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.