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Future of The Office
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May 31st 2006

Hi everybody, first post here. Just discovered this board after spending a lot of time on the iMDB and NBC.com boards. Looks like the discussions here are a little more intelligent so I thought this would be a good place to post a theory I've developed on the future of the show.

I think there is a very good chance that this is the last year of the show, mainly because Carrell will get a movie offer he can't refuse and have to leave. He has said in interviews that he is dedicated to the show, but if someone throws a ton of money and creative control at him he's probably gone. In my opinion the show could not exist without him. No character could replace him. There is also a chance this could happen with Fischer or Krasinski, they are both getting very popular and I don't think their characters could be replaced either.

I believe there was some major foreshadowing in Casino Night that I haven't seen mentioned much on the boards. In the beginning, right after Jim "moves" the coat rack, Michael is talking to Jan and she is giving him a hard time about being fourth out of her five branches. I foresee the performance of the branch being a major plotline in Season 3. I'm sure the writers and producers have it in the back of their mind that a major character may leave, and if that does happen, they can use the closing of the branch to end the show.

As much as I would hate to see the best show in the history of television end, it would be more realistic this way, and the realism of the show is one of the main reasons it is so good. For one, the mockumentary style lends it's self to a short run. I can't imagine a documentarian following the people of a small office around for six or seven years. Even 2 1/2 to 3 years seems long. Also, in this day and age, the same small group of people wouldn't work at the same office for that long. I'm 34 and have never been at a job for more than three years. In real life people would be shuffling in and out all the time.

So I think the big picture view of Season 3 will feature Jim and Pam slowly but surely, and somewhat awkwardly, becoming a couple, and the branch being threatened with layoffs and closure throughout. If it is the last season, it will be announced sometime in the last three or four episodes that the branch is closing and the rest of the show will deal with how the characters will move on. Jim and Pam will come to a happy resolution, I have no doubt about that. I see the final shot of the show with the office completely empty and Michael walking toward the door, taking one last look, then turning off the lights and shutting the door behind him.

This post turned out a lot longer than I had planned, but I'm interested in reading your reactions.

May 31st 2006

En Esch - you make some very good points. I can definitely see John, Steve and Jenna getting bigger and better offers and, you are right, they cannot be replaced. I think it would be very sad to lose this wonderful show but I would rather it go out on top than limp along for several years like so many sitcoms do.

If The Office does end with Season Three, I absolutely must see Jim and Pam together living happily ever after! Maybe Jan and Michael get together, and Michael becomes a stay-at-home dad and Jan brings home the bacon.

May 31st 2006

I would be happy with a four or five-year run, honestly. I was skeptical that they could keep the realism up, but then I figured that as long as the show continued to put out top-quality episodes it shouldn't be penalized for outlasting the original. That being said, I cringe at the thought of it going over five seasons, because realistically you wouldn't have the same group of people in that kind of a setting. I worked at a grocery store for seven years (yikes!), and turnover was pretty regular: as soon as one batch of high-school kids graduated, a new one came in. It reminds me of the category on Jump the Shark about "same show, different cast" or something along those lines.

Something to ponder: the longer a show goes, the less likely it will have a satisfying series finale. No matter how many plot lines get resolved, many shows go out with a whimper instead of a bang. So the plus in having a short run is that the finale might actually come at a creative highwater-mark for the writers and actors.

Jun 1st 2006

Intersting theory about using the poor performance of the branch as a tie in to the shows success or lack thereof if certain actors leave. I agree that its likely the branches performance will be a plot line for S3. Of course all the branch has to do is land another big contract like Michael landed this year at Chili's when he and Jan kissed that first time.

Jun 1st 2006

I tend to think that this show will fun for four of five years. It's one of the few hits NBC has, and they're going to be pretty much everything they can to get people to stay for as long as possible.

Jun 1st 2006

I think 4 years would be ideal.

I don't think getting movie deals is going to drag the actors away from the show. Friends was REALLY big and it lasted for 9 years, I don't see why The Office can't stick together for 2-3 more years?

Jun 1st 2006 edited

I would love to see a 3 or 4 more year run but I really doubt it will happen. My reasons, however, are different.

There is enough other zanny stuff going on to carry this show for a while. The fact of no personnel changes in all that time is not a problem for me. I've worked for the same company for 29 years. Bart hasn't aged in 15 years. People can overlook that stuff. They could spend one whole season weaving Dwangela and KeRyan in and out as they do now with JAM. I know of no other show where 4 cast members are also show writers. This show is so unique in so many ways.

The issue I see is numbers, plain and simple. This show is not written to the mass viewing audience. This show has an incredible (small to medium) core audience and the innovation is like nothing else on TV. But most Americans viewing taste is so low that I can't see this show holding up under advertiser scrutiny.

