The general reaction greeting the news that The Office, once NBC’s comedy crown jewel, is going off the air after its upcoming ninth and final season can be described thusly: ABOUT F*CKING TIME. As Danger put it yesterday, “Over the past seven years, the show has gone from a widely-criticized American knockoff of a classic British series, to a creative and ratings juggernaut that anchored NBC’s Thursday night schedule, to a widely-criticized shell of its former itself.” And much like The Simpsons, now in season 37, it’s sad to see a formerly-beloved show struggle to do something that once came so naturally, namely telling good jokes coming from likable characters. But rather than continue to dance on The Office‘s grave and focus on last season’s mediocrity, let’s instead remember why we’re disappointed at the series in the first place: because it used to be so great. All-time great, in fact.
Here are 20 fond memories and reasons why we all fell so hard for The Office, one of the best sitcoms ever. There are obviously more than 20, so please leave your favorite quotes, scenes, episodes, etc. in the comments. (Sorry, Charles Miner.) Here’s to you, Dunder-Mifflin, may you never stop selling paper, even in the afterlife.
#1. Because it was great in a different way than the equally fantastic original Office. The original took a cynical look on the day-to-day existence of employees at a paper company, whereas NBC’s version, too, skewered the monotony that is working in an office, but also added a warmth that was largely absent from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s scripts. You laughed more at BBC’s The Office, but you cared more about NBC’s.
#2. Because Michael Scott was a tragic character who got the happy ending he deserved.
#3. Because he was also lovably racist.
And could do a killer impression.
#4. Because Jim and Pam are one of the only tolerable “will they, won’t they” pairings in TV history.
#5. Because seriously, they were goddamned adorable. What the heck happened, Office?
#6. Because Jenna Fischer was and always will be underrated hot.
#7. Because Stanley’s breathless anticipation of Pretzel Day, despite not caring about anything else in the world, perfectly encapsulated the feeling office drones have for Bagel Monday and Pizza Friday.
#8. Because despite what I said earlier, it could make you cringe just as much as the BBC original. See: “Scott’s Tots.”
#9. Because a one-dimensional character like Kevin Malone, whose range begins and ends with “mentally challenged oaf,” was still endearingly lovable. Hodor.
#10. Because Dwight…well, feelings on Dwight vary throughout the run of the series, but at his best, he was someone who didn’t care what other people thought of him and wasn’t looking for recognition for his good deeds, like when he pepper sprays Roy, who’s about to attack Jim. He enjoyed karate and Battlestar Galactica shamelessly, was incredibly good at his job, and despite his beet farm eccentricities, remained someone who viewers felt compassion for due to his naivety. Plus, dude knew how to tell a great speech.
#11. Because, as Dustin correctly identified, this might be the greatest sitcom cold-open ever.
#12. Because the Michael Scott Paper Company was a brilliant arc that briefly saved a drowning show.
#13. Because we’re rooting for The Mindy Project to be good, despite the fact that Mindy Kaling’s Kelly Kapoor hasn’t been an enjoyable character for years now (somewhere along the line, she switched from parody of a grown-up acting like a teenager to being a grown-up acting like a teenager). But Kaling earned enough goodwill from episodes like “Diwali” and “Ben Franklin,” both of which she wrote, that her new series is a must-watch.
#14. Because every so often, one of TV’s more familiar shows would do something completely unexpected, like have a warehouse employee explain why he botched a Yakuza boss’s open heart surgery.
#15. Because it introduced us to Michael Schur, and without The Office, there’s no Parks and Recreation.
#16. Ditto Rashida Jones.
And as long as we’re here in Stamford: this Andy, not Manager Andy, was wonderful.
#17. Because even after 150 episodes, it could still write a brilliant self-aware joke. JAMES.
18. Because *starts crying*
*starts crying, Vol. II*
*starts crying, Vol. III*
#19. Because Hipster Erin is a national treasure.
#20. Because Creed. I’ll miss him the most.