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The Office Series Finale Watch: Farewell, Dunder Mifflin
"It all seems so very arbitrary. I applied for a job at this company because they were hiring. I took a desk at the back because it was empty. But, no matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home."
Creed summed it up beautifully at the end of tonight's series finale of The Office… and then he was arrested. But that's another matter. One of the things I've loved so much about The Office was the way it captured the humor and spirit of the mundane. For those who aren't working their dream jobs, going to work every day can be a drag. When the work itself isn't exciting, it's the people that get you through the day. The Office captured that perfectly in the way it featured characters who were, for all intents and purposes, average - for the most part. Sure, they had their little quirks, but the staff of Dunder Mifflin was stocked with actors we'd never seen before - excluding Steve Carell, though he was really only on the brink of fame at that point - allowing us to suspend our disbelief and pretend that Dunder MIfflin was a real place with real people working unexciting jobs for average pay. And - like real people who work those kinds of jobs - they found personal fulfillment in other ways, while at work and in their free time.
The finale picked up a year later, with Dwight and Angela about to be married and the Dunder Mifflin staff reuniting for the wedding and a documentary reunion special. During the process of getting caught up, we learned that Kevin was fired for being incompetent. And Toby was fired for trying to save Kevin. Dwight offered them both consolation cakes with the news of their termination. Stanley also received a cake because he was retiring. Never mind that he's a diabetic, Dwight.
Devon - who was fired by Michael during the second season - was brought back. I like to think of that as a great little loose end that was finally tied up. With that in mind, Creed being an outlaw seems particularly karmic. After all, Creed was the one to throw Devon under the bus all those years ago. Not that getting someone fired is against the law. Selling drugs and trafficking endangered species meat is, though, which is what put Creed on the run. He showed up later with a long beard and a new identity.
With Stanley gone, Phyllis has a new desk mate, whom she's overfeeding to get him up to Stanley's weight and blood sugar level. Stanley apparently missed Phyllis so much that he whittled a likeness of her, complete with flamingo legs. That's how they do it in Florida, I guess. Meanwhile, Andy's a viral sensation… but not in a good way. His sobbing audition video from the a cappella show went viral, resulting in the parody videos, auto-tune remixes and SNL "Weekend Update" segments that sometimes ensue when someone gets famous for an embarrassing moment caught on tape. It seemed like Andy Bernard had hit an all-time low, but he was taking it in stride, as his former co-workers went out of their way to be kind to him. As it turns out, Andy really was doing ok. The Nard Dog "nailed it" when he gave the commencement speech at Cornell. His appearance was supposed to be a joke, but he turned it around at the podium and earned himself a job on the admissions board at his alma mater.
My first bout of sniffles came before the documentary panel portion of the episode, when it seemed like no one was showing up and Andy went outside to see the line of people waiting to get in. That in itself made me smile. Because these fictional Scrantonites clearly love Dunder Mifflin as much as we do. And they love Andy. Instead of laughing at him, they all started shouting Andy's trademark "riddit-dit-tadoo," which is probably one of the best ways anyone could salute Andy Bernard.
The documentary reunion panel was brief, and consisted largely of women making eyes at Jim for being amazing, and giving Pam grief for not being supportive enough. Jim went out of his way to defend Pam, and Pam gave us a tiny hint that she was working on something to pay Jim back for the sacrifice he made in leaving the sports job to return to Scranton. But more on that later. The big moment at the panel was when Joan Cusack stepped up to the microphone and asked Erin about her feelings for her birth mother. And immediately we knew what was happening. In fact, everyone on the panel seemed to figure out that this woman was Erin's mother… except Erin, who did eventually get it. Ed Begley Jr. showed up and immediately claimed her as his daughter as well, and Erin greeted them with hugs and smiles. I like to think that they go on to become a happy little family… except for once in a while when Erin casually and innocently drops some strange and sad memory about her childhood because that's how Erin is. And then she's happy again.
"Aw man, I never thought I'd say this but I think I ate too much bone marrow."
Moving on to Dwight and Angela's wedding. The festivities began with Dwight's bachelor party, which had his best man Jim running the show. With accidental murders and whore-houses set aside, much to the chagrin of Zeke and Clark, Jim and the guys headed off to a field where Dwight was allowed to blow stuff up with a bazooka. Kind of awesome, Jim. Guten Pranken indeed!! Later, they went out to a German restaurant, where a stripper - nay the stripper - tried to get Dwight's attention off of food for a few minutes, but failed. I like to think that there's just one stripper in Scranton, and it's that woman. She appeared in the "Ben Franklin" episode years ago when Bob Vance was getting married to Phyllis. Tonight, Dwight apparently didn't remember that the "waitress" who wasn't bringing him his onion loaf once made cold calls for him as a way to work off what they paid her after Michael called Bob's bachelor party off mid-striptease. Memories.
But there isn't just one stripper in Scranton. There are at least two. The second one is Jake Palmer, Meredith's son, who seems far too young to be rubbing his almost-naked body against Angela. But there he was, doing his thing while his mother cheered him on and made everyone uncomfortable. At least she's supportive? Angela getting kidnapped and thrown in the trunk of a car by Mose may have been a mercy after that. At least he didn't put her in the freezer, right? That was all part of the tradition of snatching up the bride and bringing her to a bar, which is how Jim got Dwight to bury that hatchet with Kevin, which he kind of did.
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