Space Ramblings

The Office 4×14 Goodbye Toby episode review

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that The Office started out as a scrappy midseason replacement that was down in the ratings before it was swept up as America’s leading cultural sitcom and a Presidential candidate was jokingly citing Dwight Schrute as a potential VP candidate. And The Office 4×14 Goodbye Toby is a good reminder of how far The Office has come from that scrappy series. It’s big business and self-congratulatory and worst of all unfunny.

The Office has often been unfunny, painfully unfunny and awkwardly funny; but Goodbye Toby is simply a lead balloon filled with reruns of jokes that we had seen before, it stumbles along and disappoints everyone from casual viewers to steady fans. Probably the best metaphor for how badly The Office s4e14 Goodbye Toby fails is the arrival of Holly, otherwise known as Poochy. The Office has been good at bringing in and disposing of characters on the show before. In Season 3 it introduced and then disposed of half a dozen people without blinking an eye and left only one on board. And the way they did it was slowly and naturally, but slowly and naturally is exactly what Holly’s arrival isn’t, it’s loud, it’s self-congratulatory and it’s filled with all the desperate attempts to make Holly cool and to get viewers to like her, that made Poochy’s arrival so annoying and unfunny.

By the time Michael delivers a bombastic speech about Holly’s greatness the viewer can’t help but cringe and wonder how The Office got this bad or mourn the removal of Toby and Ryan, two great characters who made the show work and their replacement by a character who clearly belongs in a sitcom. Yet The Office was never really a sitcom, which is why Holly’s integration is so unworkable… but throughout The Office 4×14 Goodbye Toby, what has clearly happened is much worse. The Office isn’t a sitcom, but Goodbye Toby dives far into soap opera territory instead.

With one proposal, one near proposal, one budding relationship between Michael and Holly we’re obviously supposed to cheer for, one returning ex with a pregnancy revelation and the final moment that shows us an uncomfortable Dwight and Angela going at it in the office, Goodbye Toby is an elaborate soap opera episode that occasionally tries for a joke and misses it by a mile. The Office has always been about the characters but Goodbye Toby seems desperate to throw relationships at viewers until they find one they care about. It’s the oppose of last season’s organic finale. Instead it’s desperate and it smacks of Desperate Housewives.

The producers of The Office no doubt know that Jim and Pam were a major reason the show was embraced by people who wouldn’t otherwise be sitting to watch the series. But they’ve underestimated their audience with Goodbye Toby. Everything from Holly to the soap opera twists is an attempt to cater to the Grey’s Anatomy audience the series is competing against, but in doing so The Office is trying to get an audience they don’t have and in doing so risk losing an audience they do have.

Related posts:

Post Navigation

Custom Avatars For Comments
%d bloggers like this: