Monday, March 01, 2010

The End Of The Road For "The Office"?

Ta-Nehisi Coates is not going to watch "The Office" anymore, and I can't say I blame him.

There's two basic ways in which a show stops being funny, and it really depends on what type of show it is. If it is a show in which there one superstar carrying the load, and he/she is basically the only reason it is funny, then the show will stop being funny the day you get sick of that person's shtick. It's not that that person ceases to be funny, it's just that you no longer find it tolerable that you have to wade through all that other crap just to get to one person doing their thing, and that becomes that. This is what happened to "Entourage" for me -- I loved Ari, but honestly, three years of "super-intense, always yelling, endearing but kind of a dick" was enough. The same thing has already happened with Barney in "How I Met Your Mother" and the same thing will happen with Sheldon and "The Big Bang Theory" in about a year, you watch. It's just a matter of time.

The second type of show that stops being funny is when writers decide there's nothing left to say, so they make it a soap opera and try to make it a 30-min chick flick every week. This, by the way, is also called "the Friends syndrome", named after a show that was exceedingly funny until they decided to make Monica and Chandler a serious couple rather than a humorous (and transient) sideshow. By the time Joey fell for Rachel, the show had just fallen off the deep end. Did we really need lovey-dovey stuff over and above the interminable Ross-and-Rachel crap? I think not. Think back to when "Frasier" became boring -- not a coincidence that it happened to be around the time Niles and Daphne became an item, is it? I don't know how else to put it: love is bad for comedy. Romantic tension? Funny. Romance? Cringe-worthy.

A little of both have happened to "The Office". It's become a little too Jim-and-Pam-y for my liking, and Michael Scott is beginning to annoy me too. It's done, and it had a great run. But it's not even the funniest mockumentary on NBC on Thursday nights anymore. That, my friends, is "Parks and Recreation".


Smci said...

I'm a "Modern Family" fan.

Perhaps this "Parenthood" show starting Thursdays will be funny too.

"Community" is funny if all you're tuning in for is ridiculous social behavior and cheap laughs.

I love "The Office" but definitely understand why some people find it extremely annoying and torturous to watch. Dwight needs to pick up his game and the whole Nard-Dawg thing needs to move forward... there are only so many ways to extend this comedy of errors.

takhalus said...

moonlighting was probably the best example.. a brilliant comediac show which was killed the moment the two leads got it on..

Rishad said...

You need to watch "Community" with Chevy Chase. Best sitcom today by far.

Ahsan said...

I've heard good things about Parenthood.

The thing with The Office is that even the background roles are now boring. I mean really, is Dwight still funny? Andy is, but less so than he used to be. It's just become stale...they should've ended it with the wedding and that hip hop dance and the Niagra Falls scene.

Umair Javed said...

they should have taken a page out of the UK version...two seasons were more than enough...and ricky gervais kept his cult following

JJY said...

I still like Barney, but find Sheldon annoying already. It didn't take very long.

If I ever stop watching How I Met... it'll be because of Ted. I can't stand him.

And yeah, the wedding episode would have been a great end to The Office.

hemlock said...

how i met your mother was never funny. or maybe i just didnt get it.

leonard has already hooked up with penny, which means love is in the air, which means TBB has begun to suck.

lalapathan said...

Nothing beats SOUTH PARK :) and the other show that u didnt mention which has been funny for years and still is i must say now is Two and a half Men .

Omar R Quraishi said...

parks and recreation is hilarious -- as is modern family --

SymbioteSpidey said...

Big Bang Theory is not funny because of only Sheldon. And they are pretty much aware of downward spiral caused by the dangling romances, so I am sure they'll take it reaal slow.

Naqiya said...

the opposite of the 'Friends syndrome' is the 'arrested development syndrome' - where the shows writers decide to go balls to the wall because they know they'll get cancelled. or even the 'south park syndrome' where the writers dont have to answer to the network, stay current, and therefore stay funny.

waisay where does the simpsons fit into this?

Ahsan said...


I disagree. Many of the American Office's greatest moments came after the first two or three seasons (the merger with the other branch, the introduction of Ed Helms, the Dwight-Angela relationship, the tension between Jim and that black dude who became boss for a while, the tension between Pam and that chick who went out with Jim for a while, the Michael Scott paper company etc). But it's definitely time to call it a day now.


Well I guess the interesting thing with TBBT will be which causes it to suck first: the Penny-Leonard relationship, or the Sheldon routine getting old.


Yeah, South Park defies all stereotypes. Just an all round brilliant show. Still.


I haven't seen Modern Family, but again I've heard good things about it. Only so much TV one can watch!


I disagree on Sheldon. Imagine that show with 4 Leonards or Rajs. It would suck.


Good call on Arrested Development. That "Desperate Housewives" or "Greys Anatomy" gets season after season, and those guys got three, is a crime of epic proportions.

Simpsons is an interesting one. You have to give it points for longevity, but its peak was never AMAZING, just very, very good. Basically its the Sachin Tendulkar of TV shows.

alybaba said...

Haha @ Tendulkar of all shows.

Ahsan, I would second Rishad and say you need to give Community a shot. While Abid is definitely the best character (to me so far), all of them have enough personality quirks to keep the show going. Chevy Chase is hilarious, not to mention Senor Chang.

TBBT's greatest strength and weakness is the Sheldon gimmick. Even Wolowitz is getting tiresome. I guess that's why they finally got him a girlfriend, but still.

I don't know about Parks and Recreation - I found Amy Poehler's character a little too Micheal Scott-ish. Watching it makes me cringe sometimes.

Surprised nobody's mentioned Curb so far. IMO, that show was still strong, even though Larry's character has retained his cringeworthy antics throughout all the seasons.

Zubair Sheikh said...

Hey Ahsan, stop writing about these comedy soaps. Get somebody to write Lost reviews for us. w are missing BUBS and famous five rupees Lost reviews

Sachin said...

@Ahsan, wow man that was low..what do i have to do to get u on my bandwagon. this is the least u can do..

Brett said...

Simpsons is an interesting one. You have to give it points for longevity, but its peak was never AMAZING, just very, very good. Basically its the Sachin Tendulkar of TV shows.

I don't know - some of the fourth season episodes were just brilliant, in my opinion.

I suppose to its credit, "The Simpsons" hasn't completely gone to shit (like the way "Family Guy" has in the current season after the awesome season premiere). It's just that the crap-to-quality ratio has steadily gotten bigger and bigger over time.

Still impressive, though - more than twenty seasons of almost nothing but one-shot episodes, with no real "arcs" (unless you count the "who shot Mr. Burns?" two-episode bit as an "arc").

Smci said...

There are LOST watchers here?

I don't know guys, I think people are just in for the ride at this point.

I remember all the "theory" blogs from season 1 that have just flat-out gone dead after the third season.

It's just no use any more.

It feels like all the facts that we kept up with for the last 6 years have been a waste because nothing is relevant anymore.

anoop said...


Really good analysis. I agree with Friends becoming boring. Rachel and Joey should NOT have gotten together.

But, Seinfeld didnt fall for this and I credit the sheer talent of the Writers for that. It is,I think, the greatest Sit-Com of all time.

And, what happened to the Lost Reviews?
To give you an update, Claire is back! But, Claire is not Claire.. :P

Mariam said...

30 rock is hilarious

Mariam said...

oh and didnt X files become boring and blah when scully and mulder got together - i vaguely remember losing interest in the show around that time

Naqiya said...

guys, last night's episode of community was really really funny! esp the skit in the end. everyone should watch it!