"The Office" series finale aired tonight, shuttering a comedic saga that has kept us laughing, blubbering, aw-ing and cringing (read: the painfully uncomfortable lip lock between Oscar and Michael) since the show's inception in March 2005.
The final episode of NBC's "The Office" takes place one year after the mock-documentary, "The Office: An American Workplace" -- the vehicle which propelled the show's nine seasons forward -- aired. In last week's penultimate episode, everyone from Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch gathered at a bar to watch the first installment of their reality show.
In the series finale, Dwight and Angela get married (standing in their own graves -- typical Schrute fashion, of course). Also, everyone comes together for a final round of on-camera interviews, touching on some of the more memorable moments of the series (like when Jim hosted the Office Olympics).
And guess who showed up for the series finale sendoff? Mindy Kaling (Kelly) and B.J. Novak (Ryan), former castmembers and the show's foremost writers.
"I can tell you that when I called 'cut' for the last time, there were a lot of tears," Ken Kwapis, the show's director, told The Wall Street Journal. "Nine years ago, most pundits predicted that an American version of 'The Office' was doomed to fail."
The documentary-style series, which takes place in Scranton, Pa., portrayed the quotidian lives of ordinary employees at a paper company called Dunder Mifflin (which later became a real-life enterprise). "The Office," which concluded its 201st episode tonight, has received 40 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, including four wins (Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series in 2009, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, 2007; Outstanding Single-camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, 2007; and Outstanding Comedy Series, 2006)
And to say that "The Office" series finale is a tear jerker is an understatement. The emotional final episode, during which Pam surprised Jim with a move to Austin, Texas, had us bawling into buckets.
Even though the final episode of "The Office" vamped up the tenderness, the series finale was anything but short on laughs; when Dwight tries to order food from his bachelor party stripper, who he thinks is a waitress, you could almost hear the thunderous smack of thousands of knees around the country getting slapped.
For die-hard Office fans, it's hard to pick a favorite episode, a favorite moment, or even a favorite season. But one thing is for sure: This isn't the last of "The Office," and the series finale is definitely one we'll watch again and again.
So let's tip our hats to Jim, Pam, Dwight, Angela, Andy and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin clan, as "The Office" series finale concludes what was, for many of us, a relationship.
And the question on everyone's mind before the final episode aired was: Will Steve Carell return for "The Office" series finale?
A Final Season Wrought In Irony
The ninth and final season of "The Office," which premiered on Sept. 20, 2012, centered on the relationship between Jim (John Kraskinski) and Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer), the series power couple who started their loveable courtship at the end of the third season.
During the ultimate season of "The Office," Jim moved to Philadelphia to pursue a career in sports marketing, leaving Pam and their daughter back in Scranton. The move, unsurprisingly, put a strain on the relationship.
In last week's episode, Pam expressed her fear to Jim that's she's not enough for him, and that he'll later regret her for Jim's decision to stay in Scranton instead of touring the country with the sports marketing company.
Andy (Ed Helms), who became office manager, skirted his responsibilities when he took a three-month boating trip. He would've gotten fired for the stunt, but instead he quit to pursue his acting and singing aspirations.
Dwight finally confessed his love for Angela, and Angela finally admitted to Dwight that he is the father of her baby. Dwight then proposed, giving Angela a ring he made from -- where else? -- a bullet extracted from his grandmother's rear end.
Final Farewell In "The Office" Series Finale
So, where are the charcters now? Here's what we learned from "The Office" series finale:
Stanley has retired to Florida and has taken up wood carving. Dwight fires Kevin, who ends up buying up a bar in Scranton. Creed is on the run from the authorities after it's revealed that he once was in a band and sold copious drugs. Andy's audition tape from his singing pursuit went viral, making him an internet sensation. He also works in the admissions office at his alma mater, Cornell.
Toby has moved to New York to "write the great American novel," and lives with six roommates. And, in one of the most touching moments of "The Office" series finale, Erin's birth parents (Joan Cusack and Ed Bagley Jr.) are revealed during a panel discussion with the cast.
At Dwight and Angela's wedding, Ryan shows up with a kid strapped to his chest -- his child from a previous girlfriend who skipped town. Kelly finds the baby adorable, and mentions that her boyfriend, Ravi, is a pediatrician and deals with kids every day.
"Some of his patients are total ug-oes," she says.
"They're called premature, sweetie," Ravi retorts.
And the rumors about Steve Carell showing up for "The Office" season finale turned out to be true!
At the wedding, Jim tells Dwight he can't be the best man anymore, because of some "Schrute family" rule that says the best man can't be younger than the groom. Dwight says he hasn't heard of that custom. Jim assures him it's going to be fine.
That's when Michael, his age apparent only by his hoary head of hair, enters the room. The emotional reunion between Michael and Dwight marks a dramatic moment in "The Office" series finale.
"It's like all my kids grew up, and married each other," Michael says. "It's every parent's dream!"
We later find out that Michael has kids. Pam tells the camera that Michael bought two cell phones just to hold all the photos he has of his children. She also says he's really happy.
At the end of the episode, Pam tells the documentary makers: "There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"
If you missed "The Office" series finale, you can catch it here, at the NBC site.
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