The Office N00b: Seasons 1-3

Just catching up? Check out The Office N00b: Day One and The Office N00b: Meeting the Staff

OMG YOU GUYS JIM AND PAM ARE GOING ON A DATE AND I AM SO EXCITED!!!

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Man, I’m such a sucker.

Okay, let’s backtrack a little bit and make sure everything I’ve been randomly posting on Twitter and Facebook is cataloged in this blog as well. Now, when we last left off, I’d made it through all of Season One and just under half of the episodes in Season Two. I pretty much take back everything I said about nearly every character, with the exception of Stanley and Ryan, because they’re still awesome.

Okay, so a few tweets:

First… I mean, of course:

Then, THIS happened:

And then, most recently, this little discovery:

Okay, quick update on my feelings about the staff of Dunder-Mifflin:

Michael Scott – What a complicated character. Like, I feel terrible for this guy. Jan is just awful. Poor dude can’t seem to catch a break. He really, really cares. And yet, he can be such a misogynistic, homophobic tool that…I dunno. Karma is a bitch, I guess?

Dwight Schrute – You know, I stand by what I said about Dwight before. I feel bad for him. I think he has a really decent heart and, at his core, he’s a really good guy. He’s just painfully awkward at accomplishing his goals. Like, that scene when he comforts Pam when she’s crying over Jim but doesn’t tell anyone that’s why? Broke my heart. Yes, he stepped in it when he asked if she was crying because she was PMS-ing, but the handkerchief and the arm around her shoulders? Be nicer to Dwight, you guys.

Jim Halpert – I still feel like Jim can be a dick, but I think his time in Stanford softened him somewhat. He’s maturing. Also, I’m beginning to see a lot of his pranks on Dwight as coming from a more “sibling rivalry” type place as opposed to just pure meanness.

Pam Beesly – YOU GO PAM! Damn, she kicks ass in Season 3. I want to be Season 3 Pam. Especially on Beach Day. We should all be so brave.

Angela – Ugh, what a bitch. I take back the nice things I said. Except one — for as misanthropic as she is, she really does love Dwight. And it’s kinda nice to know there’s someone out there for everyone, right?

Ryan – OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS, RYAN IS GOING TO CORPORATE!!! The way he treated Kelly sucks, but…she sucks too. And this poor, beleaguered temp really does deserve a shot at something better. And, again, weird crush on B.J. Novak. Sorry not sorry.

Stanley – I still love Stanley.

Roy – Thank God he’s gone. I wasn’t even moved by his “I’m so sad I lost Pam, I really want her back, I’ll prove I’m a changed man” routine. Just go away, Roy. Go. Away.

The Rest – I know who Creed is now. He scares me. But he also makes me laugh. I appreciate both Meredith and Phyllis. I really loved the bit they gave Mindy Kaling to do as Kelly when they needed Customer Service training; I hope they give her more stuff like that in future episodes. Kevin is…fine, I guess. He makes me laugh sometimes, but he also skeeves me out. Andy entered the fray after my last blog post, as did Karen. It’s hard not to like those characters purely because I like the actors playing them. I feel bad for Toby. I’m glad Oscar is back from his leave of absence.

So. Current Thoughts. 

Part of what really started to turn my opinion of Jim around is something I just sort of marvel at with this show in general, and that’s the honesty of it all. These are some of the most raw-nerved, exposed, emotionally present performances that I have ever seen on a sitcom.

I think it’s a benefit of the style and format. With The Office, the only time the characters are “on stage” is really in the interview segments. And even in those, we get these beautifully sincere performances. Like, how does this not make your heart explode into a thousand tiny butterflies?

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Now, as for the actual scripting, I started turning the corner on Jim because he never fell for the classic sitcom trope of “lie about the girl you really love.” He was honest with Karen. He didn’t dodge her questions. He was still open to a friendship with Pam. Pam and Karen tried to talk it out and be civil as best they could. Heck, Pam was even finally honest with Roy (which led to the whole pepper-spray incident, but…)

Like, in any other show, that’s where the drama would be coming from. It would be lies and hair-pulling and back-stabbing. Like, you know in Friends when Ross tries to hide the fact that he slept with the girl from the coffee place from Rachel? We had to hear about that shit until the SERIES FINALE. That’s not an issue in this particular triangle in The Office, and that makes me like it more.

Do I like the show? 

Truthfully, after three seasons… I’m still not sure.

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As a lifelong scholar of popular culture, and as a writer who would love to craft her own pilot/series one day, this is a show absolutely worthy of watching and studying. It’s brilliant. The way they film it, the way the stories are structure, the dialogue, the directing… like, this is quality television. For those reasons alone, I am sad that it took me this long to sit down and really go through it all, because I have a lot to learn from it.

But…do I like it?

After three seasons, I’m still struggling with the fact that, at its core, it feels like being the popular kid picking on the nerds. Everyone is really flawed, and everyone is really mean. It’s hard to enjoy that. It’s hard to say “Yeah. I like watching terrible people be terrible.” I mean, I do tend to like unlikable characters. But I’m not sure there’s enough balance with the likable ones to even out my disdain.

So… I guess we’ll see. I’m only 1/3 of the way through the series, after all. Come back soon (not sure when, but soon) for another installment of “The Office N00b.”

 

 

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