I enjoy watching "The Soup" on Friday nights because I get to see what the networks are passing off as entertainment. When I see the ratings of these shows, and the content that Joel (John Henson was so good) so willingly mocks, it is downright scarry. Most comedic TV is unbearably lame. The Office doesn't fit the cookie-cutter mold of every other sitcom and the ratings are so-so. That will make exec's very nervous and this show will have to reprove it's merit each season... unlike Friends or Seindeld that would be granted an additional 10 years sight unseen just because of their rep.

I've braced myself for next year being the last although I really hope the show gets at least one more beyond that.

All of that said, this show WILL BE IMITATED by other networks. Mark my words, there will be (or are already in the works) copy-cat's and they will be stupid and unwatchable.

Apr 17th 2007 edited

Holy crap! I just found JLJ's inagural post . . . wow. To be honest, after watching the first two seasons, I think I felt similarly to JLJ -- that perhaps season 3 should be the last, and that this was just the kind of show that is daring enough to do that sort of thing. Now that we're nearing the inevitable screeching halt for the summer holidays . . . well, it turns out this show, while still great, is not nearly so unconventional or daring as some of us had thought.

I'm sitting here, though, and I think: If the Jim & Pam situation is really not putting marzipan in my pieplate at the moment, isn't it great that the rest of the show is still so remarkable, so good, that I'm still watching? Most shows, if they so willfully set fire to an ongoing storyline, will lose my viewership, or at least my affection. (See Smallville for a show I quit watching, or Lost and Gilmore Girls for shows that have floundered but which I keep watching despite my reservations.) But I still love The Office. Sure, it's now a show I love despite its flaws -- but even in a down week (like Safety Training or what have you), I still laugh out loud four or five times in a mere 22 minutes. And that? That is good work right there.

So yeah. Neat to find JLJ's first post, and warm fuzzies about The Office.

Apr 17th 2007

The Office has already been renewed for a fourth season.

But I agree with a lot of what's been said...sorta. I think my brain agrees, but my heart says no. It must go on for as long as the demand exists.

Apr 18th 2007 edited

But I agree with a lot of what's been said...sorta. I think my brain agrees, but my heart says no. It must go on for as long as the demand exists.

I remember reading that first post from JLJ and I was hoping that NBC doesn't see it and get any ideas. I'm glad The Office is renewed for another season. Now that there's nothing else on TV I care to watch, I really look forward to it every week. I can't even think about the possibility of The Office meeting it's demise someday. I hope Dwight will be sitting at his desk when it does, but no, I'm not going to think about it.

Apr 18th 2007

Dwight will die at his desk at Dunder-Mifflin. Even if he leaves, he'll be back.

Apr 18th 2007

This quote from DwightFromtheFuture needs to be posted again.

"the Jim & Pam situation is really not putting marzipan in my pieplate at the moment

What a striking metaphor.

That's all I have to contribute to this conversation, except that nobody in television is daring anymore. Greed and the mighty dollar takes all the daring out of prime time television. In my opinion Lost is the closest any of the main networks have come to being daring, and I'm not sure how that's working out for them.

Apr 18th 2007

One question...who's En Esch?

Apr 18th 2007 edited

Wow, this is weird to see. I figured this thread was buried so deep it would never be heard from again.

I still agree with this:

In my opinion the show could not exist without (Michael Scott). No character could replace him.

But not necessarily this:

There is also a chance this could happen with Fischer or Krasinski, they are both getting very popular and I don't think their characters could be replaced either.

Even though it wouldn't be the same, and they'd be missed dearly, I think the show could move on without Jim or (I can't believe I'm saying this) Pam. The rest of the cast is strong enough to make up for one of them being gone. But not both.

For one, the mockumentary style lends it's self to a short run. I can't imagine a documentarian following the people of a small office around for six or seven years. Even 2 1/2 to 3 years seems long.

I've decided it's best not to think about the documentary too much and just go with the flow.

If it is the last season, it will be announced sometime in the last three or four episodes that the branch is closing and the rest of the show will deal with how the characters will move on. Jim and Pam will come to a happy resolution, I have no doubt about that.

I still think this would be the best way to end the show. It would have to be determined ahead of time that is was the last season, hopefully the show is afforded that luxury.

isn't it great that the rest of the show is still so remarkable, so good, that I'm still watching?...But I still love The Office. Sure, it's now a show I love despite its flaws -- but even in a down week (like Safety Training or what have you), I still laugh out loud four or five times in a mere 22 minutes. And that? That is good work right there.

I agree with these comments from DftF, I'm very very happy that the show is continuing and there seems to be no end in sight.

One question...who's En Esch?

