The Missing Ingredient is Comedy

I’ve wanted to comment on the new season of The Office since it began, but decided to put it off until after the wedding ep. DB and I have both found this season to be lacking, and we were both hoping that this was because they’d been putting all their efforts into making the wedding ep amazing, as opposed to the season premiere.

jim tieWell, this week brought us the hour-long wedding ep Niagra, and it was good (the best of the season so far), but not nearly as good as it should have been. I’m starting to think the problem is that The Office has forgotten it’s supposed to be primarily a comedy.

I’m not sure how many of you guys are avid webcomic readers, but there’s a common affliction in the webcomic community where a strip starts off as wacky situational comedy, but somewhere along the line the creator or creators get bored with the formula and want to tell an actual story. Instead of beginning a new comic, they simply repurpose the existing one, adding drama, weaving an overly complex backstory connecting characters together, introducing evil relatives, things like that.

This is what I think The Office has done, in a way. The comedy has become secondary to telling the stories of where these characters are going. It started last season with the Michael Scott Paper Company arc (and the fact that you can refer to an ‘arc’ of the show is a pretty telling sign that it has changed) but it’s much more pronounced this season. The show has been more concerned with Jim and Pam starting the next phase of their lives than with being really funny.

bossesIt’s not like there wasn’t plenty of plot progression and character development in earlier seasons (well, character development for some at least), but back then it didn’t overshadow the comedy aspects of the series.The wedding ep really should have been one to rank up there with last year’s Superbowl ep, but wasn’t.

This isn’t to say that they haven’t done anything new and interesting this season, they’ve had some different character teamups (I liked Toby and Dwight), but in terms of hilariousity it’s starting to look like The Office won’t be returning to the heights it’s reached in earlier seasons.

I’m still shocked by how much better than The Office Parks & Recreation has been this season, a month ago I never would have guessed I was liking P&R more, let alone significantly more.

-Jerk

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~ by Jerk on October 11, 2009.

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