Well, the slipshod season six (say it five times fast) has finally come to an end, and while it didn’t quite go out with the bang the last three or four high-quality episodes hinted at, it wasn’t exactly the whimper with which the season began, either. This has been the most inconsistent season of the “The Office,” with the series vacillating wildly from garish sentimentality and cartoonishness to the kind of awkward, understated-comedy-with-heart that made the show such a gem in the first place; as such, it should be no surprise that the season ended with an episode that fell somewhere in between with a fairly sharply written half-hour that had a handful of wonderful character moments, but also several long stretches of “meh.”
Major spoilers ahead!
Tonight’s episode featured the return of Sabre CEO Jo (Kathy Bates), on the warpath in Scranton after she discovers that someone in the office has leaked news to the press that Sabre printers are dangerous and catching fire. Is it Andy, who first discovered the dangerous malfunction? Kelly, who can’t stop tweeting everything she hears? Pam, who is desperate to say something interesting about her job to friends? Darryl, who wants to flirt with a writer from the local newspaper?
- Director: Paul Lieberstein
- Writers: Warren Lieberstein & Halsted Sullivan
- Honorable Mentions: Greg Daniels (Developer), Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant (Creators)
- Cast: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Ed Helms, David Denman, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey, Paul Lieberstein, Oscar Nuñez, Craig Robinson, Phyllis Smith, Kathy Bates
“The Office” is a mockumentary following the mundane, yet hilarious, lives of employees of the paper company, Dunder-Mifflin, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Title of this Week’s Episode: “Whistleblower” Season 6: Episode 26
The defective Sabre printers plot thread that has been insidiously weaving its way throughout the last few (and excellent) episodes of “The Office” finally comes to the fore, with a member of the office having leaked the news to the press. Sabre head honcho Jo comes to Scranton to find the culprit and clean house, leading Michael to run a secret investigation to discover the leaker before Jo—with him discovering that Andy, Pam, Kelly and Darryl all leaked the news in various ways. In the end, Michael makes a deal with Jo—he won’t reveal the names of the leakers, but he will take public responsibility and allow himself to be the press’ whipping boy.
- Michael and Jo: Highlighting the best of what “The Office” used to be, the scenes with Michael and Jo late in the episode, in which Michael breaks down and reveals what a hard year this has been for him (hilariously complaining about his dwindling Blockbuster stocks) before a quiet admission and reference to the best of season five (“I miss Holly”), this was a moment that combined the hilarity and empathy that this show cut its teeth upon. The best moments of this series have always been when we, the viewers, look upon these people as real characters stuck in absurd situations (not the other way around, as much as this season has been), and this scene nicely captured that. Also: Holly’s coming back? Count me in.
- Dwight: Dwight’s attempt at buying the building that rents to the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin seemed both aimless and pointless, and not exactly laugh-out-loud funny. Either this is a thread that will be picked up next season, or the writers simply have nothing else for the character to do. Either way, a snooze.
That’s What He/ She Said:
- Andy (to Phyllis): If you say anything, I swear to God, I’ll break off the temples of your glasses and stick them in your eye sockets.
- Michael (in shock): My mind is going a mile an hour. Pam: That fast?
- Dwight (to Nick, the IT guy leaving to teach inner city youths): Hey, hey, hey, hey, IT guy. Here’s the story, champ. None of us have spent a lot of time getting to know you, ok? We liked the last guy, Sadiq, because he kept to himself. And we also thought he might have been a terrorist.
- Creed: I think we can all agree that it’s either Gabe or Angela. (flips coin) It’s Angela. Get ‘er, boys.
- Dwight (to Nick) You know what, I’m gonna leave you with one other thought: inner city kids use computers for only two things: games and porn. So good luck wasting your life.
- Michael (confessing to Jo): I’m going through a rough patch. The whole year, actually. My favorite restaurant closed down. My new favorite restaurant sucks… This has not been a blockbuster year for me financially. My Blockbuster stock is down.
Whew, the season is over. Started off ok, got weaker in the middle, began to finish strong, and then ended with a shrug, but let’s call it a shrug with potential. After all the detritus of this year – the bloated wedding and birth mega-episodes, the cartoon absurdity, and broad southern caricature that allows for a sweeps-week celebrity guest star – “The Office” still intermittently showed the sharp writing and heart that once made it the best comedy on television. And while I’m glad this wasn’t the final season (the show deserves a better send-off/ victory lap than that), I think next year will be time to turn the lights off at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. “Whistleblower,” and this season as a whole, were fairly shaky, but both ended with potential – fingers crossed that next season will be the payoff that the fans – and this show – deserve.
What did you think of this season of The Office?