How to Jump the Shark: The Office Season 8

They should have crossed out the whole picture.

Up until this season, The Office was probably my favorite show of all time (second only to Rock of Love Bus). I quoted it. I had parties to watch the new episodes. I loved it, and since I hate everything, that is saying a lot. The show had weak episodes here and there, but through 7 seasons, it gave me a lot of laughs.

Then came season 8. Why couldn’t The Office have had the grace to quit while they were ahead?

I predict that The Office will be cancelled by the end of the season, if not before. It certainly needs to be put out of its misery. Here’s why:

  1. They lost the show’s main character. Yes, The Office has an ensemble cast, but the world of The Office only works with Michael Scott at the helm. He is an incompetent boss, completely insane, and yet still likable. The show revolved around Michael’s crazy ideas and the rest of the office trying to cope with/react to them. Andy is not nearly incompetent or insane enough, and Robert California might be insane but he’s barely on the show. Without Michael, it’s just an office full of slightly weird/annoying people. Why would I waste my time watching it when I can just go to work?
  2. All of the characters got fat. Ok, not all of them. Just Darryl and Pam. And Pam is pregnant, not so much “fat” per se. Either way, I feel like the cast is just bigger this year, and for some reason I don’t enjoy watching them as much because of it. So sue me.
  3. The characters are not consistent. Pam used to be somewhat meek, shy even. She seemed like a nice person–now she just seems arrogant and entitled. Round-face smug, bossy Pam. She seems more like Angela now. And Angela is nice and happy this season. What the hell? Who decided to switch Angela and Pam? I don’t like either of them now. Andy used to be an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with anger issues. Now he is an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with daddy issues. Ok, so Andy has issues. Why not carry on his previous anger issue? Why make up a new one this season? They used it as a plot device for a single episode, instead of building on past established traits in multiple episodes. It didn’t fit and I didn’t get it.
  4. They tried to continue the series after all of the loose ends were tied up. Last season, Michael Scott finally realized his dream to get engaged to someone equally as insane as him. Pam and Jim already had their happily ever after. Angela was dating a gay politician. Dwight was exactly the same as he was on day 1 of the series. The Office was left with an uncertain future with no replacement boss–what better way to end? What other story is there to tell? (None, if you couldn’t guess.) Leave it open so that each viewer can make up his own ending, if you will.
  5. The gags are over-the-top. I know what you’re thinking. It’s The Office. ALL of the gags are over-the-top. But that’s just it–they’re not. Like when Jim and Pam throw Andy’s phone into the ceiling over his desk. That is totally doable, and I’m sure people tried it after the show aired. Or the time when Michael was going to pretend to commit suicide by jumping off the roof into a bouncy castle. It was crazy, but within Michael’s realm of crazy, so I could buy it. This season? Jim publishing a fake book online about throwing garden parties? Dwight finding it, purchasing it, and using it as a reference to throw a garden party? IMPOSSIBLE. At the very least, IMPLAUSIBLE. Sorry guys, I just don’t believe your jokes anymore.
  6. Not enough of the minor characters. I love Meredith, Creed, and Kelly. They have provided some of the funniest moments this show has ever offered up. Creed selling fake IDs to all the local teenagers. Meredith flashing Michael in his office. Creed’s “blog”.  Meredith trading sex for paper discounts. Creed taking a bite out of a potato. Almost anything that Kelly says. (“I have a question for you Ryan. First of all, how dare you.”) In seasons past, I would lol every time they would come on screen–but this season I haven’t lol’ed once. Are they even in this season, or do they just not have anything even remotely funny to say?
  7. The writing is bad. I think that sums up 3-6. The writers all forgot their craft after Steve Carell left the show. His impact on the entire production was obviously huge, because without him, they just can’t pull it off. Most of the issues I listed could be corrected with better writing–but it won’t happen. If they could write better episodes, they’d be doing it already.

