The Office Catch-22

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After catching up with this Thursday’s episode of The Office today on my DVR, I thought something about the show that I haven’t thought for a long time: I couldn’t wait to see the next episode.

I, like many viewers of The Office, had grown tired of the show over the past few seasons. The last season or two with Michael Scott were really a low point for the show. I could not wait for Steve Carrell to leave so that we didn’t have to watch his character’s tired antics anymore.

The show runners then trotted out all-star guest appearance after all-star guest appearance to replace Scott. All of these guest appearances were unfulfilling. The viewer never was made to care about any of these new characters in the way that we grew to care about Pam and Jim and Dwight and Oscar over the first few seasons.

Eventually, Andy became manager and his character evolved to be Michael Scott 2.0 (and maybe even a bit more of a dilettante). It almost drove me from the show.

In the end, I’m glad it didn’t drive me from the show, because a funny thing happened — it was decided that this season would be it’s last and being assigned an end date brought new energy to the show. What was once funny and then unfunny has once again become funny. I suddenly care what happens to everyone again. They’ve managed to make me care what happens to the new guys. It even looks like the writers are going to avoid the clichéd and easy storylines that we all assumed would happen this season.

It’s a classic catch-22. We care about the show again and don’t want it to end, but we only care again because the latent effects of it ending have brought it back to life.

I hope they continue the high mark set by the first half of the season through May. And if not? At least they might have convinced me to stick with How I Met Your Mother, another show that has lost its way.