Ever since Steve Carell left the show, The Office has been a shadow of its former self (and it was even showing major signs of weakness in Carell’s final seasons). So this show would need a miracle to make its final season worthwhile. While it is evident that the cast and crew tried their hardest, there was no miracle here. The ninth season of The Office was a show that tried to clean up as much of its mess as possible only to discover that there was too much garbage to begin with.
The ninth season of The Office followed multiple plotlines around the office. The most major ones included Andy (Ed Helms) and Erin (Ellie Kemper)’s relationship falling apart after Andy leaves on a boat trip and Erin begins to fall for new employee Pete (played by Jake Lacy), Jim (John Krasinski)’s new sports marketing job putting a strain on his and Pam (Jenna Fischer)’s relationship and the continuing troubles of Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey)’s problems. Greg Daniels (who shepherded the best seasons on the show before leaving to run Parks and Recreation) returned to run the final season and the directing team included such high-profile names as Bryan Cranston, John Favreau and Daniels himself.
The return of Greg Daniels brought hope that this show could be saved in time for the finale. However, that was not the case as Daniels and company found a way to make the characters of the show even more annoying. The Jim and Pam marital problems storyline was the definition of a waste of time as there was no way that the show was going to end that storyline with them breaking up. Yet the show made these two characters go back and forth multiple times just to keep the story running throughout the entire season. Also one of the saving graces of these past seasons (the Andy and Erin relationship) was completely demolished just to give one of the new characters (why were new characters being introduced in the final season?) more screen time.
Surprisingly, the show found some way to make Dwight (whose antics in previous seasons delved into insanity at multiple points) the emotional center of the show. A lot of this has to do with Rainn Wilson’s strong work throughout the course of the season, but it is amazing (and a sign of how badly written the other characters were this past season) that such a crazy character could become the heart of the show. Anytime, his character became the focus of the show (and especially towards the end of the season where he interacted with Jim more), the show actually became tolerable.
Ultimately, this show concluded with an arc that included way too much time spent on arcs that began in the later seasons and montages of clips from the first few seasons. A Steve Carell cameo was fun but it was not enough to save a show that was probably beyond saving. At its best The Office was a show that was somehow better than the series it was based off of but at its worst (like this past season) it was one of the worst shows on television.