The bottom line is that the show is pointless without Steve Carell. If the people in charge had any insight, they would have realized this and cancelled it already. Instead, they decided to go for one more season–but I guarantee it will be the last.*

Verdict: Shitty

*But if it’s not I’ll still be watching, and complaining about it the entire time.

16 Responses to “How to Jump the Shark: The Office Season 8”

  1. December 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Give it to ’em Mrs Brik! This show fell hard from last season. It’s sad too, because last season would have been a perfect bow. Michael’s last episode was awesome.

    You didnt touch on my most hated point this season… Andy is a terrible “Main Character”. He was fine when he was part of the crazy ensemble, but as the lead? Ugh. Can’t abide by it.

  2. December 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Agreed. Season 8 is fucking terrible.

  3. December 19, 2011 at 2:20 am

    That list of points pretty much sums up my opinion as well. I think that without Michael Scott’s character, there simply isn’t a way to develop the humor since Michael puts a whole different kind of (stupid) energy into his daily activities which the other bosses have desperately tried to immitate (i.e. Will Ferrel, Andy, and Robert California who comes the closest to anything Michael-like, which is sad). That’s a good point that if the show had ended with Michael leaving it would have been a good ending, though I think I’d be sad if it had happened. Overall, if there is anything after a season 9, I’d be amazed… the show needs to be, like you said, put out of its misery.

  4. 4 CF
    January 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    The only thing I’ll disagree with you on is that this was the 1st bad season. Season 7 was pretty bad too. As much as I agree the show shouldn’t exist without Michael, I think the writing took a nosedive before he left. If it hadn’t…he probably would have stayed.

    • 5 mrsbrik
      January 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      I do agree with you that season 7 was not as good as the other seasons, but I don’t think it was outright bad like season 8 is. Season 8 has had episode after episode of crap. Season 7 still had some funny moments and decent episodes, though overall it was weaker.

    • January 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Steve Carell stated he was going to leave the series after season 7 because that’s when his contract was ending. He said this before season 7 went into production. The quality of the writing of season 7 had little to nothing to do with his departure.

  5. 7 bill nevin
    March 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    kathy bates would give it a jump start and bring back the knowing looks into the camera from all the others showing intelligent awareness.

  6. 8 Sanjay
    March 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Could not agree more, this season is terrible. I especially agree with your point about the inconsistent characters and that those changes to the characters have generally made them more annoying. Also the over the top gags also applies to over the top character traits. Even if characters were crazy in the past they were plausible. They have now made Erin so stupid, it is almost like she is retarded, she heats gatorade up as tea?

  7. 9 Micah
    May 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Yeah this show took a serious nosedive. I am ashamed to say I watched Season 8, the first couple of episodes I found the changes in dwights/pam’s/andy’s and the others personalities charming, but by the time I got near the end of season 8 it started to feel like they were just dragging it out. They really do need to end it.

  8. 10 Jesus
    July 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    As the ninth season, which was pretty goddamn hilarious, proved, the problem with the eighth season wasn’t so much the absence of Steve Carell, as the presence of James Spader.

    I used to think that asshole was a great actor. But he can’t do comedy for shit. The only worse cases of miscasting I can think of are M.F. Assbender not playing Batman, James Bond, Lincoln, Snow White, and Battleship last year.

    • 11 mrsbrik
      July 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      I think the show really lost its footing after losing Steve Carell, which doesn’t necessarily prove that they needed him, but they needed time to refocus and recover. I caught a few episodes in season 9 and did think they were funny; once they got their shit together and got over Carell moving on they seemed to do ok for themselves.

      I can’t really speak to James Spader as a comedy actor; it’s hard to rise above bad material. I don’t really blame him for how bad season 8 was.

      Season 9 might be worth going back for a rewatch; I never gave it much of a chance after season 8 was so thoroughly disappointing. Thanks for the comment. And agree about the miscasting of Assbender.

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December 2011


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