Disclaimer: I don’t usually write about such nonsense here, but I can’t find the hockey game on TV and, ya know what, this is my fking blog and I can write whatever the fk I want on it.
When I first watched The Office my sophomore year, I was surrounded by my best friends before they even became my best friends.
It was because of some combination of Sara or Conrad or Tim having the DVDs of seasons one and two and the mounting pressure from this thing called Facebook that I even first watched an episode, but it quickly became a marathon session of episode viewing among my friends and I, all gathered in a dark dorm room that was specially arranged to handle a crowd (one of my strengths in college was the ability to manipulate dorm rooms in such a way that allowed for maximum occupancy) and clapping along with the inane theme song.
OK, fine. I’m the one that started the clapping along to the theme song, but still, it was fun and if you try it once you’ll be hooked for life.
I remember the night that we tapped out the DVDs we had. It wasn’t late (by undergraduate standards) and we immediately went online to confirm that, yes, indeed, season three was already out on DVD.
And so we drove out into the night to Walmart on a mission to find the next season.
We didn’t find it that night, but it was not because we did not search.
The DVDs were acquired eventually and then we were all caught up.
Occasionally a few of us would get together to watch the Thursday episodes live together, but as we moved off campus and Netflix and Hulu and upper level courses all became reality, we fell away from keeping up with the show or each other’s progress.
My roommate and I watched it together pretty religiously once I got off campus, but we all knew the shine was wearing off of the franchise, especially after Jim and Pam got married.
Indeed, as I write this I’m not sure if I am the only one of my friends from those college days that was all caught up and saw the finale. Actually, the only reason I was caught up was because I came home for a long lunch break today to make sure I was. And even then I only did it because I knew that if I didn’t watch it live, at night and drunk, that I would likely not ever watch the finale, waiting instead for a special occasion that could warrant the end of the series that so dominated the most challenging and rewarding era of my life.
As I watched the final moments of the show tonight, I kept hearing the same refrain from the voices in my head (yeah, what of it!?) that I heard as I was reading the final Harry Potter book.
I stayed up for six hours straight reading that book and with every page I turned I was hoping that Harry, Hermione and Ron would just stay in the wilderness forever looking for the horcruxes so my high school memories could remain fresh and neverending.
And it was with that same fervor that I found myself talking to the television tonight as I told NBC, after the final episode had passed the hour mark, that it had my permission to go on forever so that I may stave off the end of my college memories eternally.
But the episode did come to an end and I found myself alone in a dark room trying to figure out what channel NBC Sports is in Brownsville, Texas (It’s not on basic cable, by the way).
In a lot of ways, the first time I watched the show differed from how I viewed the finale completely: alone, Texas, graduate, job.
But I’m glad for the experience (and Netflix, because, I mean, right?)
So even though the last few seasons have, well, at times, just completely sucked (I think I compared one episode to an abusive ex-girlfriend whose only redeeming quality was great sex at one point) I feel like I owe it to myself to at least type these words of praise for the finale:
It was good. It wrapped up some loose ends. I wish they had made Toby happy, but I’m glad they took care of everyone else, I guess. (You’ll find love in the movie, Toby!)
And while I was grappling with writing this stupid blog post revealing my innermost feelings for a sitcom, this was spoken by another character who I feel got absolutely fked over in this final season: Andy Bernard.
(I don’t feel sorry for Ed Helms, mind you. His Hangover and other work has shown he’s fine, but as for the Nard-Dog, he got boned.)
He said something that I know was only put in the finale to manipulate my feelings, but goddammit if it didn’t work:
“I wish there was a way to know you were in the good ole days before you’ve actually left them.”
And it’s poignant. In high school, those Harry Potter moments all happened during the good ole days.
In college, the good ole days featured new episodes of The Office every Thursday.
Looking forward (and let’s not forget that 30 Rock is over, too) I’m kind of at a loss for what will define my good ole days when I look back on these moments after I turn 30. (Here’s hoping I make it that far!)
The best part, though, is that I know that I will. These moments in time only help to mark the seasons in my life. They don’t define them and they sure as hell don’t end them.
Plus, I have The Michael J. Fox Show to look forward to.