I hope I’m wrong, but I fear that the four key dynamics that made the show great have changed or ended in a way that has weakened the show. It’s still funny, but I’m not using it as an ab workout now, you know?
The four key dynamics follow, in no particular order:
1) Jim and Pam
When Jim and Pam were secretly liking each other they were funny. There was humor in the tension of not knowing what they were going to do. Now that they are together, it’s not that funny anymore. It’s just that kind of treacle that gets annoying in a real life office. If they start calling each other “schmoopy” you will know the end has come.
2) Michael and Jan
When Jan was a normal career woman who accidentally and inexplicably fell for the clueless bumbler Michael, it was funny. She was so together, and he was always embarrassing her, and that was funny. Now Jan is just psycho, and you feel sorry for Michael. The actors do their level best, but psycho humor is tough. It was a lot funnier when Jan was believable.
3) Dwight and Angela
The fact that uptight Angela, who buys her clothes at the American Girl Doll store, and Dwight, who lives on a beet farm, were secretly dating was very funny because it was awkward and clandestine and Dwight called Angela “Monkey.” Angela openly dating Andy is not funny, and Dwight is hard to make fun of when he’s just a heartbroken dork who plays Second Life.
4) Ryan and Kelly
Kelly was hilarious as the clingy and silly Valley Girl who was trying to have a really touchy-feely relationship with Ryan the temp who wanted to get away from her but couldn’t figure out how. Now that Ryan is at corporate, he’s just a punk, and Kelly has nothing to do. Kelly’s current relationship with Darrell is not funny because Darrell is not embarrassed or trying to run away from her fawning.
Obviously the show still has its funny moments, they just aren’t as solid as they used to be. I hope that somehow the writers can pull it all back together and give us some more solid seasons, but I’m afraid the shark has been jumped.
If you watch The Office, what do you think? Am I totally off the reservation here?