“The Office” Nears its End After Nine Seasons

The Office will end this May after nine seasons.

“The Office” will end this May after nine seasons.

Karalyn Kickham

"The Office" will end this May after nine seasons.
“The Office” will end this May after nine seasons.

All good things must come to an end.  After eight years, nine seasons, and 195 episodes, NBC’s “The Office” is down to the final four episodes of the series.  NBC aired episode 196, entitled “Paper Airplane,” on Thursday, April 25. A new episode will be aired each Thursday up until the one-hour series finale on May 16, when “The Office” will say goodbye forever.

“The Office,” an American sitcom airing since 2005, is an adaptation of its British namesake. The show acts as a “mockumentary” and follows the lives of the employees at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Michael Scott, (Steve Carell) the manager of the Scranton branch, was the highlight of “The Office” until he left the show at the end of season seven. Michael’s suggestive humor, awkwardness, and certainty that the rest of the employees regard him as family are just a few of the components that made Michael Scott such a memorable and hilarious character.

Over the years, viewers have witnessed the lives of Dunder Mifflin’s employees change drastically.  Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) was given the title of “Assistant to the Regional Manager” to make him feel closer to the manager position that he so badly wants but will never have. Angela (Angela Kinsey) had a secret relationship with Dwight, but called it off for her husband the Senator, who turned out to be gay and in a relationship with Oscar (Oscar Nuñez).  Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) used to date the receptionist, Erin (Ellie Kemper), but she recently broke it off and is dating another employee.  The most notable relationship in the office is between Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski). Jim and Pam have always been best friends at work and constantly played jokes on Dwight. Jim has always had a huge crush on Pam, and viewers were finally content with their relationship when the couple got married in season six.

Now, as the series nears its end, Andy is the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.  There are two new customer service representatives, Clark and Pete (Clark Duke and Jake Lacey, respectively), and Pete is dating Erin.  Jim and Pam are having major relationship troubles, as Jim spends a lot of time at his new company in Philadelphia. These issues bring viewers to last week’s episode.

Episode 196, “Paper Airplane” was focused around an office-wide competition to see who could create a paper airplane that traveled the farthest.  The employees used “Airstream Deluxe” paper from the WeyerHammer Paper Company to construct and fly their own airplanes, and they competed for a two-thousand dollar prize.  Early on in the competition, Pam’s airplane hits Toby directly in the eye.  Andy tells Toby he wants to see the injured eye, but then backs out because he is squeamish when it comes to things like  touching eyeballs.  Erin’s competitive side comes out during the competition, as she grew up in a foster home and often had to fight other kids for things. Kevin loses a round to Angela after admitting that he bought his airplane off of Craigslist, and his own airplane does not fly. The final four competitors are Toby, Erin, Angela, and Dwight.  Angela beats Toby and Dwight beats a furious Erin, bringing the two ex-lovers, Dwight and Angela, to the final round.

Dwight had cheered for Angela in prior rounds, and when questioned by his girlfriend, Esther, Dwight explains that he pities Angela because she could have had it all, but instead lost everything—referring to Angela turning down Dwight for the Senator.  Angela currently lives in a tiny apartment with her baby and over ten cats, and she is also in a horrible financial state. Before the final round, Esther tells Angela that Dwight is going to let her win because she needs the money, so Angela tells Dwight not to throw the competition.  Dwight throws his plane far, and Angela then throws the competition herself.

Meanwhile, Andy’s agent has landed him a role in a film for chemical handling protocols, where he plays a scientist.  Part of the gig requires Andy to flush out his eyes with water, which is an issue because of Andy’s fear of anything touching his eyes.  Darryl (Craig Robinson) is able to convince Andy to wash his eyes, although Andy does it while screaming in pain.

In this episode, viewers learn that Jim and Pam have been going to couples’ therapy where they were taught to look for every chance to acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices they make for each other.  The couple is also supposed to “speak their truths” and not hold any feelings back. After a tense argument in which Jim and Pam overuse the phrases “appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifice” and “to speak my truth,” a confused Clark chimes in with comedic relief when he asks, “Are you guys high? Because if so, to speak my truth, I would appreciate the sacrifice of including me in some hits off your kind buds.”

The end of the episode is by far the best part.  Jim has to leave work early because he needs to go back to Philly, so he says a quick goodbye to Pam and heads outside.  Pam realizes that Jim left his umbrella on his desk, so she brings it to the taxi in the parking lot.  As Pam heads back inside, Jim comes up behind Pam and hugs her for a long time.  There is a flashback to Jim and Pam’s wedding, with a voiceover from the wedding which says, “Love suffers long and is kind. It is not proud. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Love never fails, and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” Pam and Jim kiss and simultaneously whisper “I love you.” Finally. All is well again with Jim and Pam.

Although this episode was not as funny as others have been, it resolved long-lasting tensions between Jim and Pam.  With only three episodes left in “The Office,” hopefully all relationships within the office will be sorted out by the finale.  A special one-hour episode, “Livin’ the Dream,” will air on NBC on Thursday, May 2 at 8:30 pm.