes to my undying love for John Krasinski, who, if anyone was confused if he is the perfect man or not, need only to watch him lip-sync Teenage Dream.

But it’s more than that. I love The Office because at a time in my life when I still wasn’t sure who I was, it made me feel like it was okay to embrace my inner weirdo and let my freak flag fly. Everyone who works at Dunder Mifflin has their special quirks, (Angela and her cats come to mind) but at the end of the day they all accept each other for who they are. That is the legacy The Office will leave with me. It also, thankfully, leaves the legacy of Parks and Recreation which is currently the funniest show on TV.

So thank you, The Office. Not only did you teach me it was okay to be myself, but you also taught me that the worst thing about prison is the dementors, as well as to be careful where putting my foot should I attempt to make a bedside breakfast. You taught me the importance of a well-placed “that’s what she said” joke, and how to commit the perfect crime. To paraphrase Michael Scott, I’m afraid of how much I loved you. The experience, to say the least, has been extremely satisfying (that’s what she said).

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