tv talk | the office (and the thing about sitcoms).

the thing about sitcoms is that you can watch one here and there and still appreciate the show, but there's never any real pull to keep you watching. storylines are often fully played out in a 20-minute episode, and even though there are overarching storylines that play out throughout a season, or the series, there's no real need to watch them in order.

this is why i can never keep up with any sitcoms as they air each week. i always forget about them! (unlike dramas, like the vampire diaries for example, which i shamelessly binge-watched earlier this year and whose finale i am STILL THINKING ABOUT and feeling sad about to this day.) (i know, how old am i?) even with how i met your mother, a show which i actively tried to keep up with, i was continuously catching up every few weeks.

all of that to say, i loved watching the office, but after a while, i stopped trying to remember how many episodes behind i was and gave up on being current, and watching the show all together. i really did like the show though, and i stopped watching before jim and pam got married, so i always knew i would eventually go back and watch them all.

it turns out, the office is far more enjoyable when the episodes are watched one after another. it gave me a whole new appreciation for the characters and their stories, and their relationship with one another. i'm sure anyone who watched consistently already saw that from week to week, but the gaps between episodes and seasons were too much for me.

watching one episode at a time, i always saw michael scott as awkward and likable, but i never really loved his character the way everyone else seemed to. to me, his character always felt like a surprise. you never knew what you were going to get. but after watching a string of episodes, i saw how hilarious and inappropriate and genuine he was, and how all those pieces fit together so well. it's not something you can fully see in a single episode, and maybe why i never quite got it.

after michael left (in the saddest episode), the show really took a nosedive, which i think was a surprise to no one. he was literally the crazy glue that held it all together. he was irreplaceable, but they tried and tried again (and failed every time) to successfully continue without him.

the final season got a bit better, in my opinion. i liked that the walls between the camera staff and the office staff were torn down. i always sort of wondered why they never did that, but i also think once that happened, the dynamic changed and it wasn't quite the same show anymore. for a final season, especially one without michael scott, i thought it ended pretty well.

i can't imagine what it was like for the dedicated fans who watched week after week as each of those post-michael episodes aired. sitcoms are definitely better binge-watched, especially when you need to power through some not great episodes.