Has NBC's "The Office" jumped the shark? Viewers seem to feel that the story lines are off base and wild. However, I disagree. I think the story lines are similar to what they've always been and the characters really haven't changed (with the exception of Jim and Pam). I believe the novelty of the show is wearing off. It's the same awkward situations, goofy jokes, and unreasonable behavior that The Office has always exhibited. It seems to me that you could take any episode from this season and put it into any of the first few seasons (continuity aside) and it would be just as funny as many episodes of yore.
Unfortunately, Jim and Pam have become boring. Cristina noticed it far sooner than I. They aren't as funny or captivating as they once were. It seems that the marriage and baby saga aren't enough to carry them. Simply, they aren't very funny and turn their scenes into a snooze-fest. Michael Scott, is effectively the same character he's always been; and Dwight Schrute is in the same boat as Michael. Yet Michael and Dwight's gimmicks are tiring. During this last episode Michael acts like a dork during the pregnancy and parks Jim's car in an ambulance only zone. Nothing unusual and not exciting or new. Dwight smashes up Jim and Pam's house, fighting their black mold, only to install new cabinetry: clever but not hilarious.
The Andy and new secretary tales prove annoying. I don't think viewers feel the same pull for them as they did with Jim and Pam. Andy and the new secretary are caricatures, we laugh at them not with them. What the show needs more of is Creed. He is old, maniacal, and non sequitur- in short, humorous. Ryan on the other hand is plain awful. Ryan's lines are dry, his teaming up with Dwight was contrived, and his clothing is the only thing jumping sharks.
So what can make the show better? When I think of long lasting TV comedies I think of Mash and Seinfeld. The Office is no Mash. Seinfeld is the great comedy from which to learn. It involved eccentric and normal people doing different things and meeting different people. It was their goofy interactions with a normal outside world that kept it going. Seinfeld jumped the shark when the cast was arrested, but that was the final episode- a perfect coup d'état. The office in which they work is the one place that is stale and subjects viewers to the same type of jokes and routines. Think about when Jim and Pam visited Shrute Farms, when Michael held the rabies race for a cure, when Andy, Michael, and Oscar went to Canada, or when Michael drove his car into the lake whilst following the GPS. Funny, funny, and funny. Otherwise they can deliver a series finale that leaves them all in dire straits (maybe Dwight snaps and goes postal or they are sued because Michael does something irredeemably outrageous).
This past episode shortly involved a hospital and Jim and Pam's house. Boring places that added little depth to the comedic routines. Although I did find the baby mix-up scene a knee slapper. Lastly, what irritates me the most is that The Office one hour "special" removed 30 Rock from this week's line-up. Homie don't play 'dat, 30 Rock is the funniest show on television right now (excluding Mash reruns).
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