by Za’chary Westbrook
4 out of 5
Things have been rough on The Office since the mid-season return. Most of that roughness has had to do with trying to shoe minor characters into story leads and they just can’t keep it going. This all in preparation for Carrell’s departure which will likely mean this is the final season or that next season, we’ll be treated to a half season parade of the worst sitcom cliches in history.
The only hope for The Office‘s future is Jim and Pam. If there’s going to be a Season 8, it needs to be Pam getting Michael’s job. Yep, Pam. We’ve already seen Jim do it and that was fun, but to really keep the dynamic the show already has, Pam is the only person who can step up into that position. Especially if Toby does come back.
Tonight, we really saw what Pam can do. First, Pam gets Erin an iMac out of receptionist sympathy, which sparks Andy’s jealousy and leads to Andy and Pam scamming him up a new computer. A computer which supposedly came from a corner of the warehouse and Pam has to bribe Darryl with some sick days for his silence. Normally, that’s a fairly shrug plot-line (though the Andy-kills-his-computer sequence had a laugh or two in it), but the unrestrained cuteness with which Jenna Fischer executes it made it absolute gold. Throw in relationship foibles with Jim, Toby’s on-going crush and further mind games with Dwight and… yeah, we got a solid core for season 8.
Tonight’s main story of how-to-write-Todd-Packer-out-of-the-series was proving it needed to happen as it happened. Yes, Packer has always been abrasive and annoying, but especially now that Michael is moving on to the big world of being a proper grown-up, Packer looks less like “Michael could be worse” and more like “ugh, this guy again?” Jim and Dwight were in classic form and the season 8 episode where Jim is finally forced to prank boss Pam over some decision makes my mouth water.
The Office is back and it could just maybe stay for a bit longer.