Well, sports fans, we have made it to the end of the sixth season of The Office. That is officially three times as many seasons as its British cousin enjoyed. The Office now has one hundred and fifteen episodes under its belt, some of them super-sized and while the show exhibits signs of wear and age it’s still going strong.
With that meaningless summary out of the way, let’s discuss tonight's unusually focused season finale. Instead of the usual A, B and C stories we had one overarching narrative that spun off into smaller threads: a mystery whistleblower has spilled the beans about Sabre printer’s Pinto-like propensity for exploding at the worst possible moments.
Yes, Sabre finds itself mired in a shitstorm of epic proportions, though Michael is oblivious as always to the drama that is about to ensue. Mostly, he’s just excited to be on television crowing about the safety and dependability of Sabre printers and irritated that footage of a baby otter threatens his ranking as the second most watched clip on a local news channel's website. Michael doesn’t seem to realize that people are watching his clip for the same reason they watched Saddam Hussein’s famously disingenuous spokesman deny that the U.S military offensive was having any effect as he was, at that very moment, being blown apart by a Scud missile.
Kathy Bates’ mother hen Jo is consequently dispatched to Scranton along with her canine companions to unearth the identity of the leak. It turns out just about everyone leaked the damaging information, including Darryl, Pam, Andy and Kelly, who Tweeted it and Woofed it.
Jo doesn’t get Michael to spill the beans but she does accidentally end up having a moment of semi-profound emotional connection with him. Jo embodies a fascinating combination of iron-willed determination, guile and honey-dripping maternal warmth. So when she saw that Michael was just barely holding it together following the latest in a string of disastrous years she was there to lend moral support, especially when she was able to manipulate Michael to her advantage by having him take the blame for Sabre’s unfortunate exploding printer problem. Michael is such a vulnerable, scared, emotionally transparent little boy that he tends to bring out the mother in every one. Jo is no exception.
Michael’s ill-fated dalliance with a married woman has reawakened his desperate longing for Holly. The prospect that his beloved Holly may return as enough to give Michael a big idiot grin even as he tries his damnedest to maintain a straight face while apologizing to the press on his company’s behalf.
I must say I was excited, then disappointed by the episode teasing a return appearance by Michael’s incorrigible best friend David Packer without following through. This was a season finale, though, so were treated to a much more satisfying glimpse of another beloved recurring character we haven’t seen in a long while when David Wallace returns just long enough to begin to promote his new project “Suck it”. In one of the funniest, meanest gags referencing the show’s quasi-documentary structure, we cut directly from David beginning his spiel to the next, unrelated scene: even the unseen cameraman and editor cannot bear to hear that poor, deluded man spout more of his wishful nonsense.
Dwight, meanwhile, takes Jo’s advice to buy property and quickly becomes corrupted by his non-existent power and the long-suffering IT guy has a nice little meltdown where he explodes at the office for treating him like a complete nonentity. This last bit cut a little close to home, as I am terrible with names and faces. I’ve worked alongside people for years without learning their names. I’m awful at that kind of thing so when the office couldn’t remember the IT guy’s name mere seconds after he repeated it I could relate.
Tonight’s episode capped off a solid season on a promising note, tantalizing us with the tantalizing prospect of Holly’s return. I have high hopes for the show’s seventh season, and not just because I hear they poached a brilliant writer from a prominent entertainment website to elevate the show to unprecedented levels of awesomeosity. I remain, uncharacteristically, highly optimistic.
—“We cannot let the pedophile win again!”
—“Count me in as, 'who cares?'
—Great bit of physical comedy when Carrell tries futilely to resist the charm of a baby otter trying to stand up.
—“I’m not sure you do, teddy bear”
—“Bernards have long silenced whistleblowers. Woody Guthrie wrote a song about us.”
—I liked how horrified Michael was that Darryl had tipped off a female reporter who wasn’t even cute!
—What did you guys think of this season?