En Esch was a member of KMFDM, I usually use band names or members for passwords and when I sign up at web sites, so I used that for my first post. Then I noticed that (almost) everyone had funny names related to the show so I changed it. I still have thoughts about changing my current name, but since I've used it for over a 1,000 posts I think I'll just stay with it.

Apr 18th 2007

Maybe Jan and Michael get together, and Michael becomes a stay-at-home dad

Seriously, think about that! Would you trust Michael Scott at home, alone, with babies? Seriously?

Apr 18th 2007

Actually, yes. It's what he's born to do. I've said elsewhere that I could see him taking babies on sales calls and being more successful. Besides, would you leave Jan with a kid?

This is the last time I'll wax maudlin about my Northern Attack cyberfriends, but if the show comes to an end, will people still come here and post? I'd be sad if the site went away.

Apr 18th 2007

As sad as it would be for The Office to stop after only a few seasons, it would have so much more integrity (unlike LOST!). I wouldn't mind seeing it go out in a blaze of glory though, like the feds catching on to Kevin's inside trading and him fleeing to Mexico, the company being completely shut down, or completely turned around by a new CEO, namely Daryl, Kelly goes into fashion design, Ryan goes into therapy, and the show ends with a nice Pam and Jim segment.

Apr 18th 2007

...And Dwight fights a bear.

Apr 18th 2007

but if the show comes to an end, will people still come here and post? I'd be sad if the site went away.

At that point there might not be a "here" here but I could see the party moving to another house. That or a name change would be in order, perhaps "The North Won", or in true Scottish form "Gone But Not Remembered." And we could sit around like old farts and reminisce about the best show ever.

Apr 18th 2007

Well, Tanster says she'll maintain OT as an Office archive site when the show one day retires. That's a lot to ask of James to maintain a permanent forum, though. Still, I imagine the show will have left an indelible footprint on the interwebs once it's gone so that anyone who wants to find their way "home" to this community will be able to do so in some form.

And we could sit around like old farts and reminisce about the best show ever.

I don't know. That would be a major adjustment, wouldn't it?

Apr 18th 2007

And we could sit around like old farts and reminisce about the best show ever

Someday, when I'm awfully low...when the world is cold...I will feel a glow just thinking of you....

Apr 18th 2007

Let's ask the guys over at the Cheers forum how they're coping: http://community.tvguide.com/forum/Cheers/700014975

Hmm, not too well.

Apr 18th 2007

But at least everyone knows their name...

Apr 18th 2007

But at least everyone knows their name...

That's so funny, it hurts.

Aug 3rd 2007

Being a few weeks from the start of season 4, any updated theories?

I'll echo KarenM's sentiments, it would be sad if the is forums disburses at the end of the series. Everybody here is wicked funny and the topics we cover go all over the place. Big plus is that it helps pass the time at this stupid job. I believe Steve when he says he'd dedicated to the show and Jenna has an appreciation for the show and fans that seems like it can't be matched. I would have to predict if anybody were to jump ship, it would be John. No particular reason, but when you see quotes like "the next Tom Hanks", it's hard to imagine he'd pass on that type of fame.

Lastly, how funny is it to say your a Northern Attacker and your friends give you that weird look like you've finally gone off the deep end.

Aug 3rd 2007

We can't really know for sure, of course, but according to this interview that I found at Office Tally, it isn't likely that John will be leaving anytime soon. (Look in the top-right corner.)

Aug 3rd 2007

Yeah, when I got my US in the mail this past weekend, that is the first thing I noticed. I hope he isn't lying. It seems like all of the cast really does enjoy working with each other.

Aug 3rd 2007

If I were a TV star who was thinking about leaving my show for the big screen or whatever, and an interviewer asked me if I was thinking about it, but I didn't want to say that I was thinking about it, I would perhaps respond with something like "No, I love the show and I don't have any intention of leaving," not an emphatic "God, no! I'll be there 'til the end!"

My point is simply that I think it was genuine.

Aug 3rd 2007

I think a good reason to be optimistic is that the flow of talent seems to be going the opposite direction, these days: Many, many very good (and quite famous) actors and actresses -- Glenn Close and Holly Hunt come to mind at the moment -- seem to be seeking the relatively safe and stable pastures of television work to pay their bills as the movie industry struggles a little bit. Krasinski's always going to be a character actor, and television is better to character actors than movies are at the moment, as cable opens up the medium, makes the writing and direction better, and offers consistent, steady work.

Aug 3rd 2007

Being that it was over a year ago I have a question for JLJ. Do you feel you are a different person from you first post when you started this thread? Your wording and literary mannerisms feel different (at least to me) but looking back on the post that began it for you, could you see yourself writing that post again?

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