The Office Fall 2009 Review

As anticipated at the end of season 5, the last few months have seen some drastic and hilarious changes to the office. It was hard to imagine that the show would be able to top the Michael Scott Paper Company story arc from last season. While it didn’t bring the most laughs in the series (I think that might belong to “The Merger” from season 3), The MSPC story showed us just how far the writers could stretch Michael’s character. Who expected him to actually be bought out by DMI, anyway? How could they top that kind of unexpected irony?

Well I think they’ve done it and we’re only halfway through the 6th season.

I’ve said in a few past reviews that The Office has worked best when the characters are antagonizing each other. It’s not that I prefer the sour over the sweet, but the show’s always been its best at its darkest. We’ve seen some of the worst come out of Michael and Dwight this year. And we’ve had to watch Jim squirm under the pressures of his new co-manager position.

I can’t remember a worse Michael moment than him dumping Pam’s mom on her birthday. It was actually fitting that he was slapped at the end of the episode. Dwight’s dastardly plan in “Scott’s Tots” was one of the only times we’ve ever seen Jim so vulnerable. In that same episode Michael had to admit to not being able to afford 18 college tuitions to an inner city school. And “Koi Pond” saw Jim put on the spot when he let Michael fall into a shallow body of water at a meeting. Let’s not forget Michael’s outing of Stanley’s affair in the season premiere “Gossip” (and the resulting outing of Pam’s pregnancy).

It’s been a grim season so far especially considering Dunder Mifflin’s financial troubles. “Murder” was definitely one of the funniest episodes of the season, with Michael trying to maintain a fun atmosphere despite news of DMI’s bankruptcy. And “Shareholder Meeting”, while not the funniest, was still my favorite episode of the season only because I found it to be both topical and surprising when DMI was painted as a poorly managed company.

While I’ve personally enjoyed this season, I wonder if the darker aspects of the season should be reigned in? While “Secret Santa” was a great way to end the Fall, there was a sad undertone when we learned DMI would be bought out. “Shareholder Meeting” was the best example of this. Oscar being put on the spot in front of the board of directors, Andy’s cheerleading, Michael’s vamping at the end of the meeting were all hilariously inappropriate…but they probably shouldn’t have been. Granted, one “bridging” episode per season (like last year’s “Employee Transfer”) that introduces or resolves a heavier storyline isn’t so bad…but we’ve come to expect a certain level of comedy over the drama.

The Fall wasn’t all that dark, however. Pam playing matchmaker with both Andy and Erin and Oscar and the new warehouse guy is great. Especially considering that Pam just might see a little of herself and Jim in Erin and Andy. And let’s not forget the biggest event of this season so far: the wedding (http://tv.insidepulse.com/2009/10/09/the-office-episode-6-04-6-05-review/) .

It’s been a bittersweet season so far, but I’m eagerly anticipating the new characters that will come along with DMI’s buyout and the new baby that will likely be born before the end of the season. Until Jan 21…

“The Banker” : When a potential buyer comes to Dunder Mifflin, Michael, Dwight, Andy and Pam pull out all the stops in hopes of impressing him with their high profile contacts. Michael reminisces about all the great times they have had in the office.

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