The Office Series Finale

The Office series finale last night did a good job of ending the show. I’ve always felt that Steve Carell’s final episode should have also been the show’s final episode, but since it was not, last night’s episode did about as good of a job of ending the show as was possible. Yes, it was schmaltzy, and yes, all of the main characters’ stories (especially Pam and Jim’s) got tied up much too neatly to be plausible, but The Office was good enough and important enough for long enough (i.e., barring the past two seasons) that it could get away with an ending that was much more uplifting than the show’s overall subject matter. Unlike many previous last episode disasters (e.g., Seinfeld‘s, which was laughably horrible, and Will and Grace‘s, which was traumatic and had me screaming at the television), The Office‘s finale didn’t insist on being over-the-top, which allowed it to end things smoothly and successfully.

There were also some fantastic one-liners and inside references for long-time viewers, such as the stripper at Dwight’s bachelor party who had also worked Bob Vance’s bachelor party and had accepted the rabies research check from Michael dressed as a “nurse” in one of the series’ best episodes. I thought Carell’s cameo was handled quite well: he got in one last “that’s what she said,” and his final line about having his kids (i.e., his former workers) grow up and marry each other being “what every parent wants” was classic Michael. I was a huge fan of The Office until two seasons ago, and I feel like last night’s episode allowed me to end my relationship to the show with a sense of peace.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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